AS a parent of young adults, I welcome the recent announcement from the SNP to help young people get onto the housing ladder through Help to Buy.

If buyers can find 5% of their new house funds, the Scottish Government will offer first time buyers up to £25,000 to top up their deposit. This will make an enormous difference to those struggling to get their deposit together. Not all young adults have parents who can bail them out and I think we all know the difficulties in getting that first house, especially in an areas like ours where house prices are still quite high. This is a huge relief.

In addition to this I recognise that 82,000 council house have been delivered through SNP policies, including 55,920 for social rent. First-time buyers get priority support too through Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), which helps those buying homes at the lower end of the market – 80 per cent of first-time buyers don’t pay LBTT at all.

During this parliament I know there’s a target to build at least 50,000 new affordable homes, including 35,000 council or housing association homes. This is badly needed because there was terrible under-investment in affordable and council/housing association homes for 20 or more years. No wonder so many young people had to stay at home with their parents until their mid-30s. People need somewhere to live.

Parents should be glad about this development and proud of our Scottish Government for delivering this. At a time when Brexit dominates everything and everybody – it is comforting to acknowledge one good thing.

Wendy Miller

GARRETT Marquis, a US National Security Council spokesman, said Monday in an email: “However, Iran’s default option for 40 years has been violence.”

Interesting comment here, one-sided of course as it omits to detail the default option of the US and some of its Nato allies in recent years in Iraq, Syria and Libya to mention a few. Just now the opposition in Venezuela is calling on the US to invade and remove the sitting government.

One does wonder at the mindset of the current US administration and its advisors, hawks and internal lobbyists.

Beyond that it is increasingly troubling for other nations. The US feels instinctively threatened by economic developments in other countries as its supposedly self-evident, indeed God-given, entitlement to superiority is being adjusted.

The US cannot see the “beam in its own eye”. A similar scenario and mindset was prevalent in an earlier empire, namely the British empire founded on might, invasion, perpetual wars and subjugation at the height of its power during World War One before the true reality of decline set in after 1916 with the Dublin Uprising. Kenneth Best, a WW1 chaplain at Gallipoli, who did his work on the front line alongside the soldiers, was still affected by the jingoism of the day. In his sermons he was wont to liken the war as a crusade to crush Germany’s power and attempt to capture world markets. Enough said!

The US is akin to the wounded tiger, ready to overreact and lash out. So “enemies” are created and demonised. Think tanks expound on the nation’s role and manifest destiny. Donald Trump has true “form” when it comes to tearing up international treaties unilaterally on a whim. Dangerous precedents, and its UK “special relation” needs to be cautious. Yet Jeremy Hunt, the new boy on the block in the Foreign Office, is calling for a doubling of military expenditure to emulate “our great ally”, the US. No doubt he has intentions of replicating successful joint invasions in the Middle East,

as of before, yet he expressed concerns about the current US-made crisis with Iran in the Gulf. Confused all round!

The sabre-rattling has begun again with all the portents of “digging in” and the inevitability of direct action.

Perhaps, it would do the US some good to reflect on its “default positions” since 1945 with an open reappraisal of its recent past.

John Edgar

THE recent series of letters about the non-teaching of Scottish history in our schools certainly struck a chord with me. In primary school I remember the occasional reference to the headline acts: Bruce, Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, and Bonnie Prince Charlie. In secondary school ... six years of nothing. We had plenty of English history (I give you the Corn Laws and Magna Carta), but not a single thing about the history of our own country.

I recall a phone-in on Radio Scotland a couple of years back when one particular caller had only just learned about the Calton Weavers and the Scottish Insurrection of 1820. This man had been born and brought up in Calton, but had known nothing of this incredible piece of Scottish working-class history throughout all of his life. He was very emotional as he asked the very pertinent question: “why did nobody tell me about this?”

We still have a long way to go.

Ian Baillie