Sir, – The article about Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC mainly refers to her remarks about the dangers of unjust energy policies which might play into the hands of populists.
However, she also emphatically clarified her position on defence policies of a potentially independent Scotland. Referring to the war in Ukraine and the SNP’s decision in 2012 to support Nato membership, she said: “The events of the last three months have strengthened my conviction that this position is absolutely the right one.
“I am firm in my view that – coupled with a strong relationship with the UK – membership of the EU and of Nato will be cornerstones of an independent Scotland’s security policy.”
In this way an independent Scotland would “contribute to the collective security of our neighbours and allies”.
Maybe this commitment was meant to dispel fears that a break-up of the UK would turn Britain into a weak spot within Nato.
Yet it also might raise a few eyebrows among her anti-Nato, anti-UK, anti-EU supporters.
Regina Erich, Willow Row, Stonehaven.
Ferries could be better used
Sir, – Leaving aside why Lord of Isles has been withdrawn for second time within months of annual drydock to rectify safety equipment… the CalMac MD claims there’s no alternative and hands are tied due to stretched resources and the ambitious timetable.
Could better use be made of the existing fleet?
Isle of Lewis (capacity wasted at Barra) transferred to the Oban/Craignure route?
Isle of Mull transferred to Clyde (replacing elderly one off Arran), Isle of Mull based in Campbeltown to provide an all-year-round service (taking Kintyre/Islay commercial traffic of A83)?
Potential of three round trips to Brodick during the day?
Clansman returns to her original station Oban/Barra daily with calls at Tiree and Coll en route?
Isle of Arran transfers to Oban as dedicated Oban/Colonsay vessel, with commercial traffic to Tiree/Coll as required?
While Loti is off a reduced service Mallaig/Lochboisdale could be provided by Loch Nevis, her Small Isles sailings being replaced by Loch Bhrusda (normally in hot layup at Mallaig).
A lot of current operational problems have been built in by CMal’s insistence on building/designing each vessel for specific routes.
The Norwegian government’s transport systems, its ferries and tunnels and bridges, make us look like a Third World kindergarten.
A Robertson, Kimore, Oban.
What if choices are not good enough?
Sir – In last week’s Flying Pigs comment Tanya Souter said “Foo are ye supposed tae put the candidates in order o’preference fan ye dinna like naen o’them”.
Well, although this is a humorous tongue in cheek column, many a true word was said in jest.
What do you do if you think those offering themselves on the ballot paper are not who or what you want to represent you?
You can desist from voting and that is considered as apathy! You can spoil your paper but that does not really make a point, it might just be you did not understand the proportional vote or transferrable vote system.
Perhaps you do not want to have your vote transferred to a candidate you would never have voted for under a first past the post system.
Why can we not have a box to tick that says: None of the above?
If that option wins the ballot then it makes a clear case to run a by- election for that ward or constituency with some new candidates. At least that should give everyone a truly representative choice.
Alastair Armitstead, Achiltibuie, Ross-shire.
Liz Thomson should be proud
Sir, – So accustomed have we become to a news diet where people young and old tell of their struggles with issues such as cost of living and mental health, that to hear of veteran care worker Liz Thomson (Press and Journal, May 14) is like news from a different world.
A world where a lady with a positive outlook on life treats her age as just a number, and taking advantage of her continuing good health helps make life better for those less fortunate than herself and by their companionship keeps the threat of loneliness from her own front door.
Her “can do” attitude is a benefit to both herself and those she cares for. If only a greater number of those of less mature years would follow her example they would find their lives in a much happier place.
Less focus on “me and my problems”, greater consideration for those whose lives are blighted by more important issues.
Aye Liz Thomson, you should be proud of yourself.
Ivan W Reid, Kirkburn, Laurencekirk.
Politicians could have own island
Sir, – Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon have recently been on virtue- signalling overseas tours.
The former was in Eastern Europe giving warnings to Russia and the latter has been in the US pushing the climate agenda.
We should find a remote Pacific island where these types of politicians from all Western countries could permanently stay where they could engage in these types of activities and it could be televised round the clock. They could put on masks for the cameras and rub elbows to their hearts’ content.
We could provide a suitable number of solar panels and wind turbines to power their net-zero lifestyles.
And we could drop off food at suitable intervals; not too much planet-destroying meat of course.
Geoff Moore, Braeface Park, Alness.
Chance to show way to run council
Sir, – After years of floundering in the doldrums, the wind of change has blown the Aberdeen City Council into a new voyage, finally giving the SNP, with the help of support from the Lib Dems, the chance to show voters how a city council should function. Let’s hope this new SNP-run council will lead with young blood and new ideas to put the city back on track for the future.
Don McKay, Provost Hogg Court, Torry.