Sir, – Watching the news, heartbreaking as it is, one thing has become very, very clear.
For all those who say that the Army/Navy/RAF are too expensive, that we do not need deterrents. What happens now in the Ukraine can happen here, too. How many times were Russian airplanes in British airspace?
How many Russian ships were in British territorial waters? Not to mention submarines that no one can detect.
All those “scrambles” from the RAF in the latter years and months to chase them away were not for fun.
This Russian aggression in Ukraine is a very big wake-up call for all the countries all over the world.
Yes, we do need a properly functioning and well prepared defensive system for the whole of the United Kingdom.
A country without a proper defence is like a sitting duck.
I hope that all those opponents will be wide awake now and realise that the United Kingdom needs to be able to defend itself properly, on land, by sea and in the air.
Mrs Maaike Cook. Cash Feus, Strathmiglo.
Nothing is worth the silence of a nuclear winter
Sir, – From banging rocks together to banging atoms together, mankind has come a long way.
Mankind may even progress to our descendants regarding banging atoms together as crude as we now regard banging rocks together, but only if we do not blow ourselves all to kingdom come in the meantime.
“In a nuclear age, war itself is the enemy” – A nuclear winter may well be a quick fix for global warming, but no one will benefit if all that is left are a few cockroaches scratching their way over piles of radioactive rubble under a silence as yet unheard, engulfing our world.
One does not need to be a molecule short of a neuron to know the threat presented by Putin having his nuclear deterrent put on high alert. Not only that, but the ex-professional comedian president of the Ukraine has demanded membership of the EU and it seems they are about to grant it, and that will make Putin an invader of the EU. Are they nuts?
From 1667 until the break-up of the USSR, Eastern Ukraine was part of Russia, almost as long as Scotland has been part of Britain; Union of the Crowns 1603.
It is right that Ukraine should wish to retain its newly-won independence, but sometimes doing the right thing is entirely the wrong thing to do. Unfortunately, the whole world will pay the price.
Leslie Milligan. Myrtlehall Gardens, Dundee.
No more Russian products on shelves
Sir, – With this horrible situation in the Ukraine, I find it appalling that products on our shelves with Russian labels are still available for purchase.
I complained to a store on seeing “Blood Orange Russian Vodka” (a chilling name given the situation), and although they agreed with me, it had to be an order from HQ to remove them.
I have since contacted their HQ by phone, but only after a lengthy waste of time searching for and then finding out their emails were not working.
It’s a little thing, and I’m just one voice – but if we all complain to our regular supermarkets, at least it’s making a point. We did it during the Falklands conflict with corned beef.
Gerard Dignan. Denhead Crescent, Dundee.
Putin cannot be allowed to succeed
Sir, – The subject, not surprisingly, on the BBC Radio Scotland phone-in yesterday was how you were processing events in Ukraine, and one thing that has helped me during both this pandemic and Ukraine situation is that I have had a routine and yesterday, even if I wanted to, I could not listen to the radio, as the van I was in did not have a working radio.
Take The Floor and Your Requests with Gary Innes have been enjoyable listening when working on Saturday and Sunday evenings the past couple of years for me.
I was at St Monans Primary School when Brezhnev, then quickly followed by Andropov and Chernenko, were known as general secretaries of the Communist Party – this was followed in the early years of my time at Waid Academy by Gorbachev’s tenure, who was brave enough to bring about the ending of the USSR and the independence of places such as Ukraine. The people simply do not want to go back to the way things were in the USSR, although that appears to be President Putin’s dream.
It is completely impossible for me, not being in a proud independent nation of 44 million people as the population of Scotland is not close to 44 million and is not being attacked by Russian troops at the moment, to understand the situation going on at the moment in Ukraine.
However, having moved from Fife to north-east Scotland, and having finished deliveries yesterday in Newburgh up in Aberdeenshire, being in a situation gives you a better perspective on what it is like in an area. I had absolutely no idea how big Aberdeenshire was before I did this job, and it is almost a different language in this part of the world.
