SUSAN Martin (Letters, October 12) writes that “the only protection we have against nuclear weapons is to have no nuclear weapons”.

This is an example of exceptional naivety. In an ideal world the global population would comprise lovely, decent people. The reality is that, since our emergence as a species, some 200,000 years ago, we have shown all too clearly that, among other more desirable traits, we have a consistent propensity towards extreme violence.

Tribalism, power, greed and narcissism all too often rear their ugly heads. It would be lovely if we had never managed to develop weapons of mass destruction. The fact is we have. The fact is that they are in the hands of dictatorships such as Russia, China and North Korea. In these countries there is no freedom of expression.

Nato, as an alliance, exists among democratic countries in order to prevent attack by just such people as Putin, or any other similarly-minded, power-mad dictator. Had Ukraine been in Nato it would never have been attacked by Putin. This is something all too readily appreciated by Sweden and Finland, who are now keen to join Nato.

The idea that you can scrap nuclear weapons unilaterally and remain safe is, frankly, farcical. Maybe Ms Martin can provide an answer to the following scenario: Nato has scrapped its nuclear arsenal. Putin then hands the following ultimatum to all those countries formerly in the Soviet Union: “You are now part of Mother Russia. Any objection will be met by dropping a nuclear bomb on your country’s capital city.” And that is just the beginning. You may as well hand the keys to world government to Putin.

If Scotland were to become independent, I would wish it to remain within Nato. That may, or may not, lead to the retention of a Nato nuclear base. If it is the case, then so be it.

For as long as dictatorships exist which have nuclear weapons, the unavoidable, if however unpalatable, fact is that the free world must have them too.

Finally, there is a fairy-tale element to one of Ms Martin’s remarks in her letter when she says: “We have to take the weapons [nuclear] out of Putin’s hands and that is not easy but it must be done”.

Just how do we do that? I’m sure we’d all love to know.
Roger Graham, Inverkip

Appeasement is unacceptable

I HAVE grave concerns about the appeasement sentiments contained within Chris Greenhalgh's letter (October 10). While I admit, that like him, I have no wish to die in a nuclear holocaust, there are no acceptable circumstances that can allow the West to walk away and agree that Ukraine losing 18-20% of its land and population is acceptable.

We are all paying the price for the West turning its head in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea. Putin is a very dangerous man: I do not believe that we can pay him off with 20% of Ukraine. Once he has sated his appetite he will come back for more. Where next, Estonia, Poland?

There is only one acceptable conclusion to this conflict as both the Estonian and Finnish prime ministers noted last weekend, that is for all Russian troops to leave Ukraine and to allow Ukraine to return to a peaceful country.

You do not give in to bullies, they only come back for more.
Alan Gray, West Barns, near Dunbar

• CHRIS Greenhaigh’s observations are undoubtedly correct. Unfortunately many western politicians, including the current leaders of the US and UK, appear to consider a nuclear holocaust distinctly preferable to any form of pragmatic peaceful accommodation with Russia.
Robin Dow, Rothesay

Another way to celebrate Clyde glory days

LIKE Brian Chrystal (Letters, October 10) I was very interested to read the article about a museum for Clyde shipbuilding ("Call for museum to celebrate the glory days of Clyde’s shipyards", The Herald, October 7), but I wonder if he is aware of a project that already exists to set up a facility for restoring old ships and create a Heritage and Visitor Centre along with it.

This venture, which I discovered by chance on the internet, has been developed by a group named Falls of Clyde International, after one of the two ships already earmarked as the basis for the project. That is a four-masted sailing ship currently alongside the Maritime Museum in Honolulu, where we saw her on two occasions a few years ago and fell completely in love with her.

Falls is a perfect icon of Clyde expertise, the only ship remaining in the world of her innovative design, and has had an unusually varied career. A Sheraton Hotel magazine that I have details this, under the title of “The Five Lives of a Grand Old Lady”, with photographs of her heyday taken by her second mate. The project intends to use her refurbishment to employ local trades, train apprentices and set her sailing again with green power added, to benefit tourism around the West Coast and the islands while earning her keep.

A second ship, a decommissioned warship, has also been added to the project, and is intended to be the centre-piece of a memorial to the Falklands War, as well as to her Clyde heritage. Plans are, I believe, very advanced and have received enthusiastic support not only from Westminster, the Royal Navy and Scottish businesses but from other countries and businesses keen to provide inward investment.

I would recommend anyone interested in seeing the great days of Clyde shipbuilding celebrated in a museum and, in a sense, revitalised by a green re-industrialisation venture, to look up the website, as I did, to find information with a great deal more detail on the plans.
P Davidson, Falkirk

A guilty secret

ROSEMARY Goring presents a refreshing angle on the one-way thinking that commonly attaches to the concept of social mobility in careers ("Warning: a private education can limit your choices", The Herald, October 12).

Working class by any measure, my extensively-read and in my opinion over-educated brother, for what it's worth a tycoon of cultural capital, found work to which he was ideally suited with a community support agency in the north of Glasgow.

To my ears his accent hardly marks him out as someone who passed out from RADA, but nevertheless his colleagues eventually revealed the suspicion and intrigue with which he was initially met. "Ally," they told him, "when you started here we thought you wuz The Secret Mullionaire."
James Macleod, Glasgow


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