THIS week I received interesting news from Belarus. The country’s Deputy Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence Forces, Leonid Davidovich, has stated that the Belarusian military is “theoretically and practically” ready for “actions with non-strategic nuclear weapons”. In other words, they have already prepared to use nuclear weapons in the conflict with Ukraine.

Since America has just lifted the ban on selling weapons that could be used on Russia, and Nato refuses to give a “No First Use” nuclear guarantee, there is a certain brutal logic to the situation. But it is the logic of the lunatic asylum.

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Well, all I can say is thank God we have Trident, which will save us from the oncoming catastrophe, which can’t possibly happen because we have our deterrent.

I mean, we are going to be alright, aren’t we? Trident gives us security, doesn’t it? It is only a deterrent, after all, not as if it were a Bomb or anything unpleasant like that. Not as if I live next to the biggest arsenal of hydrogen Bombs in Europe or any nightmarish thing like that. Right? Why should anyone use a nuclear weapon on us?

Pardon me while I laugh hysterically.

As the curtain descends on the un-divine comedy and we wait resignedly for its final seconds, will we witness the spectacular pyrotechnic display in our sky, as we listen to manic duck laughter and hear a valedictory “Th, th, th, that’s all Folks”?

Or at the eleventh hour, like a drug addict shaking himself free from his enslavement, can we not free ourselves from our nuclear addiction, our idolatry to our gods of metal, stop and say no to this collective lunacy, no to death, but yes to life, yes to love, yes to a future?

Despair is a response I cannot make. Even when logic demands it.

Brian Quail

I READ in Tuesday’s National the article by Richie Venton of the Scottish Socialist Party on a “Scottish Service Tax” to replace the grossly unfair Council Tax (Axe the Council Tax and bring in double by making rich pay).

I fully support this plan.

The Council Tax is just yet another example of wealth distribution from the poor to the rich, and as such it is beyond reform. It is useless tinkering with it, and freezing it is even worse. The Council Tax must be abolished.

Raising a “local” tax on the basis of income is eminently sensible and the SSP’s plan is well thought out and realistically costed.

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As we approach a General Election it is good to look for alternatives to the same old hand-wringing excuses offered by the mainstream parties.

Change is possible, it’s a matter of political will. Thank goodness the Scottish Socialist Party has that political will. I wish them every success.

It’s way beyond time the electorate had a chance to vote for a party with a radical, progressive vision, now and in a future independent Scotland.

Michael Davidson

RICHIE Venton’s article on the Scottish Socialist Party proposal to replace Council Tax with a progressive Scottish Service Tax

is a timely reminder of how the “mainstream” parties have coalesced to accept right-wing fiscal ideology. Kate Forbes’s patter about red tape since becoming Deputy First Minister could have been spouted by any Tory politician, while Labour moan about cuts but have a Tory fiscal policy that will see those cuts deepen.

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We have had 45 years of the economy being “liberalised”, workers’ rights removed and a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to the wealthy parasite class. The Council Tax is part of that shift of wealth from the bottom to the top and the end result is the slaughter of services that we are witnessing locally in South Lanarkshire (eg the closure of libraries in Cambuslang, Halfway and Blantyre).

It’s high time workers in Scotland realised how much they have been screwed, and voted for a party such as the SSP that will defend and advance their interests rather than the architects of the misery.

David Stevenson

WHAT is not clear to me is if this plan proposed by Richie Venton works for those who get their income not from working but from trust funds, owning assets, dividends etc. It has the grain of a a good idea but I suspect would be far more complicated to implement than is suggested in the article.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, but as we all know the rich are very good at hiding their true wealth so they do not pay a fair share.

Often able to opt out completely and go private , which is their right, they also have a moral duty to participate fully in supporting taxes for public services.

Margaret McVicar

ANNUAL ground rent based on collecting conferred community advantage. Doesn’t raise money on the back of an individual’s labour.

Derek Pretswell