GRANT Shapps based his first major speech on defence on the chilling assumption that the UK is moving from a post-war to a pre-war world (Grant Shapps’s language on defence is nothing but absurd UK posturing, Jan 21).

That in itself is worrying enough without the nonsensical assumption that the UK will lead the West in its defence against Russia, China and other countries in the Far and Middle East.

READ MORE: UK first as 'advanced laser weapon' fires from Scottish islands

Apparently our world-leading armed forces, cutting-edge industrial base and willingness to support our allies is the reason why Britain is the partner of choice for so many countries.

Shapps went on to say that in spite of a cost-of-living crisis that has been brought to us by Putin (hurting families here at home), our aircraft carriers strike group will be out in full force, led by the magnificent flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, loaded with F35s and accompanied by a fearsome phalanx of frigates, destroyers and helicopters – not to mention patrolling nuclear submarines in the depths below and surveillance aircraft in sky above this formidable force.

He wants to see even more effort and funding put into defence. Although the UK is now spending almost a billion pounds every week on defence, this is still not enough to fund the UK’s global defence ambitions.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: Nato chiefs want people to accept more militarism and more spending

More people will recall Boris Johnson painting a Union flag on the tail of an RAF refuelling tanker than the great strides he claims to have been made over the last decade to turn the defence tanker around.

If anything, the remainder of Shapps’s speech was even more delusional than the attempt to increase the lethality of our armed forces during Gavin Williamson’s time as Defence Secretary.

The scale of this UK Government’s ambitions know no bounds. With possibly only months left in office, the Tory government has just signed a hundred-year defence agreement with Ukraine, committing the UK to sending £2.4 billion over the next year.

Finally, Shapps yearns for a return to the days of Margaret Thatcher “if we are once more to dream of a future without walls”.

That is surely the ultimate in irony coming from a minister in the UK Government that erected the greatest barrier in Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall and is standing by while Gaza is reduced to a country without walls.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

SO our First Minister has said he is “very willing” to work with the next Labour government when (not if) Keir Starmer becomes prime minister. It seems he has even written to Sir Keir to invite him to Edinburgh for tea and talks on how our parties could co-operate after the General Election. “I think there’s plenty we can work on,” Mr Yousaf apparently said.

I suppose the first rather blindingly obvious question which may now sadly occur to many SNP voters is “why not just vote Labour?”

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf: Keir Starmer must 'respect' Scotland on independence

Ten years on from the Scottish independence referendum, Laura Kuenssberg asked Mr Yousaf if he accepted another referendum was not going to happen any time soon. The First Minister denied that and said: “I want the SNP to win the General Election to help to send a really strong message to Westminster that Scotland will not be ignored.”

If Labour win the General Election with a working majority I think the one thing we can safely assume is that Scotland will still be ignored, especially if there has been a reduction in the number of SNP MPs.

Trying desperately to get all warm and cosy by jumping into a political bed with Sir Keir and the Labour Party will not advance the case for Scottish independence by even an inch.

Brian Lawson

IT appears that First Minister Humza Yousaf is critical of the word “national” in Scottish National Party, as it implies nationalism as opposed to internationalism. I would like to suggest here that they call themselves the Scottish International Party, as that is more appropriate. The SNP seek renewed membership of the EU and ultimately look forward to Scotland’s equal position in the inernational community. Unionist parties, on the other hand, seek to cling to a past British identity. It is clear that Scotland’s route to an internationalist position is to leave the backward-looking UK.

Jeff Fallow

I FOUND the responses from the two senior BBC Tory placemen to Keith Brown’s questioning extremely insulting, as well as evasive (BBC chiefs quizzed over licence fee spend in Scotland, Jan 19).

It seems that, in 2021-22, the BBC received £70 million MORE in licence fees from Scotland than was spent in Scotland, and in 2022-23 received £42m MORE than was spent here. Licence fees from Wales, however, raised £21m LESS in 2022-23 than was spent in Wales, while the sum raised in Northern Ireland was £10m LESS than spent.

Ah, but that shortfall in spend gives Scotland things like international sport, the World Service and even EastEnders. That’s alright, then – is it not? Did these two arrogant gentlemen, who are paid by us, really think this a satisfactory explanation? Either it means that Wales and Northern Ireland do not get any of these extra programmes or if they do, they also get extra spend added to the licence total collected. So only Scotland loses some of the licence fees to fund these bonuses for the whole UK, just another subsidy from Scotland.

Do they really think we came up the Clyde on a bike? Or do they just not care that we know we are being fleeced?

P Davidson