Scotsman Letters: We need ‘no interference’ zone for Sturgeon

Thankfully, the views of Nicola Sturgeon are largely irrelevant to what is going on in the Ukraine at the moment and all serious commentators realise that. Despite supposedly being against the use of nuclear weapons her whole life, our First Minister thinks that Nato should not rule out the use of no-fly zones, the very action that almost everyone agrees would bring a nuclear conflict into being.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is one of only two people who can sort the Ukraine crisis, says reader (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is one of only two people who can sort the Ukraine crisis, says reader (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is one of only two people who can sort the Ukraine crisis, says reader (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Just to spell this out in terms that she can understand, Russia has almost as many nuclear warheads as the rest of the world put together. Between them, they are enough to destroy the whole planet ten times over. The risk is not some targeted and strategic use of these weapons. The risk is that they all go off at once, in which case, there is little point in virtue signalling after the event or trying to say that at least we had the moral high ground before everything went wrong.

The situation in the Ukraine is bad, but it can get orders of magnitude worse. People hitting red buttons is what we all want to avoid. I was just thinking today that we should be all right as long as we don’t get politicians saying something stupid. Something stupid like this.

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We need unity and discipline in messaging in this country. Virtue signalling about witches one day and no-fly zones the next makes Scotland look a bit erratic, to say the least. Thankfully, our senior UK politicians and military leaders are making the right judgements at the moment, ensuring there are no surprises or breaking of ranks, and that will hopefully keep us safe here until all this is resolved. What happens in the Ukraine will ultimately be decided by Presidents Zelenskyy and Putin.

Neither can survive the gratuitous sacrifice of their own people for very long and neither have anything to be gained from seeing that country progressively destroyed. They are talking. We have to hope they see sense and this comes to something soon. That is a better option than escalating the situation as Ms Sturgeon suggests.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy, Perthshire

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No-fly cemetery

Yet again, Scotland’s First Minister simply cannot resist offering her opinion, and even advice to Nato, over the Ukraine crisis. She completely ignores the fact that she and her government have no role to play in foreign affairs as this is not a devolved area of responsibility. Quite why those involved in the decision making process within Nato would take a blind bit of notice of her “advice” is anyone’s guess particularly when her “advice” is seriously misguided and potentially disastrous.

Does she not believe that Nato would already have introduced a “no-fly” zone over Ukraine if this was practical? Does she not understand the implications of Nato forces shooting down Russian jets? All this from a Scottish First Minister and a party that, not long ago, wanted to leave Nato, still wants to remove nuclear weapons from Scotland and in effect be defenceless against any Russian aggression, but of course, then remain a beneficiary under the nuclear defence umbrella provided by Nato.

Perhaps she might instead concentrate on everything in Scotland that is and has been broken under her watch.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh


The Ukrainian ambassador in the UK has made it perfectly clear on the record that the vast majority of those fleeing the war zones in his country do not wish to make the long haul to Britain. Quite understandably, he says they wish to remain close to their country and homes and be ready to return when things are settled and return to some form of normality.

So, for the First Minister and her fellow nationalists to try to make political capital out of what they regard as the UK’s reluctance to grant entry unconditionally, tells us more about them than it does about the Ukrainians. Of course entry restrictions should be waived at once in humanitarian emergencies, but there should be a special place in hell for those who would seek to capitalise on human tragedy.

There is nothing off the table in the Scottish nationalist mindset when it comes to doing down the UK. Is it really so hard to be co-operative in the midst of human tragedy and present a pan-UK front?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Spread the word

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The free world needs urgently to get real information through to people living under dictatorships. Thousands of Russian citizens have protested against Putin’s war and been punished for it.Yet most Russian citizens still believe state propaganda about Ukrainian "Naziism“ and persecution of Russian speakers, about a Ukrainian threat to Russia itself. If Russian citizens all knew the truth, Putin and and his lieutenants would be swept from power in months, despite the violent policing stranglehold under which Russians live.

