THE majority of us will be rightly appalled at the situation in Ukraine. I’m still appalled at the situation in Palestine. Surely we are all very angry seeing (mostly) the women and children fleeing Ukraine and becoming either displaced persons in their own country, or refugees in another. I’m very angry at the plight of refugees and asylum seekers as they suffer the same in – two examples only – the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Are we potentially witnessing a population expulsion from areas such as the Donbas region? Just as we witnessed the expulsion of the Rohingya from Myanmar? I don’t deny that I can be swept up in the moment, the current, and find my compassion and actions move from “them and then” to “those and now”. But the majority of us retain a broader sympathy and awareness if not an empathy arising from our own circumstances.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson confirms £300m aid to Ukraine in address to MPs with Volodymyr Zelensky

I find it difficult, then, to fathom how this Tory government fails to retain a sense of balance between competing “priorities”. Cynicism on my part wants to call it “opportunism”. The opportunity to seek votes and retain power. The opportunity to create a hierarchy of “togetherness”: “together we’re better than ‘them’.” That’s an affirmation that they’re not us, so they can be regarded and treated differently from us, with less merit than us.

With only hours to go before local elections, the well-seasoned red meat will now be served up. Boats crossing the Channel will come with the reminder “they” could be going to Rwanda: a speech, evocative of Churchill, to the Ukrainian Parliament, including the pledge of £300 million and a cost-free nod to rebels and undecided voters.

Yes, a sovereign country has been invaded. But here, working poor and unemployed are making more use of food banks whilst many thousands of households are praying for better weather ensuring even less use of gas, electricity, heating. Can you live without cooking, hot water, washing? I can’t. Do we honestly believe that a one-off windfall tax on energy will open the floodgates and see oil companies flee from the UK? The current forward planning of those companies was based on past profits. The latest boost to profits are just that – an unexpected, unplanned-for boost. BP with that “boost” are still currently committed to investing more in their existing practices than renewables. A fantasy then that excess profits are required in-house rather than in taxes.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson is using Ukraine crisis to embellish his Churchillian persona

The Tory government’s priority is exposed again: keeping shareholders happy with increased dividends before gathering tax. Tory aggrandisement is being achieved through the impoverishment of “others”; nothing new there!

I’ve always believed that Scotland’s people are different but not better to England’s, especially how we regard and value our civic society and public services. But now, that difference is more evident. With Tory emphasis on profit and corruption normalised, misogyny unchecked, law-breaking acceptable in their PM and Chancellor, and now, this emphasis on foreign relations and standing before “local”, I desperately want the local election results to mirror our determination to regain Scotland’s independent nation status. Come Friday then.

Selma Rahman

LIAR Johnson is announcing big military aid for Ukraine (late) not just to help Ukraine but to help Conservative election chances. So obviously devious.

Meanwhile, the long grass where the party inquiries were kicked is growing longer by the day. Scotland needs indyref2, as per democratic mandate of the past two elections, and we need it NOW.

Tim Warner