THE “celebration” of 50 years of nuclear-armed submarines together with the mess around Brexit and the delusional posturing of the Tory leadership candidates tell us what the Great British brand is really about (“Navy marks 50 years of round the clock nuclear submarine patrols”, The Herald, July 5). Trident, as Phillips O’Brien states, is not primarily about defence but about political status – a desperate attempt by the leadership class to cling on to the delusion of being in the big power league. The fact that the missiles are completely dependent on the United States makes it obvious that the UK is a supplicant not a key player.

Were these weapons simply a decorative symbol, it would be an appalling waste of money but no more than that. But these weapon systems are the most concentrated destructive power human societies have ever known and the decisions about their use have to be made in minutes. Any lazy complacency is seriously misguided. There are only two things within our control that can destroy civilisation as we know it. One is climate change, and the other is the use of nuclear weapons.

Since all the UK nuclear firepower is in Scotland, we as an independent state would be free to join the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and ensure their removal under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Scotland’s status should come from the social justice and quality of life we develop within our society and the contribution we make to international peace and global sustainability.

Isobel Lindsay, Biggar.

Local winners

AS a BBC employee in the 1960s, I share Alison Rowat’s view that BBC spending is quite out of control (“Time to get your act together Auntie, or get your coat”, The Herald, July 4). Talk about taxation without representation!

Interesting that £1,750,000 a year goes to the presenter of a show of little interest to half of the BBC licence payers. Cut these obscene overpayments, then Radio Scotland might be persuaded to invest in a few weekday programmes produced outside a studio, and spare us hours of discussion on Rangers and Celtic, and even more hours of pop music which can be found on dozens of commercial channels.

In the early Sixties, before millions were splurged on Pacific Quay, the Reithian controller, Andrew Stewart, decided to “take the BBC to the people of Scotland” with a programme called On Tour. The top entertainers of the day, hosted by film veteran Jameson Clark, took the show to far-flung venues around the country, including Lochgilphead. Not only were the locals entertained, they were invited to audition, accompanied by a classical or musical hall pianist, and assessed by the head of Light Entertainment and his staff. The hotel and travel costs were no doubt substantial, but the show was greatly appreciated by the local audiences, though the assessors were less than pleased when, in Grantown-on-Spey, dozens of schoolboys all insisted on performing Catch A Falling Star.

Of today’s programmes, I find the weekday morning phone-ins generally a good listen, but what a pity they are missed by most of the working population. It would be sacrilege, of course, to offer an evening edited version at the expense of a couple of hours of pop music.

Bill Sinclair, Edinburgh EH4. THE UK would appear to be going through a referendum phase at the moment, what with Brexit and Scottish independence. I’m also for further referendums on two other big topics; namely scrapping the Royal Family and the BBC. If there is to be more referendums on either or both Brexit or so-called Scottish “independence” then let’s append on to the voting cards the following two simple questions: Scrap the Royal Family (yes/no), Scrap the BBC (yes/no). One never knows but I am confident the electorate would vote to kick both of these dinosaur institutions into oblivion.

Dr Graham Seed, Livingston.