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Readers’ letters: Taunting the Russian bear will prolong conflict in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Sir, – I have watched the evening news and was disgusted to hear the leaders of the G7 (the seven richest nations) mocking Vladamir Putin, the Russian president.

It is bad enough that Russia is engaged in a war with Ukraine without the leaders of some of the most powerful countries in the world engaging in this type of rhetoric.

How do they think that Putin is going to react to this attack on him?

He is going to go to the Russian people and show once again that the West is the enemy of Russia and that his invasion of the Ukraine is justified.

Remember that not every country is against the Russsian invasion, including Hungary, which is not only a member of Nato but also the EU.

We need to totally support Ukraine with weapons and any other means at our disposal, but we should be doing it quietly and not telling the world what we are doing.

All we are doing is playing into Putin’s hands.

Hugh Millar, Castlegreen Road, Thurso.

Contribution to the unionist cause

Sir, – For some reason Chris Deerin’s piece reminded me of a game we played as kids. To play you got a potato from your mother and stuck plastic arms and legs in it.

Anyway it could be Boris Johnson was right when he suggested Ian Blackford’s nonsensical ranting was the glue that ensures Scotland remains in the UK.

Keith Fernie, Drakies Avenue, Inverness.

‘Crofter MP’ needs to wind his neck in

Sir, – Your report on under-pressure SNP leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, facing allegations including the bullying of an SNP staff member, which he dismisses as a smear campaign.

Added to that is the criticism already logged for protecting the MP Patrick Grady who already admitted he was at fault, and also Mr Blackford having failed to ensure a duty of care towards the un-named victim.

Mr Blackford historically, and as reported in the Spectator in 2021, had issues while challenging Charles Kennedy, the well-known and softly-spoken intellectual and sitting MP who had health issues.

This weakness was remorselessly exploited by Mr Blackford in his “where’s Charlie?” campaign slogan and, as verified by Brian Wilson in the Spectator, the SNP branch in the area branded the MP a quisling.

So, as we watch PMQs weekly, this hectoring and bullying tone from Mr Blackford is on show and observers see a red-faced man in full flow haranguing another.

The undeniable impression is of an angry man shouting loudly to get his own way and someone who would not suffer fools gladly.

Being cool, calm and collected is not in the gift of this simple crofter MP, as he describes himself, so maybe he should unburden himself of the role and do us all a favour to allow reason to prevail in these trying times.

Angus McNair, Clochan, Buckie.

Stop gassing about shale extraction

Sir, – In light of the conflict in Ukraine, Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced in April that a review would be conducted by the British Geological Survey (BGS) into the moratorium that currently prohibits shale gas fracking.

The BGS should be reminded that Kwasi Kwarteng said on June 23: “We cannot – and will not – be blackmailed by dictators with their hands on the gas taps. Energy produced in Britain is the safest option.”

The BGS should also be reminded that Friends of the Earth (FoE) are not to be trusted. FoE said fracking used toxic chemicals, that extracting shale gas caused cancer, water to catch fire, poisoned underground water, increased radioactivity and caused “earthquakes”.

The chemicals used are sand and a small amount of soap and bleach found under every kitchen sink. Liverpool University equated the mild tremors experienced during fracking trials as equivalent to sitting down heavily on an office chair.

The Advertising Standards Authority said that all of FoE’s scaremongering allegations were unproven and misleading.  BGS must quickly allow shale gas extraction.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow.

Where’s the SNP’s indyref2 mandate?

Sir, – I just don’t understand why pro-UK politicians blithely accept that the SNP have a “mandate” for a second referendum as a result of last years’s Holyrood elections.

A prime example yet again was Douglas Ross stumbling his way through a persistent challenge from Martin Geissler on the BBC Sunday show.

Why don’t they just say: “Look, the SNP only have a majority because of six Green MSPs who between them only got 34,990 constitutency votes from Scotland’s 4.3m registered voters in last year’s Holyrood election. In fact, one million Scots voted for Brexit in 2016 compared to the 641,000 who voted SNP in this year’s council elections, so how is any of that evidence of a desire for another referendum?”

Instead they rely on the tired old “people were asked in 2014 and they said No” response.

Allan Sutherland, Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Brexit shambles a last straw for Scots

Sir, – Why are Westminster politicians and the media afraid to mention Brexit when they try to explain rising prices, workers’ pay strikes, the cost of living crisis and the looming recession? Apparently only the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine are to blame, according to the imploding premiership of Boris Johnson and his dysfunctional government.

The fact is the disastrous UK Brexit deal has increased costs and our ability to do business with the world’s largest single market on our doorstep, the EU. Yet the misinformed and lied-to millions still cry “freedom from Europe”, except in Scotland.

From possibly the worst prime minister ever to a Tory party we did not vote for and being dragged out of Europe, only pessimism and negativity are on offer from the Unionist “No” campaign, with promises and lies an added bonus.

Scotland must leave this damaged-beyond-repair union with England and carve once more its own name in the world as an independent British Isles and European nation.

Grant Frazer, Cruachan, Newtonmore.

Maternity services a growing problem

Sir, – I read and hear with much interest about the maternity unit situation at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin and about the possible travel situation for expectant mothers.

I really sympathise with all concerned and hope that this situation will be put right soon.

But spare a thought also for the expectant mothers up in Caithness that for many years now have had to face travelling to the nearest maternity unit in Inverness – a possible 110 to 120 miles away.

Raymond Macdonald, Proudfoot Road, Wick.

Ballot result should stand

Only seven weeks ago, I was asked to give up my time to vote in the local elections for which I was given a document that listed numerous hopefuls who wished to be entrusted with the running of our once-great city.

May I suggest that, from memory, I cannot recall the name David Dunne being on the ballot paper on which I voted for the party who were committed to reinstate bus services to Union Street.

We now find out that David Dunne works for Aberdeen City Council as a planning officer and wishes to overturn the result of the election in which thousands of people were of the same opinion as me – namely, for the return of the buses.

If this gentleman overturns a democratic vote I will find better things to do with my time – watching Coronation Street would be a better option.

James Noel, Leggart Terrace, Aberdeen.

Kill movement, stifle economy

News that Sir Keir Starmer is ruling out freedom of movement within the EU if Labour wins the next general election is disappointing, but not unexpected.

Labour is now clearly just as bad as the Tories on Brexit, which is exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis, costing Scotland’s economy billions of pounds in lost trade and harming our NHS through increased expenses and staffing shortages.

Free movement, alongside the wider benefits of EU membership, are essential to growing Scotland’s economy, boosting living standards and supporting the staffing of our public services. As a result of Brexit, it is clear that the UK is lagging behind other countries.

The irony was that Sir Keir’s announcement was made at the same time as a report from the Resolution Foundation found that Brexit has damaged Britain’s competitiveness and will further reduce productivity

It is also set to leave the average worker poorer than they otherwise would have been, with real pay set to be £470 per worker lower each year on average. Reinforcing these horrendous economic statistics, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the UK is set to have the lowest economic growth of the G20 nations next year, except Russia.

We deserve better than this economic sabotage, and it is heart-breaking to see freedom of movement, one of the EU’s greatest achievements, stolen from Scotland despite our vote to remain.

Alex Orr.

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