NEIL Young and Joni Mitchell, both long-term supporters of vaccination and free speech, would have taken sometime to come to their decision to remove their music catalogues from Spotify (Mitchell wades into Spotify row, Jan 30).

Joe Rogan’s shock-jock style is deliberately controversial to get podcast hits.

Young and Mitchell as children were both attacked by the polio virus pre-vaccine, and personal experience is burned deeply into their memories, so they would know, wouldn’t they?

When Rogan’s contributors spout their personal opinions about Covid vaccines without being challenged to show the evidence, it smacks of the former doctor Andrew Wakefield of the MMR vaccine debacle infamy, who is still an virulent anti-vaxxer even now.

READ MORE: Joni Mitchell in act of solidarity with Neil Young amid Joe Rogan Spotify row

Where there is challenge to the best estimate of knowledge, which may not be totally spot-on, it is acceptable to debate the information, and test the data rigorously, to determine what the best course of action really is.

Without that challenge, the confidence in either view /strategy can be easily lost and people revert to what they know and what has worked in the past.

Rogan podcasts have no such challenging contributors, teasing out the complexity of their arguments and testing each part for validity.

A recent response from Spotify indicates that they are planning to put a disclaimer or caveat on all podcasts which touch on the subject of Covid and hopefully all medical matters. Possibly a case of door, horses, bolted.

Alistair Ballantyne
Birkhill, Angus

THERE have been so many events this year in Scotland, Britain and internationally that I would not be surprised if readers of The National did not know that on January 26 Maria Esperanza Sanchez Garcia, aged 52, completed two years as a political prisoner in Matagalpa, Nicaragua on the usual trumped-up drug trafficking charges.

The Ortega regime there now has approximately 167 political prisoners (in a population similar to Scotland) who he called “sons of bitches” the day after “winning” the November 7 fraudulent elections, when likely opposition candidates were jailed and intimidated so that he was apparently elected with a 70% majority despite an effective boycott as there was only a 20% turnout of the electorate. Now he even feels able to sack doctors who have dared to diagnose Covid-19.

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Ortega has been in power since 2007 after having the constitution changed so he could stand repeatedly for election.

Thousands of people have had to flee into exile in neighbouring Honduras and Costa Rica like the FSLN Sandinistas did during the Somoza dictatorship before the revolution in 1979.

The current repression started in 2018 following protests against the regime’s cuts in pensions and social security as well as destruction of their jungle.

Although international relations is not devolved to Scotland, it is worth readers expressing their concern about this situation, in a country that used to be a worldwide example of democratic progress, to both your MP and MSPs.

Norman Lockhart

I JUST wonder, if Russia placed missiles in Mexico along the border with USA, whether Washington would assemble troops on their side.

Neil M Shaw
via email

AFTER scooting through the “highlights” of Dunlop Review, the song Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who jumped into my mind (Tory Peer calls for ‘Project Hope’ to save the Union, Jan 29). Having listened to and read the mixture of disinformation and rosy promises showered on us in 2014, I find it baffling that ANYONE with even ONE analytical neuron firing in their brain could believe ANY of this syrupy waffle.

Better Together Mk2 will obviously promise not only “jam tomorrow” but permanent summer weather, jobs for all, a two-day week for more money, and, the REALLY unbelievable one, Scottish representatives being treated with respect and dignity.

Barry Stewart

MANY potential buyers of electric cars may be uncommitted due to high initial cost (even with rebates) and the low range of most of them. But those who advocate them may not have foreseen a problem should there be a large-scale shift to electric cars.

Many vehicles will take at least 40 minutes to reach a useable charge, so a very large amount of land will have to be laid aside for the creation of charging sites. Since most cars are city-owned, the recharging sites will need to be in cities where large sites will not be available.

READ MORE: Why should electric car driving of the well-off be funded by the low-paid?

To retain ambitions of large-scale electric cars, would it not be better if such cars were to have a standard battery pack dropped off and replaced by an already charged battery? Maybe it would be better if Scotland were to focus (no car pun intended) on promoting hydrogen power as we vastly increase our renewable electricity output.

M Ross