JIM Taylor (Letters, Nov 14) defines independence as “a people having the ability to manage its own affairs, to steer and shape it in the way its people see fit, to reflect the customs and standards that define it”. It is really much simpler than that, and much more fundamental.

Independence is having control of the life-and-death question of war and peace. And because we do not have that, we do not have independence today.

We cravenly accept the imposition of illegal weapons of mass destruction on Scotland because we do not have control of war and peace. Every day we accept this. If we want independence, we should start behaving as if we had it already.

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Our colonisation is self-imposed and self-regulated and thereby extremely effective. I often meditate on this truth when I stand at Faslane Gate during the vigil held regularly by the Catholic Worker and look at the motorists driving past with unseeing dead fish eyes, gawking at the base if it were a marina or a yachting club. Because what it promises is so unimaginable that they close their mind to the actuality.

The epicentre of a nuclear explosion is hotter than the surface of the sun. The rocks will literally melt. We have no experience to guide us in conceiving what this means, so we give up trying, and drift on to the nuclear cataclysm, when the rocks will melt wi’ the sun, as Burns sang.

Hatred of nuclear mass murder is integral to our struggle for independence. When human extermination became the official policy of certain states, the finest brains in the world reacted with incredulous horror. Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell published the Peace Manifesto back in 1955, where they said “Remember your humanity and forget the rest”. Their anguished plea was ignored, and we had the collective lunacy of the Cold War; trillions of dollars was wasted on weapons, while millions perished through hunger and disease. And we suffered endless proxy wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan, Central America to Africa. We came within seconds (literally) of global suicide on several occasion. We only survived thanks to the likes of Vasili Arkhipov (“the man who saved the world”) and Stanislav Petrov (Google them).

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Meanwhile, the good people who wanted us to have a future rallied round the call to “ban the bomb”. This alliterative slogan is powerful because it implies a recognition of the manifest illegality of nuclear weapons. We said “ban the bomb” and – guess what – that is exactly what we have done. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the United Nations in New York on September 20 2017 and entered into force on January 22 2021.

This has finally banned the bomb, and is compulsory international law (ius cogens). There is no derogation from it. The nuclear states may ignore this but they are thereby stigmatised as pariah states.

The survival of humanity is thus existentially linked to Scotland’s struggle for independence. And our task is to respond to the moral challenge of our nuclear idolatry. No is the hero’s word. We must be brave, here and now.

Brian Quail

I WAS interested in the article “FM marks launch of UK’s tallest wind turbine in South Lanarkshire” in Thursday’s National. Apparently the First Minister was marking the connection of the UK’s tallest and most efficient onshore wind turbines to the National Grid. These 15 new ultra-efficient turbines will apparently provide around 53,700 households with green electricity over their 30-year lifetime. By some magical calculation, it is claimed this is the equivalent of taking 23,550 petrol cars off the road every year.

I can just about agree with the First Minister when she stated: “Onshore wind is the biggest source of renewable energy in Scotland, making it a vital part of our mission to become a net-zero economy by 2045.” However I was frankly astounded to see that she then went on to say: “In addition to being a CHEAP and reliable source of electricity that harnesses one of our most abundant resources.”

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Perhaps the First Minister does not have to deal personally with the horror that has become paying your electricity bill. I assume that Bute House and her offices at the Scottish Parliament have staff to deal with such tasks and a virtually unlimited budget to pay the bills.

Electricity from wind turbines is currently not “cheap”.The ordinary people of Scotland are paying a huge and increasing part of their incomes for electricity generated at very low cost and also generating massive profits for energy companies.

I think it is an interesting question to ask of all politicians – what real difference will independence make to this massive energy rip-off?

Glenda Burns

THURSDAY was indeed a day to remember. Nothing to do with Hunt’s Autumn Statement – the Pars got a mention in The National. No kidding.

I guess it helped that Celtic were also in the frame.

Archie Drummond