HEDGEHOG Awareness Week runs from April 30 to May 6 this year.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society organise Hedgehog Awareness Week every year to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how easy it is to help them. We give tips on how to make sure our prickly friends stay safe.

This year efforts are focused on “Hedgehog Heroes” where we ask councils, tool hire companies, etc, to place waterproof stickers on their cutting machines to remind operatives to check for hedgehogs before starting work.

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With hedgehog numbers in decline, getting involved is more important now than ever.

Fay Vass, Chief Executive British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Ludlow

IN response to a quite often voiced objection to Scottish independence: that we would leave one union to be part of another: We all know that no organisation is perfect, but I think that the United Kingdom is less so than the EU. One has its origins as a shoddy, shady, charade of corruption and collusion in a time 300 years ago, when human rights were yet to be invented and the barricades of the Bastille were still to be stormed.

The Act of Union is a prime candidate for retrospective rescinding with reparations. The other is founded in and bounded by, modern civilised conventions and seems to have kept the competitive and warring nations of Europe at peace for the first time in thousands of years of history.

The small, independent – some members of the EU, some not – countries of Europe are all prosperous and proud. If that seems selfish, Nicola Sturgeon has already extended an invitation to anyone in rUK who wishes to join us.

It is surely self-evident that it is better to be of equal status and on equal terms with other people than to be subordinate. It is better to be of equal status and on equal terms with co-operating states than, while supposedly as a nation, to be treated carelessly and cavalierly, as a mere region of one of them.

I look forward to a Saltire on the desks in the New York UN General Assembly and at the Plenary Sessions of the EU in the Strasbourg Hemicycle.

Victor Moncrieff, Lanark

THERESA May claims she will be a “strong ” negotiator in Brexit. Strange. She is feart to take part in TV debates with the other party leaders in this GE contest. She cannot think on her feet, refuses to give answers in the Commons and grins like a eejit when cornered. The 27 members will have an easy run! All the EU need to say in negotiations is Non, Nein, etc.

May has no trump card. The UK is negotiating from the outside now. No veto now in the Council of Ministers in Brussels. May’s only veto is to leave with nothing and that self defeating.

The best deal is to be within the EU. The Brexiteers are already out of the Single Market and the Custom’s Union. The great hope that her other “trump” in the White House has put Westminster down the pecking order and will deal with the EU first.

May, a strong leader, debater and negotiator? Delusional. Why does she not show it in party leaders debates on TV?

As the Scots say: “Too feart”.

John Edgar, Blackford

WHILE I understand the points being made by Jim Taylor (Letters, The National, April 27), he is wrong when he states that the state pension is not a benefit. As any welfare rights officer will tell you, State Retirement Pension is what’s known as a contributory benefit. In addition, while it is often (though by no means always) based on National Insurance contributions having been paid, it’s not “paid into” like a private pension – the state pension is in fact paid for by current taxpayers, like all benefits.

Jim Taylor may also be interested to know that Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and the incapacity benefit known as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can also be contributory, not only means-tested. The social contract regarding these benefits has also been broken: for example, regardless of how many NI contributions a sick or disabled person has paid while in work, they will only receive contributory ESA for a year at most – one of those lovely measures brought in by the Coalition government.

Also, anyone claiming JSA or ESA, contributory or otherwise, can find the safety net completely withdrawn from them at the drop of a hat – through sanctions, fitness-for-work decisions, etc. The post-war settlement regarding social security is being daily eroded and the state pension looks set to be simply the latest target.

Mo Maclean, Glasgow

I SUGGEST you might consider checking Mrs May’s £1250 better-off claim on pensions. While pensioners will no doubt know better than most how much or how little their basic state pension has gone up or down by, this is an area where there has been significant changes recently in entitlement rules and calculations for pensions and it is likely to be a very live issue in the election campaigns.

Peter Gorrie Edinburgh KEVIN McKenna’s article of April 26 devoted some column inches to the BBC’s Breakfast Show and its “semi subliminal” undermining of Jermy Corbyn and Labour. Coincidentally, you recently printed a letter from myself regarding the same type of news reporting by BBC Scotland against the SNP.

I find it perplexing that it required unfair treatment of Corbyn to prompt Kevin to speak out. I would suggest that the Scottish press corps have been for years, remarkably short-sighted regarding BBC Scotland’s anti-SNP bias, possibly due to a perception that Labour was the beneficiary.

However, when, by your silence, you make political bias by the publicly funded broadcaster acceptable, you cannot cry “foul” when further down the line they then come for you.

With strident, right-wing, London-based rags constantly baying blood, urging Scots to get back in their box, and a Westminster Tory declaring that the BBC function is that of a state broadcaster, Scottish democrats should be afraid, very afraid.

M Cordell, Broughty Ferry