COLIN Fox (Letters, Sep 17) has forgotten the first duty of a socialist in a situation where Ukraine is being invaded by Putin’s forces intent on expanding the Russian empire.

That duty is to show solidarity with the people and the trade unionists of Ukraine who have shown their determination to resist the murderous attacks.

He attempts to suggest that government corruption and the existence of rich oligarchs in Ukraine (as well as Russia) mean that Scottish socialists should not support the right of the Ukrainian people to defend their country.

Both the STUC and the TUC have adopted policy positions which defend that right and condemn the Russian invasion.

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In the past, the leading countries in Nato (the USA and the UK) have been rightly condemned for their murderous invasion of Iraq.

Colin Fox and others condemn Ukraine for requesting the weapons technology from Nato nations to enable them to shoot down most of the drones and missiles aimed at civilian targets. Without these weapons thousands more Ukrainian men women and children would have died in these indiscriminate attacks. Now the Ukrainians need more weapons to expel the Russian armies from the occupied territories.

As he had done successfully in the South Ossetia part of Georgia in 2008, Putin armed and encouraged Russian nationalists in the Crimea and Donbass regions of Ukraine to revolt (backed by Russian troops) following the defeat of the pro-Russian president Yanukovych in the Ukraine election of 2014.

The false justification for these annexations by Russia was to “protect the Russian nationalists from attacks”. This is an echo of the justification put forward by Hitler when demanding that Czechoslovakia hand over the Sudetenland region to Nazi Germany in 1938.

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Putin’s attempted invasion of the rest of Ukraine in 2022 did not even have that fig-leaf of a justification.

Colin Fox’s position, suggesting that there is some kind of equivalence between the Russian government and that of Ukraine, is the modern equivalent of the disastrous appeasement policies of the British and French governments of the 1930s.

The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign Scotland fully supports the people and trade unions of Ukraine in their fight to expel the Russian invaders from their land.

John Dennis (Trade Union Organiser – Ukraine Solidarity Campaign Scotland)

UNDER SNP proposals the citizens of Rutherglen and Hamilton West may soon suffer congestion and museum charges when they venture out to visit nearby Glasgow. Not exactly a by-election vote winner, I suspect.

Those living in larger-than-average homes, regardless of income, can probably look forward to much higher council tax bills. The public consultation on this idea ends very soon. In the very unlikely event that the UK Government agrees to the SNP’s suggestion to introduce mortgage tax relief, to help balance the UK’s books there may be a corresponding tax increase for everyone.

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There are now a large number of Scottish second home owners who will face, rightly or wrongly, greatly increased council tax bills. B&B and Airbnb owners are in revolt over licensing regulations. The Green/SNP gender recognition legislation has now begun the first stage of its lengthy journey through the courts. The timing could not be worse.

There seems to be a basic assumption by the SNP that the people who will suffer financially from recent policy choices or who fundamentally disagree with a policy choice like gender recognition have no vote or don’t vote SNP anyway.

I hope that is the case but I fear that it is not.

Iain Wilson

DAVID Howie (Letters, Sep 18) asks why it is “not credible” that the SNP winning a majority of seats but not votes is a mandate to pursue a manifesto commitment of independence.

To be very optimistic, assume the SNP can maintain their 2019 support of just over 1.2 million votes at the 2024 UK General Election. The Greens only managed slightly over 28,000 votes. Just over 2.7 million votes were cast, so roughly 1.5 million Scottish voters supported Unionist parties. The turnout was 68.1% and there are about four million people registered to vote. The 31.9% who did not vote amount to about 1.3 million.

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Do the First Minister and the SNP Westminster leader genuinely think possibly 1.5 million Unionist voters, their MPs, MSPs and councillors would meekly accept that the SNP, with perhaps only 1.2 million votes, suddenly has a mandate to negotiate for independence? I sincerely wish they would, but there is a better chance of the Loch Ness Monster swimming up the Thames tomorrow morning wearing a tartan bunnet and singing Flower of Scotland.

Those 1.5 million Unionist voters cannot simply be ignored. Many of them are our family, friends, workmates and neighbours. They will not sit silently by their ain fire sides while the SNP leadership, in effect, try to declare UDI without their consent or approval. In any case the UK Government (Labour or Tory) will not be picking up the phone to arrange any meetings to even contemplate the thought of Scottish independence.

IF – and it is a very big IF – we could muster 50% + 1 of the VOTES at the UK General Election or a Scottish Parliament election, then, and only then, it’s game on.

Brian Lawson

AS far as I am concerned, a majority of seats or majority of votes at the next General Election is fine by me and I think all pro-indy parties should sign up to this to cover either eventuality.

I see that Michael Gove says Birmingham City Council’s “woeful mismanagement” has harmed the city. Do NHS England’s doctors think Gove’s mates set a good example? Further, if the UK Government give any money to Birmingham City Council, will Scotland get an extra divi from the Barnett Formula?

M Ross