FOR Professor Malcolm Chalmers to insist that rUK armed forces would still be in Scotland 20/30 years after independence ("Armed forces of Scotland would still have to rely on the UK after independence, says defence expert", March 17) is reminiscent of Churchill insisting Irish ports would still be in London’s control after Irish independence. I doubt any elected Scottish government would find that tenable.

The Trident system is different as it will take time to build new facilities (priced at a measly £3.5 billion by Prof Chalmers in 2014), but there has to be a timetable for this: a decade is fair, after which boats could redeploy to Devonport and the missiles to AWE Aldermaston or Kings Bay in Georgia until finalisation of new facilities. Scotland has played no role in designing, building or refitting the Trident boats or warheads, and should not be expected to deploy them for another sovereign country.

As UK defence secretaries have previously stated that Trident could be utilised 1) as a “first-strike” weapon; 2) against a non-nuclear enemy, and 3), not necessarily on behalf of Nato, basing these weapons in Scotland long-term is morally dubious, given we have no say in their deployment. There should be no “forcible denuclearisation” if both sides play ball, but the threat of vetoing EU/Nato membership for Scotland might remind other Nato members why they are supporting the Ukrainians' “right to choose” over Russian bullying.

I don’t think rUK could veto Scottish EU membership, but nice try.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Skewed priorities

IMAGINE a country where the police only investigate muggings and housebreakings if it is an open and shut case, and where they ignore most theft including shoplifting, but where they zealously investigate what you say, even in your own home, and even if it not a crime at all. Oh, and where you can report a "hate crime" in a sex shop. Dystopian science fiction? No, Scotland next month.

Police Scotland is on record that if there are not clear leads, then it is not going to investigate a great many crimes. Also, for some time the police have been entirely uninterested in fighting shoplifting.

Now with the Hate Crime Act coming into force on April 1, Police Scotland says it will investigate every "hate crime" and record it, even if it is not a crime at all. And yes, that includes what you say in your own home.

And now we know that from a recently deleted entry on its website that Police Scotland views young working-class white men with a particular suspicion, because they may be harbouring ideas of "white entitlement".

Nothing less than repealing the Hate Crime Act and police officers being directed to focus on real physical crimes will do.
Otto Inglis, Crossgates.

Taking pride in Scottishness

I NOTICED last weekend that we had a big celebration for St Patrick's Day in Glasgow. I find that we have plenty cards in shops to celebrate this as opposed to the meagre number we find for St Andrew's Day. We also seem not to celebrate that day as much.

Would Scots be so keen to celebrate St David's Day or St George's Day? We seem to want to be independent, yet are not so keen on our own heritage.

In addition, a television channel was created to give Scots a bit of our own culture and dialects, yet we want to follow the English in the pronunciation of the name Gilmour (as in Billy, etc). It is Gilmour not Gilmore, but it would appear that the Scottish presenters are being forced to follow channel guidelines. This is not an isolated incident and there are many more examples if you listen for them. The channel is also struggling for viewing figures.

How independent do we want to be?

John Russell, Airdrie.

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Playing Jenga with the planet

HERE we are with our planet on the verge of overheating and likely to become uninhabitable thanks to our cackhanded and ham-fisted way of treating our planet.

Our rainforests are disappearing, satellite debris is orbiting our planet and now we are contemplating dredging the seabed to bring up the minerals and metals we need to meet our green agenda It would be laughably ironic, if it were not so tragic, that we intend to ravage another area of our eco-system to save our planet.

On a TV news bulletin, I was horrified to hear a man representing a company called Deep Sea Mining pooh-poohing the idea that dredging the seabed to procure the materials necessary to meet the needs of our green agenda was unsafe and could threaten the stability of the system maintaining that particular area of the ocean's ecology.

It was then suggested that dredging would go ahead speedily before regulations controlling such underwater operations were in place.

That comment reeked of the mania which drove the Alaska gold rush.

It looks as though in the pursuit of profit we have chosen to ignore the interconnectedness of all aspects of our planet.

Regardless of the consequences of interfering with the programme laid out by nature, we continue to disregard the ill-judged effects of our interference with the workings of the planet.

