I READ the excellent article on Scotland and the arms trade by Rhys Crilley with great interest and not a little discomfort (Why Scotland needs to divest from the arms trade, Nov 22). I recall writing a letter to The National in May 2021 about the arms trade and the part played by companies based in Scotland and I’m afraid little, if anything, has changed.

The fact that Scottish Enterprise appears to still be involved in awarding grants to firms that export arms to Israel is utterly immoral and indefensible, particularly at this juncture when thousands of innocent lives are being sacrificed. It makes the UK and Scottish governments both complicit in the current tragedy in the Middle East, surely a matter that requires immediate action by our government, even if the Westminster government will undoubtedly carry on with the sale of arms to Israel, the Saudis and other countries with a cavalier attitude to human rights.

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The First Minister and his government cannot possibly claim any moral high ground in their criticism of the state of Israel’s aggression towards the people of Palestine if a public body under their jurisdiction has handed out grants of nearly £10 million to arms manufacturers that deal directly with the Israeli government and other countries involved in disproportionate attacks on civilian populations. I understand, but find it very difficult to believe, that Scottish Enterprise profess that they make ethical checks before awarding grants to companies. I would respectfully suggest once again that these checks be reviewed as a matter of urgency.

Bob Dylan’s classic anti-war song Masters of War, penned in 1963, is as relevant today as it was at the time of the nascent involvement of the US in the conflict in Vietnam. The lyrics reveal an angry young Dylan who believes that those who provide the arsenal of weapons for disputes like the present one in Palestine have abrogated their moral responsibility for the carnage that they sponsor as they remorselessly reap the rewards of the sale of arms, indifferent to the human sufferings and tragedy.

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Any Scottish or UK governmental support for these arms companies should cease in the idealistic but surely not hopeless search for an ethical base to our foreign policy.

Failure to strive towards this goal and allow the promotion of destruction in Palestine to continue unabated would be duplicitous, callous and unacceptable. Should that be the case then we must return to the anger and human outrage embedded in the lyrics of Masters of War: “Even Jesus would never forgive what you do.”

Owen Kelly

ETHNIC cleansing has often been decried in our press and other media at the same time as denouncing some terrorism.

However, the articles often seem to avoid pointing out that we are seeing a piece of land the size of our island of Arran crowded with more than two million people who have already been made refugees from their own homes, and farms being constantly and intensely bombed.

This too is terrorism, although it is from high above and technically sophisticated by a terrorist state supported by both Washington ($3 billion/year) and Westminster and with weapons made in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Norman Lockhart

APPARENTLY Sleepy Joe has morphed into Genocide Joe – it rolls off the tongue I reckon. Not good for his re-election prospects, but as they say “the buck stops here”. We all know about Netanyahu’s character but perhaps some of our Western leaders might consider the implications of such nicknames ... Genocide Sunak, Genocide Starmer, Genocide Ursula, just a thought.

Jane Bullock