I NOTE a breath of fresh air from Jim Sillars (Letters, January 17), whose own priorities do not include the currently-debased political footballs of independence or gender recognition reform but focus instead on matters which bear directly upon the lives and interests of the vast majority of our people and especially the disadvantaged members of society.

Nevertheless, Mr Sillars appears to me to miss the one, single priority which bears upon the lives of every man, woman and child in this country and in every other country in the world.

We have an all-out war in Europe, waged by a state which holds nuclear weapons in its arsenal. We have no reason to doubt and every reason to believe in the willingness of that state to use these weapons but for one great obstacle. That is the similar or greater nuclear arsenal held by Nato, effectively the United States. On that balance the survival of civilisation in Europe and beyond depends. At the same time we live in a nation in which the representative government is sworn to dismantle one of the most important platforms of the great, saving strength of Nato, based at Faslane.

For my own part I cannot see a greater political imperative than the removal of all nuclear weapons from the planet, achievable only from a position of strength against the undemocratic tyrannies which hold such weapons in their control.

An immediate signal to Moscow that, following the illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine, the Scottish Government reverses its current policy to dismantle Faslane and guarantees its strongest possible support for Nato and its base in the Clyde might dissuade Valdimir Putin from looking for advantage in a fracture in the western opposition to the Russian atrocities. This reversal would be the logical sequel to the reversal of the former, now clearly deranged, policy of withdrawal from Nato but to which policy part of the SNP continues to adhere.

Such a reversal of policy as well as giving strength to the heroic defenders of Ukraine would align with those other European nations such as Finland which have eschewed neutrality and now seek Nato membership.

While foreign policy may be outwith the remit of the Scottish Government, nevertheless, the strongest and most outspoken support should be offered to the UK Government for its creditable support of the war effort in Ukraine.

The UK has stood and risked its own annihilation against tyranny and totalitarian oppression in the past and the Scottish imperative must be to support the honourable continuation of that tradition.
Michael Sheridan, Glasgow

No point in raking up past

MAY I congratulate Professor Sir Tom Devine on his erudite and spirited defence of Robert Burns and the Bard's extremely tenuous connection to the slave trade in the West Indies ("Anger over gallery’s Burns and slavery plan", The Herald, January 17)?

Slavery in any form is undoubtedly an indelible stain on the face of humanity.

I find the quote from the National Gallery's spokesperson about its commitment to equality, diversion and inclusion rather tiresome. The values of today, supplanted into historical events. How far back do those individuals raking up the past want to go – ancient Rome, Greece or Egypt?

What about the Norsemen who enslaved the Scots? Not so long ago our society was sending women and children down coal mines and small children up chimneys. Probably a form of “in-house slavery”. Not a lot of discussion about those atrocities. Thankfully like slavery, they're confined to history.

What about the current situation in our modern, so-called enlightened society, which is blighted by myriad problems such as the NHS, education, the state of the economy and the mental wellbeing of our young people? They all need immediate resolution.

Rather than perpetually raking up the past and offering what in effect are meaningless apologies and platitudes, politicians and other community leaders should be concentrating on resolving society's serious issues.
Dan Edgar, Rothesay

A new Highland clearance on the cards

HAVE we forgotten to support, excepting Glasgow, all of the west of Scotland, the Borders and North of Cromarty for investment? The three main roads to the north-west via Loch Long, the Rest and be Thankful, when open, and Loch Lomond are not fit for purpose, and the ferry services are a joke.

The Scottish Government is all set to create a Highland clearance as bad, if not worse, than the previous one. I can well understand the Greens not having been happy with the apparent willingness of the SNP to allow further oil and gas production, now they have changed tack and wish to bring forward our net zero targets. All very well if something concrete has been set up to replace the fossil fuels to keep the country running.

I would not like to be an owner of an electric car anywhere away from the Central Belt when looking for a charge point, so forget tourism as an income stream outwith there.
George Dale, Beith

Dig deep and fill in

I NOTE East Renfrewshire Council is putting up for sale the registration plate HS 0 to raise money, with Harry Styles and Helen Skelton as potential interested parties ("Sale of rare number plate could fetch six-figure sum at auction", The Herald, January 18). If it is successful it could put the monies raised to good use and fill in the potholes in its area.

Ironically the roads may have been in a better state when the registration plate was first issued.
Neil Stewart, Balfron

Why must they import water?

I RECENTLY bought a bottle of still drinking water in a shop inside one of the Glasgow hospitals. On the label was included the information "Product of Romania".

Do we not have enough water in Scotland? It seems to me that it cannot make economic sense for us to be importing water.
Alan Hamilton, Uddingston

Adventists to the rescue

IN response to Mark Smith (“God save Scotland – An idea for the new national anthem”, The Herald, January 16), I beg to suggest, bearing in mind the angst, hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth on both sides of the never-ending independence issue, Rescue the Perishing (Adventist hymns, 367).
R Russell Smith, Largs


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