THE headline on Martin Redfern's letter (January 2) was "Stop pursuing division in 2022". He may want to reflect for a moment and ask himself who is creating division; where does his "anti-UK rhetoric" stem from? The answers lie with No 10 and the UK Government.

Take the situation we find ourselves in regarding the handling of the pandemic. Here in Scotland, there is a clear message, clear action, support in place and the quickest roll-out of the boosters. Contrast that with no clear message, no restrictions, and no support nationally for businesses through the reintroduction of furlough all adding to division and confusion.

The world focus was on Glasgow in 2021 for COP26 and the Westminster Government did everything in its power to exclude the First Minister from being part of the event. What kind of togetherness does that create?

Anti-UK rhetoric is being peddled again from No 10 as the Scottish Government is forced to take mitigating measures to protect vulnerable citizens from the Westminster Government's withdrawal of the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit, the latest and largest welfare cut since the Second World War.

The Westminster Government's "levelling up" scheme, supposedly rolling out throughout the UK, bypasses the Holyrood and other devolved governments. Before the Scottish Government can work constructively with Westminster there is the small matter of Westminster showing respect to the devolved nations, to date a scarce commodity.

But I am sure at the root of Mr Redfern’s sentiments in his letter lies a denial of the 2021 Holyrood election result, something which cannot be ignored.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


MARTIN Redfern insists that the First Minister should “stop spinning anti-UK rhetoric and try acting constructively with Westminster – including on Covid – rather than habitually pursuing division”.

I suggest that we should follow Mr Redfern’s advice when Westminster policy on Covid is sensible. It is, though, difficult to come to this conclusion when in England people are being allowed to do as they please, but at the same time Nightingale wards are being built as an emergency. Or that at the time of writing, daily cases in Scotland are lower than in England as well as hospitalisations. However, simultaneously the First Minister is berated as a killjoy. Asked by a TV interviewer what Edinburgh would miss with Hogmanay being cancelled the comedian Vladimir McTavish answered “a fourth wave of Covid”.

Mr Redfern would do better to understand that the philosophies, opinions and even the aims of the elected governments in London and Edinburgh are fundamentally different. Division exists, Mr Redfern, and rather than trying to avoid debate by uncritically staying in “lockstep” with London (Alister Jack), the Scottish Government has followed its own advice and I would suggest that in public health terms at least, we have profited from this.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.


LAST week’s Big Read by Mark Smith ("Is ‘Great Britain’ destined to grow even further apart in 2022?", January 2) opined that the UK’s fault lines are widening. I wonder if the gap is already irreparable.

I observe that people in the UK are now dividing across two radically different concepts of the type of state in which they want to live. These do not necessarily follow national boundaries and certainly not political parties.

The different states can be distinguished by no more than, say, 20 fundamentals: written constitution v unwritten constitution; proportional representation v first past the post; immigration-friendly v immigration-hostile; NHS v private healthcare; international v isolationist; soft capitalism v hard capitalism; society v individual; doveish v militaristic, and more.

Like two people in a marriage who have developed irreconcilable differences, regrettably the only solution is divorce.

Stuart MacDonald, Newton Mearns.


MY fervent wish for 2022 is that the Labour Party in Scotland realises that the Tories are not their greatest enemy. They may disagree with the basic principles and economic plans and different emphases of the Conservative Party, that is normal and understandable; almost every country has a right-left split. But the Tories are not Labour’s real enemy and those who think so are deluded.

When Scottish Labour grasps the fundamental truth that Scottish nationalism is the enemy, not the Tories, and that for many years it has fallen into the nationalist trap and continues to do so while they rub their hands in glee, only then will its recovery and healing process have begun. The SNP is the one-issue-obsessed party that has dragged down the working people of this country, the people whom Labour usually claim to represent. There should be no more cowering. No more fear of being labelled "anti-Scottish". Then a phoenix Labour party of the centre ground can rise again.

So, Labour, get off the back foot and start co-operating where it is feasible with all other willing partners in ridding Scotland of a far greater menace than any Tory government.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


JOHN V Lloyd (Letters, January 2) raises an interesting point for consideration. If people in Singapore choose not to be vaccinated against Covid yet end up in hospital, they are handed a bill for their treatment. We should adopt the same rule in the UK. Discuss.

Kath Hay, Edinburgh.

* JOHN V Lloyd lauds the fact that Singapore bills Covid-unvaccinated patients for their hospital treatment. Presumably he also thinks that obese patients, smokers and heavy drinkers should also be billed.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford is constantly moaning to the UK Government about the charges that the National Grid makes for transporting electricity generated by wind turbines to where it is consumed. He wants this reduced. Why?

Those who built the turbines – all foreign companies – knew the National Grid charges before they applied for planning. They already get paid for producing electricity and paid not to produce electricity. Since 2010 these companies have been paid more than £1 billion in constraint payments which were added to all UK electricity bills. If the English ever find out they are subsidising electricity bills in Scotland it is they who will be demanding independence from Scotland.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


SARAH Weddington (1945-2021), the lawyer in the 1973 Roe vs Wade case, died on Boxing Day 2021. In later life she commented: "I think of Roe vs Wade as a house that's sitting on the edge of a beach, where the water is coming under it and taking the sand out."

Tricky questions abound. Late term abortion and infanticide are close cousins. The NHS dating scan is a photographic personal record, arguably akin to a passport or driving licence. A viable life and pregnancy is present when a human embryo implants in the womb. Head and torso are seen on a scan at 12 weeks.

Deluded Anglican bishops, failing to raise alarm about UK abortion, may need the moral equivalent of an emergency forceps delivery. Around one in four UK pregnancies are terminated. The late Desmond Tutu said: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor'.

CBR UK (the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform) is lifting a veil on our UK abortion scandal: "abortion protests itself once seen". But is CBRUK filling a void created by the cynical silence and moral cowardice of "The Lords Spiritual" – Anglican Bishops in the House of Lords?

JT Hardy, Belfast.


I WRITE with regards to the disappointment felt by the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Veterans, the service personnel involved in the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapon testing programme during the 1950s and 1960s, after they were once again refused the award of a medal by the supposedly independent Advisory Military Sub-Committee (AMSC).

The AMSC has recommended that a medal should not be awarded three times, in 2013, again in December 2020 and the latest was around December 2021. Each time it stated there was not enough "Risk and Rigour". If standing in the proximity of a nuclear blast does not fit its criteria then I don’t know what would.

While 2021 was another disappointing year for the UK nuclear veterans, both the French and United States nuclear veterans were awarded medals by their governments, the French in January 2021 and the US in December 2021. Once again the UK and the North Koreans are the only nuclear powers that fail to recognise their nuclear veterans in any way.

On November 17, 2021 at Prime Minister’s Questions Boris Johnson in answer to a question stated: “I will certainly make sure that we get a proper meeting with the representatives of the nuclear veterans.”

This meeting has not yet taken place, but when it does I hope that the Prime Minister does the honourable thing and finally awards the UK nuclear veterans the medal that they truly deserve.

Colin Moir, Peterhead.