It's vital that COP26 proceeds, but not like this​​​​​​​ - Readers' Letters

It is important that COP26 should go ahead, but perhaps not too late to alter its structure.
Could HMS Queen Elizabeth be a secure venue for a slimmed-down COP26?Could HMS Queen Elizabeth be a secure venue for a slimmed-down COP26?
Could HMS Queen Elizabeth be a secure venue for a slimmed-down COP26?

We have been told to expect up to 30,000 delegates from around the Covid-infected world, but almost all would have no opportunity to make any contribution to the proceedings.

Tens of thousands of others taking part in demonstrations would cause great disruption in Glasgow.

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Around 30 countries are responsible for over 95 per cent of emissions and capable of taking action to reduce atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. On an individual basis the other countries could not take action which would have a measurable impact.

A small delegation from each of the large emitters, authorised to negotiate and enter into agreements, with the others given limited observer status, might achieve an outcome which we all hope for.

The total number of delegates would be in the hundreds rather than thousands, and such a conference could be held on a readily available cruise ship, or even our new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, anchored a few miles offshore.

Security would be more easily managed, the risks of a spread of Covid reduced, and a great burden removed from our already overstretched police.

WB Campbell, Edinburgh

Under pressure

Brian Wilson (Scotsman, 24 July) states that “three per cent of electricity is currently being generated by wind farms”.

That raises the question of how does Holyrood plan to supply schools, hospitals, homes and supermarket freezers should there be a repeat of these high pressure conditions, especially over the winter, once it has introduced a ban on fossil fuels?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway

Cycling scare

After many years of driving, I experienced my first incident with a cyclist recently on an Edinburgh street. I was driving my car along a one-way street with cars parked on either side when a cyclist appeared from a side street heading in my direction.

He was looking down as he headed towards my car. I immediately applied the brakes and blew my horn for what seemed like an eternity.

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He eventually looked up, saw my vehicle and miraculously swung away, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision.

The cyclist did not look when approaching the main street from the side street (he ignored the ‘give way’ sign). He turned into the one-way street and travelled down it in the wrong direction. He was looking down. He had large headphones on his head. He was not wearing a helmet.

It made me think of the cycling lobby seeking to adopt a “presumed liability” law where motorists are considered initially liable for all incidents involving cyclists.

If the cyclist had crashed into my car head-on and he had been injured/killed would I have had to prove my innocence? Would my insurance company have supported and funded my legal fees to prove my innocence? Would I have to meet the costs of repair to my vehicle since the cyclist would no doubt be uninsured?

Andrew Dodds, Bathgate, West Lothian

Something fishy

Claims by David Elder (Letters, 26 July) that "industrial scale" salmon poaching is a major problem in Scotland is quite simply nonsense, for the simple reason that it does not exist.

Scotland has the harshest salmon poaching laws in Europe and has had since Victorian times.

The salmon legislation of 1951 gives bailiffs the same powers of arrest as any police constable. Cars and fishing tackle can be seized and packages sent by post can be intercepted. Convictions can be obtained on the evidence of a single witness with no need for any corroboration and prison sentences can be imposed.

In Scotland, only authorised dealers can sell wild salmon and all fish are tagged and traceable in the same manner as any Scotch beef or lamb in the local butchers shop. It is a criminal offence to buy wild salmon from anyone other than an authorised dealer.

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Perhaps Mr Elder can tell me where the market is for all this "industrial scale" salmon poaching, as I have not seen wild Scottish salmon for sale in any fishmonger or on the menu of any restaurant for many years?

Jim Stewart, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Sturgeon secure

Brian Monteith must have been out in the sun for too long if he thinks that Nicola Sturgeon, who was re-elected after winning a record 62 constituency seats in May, is losing her grip on power (Scotsman, 25 July).

Thanks to her leadership, and our much better performing NHS, Scotland has achieved more vaccinations per head of population than in England or Wales.

We also have a proportionately lower number of Covid cases and deaths than in England, despite being hampered by the poor decision-making of Boris Johnson that has allowed Covid to run riot throughout the UK and destroyed thousands of lives and businesses.

And it turns out that less than one percent of a £1 billion UK Government scheme to help start-ups during the pandemic has gone to companies in Scotland under the Future Fund.

Figures show that just £8.3m went to firms in Scotland, the lowest in all the devolved nations and the bulk of the cash – £798.7m – went to London and the south east, which was also in huge contrast to £18.7m awarded to firms in Wales and £11.6m to Northern Ireland.

So much for Boris Johnson’s levelling up of the most unequal economy in Western Europe.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

History will judge

Is Boris Johnson leveling up or leveling down? Removing £20 a week from five million Universal Credit claimants and refusing essential public sector workers (including nurses) reasonable pay rises makes him look like a typical old Tory fiscal conservative grabbing at the austerity brakes when he should be saying no to project fear.

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When your country has a huge debt caused by a pandemic, it takes guts to act as Atlee did in 1945 and level up despite huge debts. But you also have to plan on the basis of real values, not whims such as the Brexiteering ones. The post-war Labour government was ruthlessly focused. Keynes was sent to the USA to persuade the Americans to collaborate with Europe with loans. Rationing was continued which kept inflation in check. The main wants of the Beveridge report were targeted. It was big government and effective government but not populist. The continuation of rationing was of course unpopular and caused defeat for Labour by 1951.

Historians will judge Boris Johnson's government by how planned and focused it proves to be. Will he be seen as an Asquith, a Lloyd George, an Atlee, or another David Cameron? Historians can't judge until some future date but the trends don't seem good for him as historians have tended to rate many post-war Tory premiers as poor – Cameron, May, Eden, and Douglas Home being the worst.

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh

The time is now

It is now two long years since Boris Johnson came to power. During this time, with the disaster of Brexit and the grave mismanagement of Covid, he and his toxic government have been embroiled in scandals, sleaze and cronyism. As PM, Johnson has been an utter failure and can only be described as a man of cheerful deceit!

It is now time for the cautious, career-structured, SNP to be more proactive about independence as well as containing Covid.

With the Tories harbouring grand designs of British national power separate from Europe, as in the days of Rule Britannia, Scotland must look to the happy and successful Nordic nations and become a fully independent country again, working and trading with the British Isles, Europe and the world.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland

Vaccine shortfall

I am truly concerned to read of the shortfall in take-up of vaccinations for Covid among the younger population.

My age group (70s) were offered the protection early on and tend to remain cautious, so for others not to be accepting protection for themselves, and us, would appear to be a major fault in organisation, both of information and facilities.

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One becomes increasingly curious as to quite what this government is doing with its time, for it seems less and less to be governing and more concerned with its survival as the major party in Scotland.

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I want no more homilies, I want action to address the problems of Covid protection for all society, and education, and the health service and the police.

D Gerrard, Edinbugh

Off the Boyle

My son, who currently lives in Australia, told me he watched the Olympics opening ceremony.

When it came to the traditional release of hundreds of peace doves the broadcaster said "this would be accompanied by the internationalist famous singer from Scotland, Susan Boyle", who duly sang a lovely song as the doves were released.

There has been nothing on TV, radio or in the press to note Susan's acheivement in being chosen to sing to a worldwide TV audience on a unique occassion. I tried to view this on BBC iPlayer but the broadcast stopped just short of Susan's song to go to a chat with Clare Balding.

I realy admire the achievement of the medalists who are rightly given maximum publicity, yet I do think Susan Boyle’s "Gold Medal” achievement has been met with complete silence in the media. Why?

Vincent McCann, Edinburgh

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