Quantitative Easing

Letters: if you want to roll the dice in Ukraine, remember that this time they are radioactive

ALTHOUGH I am an anti-nuclear activist, like the vast majority of people and many other anti-nuclear activists, I am not a pacifist.

To have armed forces, to wage wars, that is to say, for example, knowingly ordering sometimes thousands of people into battle with the almost certain certainty that the majority will die or be maimed for life is a decision that the leaders have taken for thousands of years.
For some it is immoral and it often is. However, from time to time, for the vast majority of human societies, it is a sad reality that they prefer not to think about, but sometimes tolerate.
I also know, as is abundantly clear in these difficult days, that many people do not want to reflect on the consequences of the carnage of war. It’s a perfectly understandable reaction that I have some sympathy with, but only a few.
Thursday night I saw on TV, like millions of others, four or was it five tiny newborns. They gasped and gurgled and thrashed like newborns do, but they did it in a basement in a war-torn city. Horrible as it was, for me as an anti-nuclear activist, the worst was yet to come. I watched in horror Thursday’s Question Time hearing on BBC1, full of media-induced guilt and media-induced confusion, which continued in large numbers to consider the potentially disastrous option of a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
For those who still think my anti-nuclear stance is just a subset of an alternative lifestyle choice, I suggest you consider what other more established voices have to say.
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is as established as it gets.
On the open source section of its website is an article “A no-fly zone would be ineffective, dangerous and a gift for Putin”. I recommend to all of you who think “rolling the iron dice” is a risk worth taking, but keep in mind that this time they are radioactive, with potentially a different species ending a type of carnage.
Bill Ramsay, Glasgow.

THE biggest problem with the war in Ukraine is that it could happen again.
Vladimir Putin’s ridiculous demand for the demilitarization of Ukraine reflects a real need: the demilitarization of Russian state media and its shackles of lies. Most Russians believe in an imaginary world of Russia facing enemies ready to strike.
The Russians don’t need conquests. They need freedom to hear the truth. They would never elect a criminal like Putin again.
The keys to the future are a functioning democracy and freedom of expression in Russia. Russia would be on the way to integration into Europe, to the immense benefit of the Russians.
Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.

IF the conflict in Ukraine escalates into nuclear war, then Scotland will be on the front line, but Bob MacDougall (Letters, 13 March) thinks Scotland’s most senior elected politician should remain silent and concentrate on her “work of day”. I would have thought keeping the Scots safe was his day job.
Equally picturesque are Alexander McKay’s nightmarish ramblings (Letters, March 13) that the Scottish government is “going adrift…to shut down, or shut down all our…gas and oil”. It will be Scotland’s oil and gas resources whose licensing and extraction is, and has been, fully controlled from south of the border for 50 years, but whose lifespan cannot now be measured only in a few decades.
Scotland is a major exporter of energy in the form of gas, oil, with substantial and growing amounts of electricity destined for the UK and European grid. Scotland has no industrial interest in nuclear power, so it would be more enterprising to develop commercial tidal power, or green hydrogen production, and cheaper (and faster) to get interconnection going again proposed between Scotland and Norway, so that the complementary exchange of their vast renewable energy would benefit both of them.
GR Weir, Ochiltree.

YOUR Scottish Greens conference report quoted Patrick Harvie as saying ‘war cannot justify more oil and gas production’ (“Harvie: ‘War cannot justify more oil and gas production'” , The Herald, March 18). The crude oil coming out of the ground hasn’t suddenly become more expensive to extract and refine. Demand falls as the price rises, so the price is reduced to increase demand because crude cannot be stored. Very soon the price at the pump will return to normal.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

Last Sunday, Mohammed Bin Salman executed 81 men in the largest mass execution in Saudi Arabia’s history. It is a brutal and shocking moment.
Boris Johnson traveled to Saudi Arabia this week to beg for Saudi oil to replace Russian gas. We cannot show our disgust for the atrocities of Vladimir Putin by rewarding those of Mohammed Bin Salman. I fear for the lives of every person sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia; in particular Abdullah al-Howaiti who was only 14 when he was arrested and tortured for a crime he could not have committed, and Mohammed al-Faraj. who was arrested and tortured when he was just 15 for so-called “crimes”, including attending his uncle’s funeral.
Mr Johnson is expected to refuse to buy oil from Saudi Arabia. We cannot think of concluding a new trade agreement with a country which has just killed 81 people and which could kill many more at any time. Mohammed Bin Salman makes a statement. He thinks he can act with impunity. He thinks the world will stand by while he orders the murder of so many men and announces it publicly. Mr. Johnson must not trade oil for blood on our behalf.
B McKenna, Dumbarton.

TAOISEACH Michael Martin has told parliament in Dublin that the government ‘cannot’ drive down diesel fuel prices, as it would like, ‘because of European regulations’.
It is one of the countries often touted by the SNP as ‘normal’ and ‘independent’ and ‘free’. Am I missing something?
By the way, I voted Remain in the Brexit referendum and wish the UK had stayed and had no ax to grind. But clearly, the kind of “independence” the SNP promises is utter nonsense and a complete pipe dream.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

It is interesting to note that the Bank of England has changed its logo by replacing the flag of England (the cross of St. George) by the flag of the Union.
This should serve as a timely reminder that the Bank of England is (currently) the central bank of the four “home nations” and that when “our” central bank engages in quantitative easing (QE) – producing fresh money from fresh air to deal with bank failures, Covid (business support, holidays, etc.) and other substantial unforeseen expenses – the four home countries are entitled to their share of this new money, from our central bank, as a right.
This money is not, and has never been, “borrowed” from an existing pool of funds; nor was it ever a ‘gift’ from the government at Westminster – although that government has outsized influence over how much is produced, when and how it is to be shared/spent.
Ian Waugh, Dumfries & Galloway Indy Hub, Dumfries.