YOU report that trade union leader Mick Lynch, for whom I have great deal of respect, appeared on the Edinburgh Fringe saying he doesn't "expect Keir Starmer to say everything" on his list of policies but he needs to "show he has values on things" ("Sir Keir Starmer urged to be ‘bold’ about ‘vision’", August 6). Really?

When will the so-called Left, the people who are purportedly progressive in England, finally understand that the voters of Scotland and Wales are sick to the back teeth of being expected to deliver votes by the sackload for a party which repeatedly lets them down? Voters in Scotland got wise a while back: it may well be that as a naturally social democratic country post-independence a genuinely Scottish Labour Party would be the dominant force but until then, to use the currently much-in-vogue phrase people are being gaslighted to return to an abusive relationship which has shackled them to neoliberal economics, a crumbling infrastructure, underfunded public services starved not only of cash but of manpower and spiralling food and energy costs.

Any self-respecting voter should choose independence over that.

Marjorie Ellis Thomson, Edinburgh.

Encouraging expats to return

JOHN Russell (Letters, August 6) criticises the SNP for planning to offer citizenship to the offspring of expats when Scotland achieves independence, and suggests that Scots left their country in search of "a better life and opportunities". Surely nobody should have to leave their own country in order to prosper and thrive; and remember, these people left when Scotland wasn't an independent country, but they can return when it is.

I recall that around 1970 there was a slogan designed to entice Scots to emigrate to Australia which read "In Australia I will". When Scotland has the full powers and economic levers of a normal independent nation, that can be changed to "In Scotland I will".

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

Greens ruling the roost

WITH only 30 miles of the A9 improved to dual carriageway standard. the remaining 80 miles are unlikely to be improved any time soon, leaving this vital artery with a horrific accident rate between Perth and Inverness.

The SNP administration has made various promises that the A9 will be dualled completely, but this looks unlikely to happen with the new-found power the Greens has in the Government of Scotland.

Despite protests being made by senior SNP members it would appear that Humza Yousaf is backing the Greens to the hilt over the A9 issue.

Scotland deserves better.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

Read more: The biggest problem we face is the ignorance of climate change deniers

We must ban single-use vapes

DR Jonathon Coutts, a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, has reported on cases of children admitted to hospital after using e-cigarettes. He also noted that eight children from one school in Lincolnshire had been admitted to hospital after using vapes.

I too am very concerned about this the latest drug-misuse trend to be targeted at our children and young people. I launched a national petition to “Ban single-use vaping - to protect children from nicotine addiction” seven weeks ago, and have already attracted more than 1,600 supporters. What my petition has revealed is that there is about a 50-50 split of concern between those who are worried about addicting our children to yet another drug, and those who are more concerned about the environmental aspect of this - namely the 1.3 million of these vapes that are dumped every week in the UK.

My petition seeks to ban only these single-use vapes because they are loaded with highly-addictive nicotine. They are already taking off as a cool thing to do for mainly school- aged children. There has been a 50% rise in the use of these vapes by 11-17-year-olds.

The World Health Organization has warned that one in three of young vapers become cigarette smokers. Over the last 25 years Scotland has succeeded in getting child smoking down to 7%. All of this effort is fast being undermined by Big Tobacco, the owners of most of the e-cigarette and vaping industry, who are desperate to addict children and young people with nicotine to replace the millions of adults who have given up smoking.

We cannot stand by and allow this scandalous exploitation of our children for profit. The UK and devolved parliaments have the power to kill this new drug trend in its tracks. I believe that if all of our political parties were to support the total banning of single-use vaping, then we can eradicate very quickly the dual problems of addicting our children and the horrendous environmental problem of the dumped vapes which contain hard plastic and batteries that can cause fires in the home and the environment.

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow.

Heatwaves not unprecedented

TONY Philpin (Letters, August 6) offers some irrelevant analogies as a means of justifying his belief that human CO2 emissions are polluting the planet.

He will be only too well aware that imagery is a very powerful tool and has been used to great effect to convey concerns regarding the cumulative impact of fossil fuel use. A few decades ago climate change was a distantly disturbing concept but as green zealotry has gained momentum the language has also become progressively more strident and alarming. This rhetoric is reinforced with heavily biased media coverage with apocalyptic images of heatwaves, fires, floods and famine.

They are undeniably distressing but to use a turn of phrase coined by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, unacceptable though it may be to many people, is that none of them remotely qualify as "unprecedented". When the image of the "hockey stick" graph appeared in 1998 it was hailed as an irrefutable illustration of rapid late 20th century warming and was eagerly embraced by Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Two of its lead authors concurred that "to strengthen the case for AGW (anthropogenic global warming) we have to get rid of the Medieval Warming". This was a period when temperatures were actually higher than today. It was subsequently proved to be a deeply flawed representation and to use Mr Philpin's phrase, it was a prime example of the worst kind of "scientific ignorance" presented as fact under the false guise of consensus.

Mr Philpin correctly states that 96% of CO2 comes from entirely natural sources with humans being responsible for the balance but he fails to clarify that for all its vital role in sustaining all life it is a trace gas constituting just 0.04% of the atmosphere. Although I doubt that it will find favour with Mr Philpin I would invite him to exchange these facts and figures with an analogical image presented by Piers Corbyn, an astrophysicist and Director of Weather/Action.

Corbyn depicts the image of Big Ben as a 316ft (96.3 metres) representing of the whole atmosphere of which just 1.5 inches (38mm) constitutes CO2. The human contribution amounts to 0.03-0.07 inches (1-2 mm). Are we to seriously believe that this is the primary controller of global temperature that overrides the multiple natural forces that have influenced the climate for millennia?

Neil J Bryce, Kelso.

Read more: Why is it the rich never have to worry about climate change?

Drag is great, as is Edinburgh
BARRY Didcock is quite right to point out the genuine danger and malice behind the otherwise-absurd protesting of Drag Queen Story Hour in Edinburgh ("Moral panic: drag queens, the new front in the culture war", August).

This particular attack may have been more whimper than bang, but it comes in the context of a larger, years-long assault on the rights and safety of LGBTQI+ people in the UK, and seeing this kind of open bigotry aimed at one of our Fringe performers sends a chill down my spine.

As a long-time resident of Edinburgh, I've done my share of griping about the crowds and noises that flood the city in August, but at the end of the day I've felt mostly pride at the joy and creativity on display. I've been happy to raise my child here, so they can feel that they're part of a larger, more colourful humanity that holds space for everyone. These hateful protestors are the opposite of that feeling. They want this to be a smaller, duller place, and they want us to fear them so that they can make that happen.

But it turns out that Edinburgh really is better than that. Mr Didcock mentions Aida H Dee's one selfie in front of the protestors, but her photos from the day have far more to celebrate, including the counter-protestors smiling with their flags, a queue of families lining up for the sold-out show, and one of those anti-drag stickers drawn on to instead say "drag is great!" Which it is. It's all gorgeous, and I hope those kids enjoyed the show.
Erica Brooks, Edinburgh.

Change brings poor results

ONE feature of the TV coverage of the entertaining Women's World Cup has been that the presenters, commentators and analysts have been overwhelmingly female. Other than the rather triumphalist England reporting, there has been nothing wrong with that.

Sadly, in contrast, BBC Scotland, whether it be Sportscene, Sportscene Results or Sportsound inflicts females on us for these roles. While they are experts on the women's game, they lack the experience, knowledge or spontaneity of their articulate male counterparts such as Jonathan Sutherland, Michael Stewart or Steven Thomson.

On Sportscene Results Julie Fleeting has resorted to talking through those incoming results which are not Scotland's "big five" clubs, to disguise her lack of knowledge, and is frequently rescued by consummate professional presenter David Currie. Why has the BBC changed a format which worked well?

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife.