IT sometimes astonishes me the rubbish that politicians spout and expect us to believe. Our unelected Foreign Secretary counsels Iran not to escalate tensions in the Middle East ("Cameron urges Israel to be ‘smart’ by not escalating tensions with Iran", heraldscotland, April 15) when the UK Government itself was a partner in the deliberate escalation of violence in the area when along with the USA Britain invaded Iraq to protect the petrodollar in a conflict that cost the US public almost $1 trillion and the lives of a quarter of a million innocent Iraqi citizens. A war that has resulted in US armed forces remaining in Iraq and parts of Syria where they are facilitating the exploiting oil reserves they have no rights to.

He also ignores the fact that 100 years ago Palestine existed and Israel didn’t, yet since then, by force of arms, all of what was then considered Palestine has been taken and occupied by Israel which is dominated by a Zionist movement whose unequivocal stated aim is to continue expanding the frontiers of Israel both to the east and west. Lord Cameron ignores the genocide being perpetrated in Gaza and the murder and imprisonment of Palestinians in the West Bank yet tacitly condones the de facto reality that Israel feels entitled to murder people in adjacent countries and bomb foreign lands yet expects no retaliation from the victims or condemnation by the western establishment.

The one-sided attitude of our Government was highlighted by the fact that we have troops and planes stationed in the area that intercepted weapons aimed at “Iron Dome”-protected Israel and ships in the Red Sea, yet they did nothing to intercept anything fired at Gaza but continue to supply the aggressor with arms to complete the job.

It‘s an absolute disgrace. That anyone would label Iran, which over the years has had its own share of CIA-led coups, as the aggressor is an affront to one’s intelligence.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

• I READ with interest the three letters (April 16) on the Iran-Israel situation. Meanwhile UK Government ministers and generals have been suggesting that we need to prepare for war and conscript young people into the military. Hypocritically, our governments obviously think that British people are soft due to the hate crime legislation they have enacted to protect people from hurt feelings. What I can guarantee is that the children of people like Boris Johnson and Tony Blair will not be forced into any front line.

How are military stocks doing? Share prices in BAE Systems have risen 34% and General Dynamics 31% since October 7.

Rich man's war, poor man's fight.

Geoff Moore, Alness.

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• I CANNOT understand why Westminster is so determined to become involved in hostilities between Israel and Iran. Israel is neither an ally nor a friend; its treatment of Palestinians is the cause of most tension in the Middle East and it has given Iran ample reason to retaliate, most recently by destroying Iran’s consulate in Damascus and those within it. Meanwhile we demonise Iran which would present no threat to us if we did not seize any possible excuse to alienate its rulers and its people. In this, we present ourselves as no more than the lapdogs of the United States.

Meanwhile, the Israelis carry on killing children in Gaza and the West’s attention moves away from the war which does deserve our concern and full commitment, namely Ukraine’s resistance to Putin’s attack.

James Scott, Edinburgh.

Solutions to LEZ problems

DAVID Hay (Letters, April 16) obviously has part of his heart in the right place when it comes to helping people to gain access to hospital services but not when it comes to understanding Glasgow's Low Emission Zone. The aim of the LEZ is to reduce pollution and thus reduce the incidence of respiratory disease and the admission of sufferers to hospital.

Sadly, though, Mr Hay has also failed to identify the boundaries of the LEZ. I hadn't checked the detail until this morning but it looks as if the planners went to great lengths to ensure that Glasgow Royal Infirmary, with all its accesses, is completely outwith the LEZ. The list of streets included in the LEZ does not include Stirling Road north of its junction with Cathedral Street, or Cathedral Street east of that junction. Castle Street, north of Cathedral Square, Glebe Street, Alexandra Parade and Wishart Street are all also excluded, as of course is the M8, and so Mr Hay may resume taking people to the GRI.

It is a shame that he has not chosen to have an LEZ-compliant car and so feels that he has to deprive his wife and himself from shopping and theatre trips to Glasgow. However, he could also resume these if he chooses to park at one of the Glasgow Subway car parks, Kelvinbridge and Shields Road are the ones I'm aware of, and complete the journey by Subway.

Patricia Fort, Glasgow.

The Herald: Glasgow's LEZ has proved controversialGlasgow's LEZ has proved controversial (Image: Newsquest)

Give culture buildings a break

IF Scotland is to harness the power of our culture sector to help deliver net zero in 2045 ("Helping to harness the power of our culture sector", Agenda, The Herald, April 15) we need financial lifelines in 2024 to rescue our artists from the perfect storm of reduced income and spiralling costs.

A first step would be to abolish the 20 per cent tax on maintenance and repairs on Scotland’s heritage and cultural buildings, while offering incentives for net zero work that reduces heating and running costs.

Our charity provides spaces where 1,000 artists, creators, creative industries, social enterprises and charities can flourish. But our running costs have soared 95% since 2021, with an increase of 116% in energy costs alone. And like many charities we cannot pass that financial burden on to artists already struggling with the cost of living crisis.

VAT on repairs and maintenance of historic and cultural buildings effectively introduces a financial disincentive to preserve our heritage.

Against a backdrop of challenging net zero targets, it makes little sense for VAT to be zero-rated on new buildings, yet set at 20% on restoring and nurturing: our inspirational artists and our landmark buildings.

Audrey Carlin, Chief Executive of Wasps (Workshop & Artists Studio Provision Scotland), Glasgow.

Aye I

I NOTE that an increasing number of politicians begin speeches with "I and my colleagues", indicating that self-importance is paramount.

I was taught that the only person entitled to put him or herself first was the King or Queen.

David Miller, Milngavie.