I HAD the distinct feeling when reading David Bol’s article ("Back in the spotlight: Will anyone be watching as Salmond relaunches his broadcasting career", July 16) that there was quite an animosity towards Alex Salmond. Is there some kind of fear in the established press, Scottish or otherwise, that this competent and able politician just might come back to a prominent position in Scottish politics?

To be fair, there was a grudging reference in Mr Bol’s piece – “Salmond has never given up on being part of the movement that made him, or arguably he made" – to the fact that from ridiculed and small beginnings, Alex Salmond's SNP became a movement that was feared by the Westminster elite.

Now, the SNP, which I no longer vote for after 50 years of doing so, has become a shadow of its former formidable self. I can only assume that the seduction of power, which I regarded as being in the Westminster DNA, became apparent in Holyrood when Mr Salmond handed over in 2014.

The go-to re-hash of the trial in 2020 is a tired option. I might remind Mr Bol that, as he mentioned, this was thrown out, and Mr Salmond acquitted. Admittedly, he is no angel, but the shenanigans of the royals and of Tory politicians involved in corruption or sexual scandals seem small in comparison, so why pursue this tired attack on the only able and potential leader Scotland has had? He has always had the goal of independence as his raison d’etre.

Veronica Nelson, Edinburgh.

Whitham should be applauded

SNP Drugs Minister Elena Whitham may not be a household name but she seems to be aspiring to be one after her outspoken views on some of her colleagues.

Having apologised for her remarks on WhatsApp, she will no doubt be following the party line in future and keep stumm, a throwback to the Sturgeon era. I am sure that many members of the public will agree with many of her remarks, for example that Shona Robison is an uninspiring minister and that the Patrick Grady scandal was badly handled by the party. However, it seems that truth is always a casualty in the political world and we are none the better for it.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

Read more: Can anyone tell me what good monarchy actually does?

Don't deny cluster weapons to Ukraine

I'M very happy to concede that armed conflict should become an anachronism as the 21st century progresses, but we live still in a dangerous world full of aggressors we thought might be consigned to history books.

This does mean that we will witness the worst from mankind on occasion when weapons of all kinds are no longer for show.

When this happens the morality we strive for in our day-to-day lives occasionally must perch on the diplomatic fence lest we impose unrealistic limits on those who are forced to defend themselves. This is surely the case where the Ukrainian David faces the most belligerent of Goliaths.

Before we condemn Ukraine further for the use of cluster weapons let's consider for a moment the alternative. These weapons will be used to clear trenches of enemy soldiers who should not be there. Without them the same eviction will require Ukrainian soldiers to dismount from the relative protection of their vehicles with the inevitable increased risk to their safety rather than impose those risk on the aggressors.

We perhaps need to recognise that in war not all wrongs are equally wrong. It would then be easier for us to see that denying Ukraine the means to defend itself in the most appropriate manner for its circumstances as distinct from our best intentions would be a far bigger sin than giving the Ukrainians the means to clear those trenches which they have to face while we blather about international law.

Gus McSkimming, Ardrossan.

Sunak's blow to universities

WHAT on earth is the Westminster Government playing at by reducing the purpose of universities to producing job-ready graduates to become cogs in the country's economic machine to produce profits? That reduction is the final act of the philistinism of this Government which cannot see beyond the end of a balance sheet.

Universities have a much broader remit to fulfil than the economic goal central to Rishi Sunak's suggestion to restrict so-called 'low value" degrees.

Appreciation of knowledge for knowledge's sake, development of critical skills based upon evidence-based argumentation, widening the horizons of students to free them from the prejudices instilled in them by their environment and upbringing and expanding the frontiers of knowledge via independent research, all of those belong in the university compendium.

Personally, politically, culturally, socially and economically are where universities seek to improve the student bodies they cater to.

How did we arrive at this demeaning juncture voiced by those who should know better?

From small beginnings do big catastrophes grow.

When American comics with their cartoon strip stories with the minimum of printed reading material replaced the much more literate products of the DC Thomson stable they adulterated the cause of literacy. Radio was sidelined in our homes as soon as TVs became affordable to the masses. Print then was demoted by the power of pictures on the screens so predominant in society today.

Out of those developments grew the dilution of the importance of literacy.

Since then we have witnessed governments poking their noses into education with disastrous effects. And we have now seen the final dagger plunged into the heart of our education system with the pronouncement from Downing Street about the sole purpose of universities today.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Read more: Never mind the Tories, it's the SNP that is toxic

Why the nuclear test medal delay?

ON November 21 last year, at the National Memorial Arboretum, during a service to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons testing programme, Rishi Sunak announced to the assembled congregation the creation of a new medal, the Nuclear Test Medal, which had been approved by His Majesty the King. This medal would recognise and commemorate the service to the nation by participants in the UK’s nuclear testing programme.

When the nuclear tests veterans and families heard this announcement they were elated, and hoped that they would soon be issued with their medal, so that they could wear it during this year’s Remembrance Day parades throughout the country, especially as this year’s parade could be the last one for many of the veterans, due to the average age of the veterans being 85.

Since the announcement there has been very little progress on the medal. A number of MPs, including my own, have asked questions about when this medal would be issued. At first they were told by summer time, this was later changed to late summer, then the latest is sometime in the autumn, and in an answer to one question a date of November 22 was given. The Government has claimed that there are no delays in issuing this medal, and that there is a long-established process to design, approve and manufacture a medal. If there is a well-established process, you would expect that the medal could be produced and issued in a shorter timescale than the one offered by the Government. When asked it is unable to offer any reasonable cause for the delay, and only keep changing the final date.

Colin Moir, Peterhead.

The real threats to mankind

ONE must wonder at the mentality of politicians and climate alarmists. The Russians destroyed the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine. Now there are worries that the Russians could blow up the Ukrainian Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is now under Russian occupation, and release radioactivity.

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile after threatening "shocking" consequences to protest over what it called provocative US reconnaissance near its territory. Kim Jong vowed to further bolster his country's nuclear fighting abilities.

China sent navy ships and a large group of warplanes, including fighter jets and bombers, towards Taiwan. China has fired missiles over the island.

All these are immediate and real threats to mankind yet the green apostles with their climate change fixation still go on about global warming which may or may not happen by 2050 or even 2100. Eco-warriors should link up with the anti-nuclear protestors and all go and demonstrate in China, Russia and North Korea. If they succeed they will be treated as heroes; if they fail at least our roads, motorways, museums and sports and music venues will be demonstration and paint free.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

The CO2 conundrum

I AGREE with Peter Dryburgh (Letters, July 16) that CO2 is not a pollutant. There are various research papers which reinforce this view. A 2009 paper by Robert Essenhigh states that less than 5% of atmospheric CO2 comes from human activity. A 2017 paper by Hermann Harde states that 4% of atmospheric CO2 comes from human activity. So if climate activists want to put us back to the 1700s to get rid of that 4% how do they propose to deal with the other 96%?

Geoff Moore, Alness.

An old insult

I AM quite sure that you would never permit your columnists to use derogatory language pertaining to ethnicity, gender or sexuality and rightly so.

Why then was Andrew Tickell, in his otherwise well-written article, allowed to describe a member of the older generation as "geriatric" ("Arrested are now less likely to be named and shamed", July 16)? Is that his idea of media freedom?

One day Mr Tickell will awake to find himself no longer young. I can assure him he will not appreciate being called geriatric.

Isabel Clark, Tarbolton.