I AM utterly horrified that the Westminster Government is increasing its stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. I am thoroughly ashamed to be in some small part complicit in this moral outrage by the mere fact of paying tax. That the wretched, wicked things will be based in Scotland makes me want to weep.

It says much about the Government that it can’t find the means to properly pay people who keep others alive but it is determined to have the means and more to kill tens of millions of people indiscriminately.

We used to regard leaders who waved their flags around, bolstered up their armed forces far beyond any need, who sought to niggle their neighbours, who repressed the right to protest and who spent inordinate sums on presenting an image far at odds with the truth as despots.

Now it appears we have elected one.

Grant McKechnie, Glasgow.

* IT’S too early to fully comprehend today’s announcement that the UK Government intends to increase the number of Trident warheads from 180 to a “ceiling” of 260 warheads.

However, it is important to understand it is no mere technical adjustment. It is much more than a brazen violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of which the UK is a signatory.

This decision will have consequences for what passes as the international architecture of arms control. The United Kingdom officially participates in discussions around nuclear arms verification. How will it be able to do so as it is now Government policy to move away from a stated number of warheads? How can the UK Government, with a straight face, expect other states to embark upon verification processes?

In case any readers still don’t get it, and in particular I am referring to those who advocate a softly-softly approach to a Trident removal timescale, consider this. The “modernisation” of the nuclear arsenal of the United States is to be achieved with increased accuracy and fewer warheads. Meanwhile the “modernisation” of the nuclear arsenal of the United Kingdom is to be achieved with a huge increase in the number of warheads.

Bill Ramsay, Convener SNP CND, Glasgow.


I USED to play rugby many moons ago and, for more years than I care to remember, have enjoyed watching the Six Nations, the World Cup and the like. No more. It has become increasingly farcical; so much so that Sunday’s Scotland v Ireland match ("Hurting Hogg in hurry to put wrongs right", Herald Sport, March 15) will be my last viewing, at least until they radically overhaul the laws and various referees’ interpretations of them.

Games are dominated by scrum penalties, breakdown infringements, mauls that are legalised obstruction, unofficiated offsides and dummy runs by players who are basically obstructing. The actual point of the game, two sides displaying their variety of skills, has become a sideshow. Who wins comes down to the awful talent of "who best plays the referee".

Rugby union in its current form should be renamed “Penalty Interpretation”. I would suggest that, instead of 15 players taking part on each side, each competing nation should consist of 15 officials all of whom, seated in deckchairs on the pitch, are given just over two-and-a-half minutes to explain their interpretation of the laws by use of loudspeakers. The result of the game may then be decided by a panel of adjudicating referees.

Roger Graham, Inverkip.


WILLIE Towers' recollection (Letters, March 13) of his mother’s experience of the Clydebank Blitz on March 13, 1941, reminded me of my own mother’s experience. That day was the first time my mother and father had been on a date. She was returning to Clydebank with my father, who was going on to Dumbarton, after seeing Gone with the Wind at the Gaumont in Sauchiehall Street, when the sirens went off at Yoker Cross, and by the time the bus got to my mother’s stop in Glasgow Road, just beyond Elgin Street, the bombs were already starting to fall.

There are numerous publications about this night, including Dr McPhail’s The Clydebank Blitz, as well the essential source book, “Untold Stories: Remembering Clydebank in Wartime”, a collection of memoirs of survivors, written in the late 1990s. Even that though only gives a glimpse of the horrors of that night – standing in a close, or in an Anderson shelter, listening to bombs falling and exploding from about 9pm till 4am when the “all clear” was sounded.

However, what really brought it home to me was about 40 years after the Blitz, when my mother had come down to Dumbarton to see my wife and me. While we were sitting talking the air raid siren went off (the fire station round the corner used it to summon reserved firemen) and I noticed my mother going a worrying shade of grey. I asked if she was alright and she said: “Yes, I’ll be ok in a minute. It’s when it sneaks up behind you like that, it brings it all back”.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

* I WAS interested in Willie Towers' letter on memories of the Clydebank Blitz. March 13, 1941 was also my own mother’s 21st birthday.

She went to the opera with a friend as a celebration but then was so terrified by her first experience of bombs that she ran all the way home. Next morning, although Glasgow had not suffered as much as Clydebank, a bomb had fallen in her street, slicing a tenement in two.

My partner’s mother also experienced bombs for the first time on her 21st birthday, on the opposite side of the war. In her case it was the Hamburg blitz of 1944. She and her parents and sister emerged from two days in a bunker to find everything razed to the horizon, including their own home.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow.