REPORTS on Friday morning of Nigel Farage being “dismayed” after Reform UK campaigners were caught making racist slurs had me thinking I’d woken up in some parallel universe where Farage has a streak of decency.

The 'Jane Austen heroine' reporting of some news outlets suggests to me they’ve not been watching the same character the rest of us have been seeing in weekly hysterical headlines since 2015. 

And, frankly, the idea that those who, with all we know of Farage (remember he was about to go off and kiss the ring of Donald Trump before Sunak called this dreadful, wearying election) would actually be put off voting for Reform in light of the most recent racist/homophobic/violent anti-migrant rhetoric is so naive it beggars belief. 

It’s like running around screaming that you’ve seen smoke rising from a dragon’s nostrils.

This is not new news. It’s Reform voter manna from political heaven.
Amanda Baker, Edinburgh.


Read more:

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Humza Yousaf: Islamophobia now in mainstream of UK politics


Biden should now resign with dignity
AT present, Joe Biden has the distinction of being the person who defeated Donald Trump and brought an end to his presidency. Mr Biden now risks losing that honour if he seeks a second term as president. He should resign with dignity and not seek re-election in November. If his 
replacement defeats Donald Trump, then Mr Biden will be remembered as the person who twice saved the United States of America from a second term in office for Donald Trump.
Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh. 


Democrats are in a genuine mess
IT’S depressing that after that debate, the Republicans can afford to sit on their hands between now and November. If Biden refuses to step down, he’ll have a mountain to climb in order to win. If his colleagues force him aside, there will be an almighty scramble at the Chicago convention to find a plausible candidate who will unite all the wings of a fractious party. What a mess.
D Simpson, Glasgow.

Let’s have a gender bill referendum
PATRICK Harvie has, predictably, insisted upon whoever comes into Downing Street lifting the Section 35 order on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (Herald on Sunday, June 23). It is not just the Greens that want this Bill resurrected but the SNP and very possibly Labour too. 

Labour claims it can do this without upsetting women’s rights groups but it is far from clear just how this could be achieved. There is a much easier way to solve this thorny problem and that is to give the electorate, UK-wide, a referendum on this subject.

Politicians cannot be allowed to remove hard-fought-for women’s rights without a definitive answer from the population, not just relying upon a line or two tucked away in a manifesto that few read.

This is a fundamental change in our society that is being asked for here. It must have majority support. Why not get it in writing?
Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


War is not family entertainment
ALL over the country, in the last few weeks events, have taken place in support of Armed Forces Day.
Surprisingly, a number of these events appear to be getting marketed as family fun, without acknowledging the military and civilian lives which are lost as a result of wars.

It is also appears that at a number of these events children are encouraged to handle guns and military vehicles, which disregards the devastating effect these weapons can have .

With so much insecurity in the world today, it is sensible to focus on creating a more peaceful world.
A good starting point might be to remember that war is not family entertainment for military personnel and civilians affected by its consequences.
Arthur West, Irvine.


Dishonourable members
THIS year, we have seen the worst in fraud and abuse of taxpayers’ money by so-called dedicated politicians, which sadly tarnishes the image of all politicians in the view of the electorate.

How can the electorate possibly vote for any party in the full knowledge that they harbour members caught red-handed making false expense claims but, with arrogance, refuse to resign and continue to claim their salary and expenses?
Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.


Focus on nuclear power’s problems
MUCH is being said about the clean benefits of increasing nuclear power generation but little about what I understand to be its problems.

* Do we have a secure supply of uranium?

* Disposal of nuclear waste: Waste is accumulating around the world. In his book Fallout: A Journey Through the Nuclear Age, Trom the Atomic Bomb To Radioactive Waste, Fred Pearce describes some disastrous attempts at disposal by other countries. We are no better in Britain, where large stockpiles of waste are accumulating at the Sellafield plant in Cumbria and continue to grow due to the  two reprocessing plants which are intended to treat and stabilise nuclear waste.

But the process generates highly radioactive liquids. These are stored in stainless steel tanks and are accumulating. The tanks require constant cooling to prevent explosion. In addition, there are abandoned radioactive items of equipment and buildings. Sellafield’s seismic threat is deemed to need an evacuation plan covering 3.7 miles. Fukushima comes to mind.

* Production safety. Prior to privatisation, the power industry’s annual report included information on operational breakdowns, errors and output. These are now regarded as commercially confidential. Is the public not entitled to know facts about electricity production, particularly when asked to accept changes in its production?

* Operation. We are told that nuclear stations’ output cannot be adjusted to meet fluctuations in demand. How will night-time production be used – returning to heating via night-storage heaters as from the mid-20th century? Pump storage is occasionally mentioned but surely that would add to the huge cost of building more nuclear output?

*bAlternatives to nuclear. We hear a great deal about wind, solar and tidal power but little about hydro. Could that not be utilised more or increased, especially with our increased rainfall?

I hope that someone can honestly address these questions since I worry that we are going to saddle future generations with problems we have not addressed in addition to those of future climate changes.
Sylvia Boal, Edinburgh.

Good News at the OVO Hydro
LAST Saturday evening, my mum and I and the grandchildren went to the OVO Hydro in Glasgow for the God Loves You Tour featuring Franklin Graham.

We all had a great time, including my mum who had to adjust to a change of music since going to see evangelist Billy Graham in London when her mum was in the choir. My mum thought that the earplugs she were handed were a packet of sweets and, like all who had a childhood during the war and experienced rationing, she has a sweet tooth so I was glad she didn’t immediately try them out.

Although the music had changed since grandma was singing contralto in 1955, my mum said afterwards that if she could have seen the words she would have sung along with everyone else.

Michael W Smith (a three-time Grammy award-winner with 18 million album sales) graciously called us all his “choir”. The upbeat atmosphere was enhanced by the helpful Hydro staff who had smilingly welcomed us in with a homely query, “have you come to see Franklin”?

We became part of a 7,500crowd of people, packed into Scotland’s biggest venue, hearing Good News from the Bible that God loves us.

It was clear that this message was 100% true for all who were inside and outside the arena, and afterwards a little band of protesters patiently put up with me wittering on about where I was from and how much God loved them.

Thank you to each of you kind people with poignant banners who patiently listened to my blether. 

We hope there will be many more. 
Dora Pearce-Higgins, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.