Tim Cox, Berne, Switzerland

Shameful state

As the terrible tragedy of Ukraine continues I salute the courage of its President and its people against the utter deceit of our PM, claiming that the UK is "leading the world" in action against Russia. The actions against a few individual oligarchs, along with a Russian trade embargo, have been minimal and the response of the obstructive and incompetent UK government towards Ukrainian refugees scandalous.

With millions leaving Ukraine our European neighbours have taken in tens of thousands of refugees, including over 2,000 to tiny Ireland, while Britain has, to date, issued visas for several hundreds. Boris Johnson's Commons statement of eventually taking in “hundreds of thousands” is yet another hollow promise.

The City of London has become a tax haven for Russian assets and the Tory party is guilty of wooing oligarchs. Where is the moral authority of the once Great Britain.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland

Ticked off

In yesterday’s Scotsman there was an advertorial in Gaelic and English headlined “Tick the Box” relating to the imminent census. It has appeared several times in this and other Scottish newspapers and I assume it is paid content funded by the Scottish Government.The article encourages readers to tick the relevant box in the census document to show that they are competent in the Gaelic language. It contains the sentence ‘Whether you’re a fluent speaker, you’re a listener of Radio nan Gàidheal or you like to watch BBC Alba – remember to tick the box!

It seems wrong that the body conducting the census is paying for adverts to encourage people to answer in a certain way. BBC Alba shows rugby and football matches watched by many who have no competence in Gaelic. It smacks of desperation artificially to inflate the figures of Gaelic speakers to justify the disproportionate sums spent on a language spoken by 57,000 people (2011 census) and by as few as 7,000 in everyday life.

Robert Cairns, Harrietfield, Perthshire

United for good

Most people in Scotland agree it would be inappropriate for the SNP to proceed with a second, unnecessary, divisive referendum on breaking up Britain while Putin is savaging Ukraine. The SNP’s current excuse not to inflict another referendum on Scotland follows similar postponements because of Brexit and Covid. If a project has to be cancelled three times because it would be unwise, foolish and dangerous to proceed then it is reasonable to conclude the project is fundamentally flawed.If Scotland, truly, was oppressed by being part of the United Kingdom and there was a genuine appetite by the majority to separate Scotland from family and friends in the rest of the United Kingdom then the SNP would proceed regardless of other factors.It is over for the SNP separation project. The United Kingdom will stay United.

Bruce Halliday, Dumfries

Look inward

Murdo Fraser believes that the SNP are seeking to exploit the war in Ukraine for personal gain and evidences this with a handful of ill-thought out tweets, none of which displays any advantage to the Scottish Government (Perspective, 9 March).Had he widened his view to the billions of pounds paid to friends and relatives of his Conservative colleagues in Westminster at the start of the Covid pandemic, he would have found many more substantial examples.

A Campbell, Edinburgh

Grim picture

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Alistair Grant does not address climate changes issues in his report " ‘Good case’ for more North Sea oil and gas developments to protect UK supply" (9 March). Yet countries which do not will experience economic decline. New oil and gas developments are harmful. The UK needs to swiftly move from dependency on fossil fuels. But in a report published this month and approved by 195 countries the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a grim picture of the future of a Britain unready for climate change, writing: “Sewage works, air and seaports, electricity and communication networks” are among infrastructure at risk.

The UK has allowed fossil fuels i.e. Shell and BP to have billions of tax cuts. Scottish renewable industries, a way out of climate crises, face costs of connection and lack of infrastructure investment. The UK government has mishandled energy. Oil and gas and the Russian banks have not been sanctioned by the UK. Mr Johnson’s delay in getting off Russian gas will fuel Putin’s war by £2bn in 2022 alone. So he also fails to starve the Russian war machine.

An independent and democratic Scotland, with a state energy company could supply energy at the average prices of the energy source and support its citizens. It could also develop and invest in its excellent renewable energy sector and be a responsible player in the world.

Pol Yates, Edinburgh

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