ON Thursday we had photographs of a meeting in Downing Street, chaired by Sunak, about potential student protests.

It would appear that in addition to the Community Security Trust, Union of Jewish Students and University Jewish Chaplaincy, this meeting was attended by 17 representatives from UK universities, possibly vice-chancellors and principals, including representatives from two Scottish institutions.

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So were these 17 the only universities/institutions invited, and, if so, how were they selected and by whom? Did others turn down an invitation to attend?

Given what is happening in the United States with reference to the ongoing Gaza situation, I believe there are important questions to be asked about this meeting and its agenda. And, especially within the Scottish context, both how our institutions responded to any invitation and how our attendees responded within the meeting.

The Downing Street read-out was hardly informative.

Jean Dunlop

READERS might want to put some of the world news in context when considering the horrors of Gaza that USA students are protesting.

Israel, in a few weeks, has dropped more bombs on Gaza (the size of our island of Arran) with more than a million civilians and refugees, than the USA dropped on Vietnam in 20 years. However, the hypocrisy is even clearer when we hear US government officials suggesting that the state of Israel should not be deliberately killing and terrorising so many thousands of children with weapons (profitably) made and supplied by Britain and the USA.

It brings back memories to see students in the USA leading protests against active collusion in such well-publicised genocide.

Norman Lockhart

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LEAH Gunn Barrett in her latest anti-West diatribe (Letters, May 12) writes: “The US no longer speaks the language of diplomacy, but war. It has destroyed Ukraine and strengthened Russia.”

So it seems that, in her distorted world view, the murderous Russian invasion of their neighbour was carried out by the US. These cruel Russian invaders are not guilty of the slaughter of hundreds of thousand of Ukrainians, but according to her, the destruction of Ukraine is down to the US.

Never a bad word from Ms Gunn for the Putin gangsters. In her strange and bitter world it is always the West to blame.

James Duncan

IN his article “History offer up a lesson for our cause” (May 12), Hamish MacPherson is so right that we should learn from history as we Scots seek to regain our independence. We can do so in many ways and we can use historical experience to challenge the nay-sayers.

It is now commonplace for those arguing against independence to say that it is not important to the Scottish people, who want the Holyrood government to concentrate on “bread-and-butter issues” at the expense of pressing for independence. Readers might like to be aware of an observation made by a distinguished historian, the late Sir Michael Howard. He was knighted by the Thatcher government and was an occasional adviser to Thatcher, so you can take it for granted he is neither a nationalist nor a socialist firebrand.

Yet, in an essay in his book The Lessons of History, he wrote: “Great powers have always found it difficult to take claims for self-determination when voiced by smaller peoples [sic] seriously, and their authorities normally regard those who voice them as unrepresentative trouble-makers. ‘What makes a people happy?’ asked the Austrian military governor of Lombardy in the first half of the 19th century. ‘It is good laws, the preservation of ancient traditions and a thrifty administration.’ The same was said in slightly different words by the British in India, Egypt and indeed everywhere.”

Everywhere includes the Unionist establishment of today.

Gavin Brown

THE letters in Monday’s edition condemning Pat Harvie’s intolerant stance on certain issues highlight a bight on society that has been prevalent for decades – politics correctness. The classic PC gambit is for a group with an agenda to twist good manners and decency into firstly a curtailment of free speech, then the bullying of society at large to accept their ways whether the public agrees or not.

The current furore is a case in point, where a small minority is telling the rest of us which words we will use, and that the police will be called if certain undeniable facts are aired. That is 1984 with a vengeance, and politicians who pander to these people at our expense disgust me.

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Many now live in fear of uttering a “wrong” word, and stay silent when we should be free to speak our minds – surely a sign of democracy at work.

As far as the letter writers are concerned, they are correct. Pat Harvie and his like are allowed their opinions, but nobody else is.

Jim Butchart
via email