THE triumph of xenophobic right-wing English nationalism in the recent election is undoubtedly a blow to all who seek peace. However, the success of the SNP in Scotland must give hope to CND supporters throughout the UK.

This sharp difference between the two nations illustrates vividly the existential and inseparable symbiosis between independence and opposition to Trident. Certain global events in 2020 highlight this connection.

1) In November, COP26, the UN climate change conference will see delegates from all over the world congregating in a city some 30 miles from the biggest arsenal of hydrogen bombs in Europe. People must see the connection. We live in a world where extinction can come quickly through climate change in 12 years, or instantly in 12 hours through nuclear annihilation. These issues are indivisible.

READ MORE: MoD: 40 nuclear lapses in three years ‘show how safe Scotland is’

2) Hopefully, having reached the required 50 ratifications, the Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) agreed by 122 states in 2017 at the UN will become international law. In the same way as female genital mutilation, slavery or forced marriage – albeit traditional in certain states – are prohibited by the peremptory norms of international law, Trident will be banned. This must have repercussions on Scots law, which always prides itself on its independence. Perhaps ratification will galvanise our law lords to address the blatant illegality of Trident.

3) The fact that Pope Francis has condemned the possession of nuclear weapons as well as their use is a seismic shift in official Catholic teaching. No longer can nuclear apologists hide behind the shameful words of Cardinal Basil Hume, voiced in September 1983: “The deterrent may be tolerated, but for a time only”. Morally, deterrence can no longer be tolerated.

4) This year will be the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. This seminal document established the priority of the people’s will in Scotland. This is not a matter of ancient history, but is highly relevant today on the independence/Trident nexus. The will of the people, as expressed in the Scottish Parliament, is superior to diktat of the Queen’s Cabinet in Westminster.

Since Trident cannot operate from anywhere else in the UK other than the Faslane/Culport complex, an independent, nuclear-free Scotland means an end for Trident in the UK. This alone would justify independence.

Brian Quail

IT’S all very well for B McKenna (Letters, January 6) to point out how much the top earners in the executive paid salary brackets get either annually (£3.9 million), or hourly (£1,020), or even £29,574 for just 29 hours’ work annually, and to say it is unfair is understandable in this divided world of economics and salaried earnings.

At least such executive types have a job to do and, in its own competitive world, are paid to succeed in whatever product is made and sold, while providing employment for hundreds or even thousands of personnel within that product-making company.

However, there is one collection of highly paid people who do not produce anything, (except maybe opinions), are not responsible for maintaining employment within a company, and never have to compete for their role and positions. They are, of course, those ladies and gentlemen in the House of Lords.

Every day they sign the attendance register entitles then to an immediate £300, regardless of whether they continue to attend the day. Most are of a retirement age being past 65 years, 75% in total, and the total annual bill for Scotland’s own members is just short of £3 million. This was for the tax year of 2017/18.

The highest earner of that year collected £58,492 or £591 for each day. He is our very own peer David Steele. I can only presume this is a tax-free income, but will be happy to stand corrected.

Alan Magnus- Bennett

I DO realise at this time of year depression can set in. The demise of opposition to Boris south of the Border, the world in crisis (both politically and climate-wise), the greed and selfishness of right-wing governments and big business all take their toll. The emotions that run high at Hogmanay all contribute. The lyrics of certain songs fuelled by alcohol also take effect, eg those of Caledonia (slightly adjusted) could read: “I don’t know if you can see/The changes that have come over me/In the past few days I’ve been afraid/Independence might fade away !”

Daily I meet many nice, fair-minded people from all walks of life and cultures. But unfortunately they are not deciding the bigger picture. It’s so frustrating. Scotland is most certainly a different country. We most certainly need to take charge. Social disorder should not be ruled out. So please take heed, Nicola. The longer we deliberate, the more it increases the likelihood of independence drifting away.

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus