I REPEAT the question I posed in a previous letter: how can we call our lives “normal” when there is so much suffering in Ukraine? After all, “the heroes of the Ukrainian resistance have been fighting for all of us” (“Ukraine’s heroes are fighting for European civilisation”, Iain Macwhirter, April 10). President Zelenskyy recently suggested that “the entire European project is a target for Russia", that being why it is the moral duty of all democracies, all the forces of Europe, to support Ukraine’s desire for peace.

As we become more aware of the full extent and implications of what is happening in Ukraine we will surely recognise the Ukrainians’ courage and accept it as an example to us. We have to be prepared to make the sacrifices that could well be the consequence of our support for that benighted land and of our opposition to Vladimir Putin, which must not weaken in the face of these costs. In the event of such sacrifices being required the poor in our midst must be protected by those from the super-rich to the relatively prosperous being made to dig deeply into their pockets

In our current context I could not disagree more vehemently with Clark Cross’s letter of April 10 headed “We should stop foreign aid”. Now is not the time for such selfish global economic isolationism, with the World Bank forecasting that not only will Ukraine’s economy contract by almost half this year but the Russian invasion will also result in higher poverty in east Asia and the Pacific.

Hopefully we will avoid nuclear conflict but we must recognise, this Easter Sunday, that we are already in the midst of Putin’s Third World War. I further submit that if we win this war the West will need a new model for capitalism in which the scandals of local and global inequalities and energy strategies are addressed. Remember the NHS, the Welfare State and the new international settlement which followed the defeat of Hitler?

John Milne, Uddingston.


IT is passing strange that the defence most often used to support the PM is to say that his evasions of the truth over Partygate pale into insignificance beside the problems the UK now has to face.
Integrity and honesty should never be compromised and a national leader cannot lie nor be seen to lie without losing the trust of the people.
Too many of the electorate now see the current occupant of No 10 as a serious liability and are not likely to forgive him for his breaches of his own laws when they did their best to observe them, even though it meant not being able to see and comfort their ailing and dying relatives and friends during the worst times of the Covid crisis.
His implausible excuses hold no water; nor do the ludicrous defences his stooges throw up carry any credibility as they all seek to cling to their positions in the hope that this scandal will soon be forgotten, which it may well be by the Tory representatives in Westminster.
That bubble is in serious danger of being massively punctured at the next General Election, not to mention the forthcoming May elections, owing to the smouldering anger within the breasts of so many in the electorate who are not in the mood to forgive and forget the insouciance of the government over the Covid laws.
A week may be a long time in politics and that could be the rock upon which Tory MPs are banking, but it could well turn out to be the one upon which they will perish when that anger erupts to take its vengeance upon those who disrespected the sufferings of so many outside the privileged place that is Parliament.
There could be much weeping and wailing amongst those cast out into the exterior darkness after the next General Election over supporting the PM in haste and then having time to repent at leisure, if they do not take steps now to remedy their failure to find a new leader.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

SO Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens insists passionately he seeks to reform council tax. His partner in the SNP have been talking this up since 2007 though even they admit there isn't a hope of this happening during this parliamentary term ends in 2026. The Greens say a citizen's assembly is the route to determining how local government should be funded. 
The SNP has been discussing this for years but nothing has yet materialised. It seems Patrick Harvie et al are becoming increasingly adept at rehashing the SNP's hollow rhetoric. 
Martin Redfern, Melrose.


MARTIN Redfern (Letters, April 10) condemns Irvine Welsh for being a “separatist mouthpiece” (aka having positive opinions about Scottish independence) “from the comfort of his Miami sun-lounger”.

Unionist opinion frequently argues for Scots living outwith Scotland to be enfranchised at any future independence referendum, presumably because it is thought their opinion is more likely to be negative. However, any expats with a positive view of independence, such as Irvine Welsh, Alan Cumming or the late Sean Connery, are routinely ridiculed in the all-too-typical disrespectful manner which Mr Redfern’s contribution epitomised. Not because they want to have direct influence, just for the “crime” of holding and expressing an opinion, which others can accept or reject.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.


RECENT reports highlight a number of discrepancies affecting the cost for Scotland's households to access electricity, where we now have to pay much higher daily connection charges than almost anywhere else in the UK.

One of the biggest factors in this equation is that suppliers in Scotland pay much higher charges to access the National Grid than most other suppliers – providing the electricity which the grid then transports to other parts of the UK (in particular, to London and south-east England, which do not themselves produce nearly enough electricity from local suppliers to meet their own demand).

Now comes the crunch: if I have to ship something halfway around the world, instead of just across the North Sea, I'll have to pay much higher shipping costs than I would with a more local supplier. So why are the costs of transporting electricity from Scotland penalising Scotland's suppliers – instead of the end-user in far-away London and south-east England?

The elephant in the room is the charging structure from our "national" grid, which disadvantages Scotland's suppliers – and now also penalises Scotland's households to a greater degree than ever before, as we now have to pay excessive daily connection charges before we even boil the kettle. These charges are the latest Great British rip-off.

Ian Waugh, Dumfries.


PRITI Patel has condemned "selfish" eco-zealots inflicting fuel shortages on motorists. Essex police have arrested 350 demonstrators so far. A police spokesman said that the protests in Thurrock had cost Essex Police "in excess of £1 million". So what are eco-demonstrations costing nationwide?

Those arrested in Essex and found guilty should be jailed and compelled to pay £3,000 each towards the £1 million, not taxpayers. These eco-warriors are not warriors but cowards since they do not demonstrate in China, India, Russia and the oil-rich countries which are responsible for more than 60 per cent of global emissions. Those who organise demonstrations should be legally liable to pay for the police presence just like football clubs.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


WITH the elections for Scotland’s local authorities happening on May 5, it is important to emphasise the vital role councils play in helping blind and partially-sighted people to live as independently and inclusively as possible.

People with a visual impairment are more likely to depend on services from their local council, for information that’s readily available in alternative formats, public transport that’s accessible, streets and thoroughfares that allow people to walk safely and without obstacles, education that allows every child to reach their full potential, and employment that’s informed by a better understanding of what those with sight loss can do.

Around 178,000 people are currently living with a significant degree of sight loss in Scotland, of whom more than 4,000 are children and young people. Our ageing population and the increase in sight-threatening conditions such as diabetes means this number will, inevitably, grow.

Let’s make one positive legacy of the upheaval we've all been through a resolve to make sure we re-emerge as a society in which no one is left at the margins. Our local authorities are absolutely key to this.

James Adams, Director, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Scotland, Edinburgh.