LET me start by categorically stating that you will never get me to support or vote for Nigel Farage. And while I do not agree that Nato is directly responsible for the Russia/Ukraine war, I do think there is something in what he said.

My late father was a prisoner of war in Poland for most of the war and was liberated by the Russians. He and his comrades were attached to the Red Army until they were handed over to UK representatives.

My father spoke about the Red Army officers (who were predominantly what he called “white Russians”) being adamant that their mother country would never be attacked again by the West and, on winning the war, they would set up a buffer zone in eastern Europe as protection. Perhaps this is simply ingrained in the Russian psyche?

This they did until Poland, Czechoslovakia, Eastern Germany and Baltic states as well as Ukraine and other Eastern European countries achieved “independence” from the USSR. I am sure that Russia, while not happy about this, was able to live with it.

However, the desire to have many of these countries join Nato is perhaps something they cannot tolerate as it brings Nato very close to its borders and thus not acceptable to Russian thinking based on historic events. Looking back on the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s, is this not exactly the same argument that the USA made and the world was brought to the brink of World War III?
Duncan Sooman, Milngavie.


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Why I will be voting Labour for the first time
I HAVE never voted Labour in my life, but, on the basis that it looks like they are a racing certainty to become the next Westminster government, I fully intend to do so on July 4.

My reasoning is quite simple. The only parties with a chance of forming the next Holyrood government appear to be the SNP or Labour, the others being also-rans, especially with the well-below-par performance of the Tories. If Labour do, as predicted, win the forthcoming UK general election, I will vote Labour again in the next Holyrood election. 

I’ll do so in the hope that Labour forms the governments of both the UK and of Scotland, thereby ensuring that both governments work together closely and harmoniously and take us away from the childish, adversarial, divisive and totally unhelpful approach towards the UK government which has been the hallmark of the SNP government.

I’ve no doubt that this letter will engender the usual cries of derision from the SNP acolytes. But my logic is, in reality, little different from theirs when they vote SNP in the hope that it will hasten Scotland’s independence from the UK, regardless of the utter incompetence in government demonstrated by that party time and time again – and the continuing and complete lack of any sound evidence as to how Scotland would prosper, or even survive, economically as an independent state.
Bob Hamilton, Strathaven.


Truth about the SNP and Europe
AT just about every interview during the current election campaign, SNP representatives and candidates have said we need more inward migration to fill job vacancies and boost Scotland’s economy

They say that only by voting for them can we separate from the UK and rejoin the EU, allowing people to come in and work in the NHS, hospitality and the care sector. Almost in the same breath they say that rejoining the EU would allow our young people the opportunity to work and study in Europe. 

Given that the campaign is taking place against a backdrop of  SNP incompetence, a housing and cost-of-living crisis, long NHS/dental waiting lists and falling education standards in overcrowded schools, it is more likely that, should the SNP’s separatist fantasies come true, and we did rejoin the EU, ‘freedom of movement’ would be along a one-way street heading into Europe.
Mark Openshaw, Cults, Aberdeen.

Life in Broken Brexit Britain
THE London-controlled Labour Party has defied local democracy across the UK and has “parachuted” candidates more than 300 miles into what they see as winnable constituencies in the general election.

Perhaps some voters in Lothian East are at least grateful to receive, in Douglas Alexander, a “paratrooper” with a trace of a Scottish accent, in spite of his ministerial role in Blair’s Government which decided to invade Iraq (for which Alexander has yet to publicly apologise) and in spite of his involvement in the 2009 MPs’ expenses scandal, which saw him compelled to repay more than £12,000. Hopefully, principled voters in Lothian East will not accept such an arrogant candidate taking their votes for granted.

Beyond Lothian East, Anas Sarwar continues his smoke-and-mirrors campaign and duplicitously conflates Holyrood and Westminster governance when it seemingly aids his tenuous arguments. 

Without even making reference to financially disastrous Labour PFI schemes (for which we are still paying dearly in Scotland) or Labour’s abysmal performance across a range of public services (including health and education) in Wales, Martin Geissler exposed on the Sunday Show, on June 23, that GB Energy is effectively a ‘con’ of the Scottish public, that Labour’s immigration policy will effectively hinder, not advance, Scotland’s economic growth, and that there will now be no democratic path under Labour for Scotland to achieve independence, no matter how great support for self-determination grows.

While it must be admitted that Mr Sarwar is well-practised at continuously talking without directly answering the questions posed, surely the public in Scotland must wake up to the fact (as confirmed by the Institute for Fiscal Studies) that there is no additional money to spend on the NHS and other public services – so, under Labour, austerity must continue and the cost of living disproportionately increase for the poor and disadvantaged in Broken Brexit Britain.

Do those in the Labour Party in Scotland who consider themselves socialists really think voting Labour will bring the fundamental change Scotland needs?  Unlike Keir Starmer and, before him, Tony Blair, traditional Labour Party supporters should not abandon their socialist principles.
Stan Grodynski, East Lothian.


Bread-and-butter election issues
BIZARRELY, in this 2024 general election, both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer are frantically ignoring Brexit (apart from as a stick to beat each other with), Gaza and the current climate cataclysm.
It’s equivalent to a traditional cooked breakfast without bacon/sausage or eggs or beans.
It’s basically - toast...
Amanda Baker, Edinburgh.


More dubious nationalist propaganda
DESPITE having “grown up with a family member studying Treasury accounts”, P. Davidson of Falkirk seems confused about several aspects of Scotland’s economy (letters, June 24).

He appears unaware that Scotland’s revenue and expenditure data is published every year by the Scottish Government.

Figures quoted from 1921 aren’t particularly relevant. Most recently, in 2022/23, the Scottish Government had a fiscal deficit of £19 billion, including oil and gas revenue.

There is also some confusion about the difference between deficit and debt. The assurance that both would magically disappear following “independence” is unconvincing.

Mr Davidson’s thinking on electricity prices is equally difficult to understand. The only contribution to revenue in Scotland’s fiscal balance is the VAT charged on energy bills. I believe it is 5% for domestic electricity and gas.

It is the privatised energy companies who set the prices and bank the profits. Recently, Ofgem, the energy regulator, has stated that claims that Scots pay more for electricity than other UK regions “doesn’t ring true”.

The assertion that Scottish fresh water is to be piped to England to alleviate drought is ludicrous.
Apart from the physical and geographical challenges that would have to be overcome, the Scottish SNP Government have denied that any such plans have been proposed. (FOI/202200317330)

Much as I enjoy reading the letters pages of the Herald, I am alarmed that some of your correspondents fail to check their facts and resort to dubious nationalist propaganda.

Anyone predicating their voting choice on the nationalist fantasy economy of a seceded Scotland would be well-advised to heed the advice of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, who remind us that “independence would be no panacea – indeed, Scotland’s larger fiscal deficit means that unless economic growth and hence tax revenues were boosted, tax rises or spending cuts would likely need to be even larger in the years ahead.”
James Quinn, Lanark.