Readers' letters: West must guard against Putin’s modern axis

In “Putin plans construction of new warships” (2 August) Vladimir Isachenkov refers to the West’s “post-Cold War” relations plunging since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. It is surely time to stop using that naive term.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the modernisation of Russia's navy (Picture: AFP/Getty)Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the modernisation of Russia's navy (Picture: AFP/Getty)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the modernisation of Russia's navy (Picture: AFP/Getty)

The Cold War is not over. It merely paused in the 1990s, resumed almost immediately from 2001 under Putin, and is now worse than ever with the democracies facing at least three adversaries, all variations of fascism and effectively forming a new axis – Russia, China and Iran – along with the wider Taliban/Al-Qaeda/Isis/Boko-Haram groups, not to mention near-satellite states like Belarus, North Korea and Syria, soon to be joined by Afghanistan.

Since 1991, naively or deliberately, the West has become dependent on Russia for energy; has handed over much of our technology, productive capacity, military prowess and academia to China; and has allowed the immigration into our countries of no-one knows how many thousands or more of pseudo-religious fanatics, thereby bequeathing to our children and grandchildren an even more dangerous world, probably lasting throughout this century, than we faced from 1945-1990.

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Let us hope these generations, without succumbing themselves to more authoritarianism, can avoid this Cold War (albeit with local hot war outbreaks) becoming a full-scale hot war.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

Don’t expect truth

So the SNP administration is going to arrange a Scotland-only enquiry into its own handling of the pandemic, Nicola Sturgeon’s decision making and particularly into care home deaths, so much higher proportionally than elsewhere in the UK. And just what are the chances of this process being open, transparent and devoid of SNP influence?

Somewhere between nil and zero, I suggest.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Lip service

One trip to Glasgow has been enough to convince me there will be increased Covid restrictions sooner rather than later. Far too many people, if bothering to wear masks at all, do so only covering the mouth especially the young.It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "lip service" – except it is everyone who will pay for their stupidity.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Green indeed

I am at a loss to understand why Nicola Sturgeon made her deal with Holyrood’s handful of Greens. Surely there is nothing she can now do that she could not have done by purchasing Patrick Harvie’s support on a case by case basis. Instead she has a green tail, representing 4 per cent of Scotland’s population, wagging her nationalist dog.

In addition, the Greens have been permitted opt-outs on a whole range of issues. If the SNP continue to make a Horlicks of finance north of the Border, the Greens, whose own economic illiteracy includes an implacable hostility to growth, carry no responsibility. They are in effect both in government and opposition simultaneously.

To have any hope of independence, Sturgeon must get Middle Scotland on board, but that is perhaps the most cautious part of the electorate.

It has always been resistant to the kind of leftist, virtue-waving radicalism which cares little about consequences and treats the fears and reservations of “little people” with superior, bourgeois contempt.

John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife

Insulting sentence

Sandeep Patel beat 97-year-old Annie Temple unconscious, then strangled her to death (your report, 23 August). He has never shown a flicker of remorse, so why was he not jailed for life with no possibility of parole? What else did he have to do? He will probably fool our eternally-gullible parole board after 20 years in prison and walk the streets totally free.

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Why are our judges unwilling to impose real life sentences on criminals whose crimes cry out for serious retribution? Scottish legal "justice" as its finest. Despicable.

Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife

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Park this idea

Can anyone explain to me why an SNP-Green government is spending over £26 million of precious NHS money (our taxes) to buy out hospital parking PFI contracts at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, diverting vital funds which could go to patient care and reducing the absurdly long waiting lists we are experiencing at the moment?

How is this at all compatible with reducing our carbon footprint? We will also have to fork out even more, for parking attendants to ensure that patients and visitors (some of whom will be on low incomes) get space. Otherwise all the bays will be taken by hospital staff and those that aren’t may even be used by commuters as a convenient free park and ride!

Brian Carson, Edinburgh

Protect planet

Clark Cross’s sarcastic response to Piers Torday’s comment about the biodegradable potential of his new children’s book is both a petulant claim that “the big boys did it”, and a denial of our joint responsibility for the mess which we’ve made of our once pristine planet (Letters, 23 August).

Claims that volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities are untrue. In the far distant past, volcanic eruptions have been massive, and may have released enough CO2 to warm the planet, but scientists believe that the subsequent warming may have been due to methane released when lava heated coal deposits, rather than CO2 being emitted from the volcanoes.

Human activities such as the burning of oil, coal and gas, and deforestation, are now the primary cause of the large increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. Even though natural emissions are much larger, human sources of carbon dioxide emissions have upset the natural balance by adding extra carbon dioxide without removing any. The current levels have not been seen for the last 3 million years – and we’re responsible.

Only half of the 37 billion tonnes of CO2 which humans release into the atmosphere are absorbed by the natural cycle. The rest remains in the atmosphere. That’s a significant amount, and we ignore this imbalance at our peril.

We have no right to destroy our planet, and to drive the multitude of other species with which we share it into extinction.

Carolyn Taylor, Dundee

Ferry folly

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The news that the SNP Scottish Government is paying £360,000 to a German company to help create several small vehicle and passenger vessels is welcome. However, it has to be asked why this route was not taken at the beginning of contracting out the building of two ferries. As the committee investigating the catastrophe concluded, deciding to build ferries which would accommodate 950 passengers was a “wild overprovision”.

We all know that the SNP want to be seen as the best, the first and the greatest in the world but this was just folly. Why should it take the wasting of millions of taxpayers’ money and a delay or five years to realise that what the islanders need are reliable transport, not a photo opportunity for SNP ministers?

Jane Lax, Aberlour, Moray

Advice please

We hear yesterday that yet another expert has been appointed by the SNP to “advise” ministers. Professor Linda Bauld has become a fixture on TV during the Covid crisis and comes across as an engaging personality.

But, my question is, why are SNP ministers appointed when rather obviously they have little or no experience necessary to properly fulfil ministerial responsibilities and are therefore constantly in need of permanent advisers, all, of course, at the expense of taxpayers.

Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

Change voters

What on earth is the SNP obsession with trying to get as many refugees as possible to settle in Scotland. Anyone more cynical than myself may wonder if they see lots of potential Yes voters among them. Could it be a case of "if you can't change the minds of the voters you have, then change the electorate"?

G Miller, Bo'ness

Neil needed

How I long to see the SNP’s Finance Minister, Kate Forbes, in a 20-minute session of questioning on her party’s economics and plans for currency and pensions and much else in a separated Scotland. The questioner, of course, must be Andrew Neil. There would be no place for her to hide. All the obfuscations and ridiculous assertions and evasions would be laid bare and she would not be facing some tame semi-nationalist interrogator but the real thing.

Mr Neil, of course, famously skewered Ms Forbes’ boss, the First Minister, and for those old enough to remember, her predecessor as SNP leader was also left squirming. The joke used to be that Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon hid behind the sofa every time Andrew Neil appeared on TV.

Many a true word indeed is spoken in jest.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Coyote capers

To slow global warming, Steuart Campbell (Letters, 24 August) is in favour of freezing the Arctic, but how much heat would be generated by such a process, and how in turn would that heat be dealt with?

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I am in favour of a large mirror to reflect the heat from the sun, the success of which was demonstrated by Mr Wile E Coyote in an episode of Road Runner some time ago. This mirror is already in stock with the Acme Corporation.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross, Perth and Kinross

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