ALASTAIR Osborne believes it would be more productive to concentrate on persuading a future UK government to abandon Trident (Letters, July 6) rather than by supporting independence.

I, like many, others, have spent several decades trying to do just that – with a spectacular lack of success at the UK level.

I now realise that the trouble with our approach was that it is reasonable, and ethical, which is why we failed in the UK, but won the day in Scotland. Because the UK's addiction to the bomb transcends mere logic and morality; it is deeply rooted in the murky psyche of Britishness itself.

It was ever thus. Back in 1947, at the start of the nuclear age, Ernest Bevin famously stated that "we've got to have it, and it's got to have a bloody Union Jack on it". And this was under the most radical, socialist government in our history. Today Tony Blair writes in his autobiography: "I could see clearly the force of the commonsense and practical arguments against Trident, yet in the final analysis I thought giving it up too big a downgrading of our status as a nation." John McTernan, one of Blair's special advisers, said: "If we didn't have Trident we'd be Belgium. Some people would find that a comfortable place to be. I wouldn't. If Britain is going to be a major power, Britain should have the kinds of weapons a major power has."

So, ipse dixit. We have Trident because we are British. This is the ultimate symbol of Britishness. It is our sacrosanct Ark of the Covenant, granted by divine favour to us, but denied to all lesser breeds. Which is why all the Unionist parties support it, and none dares speak the undeniable truth that Trident is manifestly a weapon of mass destruction, and as such is criminal and illegal. Its deployment constitutes an ongoing war crime. To escape Trident, escape Britishness. That means independence.

Brian Quail,

2 Hyndland Avenue, Glasgow.

I CAN sympathise with Alastair Osborne. The requirement of nuclear weapons unfortunately lies in the threatened achievement of the political ideals of those not of the same mindset as ourselves. Since the murder of Abel by Cain, strength has been the winner, not logic.

Once the genie is out of the bottle, there is no going back, and the knowledge of nuclear power for evil is now an open secret – all that is required is the means of delivery.

As far as our own civil agreement with our own government is concerned, should we depend entirely on our (usually unarmed) police force for both our civil and national security? National security really means an army, and it means weapons, and it means death to someone – the use of nuclear weapons is abhorrent, and so is a six-inch shell or an improvised device exploding in your face.

National security worldwide has to seek and keep to a minimum the available nuclear weapons, but unfortunately the United Nations is about as powerful as the early parliaments of Scotland and England, high in ideals, but low in results. Another couple of centuries and hopefully that will no longer be the case, but in the meantime we have to be prepared for the sudden attack by a maniac, and accept the reality of the military standby that is required.

David Jones,

Castleton Drive, Newton Mearns.