IT really is pathetic when the remaining rump of the British Empire has the temerity to complain about foreign, in this case Russian, interference in UK domestic political matters ("Probe call into indyref and Brexit ‘influence’ by Russia", The Herald, July 22). Has Westminster forgotten its history? Has it forgotten how it marched round the world pillaging as it went brutally destroying any resistance? Has it forgotten that a century ago it sent troops and the Royal Navy to interfere in the Russian civil war? Has it forgotten the decades of economic sanctions against Russia it has been party to? I wonder if MI6 has ever been involved it attempts to manipulate Russian politics or society, or did Ian Fleming make it all up?

On the other hand, it’s apparently OK for the United States to engineer the dropping of Huawei from the UK 5G project with the concomitant increase in cost and delay involved in that process or to interfere with our criminal justice system in, for example, the case of Harry Dunn and the non-appearance of Anne Sacoolas. Need I mention the case of Julian Assange the founder of Wikileaks, who is being persecuted by the UK simply for telling the truth that the US didn’t want published?

Likewise, it’s OK for the UK to stick its nose in the US-inspired attempted regime change in Venezuela by refusing to release gold deposits to its current democratically elected president and to recommence supplying arms to Saudi Arabia which will almost certainly be used against the neighbouring Yemen. It’s OK for the UK to invade Afghanistan and Iraq and to be involved in the systematic attempt to crush Syria simply because it won’t do what it is told.

To get back to Russian influence in the UK, Westminster allows Russian individuals – providing they have sufficient funds – to become British citizens and bring their piles of money here to invest, distorting the housing market and en passant some of these legal immigrants contribute substantial sums to fund a political party, and not the one that we would normally associate with having historical sympathies with the previous regimes east of the Urals.

It’s smoke and mirrors yet again. Westminster is rotten and corrupt, politics is rotten and corrupt, the social system is rotten and corrupt, but nothing will ever change.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

IN the absence of theatre, at least we are being offered some farce in the British security services' Russia Report.

Russia is supposed to have pursued a social media campaign on Brexit and independence, and the first joke is why did it bother? Was it so out of touch? The UK public, having been bombarded for years on a daily basis with anti-EU propaganda, hardly needed any additional tweets. The security services should have been investigating those interfering billionaires, Rupert Murdoch, Jonathan Harmsworth, David and Frederick Barclay. These are the men who wield great power through the Sun, Mail, and the Telegraph, and their propaganda skills are far superior to a few Russians in a back office.

In the Scottish independence referendum, almost all the press was extremely hostile and in no way reflected the distribution of opinion among the public. But this was to some extent counter-balanced by the great people's movement that grew, often on entirely personal initiatives, on the Yes side. They had only social media and personal contact and in their many thousands used it brilliantly. Any foreign interference on social media, if it happened, was entirely superfluous. We did, of course, have some foreign interference – by President Obama, by Spanish politicians and some senior EU officials.

No-one should ever take what any state's security services produce at face value. Always assume that it is as likely to be false as true. They all have agendas. They are all engaged in mind games, it is their job. Remember Iraq, anyone? They are all hacking both friends and enemies. They are all pursuing propaganda initiatives. The US was even caught hacking Angela Merkel. So sit back and watch the show.

Isobel Lindsay, Biggar.

YES, there should be an investigation into interference into the 2014 referendum. What we know is that David Cameron required UK Embassy staff to cajole foreign governments into opposing Scottish independence in 2014. Russia reported at the time that it was one of them, and we saw the Prime Minister of Spain and the President of the United States make speeches to this effect. I’m sure Ian Murray and Murdo Fraser will welcome any such inquiry into this iniquity.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

I FOUND that Iain Macwhirter’s article UK (“So was the Russia report an attempt to taint the indyref?”, The Herald, July 22) on the report on Russian interference in the sometimes clouded the main point.

He jokingly suggests, in the context of the report, that since he was pro-independence for Scotland in 2014 he might have expected some financial recognition from the Kremlin for his written articles. This acknowledges what most reasonably minded people take from the evidence emerging regarding the revelations about alleged Russian interference.

I find it obvious that it is in the political interest of Russia to break apart the UK and hence weaken its strategic integral role in the world. The same argument applies to Brexit, as a Europe without the UK suits Russia. If Russia did in fact make any effective difference in the 2014 result it must therefore have been to swell the Yes vote.

What I expect has come out of this foul affair is that if the old adage “you should not believe everything you read in the newspapers" holds true, then it is very many times more true when the message is applied to the internet. The UK has a very long history of distrust and conflict with Russia and our alliance during the Second World War was perhaps something to be seen as an unusual blip in history.

However, I find it telling that our UK Government, as some reports admit, "took its eye off the ball” in watching out for both dirty tricks from a foreign power and, I suggest, also did the same for the threat of a killer pandemic.

Perhaps it is time the Westminster Government took stock of its elected role and remembered punctually in future when to lift the drawbridge.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

IT seems that the Russians have been trying to influence voters in the UK by posting fake messages on social media. I do remember some ridiculous nonsense being circulated in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish referendum. It was said that each voter in Scotland would be worth £300,000 if they voted Yes. The figure had been arrived at by taking the estimated value of oil deposits in the North Sea and dividing by the number of voters – as if each voter could extract the oil themselves. It was such drivel it must have come from a Russian agent.

I hope that any inquiry into the distribution of misinformation at that time will uncover the source and also calculate how many people may have been duped into voting Yes by that phoney get-rich-quick fraud.

Les Reid, Edinburgh EH15.

WITH the much-delayed and redacted report into Russian interference in two referendums finally published, I am reminded of our National Bard, who might have said "We are bought and sold for Russian gold, such a parcel of rogues in a nation"

Alec Oattes, Ayr.

Read more: Sturgeon urged to condemn Salmond for being 'in the pay of the Kremlin'