I CAN'T be the only person who was haunted by the videos shown last night (July 14) on Channel 4 News of a sweet little Ukrainian girl from the city of Vinnytsia, a central city far from the front line of the fighting in the Donbas.

In one, she appeared to be proudly showing off a new dress while in the other, taken less than an hour before the Russian rocket attack on her city, she was shown pushing her pushchair, while smiling up at her mother who was filming her. The reporter said that she died in the attack. The BBC News at 10 later showed film of that same bloodied pushchair amongst the rubble.

In the words of an online report, which I have read this morning, "the body of a child, tangled with her pushchair and her mother's severed leg, could be seen protruding from a white sheet. Her mother survived. The child was later named as Liza Dmitrieva, aged four. She was headed to a speech therapy session with her mother when she was killed. 'The child is in pieces' a tearful Ukrainian soldier said". There can be little doubt that this report referred to the same little toddler shown in the video. As I write, at least 23 people were killed, including three children, with dozens unaccounted for. There was no conceivable military target.

Deaths are of course occurring in this war every day and there is a danger of our becoming inured to the suffering. However, the highlighting of an individual case can sometimes help us refocus on events. This happened in the case of the refugee crisis when the three-year-old Alan Kurdi was washed ashore in Turkey. I had similarly expected to see front page coverage of this latest Russian atrocity, but it does not feature on the main page of the BBC news website, nor on any of the front pages of the national newspapers, with The Herald only featuring it on page 11.

I cannot stand Boris Johnson but however cynical his motives, he at least continually emphasised the need to show support for Ukraine. With his departure from the scene, we cannot allow the terrible events there to sink into the background, otherwise, as the costs to the West gradually mount, there is a danger of our backsliding in our support for Ukraine, fighting for its survival against Putin's Nazi regime.

R Murray, Glasgow.


I HAVE a suggestion for Nicola Sturgeon which I hope she will find helpful.

In the last few days, she has launched the latest in the part-work series which comprises her new prospectus for overturning the 2014 independence referendum ("Sturgeon ‘willing to talk to new PM’ over referendum proposals", The Herald, July 15). At the same time, we need look no further than these very Letters Pages to see that some of her supporters are still labouring under such delusions as "Scotland is paying for HS2 and the Elizabeth Line" and that "Better Together told us that a No vote would guarantee our EU membership". To these can be added further misconceptions such as those regarding a hard border with England, Scotland's currency and payment of the state pension. And the new one – that Theresa May offered us a second Brexit referendum (Letters, July 15)

In the past, the First Minister has told us that her prospectus would not duck the very hard questions that people rightly ask about independence. My suggestion is that one of her series of publications be dedicated to busting the myths and misconceptions which her own supporters frequently cite as gospel in trying to convince others, including in these pages. An excellent way of proceeding would be to commission someone like the These Islands think-tank to compile such a document for the Scottish Government, with the rigorous set of specifications regarding sources, references and so on that one would expect.

It would of course also be reasonable to expect that Nicola Sturgeon would launch the document "Independence – Its Myths and Downside" at Bute House with the same fanfare as the rest of the series. And without it, the myths used by nationalists will continue to discredit their cause, and her case will continue to ring as hollow as an old tin can.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

• THE First Minister says she is willing to compromise on the details of her proposed referendum. The best compromise of all would be to change the threshold from 50 per cent plus one vote to a two-thirds majority. A decision as important as ending a 300-year union should not be entrusted to the will of one person.

Scott Simpson, Glasgow.

Nicola Sturgeon at the launch of the Scottish Governments Renewing Democracy through Independence document

Nicola Sturgeon at the launch of the Scottish Government's Renewing Democracy through Independence document


I AM rather mystified by the latest outburst of Nicola Sturgeon, stating that UK politics are becoming more right-wing.

However, today the only out-and-out Brexiter, Suella Braverman, was knocked out of the Conservative Party leadership race ("Mordaunt’s campaign for No. 10 boosted by exit of Braverman", The Herald, July 15).

Moreover, of the existing candidates, none has any Brexit credentials, including Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat, who are actually self-confessed Remainers.

More bewildering of her rant is that Boris Johnson, the architect of the Brexit 2019 victory, has been ousted from office halfway through a first Parliament.

