“Letters to the Editor,
“The Scotsman”
108 Holyrood road,


Mr Aamer Anwar’s letter on 13th January 2001 makes very strange reading. He appears to see the police as “The Enemy”, lamenting what he calls a ” sorry state of race relations”. I have some points to make here.

We used to have black Americans, over 400 at a time, at the US Navy Base at the Holy Loch. In the 30 years they were there I was never once aware of the US Navy ever complaining about unacceptable “racist” attitudes and behaviour towards their personnel. They seemed to like the Scottish people, getting on reasonably well with them. The Scottish people accepted them for what they were – American sailors who just happened to be black – and were often quite amused by them. I heard from some US Navy personnel that black Americans liked the easy- going, friendly, helpful nature of the Scots, and actually experienced far, far less “racialism” here than back in their own country. One former US Navy man, who arrived in Glasgow for the first time in the 1960s, told me how astonished he was to see black US sailors walking openly down the street with local Scottish girls. He’d never seen anything like it before.

Yet in the very same country, hardly a day goes by without some people calling themselves” Black” or “Asian” complaining to the media about “racism”. Does Mr Anwar ever stop to analyse : Why the big difference?

Ten years ago a young friend of mine was viciously stabbed in the belly outside a Glasgow disco. That year there were over 170 stabbing incidents in Glasgow, and they were all a deplorable breach of law and order. How is it though, that if just one of these victims had been “Black” or “Asian”, it would probably have received more publicity and media coverage than all the rest put together, accompanied by loud, automatic shrieking about ” racially-motivated” crime. Cities are violent places – there is no special protection for this race or that. There is no point to phrases like ” racist attackers roaming the streets”. Knife-carrying thugs would attack anyone. The police are under constant heavy pressure to do a very difficult job, maintaining the rule of law in often very difficult circumstances. Mr Anwar would do well to treat them with far more respect.

Perhaps Mr Anwar should remember how India was taken to the brink of inter-ethnic civil war in 1949 with Moslems, Hindus and Sikhs slaughtering each other in the streets. Perhaps he should remember how Tamils and Singhalese killed each other in Sri Lanka, and be glad to see none of that in Britain. Perhaps he should remember that the worst “racist” murder in Britain was that of PC Keith Blakelock, who was hacked to death in a race riot in London – for no better reason than the fact that he was native British and “White”. Yet of all the West Indians who must have witnessed it, nobody gave enough evidence to secure a conviction.

Mr Anwar should have more respect for the British in their own homeland, and for the very high level of stability they do actually manage to achieve in spite of all the difficulties around them.

Yours sincerely

Evelyn Ward