What the Russian president is finding out is what it is like to attack a sovereign, proud, independent state with solidarity of the rest of the world – and a president that, in my opinion, leads by example.
Putin is finding out it is far from the easy task he might have thought it was going to be.
His own Russian people are against this folly, so it is not just the rest of the world – and he simply cannot be allowed to succeed in his endeavour for the sake of democracy.
Peter Ovenstone. Orchard Grove, Peterhead.
The SNP should never assume that it would lead an independent Scotland
Sir, – The question of whether the UK Government would pay Scottish pensions rumbles on (February 23).
That, and a hundred other thorny topics, may or may not be addressed in the “Prospectus for Independence” currently being worked on by a team of civil servants.
By the way, is that a legal use of taxpayers’ money? Shouldn’t that really be for the SNP to pay for itself? When the prospectus is eventually published, the Scottish people should not believe any of it. It will have no validity.
At their conferences, the SNP says: “If we achieve independence we’ll have a Scottish currency, we’ll have better pensions, we’ll have a hard border with England (or maybe we won’t), we’ll do this, we’ll do that, etc, etc.”
The SNP seems to assume it would be running the country post-independence.
If independence ever did happen, a Scottish general election would have to be held at an early date thereafter.
After all, the SNP were elected to run a devolved administration, not to govern an independent nation.
Why would anyone vote for the SNP post-independence?
Their sole raison d’etre would have been achieved, so what would be the point?
They are essentially a single-issue pressure group who have demonstrated that they are not really interested in anything that does not progress the cause.
Anything they do touch crumbles to dust.
If they are in favour of anything, it seems to be centralisation and the “nanny state”.
New Scottish political parties of the left, right and centre would emerge post-independence, and the first Scottish Government would have to implement Scexit whether it liked it or not.
It might not go along with the SNP’s version of an independent Scotland and would not be bound by anything the prospectus had promised.
A vote for independence would be a leap down a rabbit hole into an unpredictable wonderland.
Absolutely anything could happen, and not much of it would be good for Scotland or the rest of the UK.
Chris Anderson. Osnaburgh Court, Cupar.
A Sunday lunch out is sacrosanct
Sir, – I was bemused by the article relating to restaurants operating a four-day week.
During Covid-related lockdowns, the hospitality sector complained about not being able to open, but now we have haute cuisine chefs seemingly revel in letting us know how often their restaurants are shut.
For any good restaurant, Sunday lunch should be sacrosanct and one of the week’s high spots.
They are both great opportunities for local people to enjoy a fine dining experience.
Andrew Duncan. Upper Largo, Fife.
Global harmony is sadly out of reach
Sir, – The Ides of March may yet prove of greater significance than even Shakespeare imagined.
Unfolding events in Ukraine seem to be leading to a head-on clash between Putin’s Russia and Nato countries.
It is a sorry indictment indeed of mankind that we seem unable to come to terms with the “ideologies” being practised by world governments. In fact, it seems that mankind has a long way to go to achieve global goodwill and harmony – a goal presently beyond reach.
Kenneth Miln. Union Street, Monifieth.
Government is still targeting testing
Sir, – Mr. Redfern’s letter repeats a number of errors.
First, the Scottish Government is actively working on the future testing plan for Scotland, which he implies that the Scottish Government are not.
What was admitted at the time of the UK Government announcement of the ending of free testing by Mr Johnson was the concern regarding the testing capability and whether it will be available.
It has been understood and reported that the cost of testing is high – if the Test and Trace programme run by Dido Harding is any guide, then there will be economies to be made.
Second, Mr Redfern seems to ignore what has been reported by the Scottish Government – that they are looking to target priority groups and provide free testing for those groups. Continued access to PCR and LFT test kits is needed.
He states the UK Government has provided £6.5 billion for additional Covid funding to the Scottish Government, which I do not doubt – perhaps he can define the time period that these monies cover?
After all, we are at an end of this pandemic – allegedly.
Alistair Ballantyne. Birkhill, Angus.