IAN R Mitchell (Letters, July 21) uses the spurious suggestion that Glasgow should show support for its twin city, Rostov-on-Don (a decision was in fact taken by Glasgow in February to sever the connection) as an excuse to smear the Ukrainian regime.

He refers to measures taken by Ukraine to restrict the use of the Russian language in 2014, omitting to mention that this was the year that Russia first invaded Ukrainian territory, annexing the Crimea, while sending soldiers in uniforms stripped of Russian insignia into the Donbas in the east of the country to fight alongside pro-Russian rebels. He refers to similarities with the Nazis in Ukraine's ban on a composer and upon un-Ukrainian books, without spelling out what Russia has banned within its territory and the fact that Vladimir Putin has declared Ukraine to be a non-country, and is intent on eradicating all traces of Ukrainian culture. Like all Putin apologists, he drags up reference to Ukrainian SS fighters during the war, without acknowledging that many thousands of SS volunteers were also recruited throughout German-occupied Europe.

No, there is only one side in this war who are Nazis. They had their Swastika, Vladimir Putin has his Z. Putin is a dictator in charge of a police state where opponents are either imprisoned or murdered. The media is state-controlled. No dissent is allowed. He is forming a new state youth organisation with the intention of indoctrinating the new generation: shades of the Hitler Youth. He has invaded Ukraine without just cause and his forces have to date committed thousands of war crimes. Ukrainian civilians are being forcibly deported to Russia. The current tactic is to terrorise the civilian population by the indiscriminate shelling of civilian targets resulting in thousands of innocent men, women and children being blown to bits.

As if this wasn't enough, the Russians have threatened the use of nuclear weapons (even one of their most popular talk show hosts has displayed a map of the UK with details of where the nuclear weapons would hit and they are limiting the flow of gas to Western Europe, with the implicit threat that the taps will be turned off in the winter.

And in light of all of this, Mr Mitchell considers that Glasgow's concern should be to stand up to those terrible Ukrainians who have banned some Russian books? The problem is not Mr Mitchell's alleged "Ukranian nationalism" but rather Russian fascism, imperialism or nationalism, call it what you will.

R Murray, Glasgow.

• SADLY, over several past decades there have indeed been racist and murderous actions by Ukraine and Ukrainian nationals, as Ian Mitchell points out. But surely he must recognise that in the current war, it is above all the Russian aggressors who act as Nazis, and that the so-called “denazification” intentions of Putin, Lavrov, Patriarch Kirill and others constitute exactly the kind of cultural racism that he condemns.

Moreover, in his reference that the Soviets “were our allies, remember”, he ignores that they were our allies only after late June 1941 when Hitler invaded the USSR. In the preceding 22 months after their joint rape of Poland, Stalin was Hitler’s ally – diplomatically, militarily, economically – including supplying the Luftwaffe with fuel while we fought the Battle of Britain and suffered the ravages of the Blitz. Had Hitler not acted so stupidly in that fateful month, there is little doubt that both dictators (each as Nazi as the other) would have continued their evil collaboration at least for some time longer.

Also, before any Soviet apologist responds about their population’s appalling suffering, that was exacerbated by inter alia Stalin’s murders of top military and civilian leaders in the 1930s, by his dismissal of Churchill’s warnings of Germany’s impending invasion, and by the KGB’s predecessor thugs forcing the ordinary troops on from behind to face the German military might. Per head, the Belarus and Ukraine populations suffered more deaths than the Russian.

Finally, regarding Stalingrad and Kursk, even Stalin, Zhukov and Khrushchev acknowledged that they could not have won without the supplies of food, medications, equipment, steel and 430,000 vehicles provided by the United States, some via the Arctic convoys from the UK on Churchill’s “worst journey in the world” – which ironically also facilitated the Soviet advance westwards into eastern Europe before our advance, due to Hitler’s “honourable” military continuing the war to the bitter end in western Europe despite D-Day’s success.

John Birkett, St Andrews.


IT’S much too premature to suggest that within the political firmament the "white male pale and stale" is an endangered species but the demographic of candidates in the Conservative leadership may be viewed as a watershed moment.

Such diversity won’t have gone unnoticed in the Labour Party which, 47 years since Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservatives, and despite the New Labour invention of quotas and all women short leets, still finds it difficult to trust its future to a woman, of any ethnicity. And now its rivals are on the verge of appointing their third woman or alternatively a British Indian male who is a practising Hindu and who took his oath in the House of Commons on the Bhagavad Gita.

