ON reading Neil Mackay’s article ("Scotland's complicity in the bloodstained sin of Yemen", The Herald, March 16), I do not see how any degree of “love bombing” of Scotland by the Conservative Government could possibly persuade any voter north of the Border with any degree of self-respect and compassion to vote for that party given its abominable treatment of the Yemeni people.

A couple of weeks ago Sir Keir Starmer called in Parliament for the Government to reverse its policies of cutting Yemeni aid and supplying arms to the Saudis. It is surely revealing that the Prime Minister criticised the Leader of the Opposition for concentrating his questions “entirely to the interests of the people of Yemen”, Boris Johnson himself having no concern whatsoever for the unbelievable suffering he is determined to impose on the people of that country.

Ironically in the Government’s defence review published on Tuesday there was a reference to “our values of democracy and a commitment to universal human rights, the rule of law, freedom". What a shocking degree of hypocrisy exacerbated by the Government refusing to give MPs a vote on the Government’s plans to slash aid spending.

John Milne, Uddingston.


THE Government’s intention to allow an increase in its stockpile of nuclear weapons ("No 10: Raising limit on nuclear warheads is not a treaty breach", The Herald, March 17) is appalling. There is little understanding here of the genuine threats to international security. New funding over a four-year period has allocated £24 billion to the military compared with £11bn to address the climate crisis – the "green industrial revolution". The most recent annual research and development spending from 2018 was £1.7bn for military purposes compared with £100 million for renewable energy.

This comes shortly after the decision to cut the aid budget. The Conservative Party seems wedded to militarism as the driver to establishing the future role of the UK on the world scene. The recent wide support for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons illustrates that this is not what the international community at large would wish to see. This may be primarily a UK issue, but in the run-up to the Holyrood elections it would be encouraging to hear the leaders of all other Scottish parties condemning the detail of and thinking behind this defence review.

Duncan MacIntyre, Eaglesham.

* Children are dying of famine in Yemen. The Westminster Government has cut aid, but at the same time massively increased the number of nuclear warheads. What kind of equation is this? Sic a parcel of rogues.

Dorothy Dennis, Port Ellen. Islay.


IN an iconic, historic example of the UK democracy we Scots thankfully still enjoy, David Davis used the Westminster Parliamentary privilege not available to Holyrood MSPs to light a fuse under the SNP's disgraceful handling of the Alex Salmond affair ("Davis suggests FM was aware of Salmond issue before April 2018", The Herald, March 17).

In doing so he exposed evidence of collusion and conspiracy. He then called for greater powers of accountability to be conferred on Holyrood, a timely, reassuring reminder that the Scottish Parliament gets it power and existence from the UK.

Paraphrasing Mark Antony, he said: "I'm here to strengthen the Scottish Parliament, not bury it."

In stark contrast to that statesmanlike reverse power grab offer, the SNP's top "will of the Scottish people" bleater, Pete Wishart, said on Twitter: "Jeezo. The Tories are currently considering using the pretext of the Salmond inquiry to impose its will on our Parliament and determine the role and authority of the Lord Advocate. They are now preparing a full assault on our institutions."

If ever we needed a fundamental example of why Scottish voters and pro-UK parties need to come together and tactically vote this gang out on May 6 it is this extract of yesterday's tale of goodies vs baddies in the Mother of All Parliaments.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

* SURELY following David Davis’s performance in Parliament, protected by parliamentary privilege, the people at the top of the SNP must look at themselves and consider whether by continuing in office they are doing Scotland and/or their cause more harm than good.

What can be proved at the end of the day may never be clear but what is crystal clear to the whole of Scotland is that our politics will be tainted for a long time by serious allegations, conspiracy, obstruction and incompetence on a grand scale.

All the people of Scotland deserve better.

W Macintyre, East Kilbride.


MAY I make just one observation on Robert IG Scott's letter (March 17) on why Scotland cannot exist as an independent nation, and why, in his opinion, it is and must remain a dependency? Mr Scott describes "the enigma of self-rule". My dictionary describes "enigma" as " something that is mysterious and seems impossible to understand completely".

There are, apparently, 195 independent countries in the world. There's no enigma, ask Norway, Denmark and Sweden and the like if they find self-rule mysterious and difficult to understand. While I'm at it, could I ask him what resources and abilities he feels those happily self-ruling and prosperous small nations have that the people of Scotland don't?

John Jamieson, Ayr.


I AM compelled to respond to Francis Deigman (Letters, March 17), who asserts that large English domestic projects deprive Scotland of investment. Not only does Scottish revenue not contribute to London Crossrail nor HS2, but the Barnett formula ensures that Scotland benefits from proportionate consequentials.

In April 2017 this answer was given to a question in the House of Commons: “The Barnett formula is applied to all changes in funding for UK Government departments in areas that are devolved. The Scottish Government has received Barnett consequentials from Crossrail in the usual way, as set out in the Statement of Funding Policy. These budgetary changes have been reflected in the Scottish Government’s own budget allocations.”

The Scottish SNP Government, which also receives Barnett consequentials for HS2, responded to a FOI request with this statement: “The Scottish Government has not contributed any funds to the HS2 rail link budget; this is wholly funded by the UK Government.”

Myths about Scotland paying for English domestic projects are widespread but wholly false.

James Quinn, Lanark.


PETER Russell (Letters, March 17) seems aggrieved that “although travel across mainland Scotland will be allowed from April 26, no such permission has been given [by the First Minister] to travel to other parts of the United Kingdom”.

Mr Russell’s argument that this is prompted by “Anglophobia” is utterly demolished by the lower rate since the start of the pandemic of Covid deaths in Scotland (137.5 per 100,000, 28 days after a positive Covid test) than in England (196.2).

Likewise cases, as Scotland has had 3835.6 cases per 100,000 since the pandemic started, compared to 6622.5 in England.

Perhaps it has to do with protecting us from these higher rates? Or does Mr Russell, in the spirit of Unionism, suggest "pooling and sharing"?

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

* I HOPE Nicola Sturgeon's attention is drawn to Peter Russell's excellent letter. I too am angry about her attitude to cross-border family visits. Does she not know that English people are also being vaccinated and Covid rates are falling there too? The yes-men and women she is surrounded by in the Government should have the courage to discuss this blind spot with her.

Thank you Mr Russell for raising the charge of Anglophobia against the First Minister. I am sick and tired of being told what I can and cannot do.

Elizabeth Mueller, Glasgow.


I AM pleased to see we appear to have a light at the end of tunnel on the journey back to some semblance of normality ("Sturgeon to free Scotland from lockdown by summer", The Herald, March 17).

There is one bit that I find confusing though. From April 26 pubs/restaurants/cafes can open for service outdoors, remaining retail premises can open, tourist accommodation can open, weddings funerals and receptions can take place with up to 50 folk and it looks like travel restrictions will be lifted by then, fantastic.

So why is the restriction on indoor family meetings not being lifted until May 17?

Does that mean that family visiting us can socialise with us outside, eat, shop, get a haircut, go to a wedding, funeral, stay in tourist accommodation but not stay with us until May17? (I suppose I could claim we are a B&B.) A strange anomaly.

Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs.

Read more: It is a scandal that the UK can't pay its nurses but can find the money for weapons of mass destruction