I WAS horrified to learn from Laura Webster and Craig Meighan’s article (FM discusses ‘constitutional future of UK’ at key US meeting, May 17, The National) that Nicola Sturgeon regards Nato membership as a cornerstone of “an independent Scotland’s security policy”.

It seems that the SNP have declared their opposition to Trident only to make Nato a foundation of political life. We must remember that Nato is a military alliance – an alliance whose “crown jewels” are “its nuclear weapons”. (I quote from Thomas Meaney’s “long read” in The Guardian of May 5, 2022.)

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon talks independence with top US government official

An independent Scotland that is a member of Nato is unambiguously in the USA’s sphere of influence and rests its security on the obscenity of nuclear threat. I would cast my support for an independent Scotland in the rubbish bin were it not that Johnson’s UK looks to a nuclear future no less bleak.

The devil or the deep sea? All that I can urge is to oppose not merely Trident specifically but nuclear weapons in every shape or form. I can, of course, understand the concern to support the Ukrainian people as Putin attempts to crush them underfoot. But this concern must not be translated into a simplistic “goodies versus baddies” politics where Nato is temporarily cast in a morally acceptable role.

In fact, we should be fearful. States, including European states, have come to rely on prudential statecraft and mutual threat. If the Scottish people favour a new start in politics, turning to a military alliance that prides itself on its nuclear arsenal is to make a suicidal and self-contradictory choice.
Richard Gunn
Lecturer at University of Edinburgh

I WAS struck by a statistic tucked away in a recent letter to The National. It seems that a Sky News commissioned poll found that 27% of the population aged 16-75 missed out on meals in the month of April to help negate their other rising costs and that 65% of people had not turned on their heating to save money.

In stark contrast, the most recent Sunday Times Rich List found there were 10 billionaires in Scotland. Brothers Sandy and James Easdale, former directors of Rangers Football Club, are the wealthiest newcomers to the list. The 10 billionaires at the head of the 2022 Rich list have a combined wealth of more than £23 billion – more than a quarter of this is in the hands of Mr Holch Povlsen, Scotland’s biggest private landowner and owner of the Danish fashion retailer Bestseller. His personal fortune increased by £500 million in the past year to £6.5bn. He owns 220,000 acres of land in Scotland, across 12 Highland estates.

Overall, the richest 250 people in the UK this year are worth more than £710bn, compared to £658bn in 2021, an 8% rise on last year.

This list is based on only identifiable wealth, including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts.

It is clear that the gap between the rich and the poor in Scotland is widening faster than ever. I suppose the real question is what difference an independent Scotland will make to this situation. Will it have radical policies to narrow this gap or will it simply continue to try to increase benefits to those struggling to pay their basic bills for food and heating?
Brian Lawson

IT appears that in yesterday’s National, you have accredited me with a longish letter (“Tory strategy leaves workers impoverished and props up donors”).

Whilst I probably agree with the sentiment being expressed in the prior letter, the writer should be given credit where it is due.
Alistair Ballantyne

OUR apologies to Alistair and Alan Hinnrichs! As Alistair has pointed out in correspondence, his letter started with the sentence “Bank of England states Brexit has cost UK £80 billion”.

The previous letter ended with the sentence “The first act of a newly independent Scotland should be to repudiate this system of greed and misery” – and was a submission by Alan Hinnrichs.
Stewart Ward
Deputy editor of The National
Glasgow/Newton Stewart

ANAS Sarwar lied.

I heard him myself say, “No ifs, no buts, no coalitions”. He expected us to believe him.

The National: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar speaking to party candidates and activists in Glasgow about building on this week's council election results. Picture date: Monday May 9, 2022. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

That was of course before the local elections – but since then he is prepared to go into coalitions (formal or otherwise) with anyone who will keep the SNP out – so much for democracy. He obviously does not believe in that either.

At FMQs he angrily shouted out “name them”. Well, here are a few for starters:

He lied to the voters of South Lanarkshire.

He lied to the voters of Stirling.

He lied to the voters of Fife.

He lied to the voters of Moray.

Better Together have obviously just got back together and it will be no better this time.

They will simply lie like the last time, like Sarwar just has.

He cannot complain again about any Tory cuts or actions when he is willing to collude with them. As an aside, the new Labour leader in Glasgow Council was not present at the first council meeting – he was in Seville.
Winifred McCartney

I HAVE a special place in my heart for Dunfermline. As a child in the 50s, we went there every year. That was the only holiday we could afford but I have better memories of it than anywhere else. Crammed into the day were two highlights. One was Dunfermline Glen – I vividly remember the heated indoor aviary with the humming birds as I was always mesmerised by them. The other highlight was a restaurant – my goodness, a restaurant?! It was terrific. I remember the staff made us feel important. Well done Dunfermline on becoming a city.
Bill Hunter
Via email