Scotsman Letters

If Scottish universities don’t carry out weapons research for the Pentagon, above, someone else will.If Scottish universities don’t carry out weapons research for the Pentagon, above, someone else will.
If Scottish universities don’t carry out weapons research for the Pentagon, above, someone else will.
The moral issue of receiving funding from military research sources actuates many questions (‘Revealed: Scottish universities receive £34m in Pentagon funding’, May 20). Its acceptability or otherwise leaves us between a rock and a hard place. If we don’t do it, someone else will.

We could ask ourselves why Scotland has been selected for this and whether other universities in other countries have also been selected.

It is the balance of power that will ultimately prevent one country, if it so wishes, from forcefully conquering another. Unfortunately, we have learned from history, that documented agreements, however, “official” or “international” are not always kept. So we need something in reserve.

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The other issue that it raises yet again is the need to involve a far wider spectrum of expertise and advice in order to evaluate all the implications that are arising from Scotland’s policy of free university education, exclusively for Scots in Scotland.

This is turning out to be self-defeating as there are ever fewer places for our own students, and we are increasingly losing some of our most talented young people; there are also other associated outcomes that are regrettable.

We might begin by researching all the various ways that other universities elsewhere in the democratic world are dealing with the principle that opportunity must be available to those with the talent and the commitment to pursue further education and achievement.

Perhaps, at the same time, we should remind ourselves that few goals in life are reached without making some sacrifices – and there’s nothing wrong with that. There has to be a more successful university model somewhere – and we should have the courage to make a change from ours.

Deirdre Kinloch Anderson, Longniddry

Futile net zero

The UK must withdraw from the futile fight against adverse climate changes. We don't need and cannot afford "net zero", a token gesture which wastes trillions. We are a "broke" nation and so must prioritise spending of our borrowed money usefully.

Most of the planet's manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) comes from China, India, Arabia, Russia and many more whose populations are a majority of the world's people. These nations' policies debar realistic curbs on CO2 output.

Even if the hypothesis were proved correct that increasing levels of CO2 are the main cause of adverse, dangerous climate changes, we in the UK could not usefully help to fight it. The UK releases negligible greenhouse gases, less than 1.3 per cent of the global total.

The costs of present and future plans for that, notably decarbonisation, will ruin the western countries complying with UN regulations for combatting exaggerated climate changes. Their finances and industries will collapse.

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There is no climatic benefit. Nations rejecting decarbonisation will gain huge financial and business advantages from saving trillions.

Are there UK politicos brainy and bold enough to take the UK out of this avoidable, futile fight against the risk of an adverse climate?

Charles Wardrop, Perth

SNP ‘democracy’?

​Leaping to the separatists’ defence, Joyce McMillan contrasts our righteous Scottish Government with those attending two recent conferences she calls “a strange festival of right-wing oddity and extremism” (Perspective, May 19).

Ms McMillan conveniently ignores how nationalists behaved outside the Conservative leadership hustings in Perth. Understandably, no mention either of fancy-dress “Highlanders” and ranting class-war demagogues who turn up to noisy “freedom” marches. So is this the kind of “liberal democracy” Ms McMillan supports?

Instead, we’re told that the SNP are engaged in “real-world politics” as opposed to “reactionary fantasy”.

She laments “The poisonous debate over gender recognition legislation, the puce-faced rejection in some quarters of recent Green influence on SNP policy, and the sudden absolute dismissal, by many influential voices including some in the SNP, of Nicola Sturgeon’s government’s substantive and often successful efforts to mitigate the worst impacts of recent Conservative austerity”.

It seems that anyone who criticises the former first minister and her laughable coalition partners is either a transphobe, a climate change denier, a traitor or (even worse) a Tory.

Nicola Sturgeon and Hamza Yousaf’s party has little in common with those continental social democrats they claim kinship with; this populist movement is fuelled by a volatile mix of nationalism, Anglophobia and far-left dogma, now incorporating fundamentalist environmentalism as well.

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Ironically, the European political organisation they most closely resemble are their Sinn Féin cousins across the Irish Sea.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

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