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'Life and Work' November 2008 issue

1st November 2008

The Blindness Will Pass in Time.
Of the nearly 700,000 Scots who volunteered or were conscripted into the Armed Forces during the First World War, 150,000 did not return. On the 90th anniversary of the Armistice, broadcaster and author Trevor Royle reflects on how the end of the war was greeted among the men of the Scottish Regiments and among those back home in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen.

Royle also looks at how the war was won in the final few months and argues for a rehabilitation of the reputation of Field Marshal Lord Haig - a committed member of the Church of Scotland who addressed the General Assembly in 1919.

Royle quotes Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon William Fraser, commanding the 1st Gordon Highlanders, who wrote: "And so ended the last day of the Great War. One has been feeling one's way through the dark for four years, and now one has come straight out in the sunlight - and behold!! One is blind, one cannot see the sun. But the blindness will pass in time."

An Independent Christian
Jackie Macadam interviews John Mason, the new MP for Glasgow East. "In these politically sensitive times, it's not often you'll find an MP willing to wear their Christian faith out in the open, but to find one whose faith is almost his defining factor is a rarity indeed."

Mason talks about growing up in the church and finding his faith aged about 14, working in the charity sector and joining the United Mission to Nepal, where his nationalism was born. "I stayed three years there, in this small, bustling, busy country, surrounded by potentially hostile, much larger neighbours, yet still determined to be independent. I was also mixing with people from all over the world, Norway, Finland, Denmark. Again they were from small countries, happily looking after themselves. When I came back to Scotland, I couldn't help but make the comparisons."