HAVING been fined £200 on March 13 at Stirling Court for taking peaceful, non-violent direct action against a convoy of hydrogen bombs, it is some consolation to see that the rest of the world takes a more honest approach to nuclear extermination than UK courts.

Yesterday, in New York, UN negotiations started on a global treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. Ignoring their much-proclaimed belief in multilateral disarmament, the UK Government will be absent.

Five months ago, on 27 October, 2016, 123 UN member states voted for a resolution on multilateral nuclear disarmament that called for negotiations to commence on a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

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With the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly endorsing this resolution in December, the stage is set for nuclear ban treaty negotiations, with further sessions planned for June and July.

The UK was one of only 35 states (mostly nuclear-armed and NATO allies) which voted against multilateral negotiations when the resolution was overwhelmingly adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2016. That negative vote does not mean these states can’t participate in this year’s negotiations. Britain was invited to participate in preparatory organisational meetings at the UN in February, but chose not to attend.

We in Scotland have a vital role to play in this matter. There is nowhere else in the UK Trident can operate from other than the Clyde bases. An independent Scotland with a written constitution banning nuclear weapons from its lands and waters means an end to Trident in the UK. We can then join the sane majority. We might after all have a future.

Brian Quail


Has Juncker not noticed indyref2 wave of support? 

I DO not fathom Juncker at all! He lambasts Tory politicians at Westminster as being wreckers in matters of Brexit, yet he says he has not seen a wave indicating Scots want independence (EU chief blasts Tory leaders over Brexit, The National, March 25).

In his justifiable tirade against the No 10 wreckers, he fails to acknowledge that Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a large margin. There is a majority of MSPs supporting the call for a new indyref caused by Brexit. Where are his political antennae? He is an enigma.

Instead of heaping praise on those who wish to remain and be Europeans true to the full EU, he remains “stumm”. Why?

Is he still afflicted by that often-encountered continental syndrome of equating Britain with England? The Anglophone who used England when he meant the UK or GB?

Perhaps he is the old guard of the EU, the EU of [Jose Manuel] Barroso and co who cannot see that Europe is changing; there are other emergent nations and former parts of former unions who want to join the EU or remain, in the case of Scotland. He must surely be aware of the accession of the former Warsaw Pact countries to the EU?

Scotland is a country emerging out of the post-imperial demise of the UK. Its parliament in Edinburgh is likely to vote to have another independence referendum, yet Juncker is oblivious to this.

It is the EU which has enabled small nations, like Juncker’s Luxembourg, to be treated as equals within the wider European polity. Perhaps he should start acknowledging that Scotland now wants to join in after having voted to remain and stop lumping us in with the wreckers south of the Tweed.

As Fiona Hyslop stated (Why we cannot give up on shared ties with the European community, The National, March 25): “We are determined to do all we can to remain part of the European community of nations.”

John Edgar

DEMOCRACY is indeed alive and well as demonstrated at Westminster and Holyrood following the recent tragic and horrific events in London where hate and death were indiscriminately spread. The justification of one fanatical and demented human being is impossible to understand.

It therefore behoves each and every one of us, who hold passionate views, to guard against giving insult or rancour when voicing them.

Therefore the Daily Telegraph’s strident headline borders on incitement (Nicola Sturgeon is a liar and a traitor ... off with her head, March 14) and was later changed (to Nicola Sturgeon, another treacherous Queen of Scots, has miscalculated). It also compared her appearance to “the love-child of a Bay City Roller and a Shetland pony”.

These inappropriate remarks may well be amusing to some readers, but they should nevertheless be aware that Police Scotland are currently investigating “a catalogue of horrific abuse” directed at the First Minister, including threats of violence and even death threats. Furthermore it is sickening to read of the personal and racial online abuse directed at all Scottish women politicians. In a world littered with lies and uncertainty, truth and honesty must be upheld and supported.

It should be noted however that this abuse is from a tiny minority from both sides of the divide and that such moronic ignorant behaviour will sadly always be there, but should never detract from the reasoned debate of the vast majority.

Grant Frazer

RIGHT-WING extremists are to blame for terrorism in Europe – Islamic right-wingers, that is. The European far-right is not a significant political movement, and is not, at present a concern, otherwise there would have been dozens of reprisal atrocities targeting Muslim communities across Europe.

The media’s promised backlash to terror never materialises. Those in the mainstream can help by being honest with the public and themselves and pull their heads out of the sand to acknowledge the relationship between Islamic doctrine and terrorism.

People can see for themselves this obvious link. Refusing to admit there are profound problems with Islam will eventually drive large numbers into the hands of the odious far-right, because they may be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as the only people who will “help”.

Bravely debating the true nature of Islam will probably upset many, but this must happen, or the far-right will gain the initiative, and actually become relevant again.

James Andrew Mills

I HAVE to thank Brian Quail for the reminder in The National (Don’t be taken in by the nuclear double-speak, March 27) which brought home to me something I had forgotten, to my shame. When I was a boy I saw, as did thousands of others, a Pathe newsreel of a young woman in Hiroshima, with the pattern of her Kimono imprinted on her back. This image stayed with me all of my life but, through the years, the obscenity that caused it – an atomic bomb – has become a word covered by the words “nuclear deterrent”. I would like to assure him I will never use them in that context again.

I think his lexicon should be taken up by all groups who advocate getting rid of such weapons, and printed as leaflets and distributed to everyone in Scotland to remind them what we are storing on behalf of Westminster and the US.

James Ahern
East Kilbride