Letters: Scotland will be better off without nuclear arms

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How is an ordinary citizen supposed to react to the warning to Scottish residents from a platoon of Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals that an independent Scotland, in purely monetary terms, could not afford the removal costs of nuclear armed submarines and their weapons, from Faslane and Coulport?

My father would have responded with one of his ‘Never believe an officer when he opens his mouth, son’ rules, but putting that aside, would someone please explain to the general and his pals that although we realise that it won’t be as simple as a Carter Paterson job, the cost won’t be falling on an independent Scotland anyway.

I know you’ll resent the drain on the rUK’s defence budget of providing new docking and storage facilities in the south, but if you want the damned things, you’ll have to pay for them.

We don’t want or need your nuclear weapons, General, and never will again.

If, on the other hand, you decide to invest your defence budget sensibly - say on airborne maritime reconnaissance aircraft, aircraft carriers which actually have aircraft to carry or an adequate coastal and civil defence force, then please feel free to come back. I’m sure we can cut a deal...

But in the meantime, in the immortal words of Corporal Jones, “Don’t panic!”

David Fiddimore, Calton Road, Edinburgh

Panda fever only benefits zoo finances

Edinburgh Zoo’s Great British Deception has unfortunately taken in Bake Off winner Frances Quinn. Despite being well intentioned, Quinn is being drawn in by the zoo to promote a cruel cycle of abuse concerning the panda Tian Tian.

Should Tian Tian become pregnant and deliver a baby, her offspring will be forever denied freedom and a natural life. After two short years, mother and baby will be torn apart under the terms of the zoo’s loan deal with China and Tian Tian’s baby will be shipped off to the highest bidder. More than likely, she’ll be treated as nothing more than a baby-maker, churning out more zoo attractions.

Breeding pandas or any other animals in captivity does nothing to protect them in their natural habitats. The only ones these programmes benefit are the zoos themselves, which get to cash in on the baby bonanza through ticket sales and the sale of furry panda toys and bamboo-flavoured sweets in the gift shop.

The recent killing of Marius, a young, perfectly healthy giraffe, by Copenhagen Zoo should have made clear to anyone who was under any illusion about the value of zoos that the only thing they value is money.

It’s time for all of us to recognise the tired stories pushed out by Edinburgh Zoo about these pandas for what they really are – contrived PR to help further line the zoo’s pockets at the expense of the animals in its ‘care’.

Ben Williamson, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, London

Tartan Tories are a thing of the past

Where Mr Ritchie dug up the almost mind-bending idea that the all but extinct Tory party could possibly be in power after a ‘Yes’ vote for Scottish independence I cannot even begin to wonder (Letters, April 15).

Never again shall a Conservative government be in power in this country, no matter what the outcome in September.

There are no other parties that would stoop as low as the Liberals did at Westminster to get in bed with the party most vilified in this land.

There may, without doubt, be a Labour/Green coalition, a Labour/SNP coalition, a SNP/Green coalition etc etc, but if Mr Ritchie thinks for one second that the Unionist right shall ever sit in power he is either wishing, dreaming or playing an April fool on us a little late.

Bad enough to have to listen to the scaremongers of the Better Together’s project fear than to have to read a letter that almost frightened me senseless - not. Sorry Mr R, it shall never happen now, soon or ever.

George Robertson, Magdalene Avenue, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s poor roads are putting off visitors

On a recent visit to Edinburgh, I drove from Ravelston to Morningside and was appalled by how poor the roads are.

Viewforth in particular is now almost unnavigable, with a deadly combination of potholes and broken speed bumps.

What an image to project to visitors. Transport priorities in the Capital are seriously out of balance.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Kinross

Council policy adding to rat control problem

It is very difficult to talk to your neighbours about a rat in a tenement kitchen if the council pest control people refuse to give you a receipt that has the word ‘rat’ on it.

I had seen a rat run across the floor and had candles, books and household bottles with large teeth marks. I’d swept up the droppings and binned them which was the wrong thing to do. Only a photo of the droppings might have convinced the council employees that my problem was a rat.

The council’s vermin control policy from top to bottom is that ‘Rats don’t go into houses’.

I told council staff last year that their policy of denial would affect rat statistics in the city centre and it seems from Kaye Nicolson’s article (‘Rat infestations soar’, News, April 15) that they are determined to carry on with their head-in-the-sand attitude.

I was lucky that an insurance claim could solve the problem. Other people must be suffering repeat infestations if it is not obvious where the rodents are getting in. The answer is don’t use the council service, go private if you can afford to.

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