In 1945 my mother took me to the Monseigneur picture house in Princes Street, Edinburgh, to see cartoons. The newsreel showed Allied troops using flame-throwers to set fire to Japanese fighters, who then rolled on the ground to try to extinguish the flames. Much later I learned my father used flame-thrower tanks in Europe. They were in demand for clearing bunkers as the USA did not have such a weapon at that time. It is not to be wondered that by 1962 I was in Trafalgar Square demonstrating against nuclear weapons.
About this time it was the first year in the century in which no British serviceman died in service. Sadly for the supporters of peace, after Harold Wilson kept us out of Vietnam, Prime Ministers have continued to wage war. War is a good excuse for not dealing with problems at home. My comment to Ken Currie is that both world wars were used thus. We have been waiting a century for the solution on the question of the establishment of peace and democracy in Scotland, not four years as in the USA.
Regarding the letter from Alexander McKay, I am against war, and against being part of a country that not only wages war regularly but also marks that fact as part of its culture. The banner displayed by Extinction Rebellion was to remind us that we have already enjoyed the benefits of the energy derived from the trees, coal, oil and gas in our own country and must demonstrate the way that we can live without exploitation and the climate chaos that follows.
The link between exploitation, neo-colonialism, war and degradation of the environment must be explained to such as Ken Cross who, in using the word “cowardice”, displays a militaristic view. Does he wish our brave grandchildren to bomb the grandchildren of all the countries he mentions? That is just getting back to the point at which I started – watching a newsreel in 1945.
Ian W Forde, Main Street, Scotlandwell, Kinross-shire
Recently I read the SNP government's financial statement (GERS) for 2019/2020 – £66 billion in revenue, £81bn in public expenditure, giving us a deficit of £15bn. I then read in Letters (Nikita Romanovs, November 12 and Leah Gunn Barrett, November 14) that it ain’t necessarily so.
GERS, it seems, is a UK Government tool designed to dissuade us simple-minded Scots from voting for the SNP and Independence. My first thought on reading all this was – it's the SNP's own figures. Does this mean that the SNP are as simple minded as the rest of us or are they in collusion with the UK Government? Even worse, can it be possible that the SNP are themselves a UK Government construct?
Madness, I thought! I needed confirmation one way or another, I went back to the internet looking for a reputable and respected Scottish economist who may have said something about the SNP's figures. Thankfully I found a piece by the chair of Macroeconomics and Finance at the Adam Smith Business School. After reading the piece I am convinced. The SNP Government is not lying. The GERS are fact, cold hard fact.
If it's “myth” your correspondents are looking for – when was Scotland a member of the EU?
Stuart Stephen, Midtown House, Poolewe, Ross-shire
Leah Gunn Barrett said in her letter (14 November): "...when Scots decide to restore their nationhood it should be decided in one clean vote".
Has it not already been decided in one clean vote?
Donald Carmichael, Orchard Court, East Linton
Time to disrupt
Over the weekend Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross got hundreds of responses to this tweet: "The SNP promised that Salmond inquiry would have access to any document it needed. They lied. This is a cover-up and abuse of power." Few disagreed but the vast majority asked, in varying shades of printable, exasperated exhortations, "that's all very well, but what do you intend doing about it?” There were also many suggestions, ranging from sensible to over the top
I watched John Swinney’s BBC1 Sunday Politics interview and it’s obvious he won’t be releasing his government’s Salmond inquiry legal advice. Clearly, the SNP have something calamitous to hide but without evidence or an admission, a report which concludes "it is obvious the First Minister has broken the ministerial code and she should resign, it's just that we don't have any proof" will be as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.
The brutal truth is that the system and its current curators in the SNP, civil service, and possibly the legal system, are defeating the committee and opposition. The enquiry has failed, whatever the reasons and excuses, or will shortly.
Something "disruptive" needs to be done. There's talk of a vote of no confidence in the Lord Advocate, but how about the opposition walking out of the chamber en masse and making a statement to the world's press on the steps of Holyrood? Or another MSP accusing Sturgeon of lying, but this time refusing to leave the chamber and having to be carried out? That would surely get worldwide TV coverage. Or organise a mass demonstration? I promise you, I'll be there!
Scotland's political opposition has an opportunity to emulate our football team. Underachievers for 20+ years, increasingly ignored and ridiculed by the fans, then going from zeroes to heroes in the space of two hours last Thursday night.
What do they have to lose? Other than the election, and the Scotland we once had, that is.
Allan Sutherland, Willow Row, Stonehaven
The idea of a federal solution as a middle way between the constitutional status quo and independence has been mentioned several times recently (for example by Colin McAllister, Letters, 13 November).
This is reminiscent of “The Vow” which unionists proposed in the final days of the 2014 referendum debate and which was quickly reneged upon after the vote. Further, it would not allow Scotland to escape – as it must – from the dismally run UK economy. An indicator of this is the path of the pound Sterling.
Against the dollar, the value of the pound has fallen greatly over the years. For example, £1 bought $2.80 in 1967 (pre-devaluation) but buys only $1.31 today. Compared with the euro, the picture is similar. When the euro was launched as a coin-and-banknotes currency in January 2002, £1 pound bought €1.60. Today it buys €1.11. The pound in our pocket – not to mention the value of our salaries, savings, and pensions – would be worth 44 per cent more if the pound had kept pace with the euro over this period.
Far from the desire for independence being “emotional”, as some have suggested recently, our economic well-being depends on freeing ourselves from the dead hand of Westminster and running our own economy and our currency, to be a better store of value than the pound.
Bill McKinlay, Cockburn Crescent, Balerno
It seems that someone entitled the UK Government’s Director of Communications and called Lee Cain has resigned (John McLellan, Perspective, 14 November).
While the name Dominic Cummings has been well known for too long and for the wrong reasons, I wonder how many, even among those of us who keep up with public affairs, could have named Mr Cain before last week, or knew what he has communicated and with whom since his appointment last year?
John Birkett, Horseleys Park, St Andrews
In response to Ken Currie (Letters, 14 November), it is Boris Johnson who is not accepting the three electoral mandates the SNP has for a second Indy referendum. John McLellan (Perspective, same day) failed to mention last week’s Panelbase opinion poll that showed 56 per cent support for independence. This poll also sought views on the UK Internal Market Bill which the House of Lords Constitution Committee stated would change the current powers of the Scottish Parliament by allowing the UK Government to override laws passed in Edinburgh, by imposing new restrictions on the Scottish Government in relation to goods and services, and by removing powers from the Scottish Government on state aid.
When asked if these reductions in the Scottish Parliament's powers should only take effect if the Scottish people agree to them in a referendum, 66 per cent said Yes and 35 per cent said No
Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh
A great lady
While we are greatly saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend Dr Helen Cargill Thompson, we are delighted to see your excellent obituary(November 11). In particular, we appreciate the mention of the kind visit she made to our institution at the age of 73. It was in December 2006 and the memory of this visit (on behalf of Charity Education International of Glasgow) is still fresh in our mind, as we were highly moved by her support for our College Library and for her generous donation to renovate a dilapidated building which is now a property of our College. In recognition of her kindness we have named the Main Hall of this historic building The Helen Cargill Thompson Hall.
We greatly revere Dr Cargill Thompson here in Bangladesh, and are very grateful to Susan Mansfield for bringing her many kindnesses and generosity to our attention.
(Prof) ASM Monowarul Islam, Principal, UttarBangla University College, Lalmonirhat, Bangladesh
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