Your letters from week of July 26, 2017
Food for thought for SNP leaders
Wild emmer wheat is the original form of nearly all domesticated wheat including durum (pasta) and bread wheat.
It’s too low-yielding to be of use to farmers today, but it contains many attractive characteristics used by plant breeders to improve wheat.
An international team has finally cracked its genetic code, an essential step in improving the performance of modern day grains and, as wheat accounts for 20 per cent of all the calories humans consume, a major advance in the fight against global hunger.
Many modern wheat cultivars are susceptible to water stress but wild emmer had a long evolutionary history under the drought-prone Mediterranean climate thus utilisation of the wild genes in a wheat breeding program will produce more yield for less water.
This news makes it even more regrettable the SNP government equates its anti-GM stance with care for the environment.
Positioning the nation in this way gives it an international reputation for being a science-free zone, not the modern Scotland it aspires to be.
War’s arms trade was legitimate
We lost. CAAT (Campaign against the arms trade) had its day in the high court where it accused the British government of violating International Human Rights Law and was itself complicit in the war in Yemen by selling arms to Saudi Arabia.
The judgment, when it came, was disappointing as it was predictable; the British government was only doing legitimate trade by such arms sales. So Britain is not responsible for the death of tens of thousands of innocent people in Yemen.
The destruction of that country’s infrastructure was by British planes, flown by British-trained pilots, armed and serviced by British airmen, dropping British bombs on hospitals and wedding parties killing innocent men women and children.
Neither it seems are they responsible for the famine and epidemic of cholera that has followed.
When this ethnic cleansing has ended and Yemen reduced to rubble Britain can now legally walk away symbolically washing its hands of the misery it has caused and quickly closing its doors to any war refugees who dare to seek sanctuary in this country.
Theresa May will stand up in Parliament and in answer to any challenge; tell us how Saudi Arabia is our ally and friend, which is only defending its country against an aggressive enemy.
Charities such as Médecins Sans Frontières will re-launch its appeal for more money, streaming to our televisions graphic pictures of half-starved children lying on makeshift hospital beds, and running along the bottom of the screen, just text the word SOS to this number, on your new smartphone and your conscience will be clear.
Is our moral compass so badly damaged that we chose not even to question our direction of travel, on the foreign policies of our government?
There is a simple trade solution
The Government seems to believe that continuing our membership of the Single Market is a problem.
It does not need to be. It should state that on a given date Britain will cease to accept any imports from the Continent unless an agreement is signed before that date.
A period of a fortnight or a month should be allowed between the announcement and the given date. The agreement should permit the free flow of goods as at present, with no conditions or attachments. After that all other matters could be negotiated although I do feel that the attitude of those on the other side of the Channel might be more respectful.
William W. Scott
Short films to raise awareness
Local schoolchildren have the chance to win £1000 by designing a short film over the summer on the subject of reducing child abuse and neglect. The winner’s school will receive £750.
UK early years’ charity WAVE Trust has launched its first 70/30 Short Film Contest to support its 70/30 Campaign – to reduce child abuse and neglect by 70 per cent by the year 2030. The contest is open until Friday, September 22.
This is a unique opportunity for 16-18 year olds from anywhere in the UK to do something truly amazing for a special cause while representing their school and getting seriously creative!
Students will plan, design and produce their own short video film (max. three minutes) to share the 70/30 message in a fun and inspiring way. They’ll share with the world what 70/30 is all about, why it matters and what we need to do to see a real change towards a happier, healthier society for all.
In addition to the top prize of £1000 (plus £750 for the winner’s school), judged by an expert panel, the person whose entry receives the most votes can choose their prize from a list for runners up which includes a tandem skydive and a European travel pass.
Entries can be submitted either through the website or via Instagram (using #7030ByMe).
To enter the contest or read about WAVE’s 70/30 Campaign visit www.70-30.org.uk
Action needed to end smuggling
Dogs Trust is calling on the public to help put an end to illegal puppy smuggling after an undercover investigation revealed shocking and continued abuse of the Pet Travel Scheme.
Puppies, some that are as young as four weeks’ old are still being subjected to horrifying journeys across Central and Eastern Europe and smuggled into Great Britain to be sold to unsuspecting members of the public, many sick and without the right vaccinations.
After working tirelessly to bring the issue of puppy smuggling up the Government’s agenda, there remains a reluctance to acknowledge the scale of the problem or to implement any effective change.
Urgent action is needed to help transform the lives of these poor puppies.
Dogs Trust is asking people to show their support by writing to their own MP to ask them to support our campaign by writing to the Minister for Animal Welfare.
They can visit www.puppysmuggling.org.uk to find out how to help.
The campaign is backed by television and radio personality, Dermot O’ Leary.