Any parents who have read The Lorax to their children at bedtime will have absorbed Dr Seuss's prophetic account of what is the result of exploiting nature without establishing compensatory measures to minimise man's effects upon our natural world Consumed by greed or our well-intentioned but blind efforts to improve the world around us, we are more Epimetheus than Prometheus because it is only through hindsight that we see the results of our mistakes but we still blunder on blithely and regardless of the consequences.

There is a little game called Jenga which may still be popular and should act as a wake-up call about the way we handle our planet. The object of the game is to remove one piece of the interconnected rods at a time to see how long it will be before the framework disintegrates and collapses.

Our game of Jenga with our planet is already well advanced and we must hope that our next extraction does not pull the plug upon our planet's habitability.

We are, if we are lucky, at best one minute to midnight on our Doomsday clock.

We now need to make serious sacrifices to turn that clock back before it strikes midnight and goes beyond the point of no return.

Hubris got us into this mess, only humility will get us out of it.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Phasing up coal

THE climate brigade are upset that UK Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has revealed plans for a new generation of gas-fired power stations in the UK to make sure the lights stay on. As is usual with those who say that the UK must do more to combat climate change, they ignore or are ignorant of what is going on in the rest of the world.

Germany will spend €16 billion building four major electricity plants using natural gas, which is the same gas that greens are trying to ban from 23 million homes in the UK. Worldwide electricity generation from coal hit record highs in 2023. There are 2,232 coal-fired electricity plants in the world with hundreds more planned. China alone has 1,142 with another 43 about to start.

It will be remembered that at COP26 the president Alok Charma was in tears when countries refused to "phase out" coal and only would agree to "phase down" coal. They are now in the coal "phase up" mode. Would the climate brigade prefer to rely on unreliable wind to supply our electricity instead of reliable gas and nuclear power?

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Insulation must be key goal

THE current Scottish Government policy on heat pumps is pointless without a massive programme of improving insulation standards in Scottish homes.

There is no point in installing very expensive heat pump systems (at £12-£15,000) in houses that are poorly insulated. Until the Government changes policy and focuses on house insulation we will never achieve any climate control targets.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

The greatest danger to Israel

PEOPLE campaigning against Israel’s ability to defend herself account for nothing Israelis held hostage, some already dead and others tortured, raped, mutilated and awaiting death.

They were dragged from their home more savagely than the Nazi deportations of European Jews. Those remaining will never be released alive because their testimony would echo round the world.

That’s just fine for people who hate their refuge and their homeland, the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.

Hamas started this conflict to sabotage the growing tolerance between Israel and Arab states in the region.

Hamas cares nothing for the Palestinian civilians behind whom they hide. The people of Gaza are being promoted from hostage to martyr according to Hamas’s plan.

British haters of democracy champion Israel’s assailants and the murderers of Jews. They once applauded the 1939 accord between Hitler and Stalin to devour all Europe between them.

That’s not to say Israel’s leader is right to embroil his country in urban war despite the deadly consequences for civilians and the danger to Israeli troops. That is Bemjamin Netanyahu’s latest mistake. His previous mistake was allowing Israel to be taken unawares on October 7 by demented savages.

His mistake before that was attacking Israel’s democratic safeguards to enlarge the power of his office. Mr Netanyahu must go because he is the greatest of all dangers to Israel.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.

The Herald: Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin Netanyahu (Image: PA)

Double standards

ISRAEL has the right to defend itself, but not so the Palestinians. The hostages must be returned, but not so the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, most of whom have been interned without trial, including children.

Understandably the United Kingdom doesn't sell arms to the Palestinians, because they would more than likely be used to massacre Israelis and the world rightly mustn't allow that to happen. But the United Kingdom sells arms to Israel and Israel uses those weapons to massacre Palestinians. That should also be unacceptable.

Jewish settlers can settle in the West Bank, but Palestinians are not allowed to create settlements on land occupied by Israelis. There is a no-return policy for Palestinian refugees, yet Jews from all over the world can migrate to Israel and claim Israeli citizenship. So not only is there double standards but there is artful language used to hoodwink an undiscerning viewership to justify gross injustice.

This is a letter from someone who has lived in Israel and loves the country yet can't condone much of Benjamin Netanyahu's foreign and domestic policies.

Louis Shawcross, Hillsborough, Co Down, Northern Ireland.