Trump truths

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Is the prospect of Donald Trump, president of the United States, a realistic one? I tend to share Euan McColm’s view (Perspective, 9 December) that it is a scenario that cannot be ruled out entirely.

It is still worth reminding everyone that at the moment he is simply seeking the Republican Party nomination. It should be no surprise he should try to appeal to the deep conservatism that permeates life in parts of America. Should he gain the nomination, it would then be time to adopt a more emollient tone, but contrasting his outlook with the more progressive approach of his likely opponent, former senator and secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

In the late 1970s, many Europeans thought Ronald Reagan was too outrageous to be elected president – his right-wing views were seen as out of touch with the prevailing mood. His dictum, however, that government was not the solution to problems but in many instances was the problem, captured the minds and hearts of many young voters in the 1980 presidential poll.

Many saw him as absent-minded and ill-informed on the issues of the day, but his avuncular, jokey, simple approach contrasted well with the more serious demeanour of Jimmy Carter, who Reagan defeated by a large margin.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court, Glenrothes

Forestry growth

I read with interest the article (News, 9 December) calling “for a moorland strategy, as forestry target is threat to habit”. Here is another example of where a minority interest wants to take good care of themselves without giving fair consideration to the needs of others.

The Scottish Government-supported forest strategy has set some very clear targets for tree planting in Scotland. For protecting wildlife and habits, expanding forestry, in particular mixed and native woodland, is fundamental to sustainable development.

I am at odds with the view that heather moorland area should not decline further – it should not be forgotten vast areas of heather were once forested until man decided to cut them down.

Native woodland should be encouraged as it provides many environmental and community benefits over open moor. Examples include commercial timber, wood fuel, diverse habitat, improved upland water management and local employment.

Let everyone have a voice but don’t let the majority be silenced.

Jim Aitken

Murthly, Perth

Art all around us

No disrespect to any of the nominated candidates, but the Turner Prize (Your report, 8 December) should nominate itself for this weirdest of awards. Not only is it trying to turn art into anything, it is also trying to turn art into everything, and vice-versa. This being so, it surely follows that the Turner Prize for Art is a top candidate for its own award.

Just after tapping this out I tilted a glass of orange juice to my lips and speculated about taking a selfie of this, putting it on social media, maybe phoning somebody who could be scouting for next year’s Turner candidates… But then I decided it didn’t stand a chance against my earlier thought that the Turner Prize must at some point win its own award. I am more than surprised it hasn’t done so already.

Ian Johnstone

Forman Drive, Peterhead

Future imperfect

Both Keith Shortreed (Letters, 9 December) and Peter Jones (Perspective, 8 December) base their conclusions regarding Scotland’s economic future on projections by a think-tank. With the best will in the world these can only be extrapolations from current data – changes which cannot be envisaged will occur and change the position.

A recent example is the fall in the price of oil, which no-one foretold. The accepted pattern was that if the price fell substantially, producers would restrict supply so as to force it up again. Instead, Opec has decided to continue pumping as before, with Saudi Arabia, for instance, making up for the shortfall in receipts by realising overseas investments – which has its own economic implications.

My conclusion is that, while projections of the type in question may be useful indications of where current trends may lead, they are of little use in predicting the future, and beyond, say, a decade, are likely well adrift.

S Beck

Craigleith Drive, Edinburgh

Time for an ace

By now everyone in Britain will be stunned by the decision of the planning department to reject the Murray proposals for their tennis academy, museum etc (News, 9 December).

This project – I believe much overdue – cannot be allowed to flounder because of the opinion of half a dozen people who insist that this greenbelt site would be eroded. What nonsense.

Will this be the ideal time for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, just as Alex Salmond did for Donald Trump, to intervene and apply sense and sensibility so this exceptional development may proceed?

Michael Campbell

Conon Bridge, Ross-shire

Second helpings

At a time when working people are losing their jobs and aspirations for the future, politicians go marching on with ever expanding career structures. We have in the UK two parliaments and two assemblies, we pay councillors a salary, we have a House of Lords bursting at the seams, and what do politicians in Scotland see as a priority? A senate – a second chamber.

What do the people in Scotland want? Do they want politicians sitting at meetings duplicating what has already been said and done, or do we want public services that are fit for purpose?

margaret wallace

Broomfield Avenue, Cumnock

Wind farm anger

Just over a week ago we had the great news that the Mount Lothian wind farm proposal had been rejected at appeal, so the Midlothian plain now seems secure from large wind farms after ten years of fighting. But our joy has been short-lived.

The Auchencorth proposal defeated in 2010 would have seen 14 turbines of 100m high in front of the Pentlands. For five years Penicuik Environment Protection Association fought so hard with the council to preserve this iconic view.

The proposal was just 900m away from the frontage of Springfield Farm. A businessman bought Springfield Farm at the end of the Auchencorth public inquiry.

This year, just as the hearings into the Mount Lothian wind farm began, he put in an application for two 35m high turbines. There were more than 80 objections to the proposal and five in support.

Midlothian planners rejected the application as it is contrary to the Local Plan and the Developing Local Plan. The application was then, surprisingly, called in by a councillor. This meant the appeal went to the government, not to the council. (The application was rejected by full council.)

How can it be right that one man can ignore the legally constituted Local Plan, the decision of planners and councillors and the wishes of the locals?

Celia Hobbs

Peebles Road, Penicuik

Perfect holiday

Samuel Johnson, despite being hard to please, loved Scotland and wrote: “The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” I sincerely hope that potential visitors are not put off visiting Scotland by recent events.

Undeterred by reports of bridge closures and flooding, we headed to Crieff Hydro, a favourite holiday resort for 40 years in all seasons and weathers.

The Hydro exemplifies all that is good about Scotland, offering modern attractions amid beautiful and timeless scenery. Over the course of a few days we will visit Inverness, Braemar, Oban and all points in between for our Christmas shopping, with a warm welcome and fine Scottish dining to return to each evening – and Crieff Hydro gives each guest a complimentary copy of The Scotsman each day.

Canon Alan Hughes

Wark, Northumberland

Funding muddle

What a wonderful world we live in. The Lord Advocate, the head of Scotland’s public prosecution service, has confirmed that he will not prosecute Harry Clarke, the driver of the Glasgow bin lorry. Yet a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government is quoted as saying that “Scottish ministers would consider any request for public funding towards a private prosecution [against Harry Clarke] very carefully”.

If it were to happen that the Scottish Government did give such financial assistance this would be a typically populist SNP action and the lunatics ­truly would have taken over the asylum.

Alastair L Stewart

Albany Road, Broughty Ferry

Emissions targets

Dr Aileen McLeod MSP waxes lyrical about Scotland “already punching above its weight” on emissions targets (Friends of The Scotsman, 8 December).

Scotland has missed its emission reduction targets for four years. Scotland has an insignificant 0.13 per cent of global emissions, whereas China, India and Brazil have 33.2 per cent – and have indicated they will not sign any legally-binding emissions reduction agreement.

America is the only country to have reduced its emissions, thanks to shale gas replacing coal-fired power plants. A lesson here, Dr McLeod?

Clark Cross

Springfield Road, Linlithgow