AS an ex-US Navy Seal legal advisor based in Iraq, Ron DeSantis has the lived experience of a military campaign with goals exceeding the capability of military force. So it is right that he asks questions about how much American treasure and blood is to be shed to end tyranny in the world. Such a question is not rhetorical camouflage: blood is not a social construct.

Niall Ferguson lamented many years ago that the Unites States lacked the commitment for effective imperialism. Such a policy would require something like a nationwide military draft and the whole of society mobilised in its effort. That didn't happen with the invasion of Iraq, and the capture of America's institutions by progressive ideologues has rendered it even less capable of any such ambition ("We should fear American isolationism as much as its imperialism", David Leask, The Herald, March 18).

But it is neither American imperialism nor isolationism that the leftist elite fear from a DeSantis presidency. It is that in the war on woke he is a winner. In education, public spending, taxation and public health he has proven himself to be a competent leader. A DeSantis presidency would give hope to people around the world that America was coming back to its senses. His blueprint for defeating woke ideology might then become America's greatest export. Indeed, if common-sense conservatism were to be the new American imperialism, then it would not be something to be feared; it would be something to be more than welcomed.

Graeme Arnott, Stewarton.


YOU have kindly published a previous letter from me on the matter of a tourist tax. It simply beggars belief that the implementation of such a tax would appear to be snarled up in a wrangle between the Scottish Government and our local authorities. With council tax rises on the way and with threats of closures of libraries, swimming pools and even staff redundancies, I simply cannot understand the delay in introducing such a tax as a matter of urgency.

My wife and I are just back from a visit to Egypt. Our hotel bill included a daily charge of both a tourist tax and a room tax. It is standard practice in all of the countries that we have visited to have a local "bed tax" added on to your hotel bill. With more than 12 million visitor nights per year in Edinburgh, a modest charge of £3 a night for visitors could raise something in the region of £30m for the city. So why the delay? Is it lobbying on the part of the hospitality industry?

It has been claimed that such a tax would discourage tourists from coming to Edinburgh. I just simply cannot accept this as an argument. The price of a cup of coffee is not going to discourage visitors to the city. The addition of such a bed tax on our overseas hotel bills has never been seen by us as a deterrent. Visitors will continue to flock to Scotland in very large numbers.

At a time when public services have been under such strain and faced with the grim prospect of yet more austerity to come, surely now is the time to add to the funds available to our local authorities in a way that does not add to the burdens already being carried by tax payers in Scotland.

Eric Melvin, Edinburgh.


AS we await the Parliamentary Petitions Committee’s next move on our A82 upgrade petition (A82 Petition – PE1967 ) offering Transport Scotland a High Road escape route out of its disastrous Low Road plan which threatens yet more of the country’s priceless and diminishing temperate rainforest, I wondered if anyone in the Scottish Government would have bothered to watch the latest episode of David Attenborough’s Wild Isles series (March 19).

In case you hadn’t heard, Transport Scotland plans to put the upgraded A82 on more or less the same line as the existing road which closely follows the shoreline of Loch Lomond between Tarbet and Inverarnan, thereby doing untold damage to the rare and priceless Atlantic rainforest remnants which make those particular banks so bonnie and so valuable. We are trying to point out that it would be far better to do what was done at Killiecrankie in the 1980s when the upgraded A9 was put above the old road and the railway line, thereby leaving the old road for local traffic and recreational access to the ancient woodland along the banks of the River Garry. They also by-passed Pitlochry and Killiecrankie, just like the new A82 should by-pass Tarbet and Ardlui.

John Urquhart, Convener, Helensburgh and District Access Trust, Helensburgh.


I AM furious, not just angry, that someone is to be paid £300,000 per annum to run our Deposit Return Scheme ("Anger as bottle return scheme boss to be paid £300,000 a year", The Herald, March 20). No-one, but no-one, actually earns that much per year, even if they are paid that amount.

Scotland can, and should, do better to reduce the disparity in pay, particularly when, in this instance, if is effectively for a public servant.

Patricia Fort, Glasgow.


YOUR photograph today shows staff braving heights of 443ft to clean the capsules of the London Eye ("Panes-taking work as London Eye is spring cleaned", The Herald, March 20). Can someone explain why it would not have been cheaper, safer and easier to clean each one in turn at ground level?

David Waters, Blackwood.


ANYONE tempted to follow up on Irene Conway’s “surely the best pun ever ..." (Letters, March 18) should perhaps note the warning “Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns. He should be drawn and quoted” (American comedian Fred Allen, 1894-1956).

R Russell Smith, Largs.


IRENE Conway mentions The Old Groaner, aka Bing Crosby. My father fancied himself as an amateur version of Crosby, our feelings on that score being akin to Bob Hope's allusion to Crosby in the film The Road to Morocco: "Folks, The Old Groaner's gonna sing; time to go out and buy the popcorn".

David Miller, Milngavie.