Ironically, for Brexiters it is fairly obvious that if leading candidate Rishi Sunak wins, then it is an open goal for Labour and it will win in 2024. Perhaps then we can complain to Ms Sturgeon that UK politics are too left-wing.

Jim Sokol, Minehead, Somerset.


ACCORDING to the Tories and the other opposition parties, the SNP Scottish Government has been totally distracted by the pursuit of independence during its 15 years in power. Persistently this "major distraction" has been cited as the reason for "perceived failures" yet only rarely are comparable statistics from England or elsewhere provided to substantiate their claims.

Certainly when at times Covid-19 infection rates have been higher in Scotland all these parties, and much of the media including the BBC, ITV and Sky, have not hesitated to quote the then-current figures from England and on occasion even Europe, but the general dearth of such comparisons with statistics from Tory-run England, or even Labour-run Wales, demonstrates that overall the Scottish Government is performing well.

Evidence of this is found across all public services, including health, education and policing, with relatively higher salaries and higher staffing numbers in Scotland. As this is the case, and all the opposition parties think they can perform even better than the SNP, just think how well our country would perform if one of these parties were to confidently lead the first proportionally-representative government of an independent Scotland, with governance enhanced through significantly increased powers but without the distraction of another “divisive referendum”?

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.


ALAN Fitzpatrick (Letters, July 15) clearly believes that everyone who voted Yes for independence in 2014 had read the Scottish Government's Scotland's Future publication and understood it to mean that September 18 2014 would be the first day of a new generation of unspecified duration. I was 70 years old at the time and it was my first opportunity to vote for independence. Scotland's Future did not make it clear that my generation would terminate on September 17, 2014. I have clearly outlived my allotted span.

My granddaughter was too young to vote in 2014 but is now a politically-aware young adult and Mr Fitzpatrick would have a hard time convincing her that she and her generation should be content to wait until he and his ilk agree that the time has come for their "once in a generation" opportunity. If he is content for our nation to perpetually accept whatever government is inposed on us by the votes of our southern neighbours that is up to him but he has no right to deny the rest of us any opportunity to change the situation.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


HAVING been told by my (woke) son that he'd heard (no doubt on social media) that my district on the South Side of Glasgow was being "gentrified" I hurried out into the highways and byways of Govanhill and – trying my best not to let my Neanderthal knuckles drag along the ground (the implied slur in the news from my son and heir) – I looked for signs of this new dispensation.

I looked in vain. What I did see – and had noticed for some time – was people seemingly engaged in violent scuffles at bus stops which turned out to be normally-sane Glaswegians engaged in some kind of "After you – no, I insist you go first!" virtue-signalling charade while the driver of the bus, and the queue of people behind these nitwits, looked on in dismay and frustration.

Another new phenomenon (surely part of this new "gentrification") was the sight – rather, the sound – of young women (usually shoving a baby in a pram) shrieking "Thank you SO MUCH!" for no apparent reason or, along with most other passengers, shouting "Thank you, driver!" at the driver who had not realised he merited such outward signs of gratitude for just doing his job and driving the bus.

Yes, manners maketh the man (and woman) but such over-zealous – and to many of us, false – displays of "mannerliness" only make the "gentrified" look idiotic – to be viewed with the pity and contempt they deserve.

John McInnes, Glasgow.


I AM one of the readers referred to today by Malcolm Allan (Letters, July 15), brought up in the days of steam radio and The McFlannels, a programme devoid of crudity and offensive language.

The antithesis of the clippies referred to in recent correspondence (Letters, July 11, 12, 13 & 15) was regular visitor Mrs McCotton, with her pan-loaf accent and bad grammar. " If I had of knew, I nivver would of came."

Perhaps readers know of a few Mrs McCottons still with us.

David Miller, Milngavie.


REGARDING recent correspondence about clippies, the Bud Neill clippie who halted an intending boarder with the words "Yideef? Ah sez ra caur's flippin' flup" seemed to me to be admirably fluent in the dialect, but praise must go to a non-fictional clippie (on a red car at Ibrox, since you ask).

It was the perfect promptness of the response that made it so impressive: "Plenny o' seats upra sterr. Plenny o' seats upra sterr." "Aw but hen, Ah've got a widdin leg." "Aw right, aw right. Aw them wi' widdin legs inside – the rest upra sterr."

Robin Dow, Rothesay.

Read more: The Tories only have themselves to blame for the success of the SNP