What hasn’t changed is that a Conservative leadership contest remains something of a field sport with blood on the TV studio floor, principally because it always features a Stop Candidate; someone who must be prevented from winning, regardless of the quality of who does win. In my lifetime playing that role has, among others, included Butler, Home, Powell, Heseltine, Clarke (on four occasions) and with one exception the strategy worked. It has often been said, at least the Conservatives are open about this internally hostility and are happy to stab each other in the front.

In that regard however, the manner in which Penny Mordaunt was treated by those from within her own party may have been expected but it tainted the process. The contest was internal to MPs and there was absolutely no need for using public interviews and articles whose sole purpose was to smear her by making unsubstantiated allegations on her character and work habits.

I don’t have a good record in making successful predictions but the Conservatives may have missed a turn in omitting Penny Mordaunt from the final cut. Her distance from Cabinet would have afforded her party members a refreshing pragmatic approach free from the petty squabbles that may now feature. Given that each of the final three candidates secured more than 100 votes from MPs it would have seemed much too sensible for all three to go forward to party members. I suspect, however, that securing the services of a sufficient number of blood donors for such a contest was a bit too squeamish even for the party managers.

Cameron Munro, Glasgow.


Should the Conservative Party membership have been given the chance to vote for Penny Mordaunt?

Should the Conservative Party membership have been given the chance to vote for Penny Mordaunt?



TJ Dowds (Letters, July 22) makes the point that for the best part of two years we had assurances from both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss that Boris Johnson was the best man for the job of Prime Minister; at least there was something they agreed about.

It has been very revealing over recent days to see footage of Ms Truss when she worked at the Treasury, standing on the Downing Street pavement, grinning from ear to ear as Philip Hammond displayed the Budget Box, and later in the Commons, when she could be seen enthusiastically patting him on the back after he'd presented his Budget, although she is now critical of the Treasury, and declaring that more than 20 years of Tory and Labour governments have not delivered growth. Once a determined Remainer, she has morphed into an enthusiastic Brexiter. How many faces does she have?

I almost feel sorry for the Scottish Tories. Mr Sunak couldn't have presented them with a worse nightmare than promising to be the heir to Margaret Thatcher. Mr Sunak has assured us that "I am a Thatcherite. I am running as a Thatcherite and I will govern as a Thatcherite". Has nobody told Mr Sunak about Mrs Thatcher's toxic relationship with Scotland? All that's missing is the handbag; but with his wife's previous tax arrangements and his Partygate fine, Mr Sunak has plenty of baggage of his own.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

• DR Gerald Edwards (Letters, July 22) laments as premature that the final two in the Tory leadership race are seen just as unfit to lead as the present incumbent. He argues that "surely this kind of judgment should only be made once the person involved has been in office for at least some time?".

Does he believe that their predecessor bears sole responsibility for the problems faced by the UK and once in No10 the winner will undergo something of a Damascene conversion?

Alan Carmichael, Glasgow.


IS it any wonder people lose interest in politics and do not trust our politicians?

The two candidates for Prime Minister were both part of the Cabinet described by Sir John Major as "ministers who must share the blame for law-breaking and who stuck with Boris Johnson so long". It is often suggested that MPs vote for the person they think will give them the best job – is that is why the Secretary of State for Scotland wouldn’t even let people know who he was supporting? Politicians should remember that it wasn’t Mr Johnson that appointed them to be Members of Parliament, but local people who voted for them in the General Election to represent them at Westminster and they should take notice of their views and vote accordingly.

Perhaps those who have lost interest are right to do so, as I see only six per cent of the membership of the Conservative Party and therefore entitled to vote for the new Prime Minister live in Scotland, compared with 56% of the membership who live in London and south-east England – it just proves it is really nothing to do with us, whatever our opinion.

Keith A Cooper, Castle Douglas.


YOUR front page report ("Ousted Johnson defends legacy in lengthy Commons statement", The Herald, July 22 ) is further evidence of the similarity between himself and Donald Trump.

Admittedly his tactics are less alarming than those used by Mr Trump, but his vast ego and sense of entitlement simply cannot accept that his personal behaviour led to his downfall. Neither of these populist leaders could accept their time was up. Everyone is wrong except them.

Willie Towers, Alford.


IF another independence referendum takes place, and the result is a Yes vote, will there be a penalty shoot-out? Douglas Ross could be the referee.

Scott Simpson, Glasgow.

Read more: If Liz Truss wins, you can kiss goodbye to decent public services