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On the anniversary of Nagasaki, it is time to stop pretending we would ever use these weapons again

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Friday 09 August 2019 15:26
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Japanese military photographer Yosuke Yamahata depicted the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb at the end of the Second World War
Japanese military photographer Yosuke Yamahata depicted the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb at the end of the Second World War

On 6 and 9 August 1945 two atomic bombs killed 120,000-250,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Now, 74 years on, the world still has thousands of even more powerful versions of these weapons of mass destruction. Britain should lead the way by getting rid of its nuclear arsenal.

There will never be an occasion on which it could be justified to use the weapons. In reality we shall not, and must not, ever use those weapons, and no one should ever be asked to pretend that they will.

Catherine Rowett, Green Party MEP for the East of England
Norfolk

Beyond satire

The satirist Flann O’Brien was born in Strabane on the border between Tyrone (in Northern Ireland) and Donegal (in the Republic of Ireland).

Master of absurdity though he was, even Flann would have struggled to concoct the current imbroglio: the EU’s insistence on a backstop intended to ensure there will not be a hard border will precipitate a no-deal Brexit and an EU-imposed hard border.

Dr John Doherty
Co Donegal

Twelfth blight: grouse shooters about to begin hunting

Must shoot off

In a few days’ time, a group of armed bullies will once again pretend that they’re sportspeople and prowl the moorlands so they can massacre birds.

The Glorious Twelfth – the “Inglorious Twelfth” would be more fitting – marks the start of the red grouse shooting season. Its toll, though, isn’t limited to the hundreds of thousands of grouse who will die before the bloodshed ends – or even the countless foxes, stoats, hawks, squirrels, falcons, weasels, and owls who will be trapped, poisoned, and gunned down to ensure that there are plenty of grouse to kill.

Shooters almost always use ammunition made from lead, a hazardous toxin that can remain in the ecosystem and poison wildlife. Hunting groups may fire off as many as 1,700 shells a day.

To stimulate the growth of heather shoots for young grouse to eat, landowners set fire to the moors every year. Peatlands are among the world’s most valuable ecosystems and are critical for preserving global biodiversity, providing safe drinking water, minimising flooding, and addressing climate change. Burning them emits some 260,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Clearly, grouse shooters don’t care who they victimise. But we should. It’s time that the Glorious Twelfth was banned.

Jennifer White, senior media officer, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
London N1

Footling about

This week we had news was of falling standards in Highers exams, and of a looming crisis in hospital care. Education and health are both entirely devolved responsibilities the biggest ticket ones to which the SNP Scottish government should be devoting close attention.

Instead, we have Ms Sturgeon and others footling about with a Citizens’ Assembly and other devices to promote their obsession of separating Scotland from the UK, which provides the funding that keeps Scottish public afloat.

It really is a kind of death wish.

Jill Stephenson
Edinburgh

I’m a believer: Blair and Bush (AFP/Getty)

Liberal with your beliefs

In his helpful offer “Liberals, some advice – your apocalyptic prophecies actually make Boris Johnson look pretty competent”, Geoff Norcott expects your readers to give weight to the idea that “Hard Brexiteers, for all their bluster, do seem to genuinely believe Britain can thrive outside the EU.”

I ask Mr Norcott to remember that Tony Blair “genuinely believed that Iraq had WMD’s capable of deployment in 45 minutes”. Perhaps he believed the PM on that occasion too?

Not many others did: more than “genuine belief” is required.

Eddie Dougall
Suffolk

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