THE local authority elections are turning out to be much more interesting and potentially constructive than seemed likely till recently.

The international picture has forced a review of the entire range of political relationships. Sweden and Finland are looking at Nato favourably and it is unlikely that Scotland when independent would not do the same. Macron’s success has stabilised the EU and made Brexit seem even more hare-brained both from the wide spectrum of Western democracy down to the detailed fissures opening up in Ireland – described by George Kerevan in The National (Why Yes supporters should keep close tabs on May’s Stormont election, Apr 25). Ukraine’s unity under stress has shown again the advantage of those fighting to defend their home and the implications of what constitutes national sovereignty.

READ MORE: UK's cycle of austerity and racism cannot be broken without independence

But all these are dwarfed by the clear message that Putin is profoundly ignorant of the human race’s need to make a step from its primitive emotional stage to an understanding of its role in a balanced use of the planet’s resources. His use of old technologies like tanks and artillery shows this. Even more clearly it has shown the insanity of the nuclear threat. Most vividly it has shown the reliance of the West on Russian fossil fuel and artificial fertilisers. The political philosophy which encompasses a considered answer to all this is that know as “Green”.

Green ideas are are for international good neighbourhood, but are concerned with ensuring that local decisions are made locally. They are against all technologies which despoil the environment.

Thoughtful writers in The National such as Elliot Bulmer and Gerry Hassan argue from green principles in supporting small-scale democracy. It is to be hoped that voters understand this and the Green Party benefit from their sound policies of democracy, equality, sustainability and devolution, these being the keys to better local, national and world government.

Iain WD Forde

IN Tuesday’s National the Green candidate Jill Belch made a number of statements about Ward 2, Strathmore, in Perth and Kinross which are not correct (‘Five years and no new ideas’, Apr 26).

Firstly she asserts that her party won the biggest number of second-preference votes in 2017. This totally wrong! Indeed, the second preferences for the Green candidate were the lowest of all seven candidates. Her party received 317, which is less than one-third of the number picked up by both the Conservative and both of the SNP candidates.

She also goes on to say that “Historically we have always returned two Conservative candidates [in Strathmore]”. No, we have not – the SNP normally picks up two seats and 2017 was the exception. In fact, in 2012 both SNP candidates were elected in round one with a total of 41.7% of the vote. Interestingly, the LibDem and Tory candidate were also elected in round one – a rare occurrence in any ward.

READ MORE: Can the SNP depose the scandal-ridden Tory trolls running Angus council?

The turnout in council elections is always poorer than for Holyrood or Westminster elections. If your readers want see the removal of Tory etc candidates then they can help by signing up for postal votes. Fortunately, a lot of effort has been made in this respect in Perthshire North, and John Swinney out-polled the Tories with postal votes in 2021 for the first time. That will help in the upcoming council elections.

Another really important way for party members to become actively involved is by doing “knock-up” on May 5. They could do so by popping “Vote TODAY” cards through their supporters’ doors and even more importantly, chapping on these doors later on to check if they have voted. It is so effective when some people think they cannot vote because the have lost their polling card; they don’t need one. Just call your local party office to find out how to help.

Neil Myles

J FARRELL’S fascinating article on “The history of collapsing societies and what the modern world needs to learn about them” (Apr 17) was a thought-provoking piece, comparing the fate of Knossos circa 4,000 years ago to the potential of apocalypse today. I happily bow to his knowledge of Knossos, but his description of an apparently harmonious society brought down by its lack of ramparts and weaponry does raise serious doubts in my mind. A “stable ... civilisation” it may have been, but “admirable”? Was it not an extremely hierarchical society, ranging from elites that could build extraordinary temples to widespread slavery? Might not the fall of that civilisation have been internally determined, revealing that it was not “stable” over time?

And therefore, to conclude that global harmony requires a “ balance of power, or terror” is seriously miscued. “Apocalyptic arsenals” are never harmonious, far less static. They lead, inevitably, to arms races with an eventuality that is both predictable and destructive to civilisation. Far better for the future of civilisation and of the planet would be to address the societal inequalities that have justified conflict throughout history.

Ewen Smith