I NOTE a great deal of speculation as to whether Corbyn might be persuaded to agree to a Section 30 referendum if the SNP supports Labour in forming a UK Government.

This speculation is a denial of logic. If Labour requires the support of the SNP to command a majority at Westminster, then grants an independence referendum which decides that Scotland is quitting the UK, Labour’s majority vanishes. The phrase “turkeys and Christmas” springs to mind.

The known fact that Corbyn supports nuclear disarmament for every country in the world except Scotland, and is in favour of independence for every country in the world except Scotland, should tell the cloud cuckoo land speculators something. It is not going to happen!

If Scotland is relying on the good sense or good will of Corbyn, the independence movement can shut up shop and go home.

Les Hunter

IT must be about a decade since Alex Salmond pinned on his lapel badge along with the then leaders of Scotland’s dwindling parties in support of the “Just Say NO “ campaign. This much hyped campaign predictably went on to achieve the square root of zilch.

My views on drugs have never changed for decades. It has always seemed to me a simple way forward, to just legalise these types of weekend (recreational) type drugs, and be done with all the criminal aspects of the stuff.

Today’s punters have no recourse but to seek out shady known people in their home town to get what they can. When they can’t buy weed (or skunk, which is the norm now), a dance pill, or a little packet of cocaine to make the party swing, they are offered something else instead, and that town may have to bury several of its young people the following week. It is just a question of how long we are prepared to put up with the deaths?

For pity’s sake let us decide to allow the pharmaceutical industries to sell us similar types of these substances in the chemist shops, with printed information on dosage and warnings about overdoses and what to do in an emergency.

By all means put an age limit on the purchaser as we do with alcohol, or even a register of users in place, but let us end the criminality where millions of pounds are made every day while our youngsters die like this.

Factories in the Far East are always busy creating substances that will sail underneath the radar as plant food or similar to sell in dodgy shops. We can stop this now!

After our divorce we need to move on this with urgency. We should lead the rest of Europe on this problem. We do not need further knee-jerk reactions to the drug problem, we need to look at the problem behind the headlines and the funerals.

Roddy Maclean

YOUR item “Scots ministers urged to ban pig crates” (April 18) unfortunately relates another example of the leaden-footed approach the Scottish Government has to many animal welfare issues.

The expression “we are committed to the highest possible welfare standards…” is the normal response of ministers when challenged on failures to properly respond to serious welfare concerns. Similar expressions of “commitment” with little effect have been made about live animal transport. Elsewhere, the Scottish Government remains steadfast in its support of expansion of fish farming, despite this being one of the most unsustainable and unnatural methods of growing protein (chemical input, marine pollution, mass deaths events – nine million fish dying prematurely since 2016).

Who can defend the practice of restraining sows for weeks on end unable even to turn round? The fact that this is tolerated shows how far industrial agriculture has departed from allowing animals in its stewardship from behaving normally; all in the pursuit of profit and chasing low prices for the consumer.

Forget the claims of ministers and many farmers that we have the best standards of animal welfare in the world. For example, Sweden has banned caged sows and only 12% of hens are caged in that country (respective estimates for the UK are 53% and 37% , according to Compassion in World Farming). Germany and Austria also have far lower levels of caged hen production.

Recently, the Scottish Government has defended its guidance on the welfare of meat chickens on the basis that it is similar to advice agreed for England and Wales, “which has been accepted by animal welfare groups such as Compassion in World Farming (CIWF)”. However, three welfare groups – The Humane League UK, Eyes on Animals and Animal Aid – strongly criticised the failure of ministers to meet their concerns.

The reference to CIWF is interesting as they have confirmed that they are not satisfied that the guidance in England and Wales goes far enough to achieve adequate standards. For example, CIWF believe stocking densities are far too high, and the intensive regime designed to produce slaughter weight by 38 days results in many of these young birds suffering painful leg disorders. According to CIWF: “This is one of the worst industrial farming’s welfare problems. Far-reaching reforms would be needed to convert the industrial broiler sector into one with humane animal standards.”

So what do minsters mean by “commitment”? Is it merely a PR stance? A pledge that withers fast in face of challenge by vested monetary interests?

If you support low-cost food (why do we value it so lowly?), it follows that you accept some element of animal cruelty. Consumers and governments are complicit in this. Animals’ pain is our gain, in other words.

Roddie Macpherson