I STRONGLY support John Drummond’s plea to build a Scottish state and its constitution on clear ethical principles (A strong moral compass is essential to win indyref 2, May 5).

READ MORE: A strong moral compass is essential to win indyref2

That is very much the case in relation to weapons of indiscriminate mass killing and critical environmental damage.

The SNP and the Greens support having a clause in the Scottish constitution that prohibits the possession or location of nuclear weapons on Scottish territory. Doubtless chemical and biological weapons would also be included. The basis of such a clause would be on humanitarian grounds.

Austria has a constitutional act which states “nuclear weapons must not be manufactured, stored, transported, tested or used in Austria”.

Legislation in New Zealand prohibits any person from “aiding or abetting the manufacture, possession or control over nuclear weapons”. A new Scottish constitution could include similar principles and, as John Drummond points out, one of the great advantages of this is that it strengthens the hand of negotiators if certain principles are embedded in the constitution.

Isobel Lindsay


TODAY, celebrations take place across the European Union to mark Europe Day, an annual celebration of peace and unity across the continent.

Each year thousands of people take part in visits, debates, concerts and other events to mark the day and raise awareness about the EU. The event is especially relevant this year given the UK’s departure, whenever or even if ever that may be.

The day is also known as Schuman Day, commemorating the declaration 69 years ago on May 9, 1950 by the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, which marked the first move towards the creation of the EU. Europe had just come out of the Second World War, a conflict that had nearly destroyed the continent and split it between two spheres of influence. In a desire not to repeat such destruction, there was a great deal of momentum towards European co-operation, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable. Wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill, standing next to Robert Schuman, had called for Franco-German reconciliation in a united Europe in a speech in July 1946.

The EU ensures that member states co-operate peacefully. And the creation of the single market has also made us richer than we would have been without it. The EU has also been an inspiration for those who are fighting for the values of freedom and democracy across the world.

The EU has been under attack from populists both inside and outside, trying to undermine its achievements and values. So, as we prepare to leave it does no harm to be reminded of what we have enjoyed – the precious gift of more than 70 years of peace and stability – and the role of the EU in delivering this achievement must be recognised and celebrated.

Alex Orr


LESLEY Riddoch’s article “It’s game on for a new future ... but we all must grasp the green thistle” (May 2) was as thought-provoking as her articles always are. I have had a few thoughts. Basically, it is how to combine tree-planting with reduced use of concrete and plastics and the two ideas go together well.

READ MORE: We need a brand new Scotland that doesn't look like Britain

Some of us remember a time before universal use of concrete and plastic and it was the time of wood and wool. We don’t need concrete boxes to live in. Wooden houses are already being manufactured by several companies in the Highlands to very high eco-specification.

Furthermore, they are made up in sections in industrial units then transported to site and assembled there. Thus the workers enjoy comfortable working conditions, the elements of the building can be assembled more quickly and efficiently and work is not held up by inclement weather. Using this model means that planting trees is not merely a way of storing carbon; the forests can also be used productively.

Encouraging land owners to invest in specific crops involves the possibility of making a profit from the end product and trees are a very long-term investment so this scheme would require government support at least in the first 30 years or so.

But through tax-generated subsidy all tax payers can feel they are making a contribution to the greening of the planet. Another consideration is that the right kind of trees are planted. Different trees have different purposes. Let’s not just have wall-to-wall mono cultures.

And we will need some sheep. Combined with bracken, wool makes good compost and we need some woolly vests, jumpers and coats for venturing out in the cold from our cosy wool-insulated houses. Wearing real fleeces instead of plastic-generated fleece. But sheep and trees can exist comfortably together if the trees are protected when young and grown in open woodland where sheep can also graze with added protection from the weather.

I remember a time before plastic ruled the world. It was ok. Back to the future!

Nancy Kinloch