IN the busy day-to-day affairs of the world it is easy to forget the plight of ordinary human beings who are victims of an aggressive dictatorship.

Truss and Kwarteng, Sunak and Williamson, COP 27, the US mid-terms ... so much more headline-worthy than the Ukrainians who sought refuge here in Scotland. Judging from the (absence of) news coverage, you would think this problem had been solved.

Did you know that there is a ship at Leith still accommodating hundreds of Ukrainian refugees? They cannot get off without a small boat. How do they get to the doctor, dentist, clinic, school? There are families, lots of children, pregnant mums.

READ MORE: 500 empty properties to be renovated to house Ukrainian refugees

This is not a luxury cruise ship. There is no space. There are no facilities for a normal family life.

They are doing their best. An already overstretched health service is trying to cope. Social services are doing what they can.

This is a plea to everybody, the Scottish Government, the local authorities – this problem is not over.

What has happened? What is happening? What are the plans for the future? Who is doing what?

The media have moved on to other stories. The initial energy and action has waned. Yes, life is very hard for us all at the present time, but for genuine refugees living on a boat in an alien country, life is twice as bad.

We must not forget them.

Janet Lodge

THE UK economy remains fundamentally weak. This is unsurprising as it relies on rent extraction rather than real wealth creation. Since a currency has no intrinsic value but derives its value from the goods and services in the economy, the pound Sterling remains overvalued, even after its recent precipitous nosedives against the US dollar.

This presents a real and present danger to Scotland’s economic future when it finally ends this sham of a union.

That’s why the SNP leadership’s currency fudge is so dangerous. Committing to using Sterling for an unspecified period after a Yes vote puts Scotland at great risk when the run on Sterling happens, as it inevitably will.

READ MORE: How long will Scotland have to use the pound after independence?

Political independence is meaningless without economic independence. Tethering Scotland’s economy to Sterling prevents the Scottish Government from making any substantial public investment – in health, education, sustainable infrastructure, transport – and holds us hostage to the whims of the Bank of England, an institution that has never prioritised Scotland or its people.

And if Scotland wishes to return to the EU, current rules state that it needs to have its own currency for at least three years.

Finally, the SNP currency “plan” is, as Tim Rideout has said, a gift to Unionists. They need merely wait until a few weeks before any independence vote and have the UK Chancellor publicly announce that if Scotland votes to end the Union, he/she would instruct the Bank of England to disconnect Scotland from the UK payments system and freeze the reserve account of any Scottish-domiciled bank at a minute past midnight on Independence Day.

If the SNP is serious about liberating Scotland from its colonial oppressors, it urgently needs to commit to a Scottish currency as soon as possible after an independence vote.

Leah Gunn Barrett

DEATH is inevitable. Both you and I will die. Until then, I hope we both live full lives and that you are able to make plans for when you pass.

It’s important that everyone is able to make plans. Will you be buried or cremated? Who will you give your old possessions to? Who will keep your loved ones safe? What stories would you like told? But most importantly; when you die, how would you like to be remembered?

These plans prepare us for death. They give us a small amount of control and reassurance over a concept that, while universal, terrifies us. When we die, the sex on our birth certificate – and only our birth certificate – is used to inform our death certificate. It doesn’t matter if you have used hormones or surgery to change sex characteristics or if you have changed your gender marker on your passport, or on all of your day-to-day IDs; that won’t make a difference. Without a Gender Recognition Certificate, a trans person will be buried or cremated under the wrong gender.

READ MORE: Labour MSP Michael Marra seeks to water down gender reform bill

The Gender Recognition Act reforms offers trans people a less restrictive and less traumatic process to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate. Anti-trans groups say that single-sex spaces are under attack. But ask yourself, when have you last used your birth certificate to access a single-sex space?

This is the reason why I want a Gender Recognition Certificate, it has nothing to do with accessing single-sex services. My right to use single-sex services is governed under the Equality Act, not the Gender Recognition Act.

Misinformation on these reforms will continue to spread until they pass, and trans people will feel the real-world adverse effects of this. That’s why it is important to refocus on what these reforms are actually do. Because for many trans people, the only reason we need a Gender Recognition Certificate is so we can rest in peace.

Beth Douglas
via email