AS a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine hundreds of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people around the world are facing famine and dislocation, “particularly those countries already struggling with other crises such as conflict and natural disasters including Covid” (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, according to whom global food prices have risen to their highest-ever level). This is because very significant percentages of the world’s grain and fertilisers are supplied by Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

What is more, according to the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, Mark Milley, “if Russia gets away with this cost-free, so goes the so-called international world order and we enter an area of serious instability”.

In seems as if, overnight, we find ourselves in a world more fraught with danger in which arguing about Scottish independence is an irrelevant digression.

Events in Ukraine have revealed how paltry the “struggle” for Scottish independence is, banging drums, painting faces with Saltires, wearing toorie bunnets while villages and cities in Ukraine are razed to the ground, more than four million people reported to have fled their homeland, and 6.5m estimated to be displaced within Ukraine, with the UN predicting as many as 12m people now need lifesaving humanitarian assistance.

I shall, however, finish on a more positive note with some words from a Prayer for Ukraine by the Church of Scotland, whose partner church in Ukraine is the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia: “Give, we pray, the nations of the world the courage and the wisdom to stand up for justice and the courage too, to dare to care – generously.” I am hoping that even those of you who do not pray recognise the significance of these words, it surely being obvious that, in such a dangerous world, we need “courage to care generously” and practically, in standing up to Vladimir Putin.

John Milne, Uddingston.


I WAS heartened to read Andy Stenton's letter (April 24), as these have been my thoughts for weeks. How hypocritical of Prince Charles and other members of the royal family, as well as the Government, to express their sorrow at the plight of the Ukrainian refugees, and their pride at the generosity of ordinary British citizens, yet, as far as I am aware, no accommodation has been offered by any of our leaders, with palaces, castles, large country houses, lying unused at their disposal – including Buckingham Palace, Windsor (now the Queen is at Sandringham), Holyroodhouse, Balmoral, Chequers, to name the most obvious. And surely Kensington Palace must have a few spare rooms.

If only our leaders would lead by example.

Sandra MacDougall, Edinburgh.

* I PROPOSE that those demanding cruel treatment of refugees, hazardous chicanery at sea, and grotesque schemes of deportation should themselves be deported to Rwanda.

The first clients for deportation should be the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom and the President of what used to be the Brexit Party, Reform UK. I refuse to utter their names.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.


ALLAN Sutherland (Letters, April 24) makes the astonishing suggestion that the criticism of Boris Johnson on such as “Covid, Brexit, levelling up, energy policy, energy prices, taxation, Ukraine, immigration, and now Rwanda” is about “what's good for the opposition leaders and their parties”.

First, has Mr Sutherland himself not noticed that his is not only an astonishingly long list, but pretty much all the issues Mr Johnson has had to address during his time as Prime Minster?

To the list we might add the cases of R (Miller) v The Prime Minister and Cherry v Advocate General for Scotland, heard in the Supreme Court in September 2019, which declared that the Queen’s prorogation of the House of Commons on Mr Johnson’s advice was both subject to Judicial Review, and that the prorogation itself was unlawful.

But, of course, it’s not like we weren’t warned. In 2013, citing a documentary on Mr Johnson which appeared to show him discussing whether to hand over the details of a journalist to his friend Darius Guppy in order that Guppy could have him "physically assaulted”, Eddie Mair (hosting the Andrew Marr Show) said: "And you, having heard that, tell your friend that you will supply the address ... you're a nasty piece of work, aren't you, Boris Johnson?"

It is moreover, notable that since the beginning of the year, political commentary in hardly nationalist-friendly publications such as the Spectator, the Economist and the New Statesman have all argued not just that Mr Johnson is unfit to hold the office of Prime Minister, but even that he always has been. Even his own MPs, such as Mark Harper, and his former close ally Steve Baker, have called for his resignation.

Of course, the Opposition will criticise Mr Johnson as that is its function. Ideally, this would be constructive. For instance, suggesting how the flow of Ukrainian refugees to the UK could be made less glacial. But when it comes to lying, the only constructive advice can be “don’t do it”. But that advice is to a Prime Minister whose modus operandi seems to be “don’t get caught”.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

* I WOULD suggest to Bob MacDougall (Letters, April 24) that there is a world of difference between the First Minister forgetting for a few bare seconds to put her mask on, and the Prime Minister attending birthday/cheese and wine parties, protesting his innocence to Parliament and subsequently being fined for breaking his own rules.

Tory MPs, including Douglas Ross, who submitted letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson only to retract them, argue that Mr Johnson should stay in post because of the Ukraine crisis; but if he can stand up in the House of Commons and mislead Parliament over boozy parties, how can he be trusted to tell the truth on Ukraine, or indeed on anything else?

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


ALEXANDER McKay (Letters, April 24) expects that Scotland will go the way of Canada and "grow sick and tired of the constant grievances ... brought on by nationalists".

Presumably he refers to Quebec, which has equal status with other Canadian provinces in a federal system. Scotland, however, is merely a "devolved administration", while the governments of neighbouring England and that of the United Kingdom are one and the same thing.

This unequal situation was not dreamt up by Scottish nationalists, and nor was grievance-driven Brexit, which has forced Scotland out of the European Union and established a new border in the Irish Sea.

Mr McKay speaks of "a hiccup in history", but constitutional hiccups are bound to continue. It remains to be seen who will hiccup last.

John Coutts, Stirling.


I THINK that independence is a normal thing and that any country with Scotland's resources (human and material) should and would survive and prosper.

Many years from now, in an independent Scotland, we will almost certainly be criticising the government of the day but we will be a lot better off, socially and economically, than we are in this broken Britain, which has had such appalling government for so many years now.

Ironically it is very likely that it is the arch unionists, the Conservative Party, who might well prosper best in an independent Scotland.

George Archibald, West Linton.


YOUR article “Broadband voucher scheme was a ‘monumental failure’” (April 24) was interesting but missed the main point.

Telecommunications, which includes broadband, is a UK Government responsibility. Its policy is, generally, to leave it to market forces to decide where to invest. It may, where this is unlikely, for example in rural areas, provide some investment. It has no objection to other bodies – such as devolved governments, local authorities or community bodies – funding investment but it retains responsibility.

The Scottish Government’s voucher scheme may well have been a "monumental" failure – I am not informed enough to judge – but let’s not forget that the scheme is an attempt to compensate for failings of the UK Government.

Willie Rennie is credited with using the words “monumental failure”. He would do well to reflect on improvements in broadband in Scotland brought about by his Liberal Democrat colleagues in the coalition government of 2010-2015. It won’t take long.

Douglas Morton, Lanark.


WE have recently witnessed Earth Day number 52. Net Zero Watch has pointed out that none of the eco-doomsday predictions of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 has come true. Here are only a few from a very lengthy list: "There will be an ice age since the Earth has been cooling since 1950 and the temperature will be 11 degrees cooler by the year 2000. Civilisation will end within 15 or 30 years. Population will outstrip food supplies leading to 100-200 million per year starving to death during the next 10 years. By 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth by half."

In 2005 Al Gore predicted that sea levels would rise by 20 feet "in the very near future". When can we expect the other 19 feet, 11 and three-quarters inches?

Climate scientists or climate charlatans?

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.