Readers’ Letters: Invasion shows UK partners are safer together

Faslane submarine base is a vital part of the UK’s defense systems (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

The fast jet and maritime surveillance plans based at Lossiemouth and other military assets guarding the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap are another vital part of our home defence. Who knows what their fate would be under a left-wing SNP government?

A fortnight ago, few people would have thought that Europe would soon see a devastating invasion of one country by another. The lesson which must be learned is that if it can happen once it can happen again, and without warning. I suspect that most supporters of the SNP know in their heart of hearts that it’s better to stick together in these dreadful times than strike out alone in a troubled world.

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William Loneskie, Oxton, Berwickshire

The current situation, apart from the danger of World War III, that is, proves that Britain should from now on focus vigorously upon strategic self-reliance in primary essentials such as food, fuel, key products and personnel – almost regardless of what happens elsewhere or to the environment.

Clean air is a fat lot of use if you are freezing or starving to death! We are sitting on enough fuel to last us while we develop adequate clean, green and reliable alternatives; and what is the point of relying upon others to sell us food, fuel or provide the skilled labor that we could and should be sourcing internally?

In principle, using the most modern methods we have enough land to feed ourselves adequately. Let’s convert those golf courses, race tracks, cricket pitches, country estates and subsidized “carbon sink” woodlands of alien timber back into arable food farms. Let’s banish heavily subsidized methane generating sheep from the hills and highlands and replant the land with appropriate indigenous carbon sink timber for fuel, building and flood prevention. Let’s get on with phasing out beef and dairy cattle in favor of the latest plant-based alternatives.

We took extreme measures during the Second World War when the enemy tried to starve us out by destroying ships bringing us the imported food upon which we had been hitherto foolishly relying. Our national health has probably never been better than when intelligent food rationing was applied. So what if we lacked bananas and camembert? I still, at 84, have all my teeth thanks to sugar rationing! Let’s learn that lesson, bite the bullet (carefully!) and start to stand on our own feet as best we can in an increasingly unreliable world.

Once we have a strong base of self-reliance and confidence we can recommence engaging with the wider world, but on our terms.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Might I suggest she rethink her unfriendly stance towards the North Sea Oil and Gas industry, which has discouraged investment in Scotland, thrown away thousands of job opportunities and paved the way for heavier reliance on oil and gas imports from countries including Russia?

Caleb Whiteside, Boddam, Aberdeenshire

Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar’s appointment of Brian Wilson as chairman of Scottish Labour’s Energy Transmission Commission is a masterstroke. He is an expert in the field, his writing by him on the topic always includes pure common sense, he is widely respected and he knows how to actually deliver on policy. The Harvies, Slaters and virtue signaling Sturgeons of this world will be left trailing in his, and Scottish Labour’s, wake from him.

No doubt this was planned before the Ukraine crisis but not only is it timely, it is hopefully one of the first of many wake-up calls, on energy, defense and the sheer realities of life, that Putin has rubbed in our faces.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

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Now that Sir Keir Starmer says he is “laser focused” on winning the next election he admits that encouraging Scottish Labor to vote with Conservatives to try to unseat SNP candidates might be seen by Scots as a betrayal of all their beliefs. Does he not realize Scottish Labor voters now want to govern themselves?

Older members of Scottish Labor wanted the same thing. Keir Hardie talked about self-determination. Donald Dewar thought that when he managed to get Westminster to allow Scotland devolved powers and set up the Scottish Parliament, Scots could show that they could govern well without the full powers that only Independence brings. He reckoned without the inherent Unionism of the Tories and the reluctance of Westminster to let any power slip away. Labor voters prefer to vote for candidates who support Scottish Independence rather than follow English Labour’s focus on winning back the English seats they have lost to the Tories and who resent what they regard as undue attention paid to Scotland. This leaves Sarwar’s Labor in a dire position.

I used to vote Labor because I thought they would bring social justice and Independence. I was wrong on both counts. Now I am a member of the Scottish National Party and was delighted when the Green Party joined us. Their vision of a richer, greener, more equal Scotland is the one I will vote for despite all Starmer’s rhetoric.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh

It was most interesting to read an SNP spokesperson commenting on Labor fielding a former leading Orangeman as a candidate at the upcoming council elections (your report, 5 March). It was claimed that the Orange Order was “a divisive organisation”.’

Be that criticism as it may, for many decades in Scotland by far the most divisive force has been the unbridled nationalism of the SNP. The country is split down the middle with levels of rancour and unpleasantness unheard of or recorded in recent centuries. For the SNP to accuse anyone of creating divisiveness brings self-awareness and lack of any sense of irony to a new and previously unplumbed level.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Doug Clark writes that bombing Dresden was “an irrational act of mass destruction” (Letters, 5 March). While some historians criticize it, and Churchill had doubts, Dresden was not just a nice town making porcelain milkmaids but a basis for Germany’s 1938 invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1944/45 it was a vital military and production center as well as a transport, admin and communications hub.

Unlike those making such decisions, we know when the war ended. An expert study forecast it lasting into November if Germany stalled the Soviet advance. How many more servicemen, prisoners of war and civilians would have perished in Europe and the Far East, how many more millions gassed in the Holocaust?

Nor did they know how advanced Germany’s nuclear program was, but they knew all too well of the emerging Holocaust horrors, and of V1 and V2 rockets devastating London. Despite D-Day’s success and Allied progress, Germany’s “honourable” military were committed to their death and destruction to the bitter end.

Far from “irrational”, after five years of hellish war and 12 years of Nazi brutality it was very reasonable to consider such bombing might degrade civilian and military morale, and damage Dresden’s facilities, thus enabling victory in the shortest time – by assisting the Soviet advance as some strategists wanted, or before Stalin’s troops advanced too far west, as others preferred. If area bombing helped (War Cabinet policy since 1942) then so be it, however regrettable its effects.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

We should all be shocked at the recent healthy life expectancy statistics published by the ONS. Amongst males this is less than 54 years of age in some areas, with some areas showing life expectancy a massive 23 years lower than others. At my age this is worrying!

Health is fully returned and, given that life expectancy in Scotland has dropped by over a year counter to the rest of the UK, which showed no real change, the blame for this can only fall at the feet of the Scottish Government. They cannot blame Westminster.

While on the subject of health, how come Covid cases are rising in Scotland – the most cautious of regions – while falling elsewhere in the UK? Nicola Sturgeon loves to compare Scotland with England at any opportunity but I suspect she will be glossing over these less than flattering facts. I just hope that the SNP life expectancy is shortened by this shameful record.

I read with interest Allan Massie’s reflective take on Scotland’s current position in this season’s Six Nations rugby tournament (5 March ).While agreeing with many of his conclusions, I was surprised by his closing remark that “it’s no longer enough just to beat England” . With respect, when was it ever enough just to beat England? As I understand it, there are three prizes on offer in the tournament – ​​the Triple Crown, the Championship and the Grand Slam, none of which are achieved by beating England. For all the hype, the Calcutta Cup (awarded for winning one match) is meaningless in terms of the tournament except, of course, to those who view victory over England as a successful season.

David Edgar, Symington, South Lanarkshire

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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