Readedrs' letters: Let’s not play Trident nuclear war games

UK Defence Minister Alec Shelbrooke's visit to Faslane in which he criticised the First Minister's commitment to getting rid of Trident were somewhat naive.

While talking about Putin's threat to use tactical or 'theatre" nuclear weapons in Ukraine, he blithely seems to think that having Trident, armed with highly accurate warheads (the ability to hit a target 7500 miles away within a missile accuracy of 250 feet) which are strategic nuclear war fighting weapons (each missile capable of 64 Hiroshimas and every Trident sub 'only' armed with eight missiles rather than 12) is some kind of 'counterbalance' and that we could 'strike back equally'.

In actual fact, we and other signatories to the nonproliferation treaty have consistently violated Article VI which commits us, along with other existing nuclear weapons states, to reducing vertical proliferation (adding to our own arsenals) as well as horizontal proliferation (new states getting nuclear capability).

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Any use of nuclear weapons is insane - radiation knows no frontiers, and Russia's proximity to Ukraine means that both it and Belarus would get some of the fallout should Putin risk it.

Trident doesn't need to be based in Scotland. It can go to Portsmouth or Plymouth or even one of the new Scandinavian members of NATO.

It's serviced in King's Bay Georgia in the US, so it could even be based there for a transitional period. Then Scotland could sign the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, along with 91 other countries.

As Bruce Kent, who recently passed away always used to say when accused of wanting to be 'Red' rather than dead, “I'd rather be neither than either.

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"If you wish to commit suicide, please make your own arrangements.”

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Chair, British CND 1990-93, Edinburgh.

Don’t let fanatics ruin the economy

The catastrophic economic events of the last few weeks have also highlighted a fundamental democratic issue that future governments must address to avoid such a shambolic situation ever happening again.

Few people, other than the extreme right of the Tory Party believed Liz Truss was up to the job, but people from the far right of her party who supported her were rewarded with positions in her cabinet.

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It was a cabinet of ‘friends’ and supporters which was chosen by way of reward and irrespective of experience, knowledge or ability.

Hence we have ministers whose vaulting ambition is in inverse proportion to their ability, whose ideological fervour outstrips any pragmatic approach to the needs of the country’s economy.

With the IMF, the Bank of England, every respected economist in the western world and even swathes of her own MPs urging a change of direction, Truss and her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng believe they know better than all of them.

But Truss has absolutely no mandate to launch these reckless and ludicrous policies on a population already struggling financially from the effects of Brexit.

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Neither does she or Kwarteng have the economic skills and knowledge to impose such hardships.

When this corrupt and incompetent Tory government is finally removed from office it is incumbent on the next government to ensure that the elevation of people who are not up to the job of high office, with no political mandate, elected by a tiny group of party members, can never happen again.

The nation’s economy is too important to become the plaything of fanatical ideological zealots.

D Mitchell, Edinburgh.

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