Readers' letters: Don’t make pledges unless to keep them

Time after time the nationalist leaders in Scotland get suckered into making pledges that cannot be met; it seems they simply cannot help themselves.

The latest, on Ukrainian refugees, is a case in point. It is clear that the ‘’super’’ status promised was, like so many other SNP pledges, merely words, thrown out by a First Minister more interested in catching a quick headline the next morning than in the very real business of making important decisions and saving lives.

The best example of this phenomenon, however, was the alleged rushing through of a demonstrably unready ferry boat launch, with painted-on windows, to coincide with an SNP party conference.

They must think the people of this country are extremely stupid, or very gullible or both.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

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Tory leader election shows great diversity

The present Tory leadership contest with several ethnic minority candidates competing to be our next prime minister stands as a refutation of myths which poison our politics.

The first is that the English are racist in contrast to Scots. A second is that the most racist of all are English Tory politicians.

Among the leading Tories who are contenders to be our next prime minister are Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Priti Patel, Nadhim Zahawi, Kimi Badenoch and Suella Braverman. Between them they have Indian, Pakistani, Arab and Nigerian ancestry.

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Another myth is that Britain is somehow racist and intolerant in contrast to Europe. This is, of course, close to an inversion of the truth. In some Western European countries, France perhaps or the Netherlands, there might be one ethnic minority contender for a top job. In none would there be such a wealth of ethnic minority talent competing.

Britain is the least racist country in Europe, and when it comes to giving women and ethnic minorities real opportunities the Tories are way ahead.

Otto Inglis, Cowdenbeath.

Orcas should not be trapped in parks

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This World Orca Day (14 July), let’s celebrate these magnificent animals while remembering that many are still imprisoned at marine parks around the world.

At SeaWorld – the world’s most notorious marine park – orcas who would normally swim up to 140 miles a day are forced to spend their entire lives confined to cramped concrete cells filled with chemically treated water, in which they can do little else but swim in endless circles. Some break their teeth gnawing on metal bars or the sides of the tank in the hope of escape.

Orcas are extremely sensitive to sound, which they use to talk to each other and navigate oceans, so noisy water pumps and loud crowds leave them disorientated and stressed. Inside the barren tanks, orcas are often housed in incompatible groups, unable to escape attacks from other frustrated animals.

More than 40 orcas and hundreds of other marine animals have died on SeaWorld’s watch – far short of their natural life expectancies.

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Today, there are three SeaWorld parks in the US, the original San Diego and parks in Florida and Texas.

Paying to visit these ‘abusement’ parks funds cruelty to animals. After years of campaigning by PETA, almost every leading travel provider – including British Airways Holidays, Virgin Holidays, STA Travel, Booking.com, and Tripadvisor – has stopped selling tickets to parks that confine orcas in the name of entertainment.

All other providers – including TUI – must follow suit and make World Orca Day 2022 one to remember.

Jennifer White, PETA, London N1

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