THE decision by the US and most of its western allies to suspend funding UNWRA, the principal UN aid agency in Gaza following an allegation by Israel that 12 of its 13,000 employees were involved in the Hamas attacks of October 7 is another example, if one were needed, of the hypocrisy and double standards of the West in the Holy Land.

It can be no coincidence that the allegation emerged the day after the International Court for Justice ruled that Israel has a case to answer in response to South Africa’s complaint of genocide and required immediate actions of it, including requirements to ensure that it takes steps to avoid genocide and to increase the flow of aid to civilians ("ICJ issues orders against Israel in Gaza genocide case", heraldscotland, January 26). It knows, as does the West, that UNWRA is the only organisation in Palestine that can distribute aid on the scale required to prevent mass starvation. The decision to suspend funding, with the resulting risks to 2.3 million people based on the alleged, and so far, unproven, activities of 12 UNWRA employees, is yet another example of collective punishment visited on the Palestinians. The difference this time is that the perpetrators are Western governments.

Conversely, the reaction of the US, the UK and others to the wider judgement of the court has been to completely ignore it. Neither the US nor the UK has confirmed its acceptance of the judgement and neither appears to have reconsidered the supply of the arms and material that Israel requires to continue is destruction of Gaza and its people.

Having lost moral authority with much of the world over this conflict, its seems that our leaders are in no hurry to recover it.

Chris Ewing, Cairneyhill, Fife.

Apprenticeships move welcome

YOUR article on the controversial access to university scheme for pupils from deprived areas indicates some welcome developments although the constant inference remains that promoting university suggests anything else is somehow inadequate ("‘Significant’ challenges for access to education remain", The Herald, January 30). It was heartening however to read that Professor John McKendrick, Scotland’s Commissioner for Fair Access, has recommended his remit be widened to include the whole tertiary sector including Graduate Apprenticeships.

I consider positive discrimination in favour of universities is a value judgment on what is appropriate for fulfilling the needs of individual young people. Many school leavers wish to enter a job where they can enjoy experiential learning and career training rather than being immersed in abstract thinking.

I am not underestimating the worth of a university education, as during my own lifetime I have witnessed people whom I considered to be bordering on ruffians get good jobs due to their university degree.

I expect that the way ahead on the whole issue of university entrance will hinge on the final shape of assessment in our secondary schools as a result of the recent Hayward Report and how much our universities accept any new forms of qualifications which emerge.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

Power cuts would be disastrous

IN the past we have had prolonged power cuts, but our dependence on electricity was much less then. Now it powers and organises everything by computer, so in today’s world a series of prolonged power outages would have significant effect.

Internet and e-mail would cease. No online banking. No wages or benefit payments. No lottery. No TV or radio. Airports would close because no air traffic control, and hospitals would have problems. Electric cars would be unable to charge and others unable to refuel because no petrol pumps. Buses and trains would stop. Landline and mobile phone coverage would eventually fail. Panic buying would start, and supermarkets would be unable to order replacement stock. Water and sewerage would cease. Government could not collect taxes or VAT.

And the obvious of course: no light and no heat, and in nine months the birth rate would increase.

So as we dispense with reliable and continuous fossil and nuclear power, let us hope that wind, sun and water live up to the promise of their green promoters.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

The Herald: Mick McGaheyMick McGahey (Image: Newsquest)

McGahey the Home Rule Hero

RICHARD Leonard might have been wise to offer a less divisive pretext than "working class hero" for his call to erect a statue of Mick McGahey at Holyrood ("Calls for Holyrood memorial to 'working class hero'", heraldscotland, January 30). Hero of Home Rule would have been no less justified, and arguably more appropriate.

It was a McGahey barnstormer at the 1968 congress that swung the STUC behind the principle of a Scottish parliament, at a time when the Labour Party in Scotland was still doggedly opposed under the leadership of Willie Ross. Ross would duly reward the STUC's temerity by labelling it the Scottish Trades Union ConGROUSE.

Keith Aitken, Montpellier, France.

WhatsApp: the game's a bogey

THERE is a worrying WhatsApp deprivation crisis in Scotland at the moment, so much so that I have consulted the members of one WhatsApp group I belong to for permission to publish.

Like all my thousands of other WhatsApp messages, they will be obscure to most, but the messages on our "Oozlers" group of extreme golfers replicate accurately the political climate in Scotland today. Contentious, bitter, and political, they are a microcosm of the Covid Inquiry and expose the serious iniquities of UK society, with special reference to oozles, foozles, bamboozles, and wham bamboozles.

Names will be redacted of course to save George's blushes, but I feel that there is much to learn and will listen to offers from publishers.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

Pothole peril

KEITH Hayton (Letters, January 30) writes of the condition of Glasgow pavements.

Those of us who complain of the dangerous potholes on roads on the north side of the city think we are badly off; a recent car journey to the Linn Crematorium taught me that we are fortunate, compared with those living on the south side, where frequent zig- zagging is a necessary part of travel by road.

It was with relief that I reached home without being stopped by the police for driving erratically.

David Miller, Milngavie.