Readers' letters: UK’s influence is reduced outside EU

Ian Murray is right to condemn the Tories for their initial weak response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and for allowing London to become the money laundering capital for Russian oligarchs (News, February 24).

The wife of one paid £20,000 to have lunch with Ruth Davidson as part of £2million the Tories have received from Russian donors.

However, the UK’s influence is diminished from being outside the EU and Sir Keir Starmer has ruled out the UK re-joining the EU.

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Russia interfered with UK politics when it backed the Leave campaign and in January 2014 it was reported that David Cameron sought Putin’s help to stop Scottish independence.

Ian Murray’s call for Alex Salmond to give up his RT TV show is undermined by the fact that former Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable appeared on the Alex Salmond show as recently as last week and discussed Labour/ Lib Dem co-operation.

MPs from all parties have appeared on the Russian channel, including numerous sitting Labour MPs, such as Richard Burgon, Barry Gardiner, Peter Dowd, and Rosie Duffield as well as Tory David Davies.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.

Just what are our high value resources?

One of the regular rebuttals that separatists use when they are called out on their claims that an independent Scotland would be able to afford the current level of pensions is reference to our “beautiful bountiful natural resources”.

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I have no idea where this idea came from, but if they will have such a high value in an independent Scotland, why are they not being used now? And what exactly are these money-raising natural resources?

One of the ones often referred to is water and if you look on social media you will see that there are some members of our society who believe that we export water to England in spite of a ScotGov FOI which clarified that this is not the case.

It’s clearly not gas or oil now, so is it wind? Who would we sell wind-generated electricity to? Do the separatists really believe that England would be reliant on our electricity?

Or are they maybe thinking that we can rent out Ben Nevis to the Netherlands as they don’t have their own mountains?

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I really would like them to lay out exactly what specific income streams they expect to get from these natural resources

In the meantime, I’ll stay in the real world and continue to warn that the ratio of pensioners to taxpaying workers here means that pensions will not be safe should Scotland leave the United Kingdom.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

Tory party and the Russian oligarchs

UK government sanctions announced against Russia for its Ukraine incursion are laughably timid.

The close ties between the Tory party and Russian oligarchs, all friends of Putin, is well documented.

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Lyubov Chernukhin, the wife of a former Russian deputy finance minister, is a regular and generous donor as is former arms dealer Alexander Temerko. We learned last week that Boris has allowed a billionaire advisory board, including Chernukhin, access to senior ministers and advisors during the pandemic.The major role the City of London plays in laundering dirty money, much of it Russian, is also well documented. And the UK Government has refused to enforce its own anti-money laundering laws, turning London into a haven for organised crime. The Tories are afraid to bite the hand that feeds it.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

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