Readers' Letters: COP26 is grandstanding hypocrisy writ large

Greta Thunberg is perfectly correct in not regarding Scotland as a world leader on climate change.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is not impressed (Picture: Getty Images)
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is not impressed (Picture: Getty Images)

Far from being a world leader on climate change, a soundbite we hear ad nauseam from the SNP, Scotland is in the hands of second division politicians, wrapped in cloaks of varying shades of green.

All are jockeying for their little bit of power within the bubble that is Holyrood, with no real long-term plans for a far less polluting future; this would involve the urgently needed improvements to transport infrastructure and housing stock. With Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater of the Green Party now fully climbing into bed with the SNP, democracy and free thinking have been struck a mortal blow.

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As to Greta's doubts as to what can be achieved by COP26, I too remain to be convinced that anything of worth will come of this event in terms of improving the lives of the poor or turning the tide on the deplorable trash heap the planet has now become. COP 26 seems little more than yet another opportunity for those of power and wealth – such as religious leaders, presidents and even royalty – to publicly parade their “green” credentials in a show of soundbites and self congratulation, none of whom, we can safely assume, will be getting themselves to Glasgow by means of transport with the lowest environmental impact.

No one who truly has the planet and the poor at heart should be giving credence to this event by attending. Instead, they should limit their carbon footprint by staying at home and demanding that the costs to the public purse, not least in terms of the security required to police such an event, be spent to better effect and rather more wisely – not in the direction of those already comfortably off, but on those trapped in poverty, those most affected by climate change who urgently need financial aid to adapt.

COP26, in its present form, is merely a show of grandstanding hypocrisy writ large.

Neil McKinnon, Perth, Perth and Kinross

Shoogly peg

Gill Turner (Letters, 1 September) is rather scraping the barrel when the only evidence for unionists’ excessive ire at the pact between Nicola and the Greens is the somewhat intemperate letter of Douglas Cowe (30 August). She is only too aware that her Independence cause is now on a rather shoogly peg.

Bringing Patrick Harvie and co into the administration smacks of desperation, as the SNP record of incompetence in virtually every facet of government has become increasingly clear to the Scottish electorate. Covid and Brexit have certainly had great impact and are seized upon by those in the Nationalist administration as reasons for any failures.

God forbid that the SNP should take any responsibility, or that its unquestioning supporters admit such.

EP Carruthers, Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway

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Back to reality?

Over the years, I have followed (and disagreed with) the arguments put forward by Gill Turner for Scotland to be independent. Most of these have been based on questionable evidence but surely none has been so cobbled together as the arrangement with the Greens to, in Nicola Sturgeon's words, “give an undeniable mandate for a second referendum”.

Ms Sturgeon and her colleagues know that the only reason they have not pushed for another referendum – and it's now been seven years – is that they know they do not have enough support to win.

And all of this on the day that our Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, announces that Scotland could not support another furlough/business support scheme unless the UK government agreed to fund it. Back to reality?

Jim Houston, Edinburgh

Eat your Greens

I worry that some of the correspondents to this page have a tenuous link to reality. The letters from Peter Hopkins (31 August) and Douglas Cowe suggest that the Greens joining government with the SNP is akin to an extremist Taliban takeover rather than the accommodation of one of the significant minor parties into a co-operative democratic political model.

Claims that the Greens are anti-business, anti-personal freedom, anti-economy (what does that even mean?) and “aim to close down Scotland’s industries in their entirety” are unsubstantiated with anything approaching facts.

The Greens are a moderate left-leaning party who obtained 8 per cent of the regional vote and follow an environmental agenda which science, politicians and the world in general are accepting is a sensible and indeed essential direction of travel.

I accept that there are those who disagree with the need to act decisively on environmental issues. However, when the majority accept the need for these actions they should be allowed to proceed. There are those who may hate this, but that is the way democracy works.

I believe history will judge who is on the right side of this debate and I don’t believe it will be the naysayers and climate change deniers.

David Morris, Dalkeith, Midlothian

Boot ‘em out!

During the last parliamentary session a disgraced former minister was able to claim his salary and expenses while not even turning up to the Scottish Parliament to represent his constituents. The minister brought the parliament into disrepute but there was no mechanism to remove him as an MSP.

Holyrood should learn from Westminster and introduce a recall rule to address this democratic deficit. A recall petition – that can lead to a by-election – is triggered if an MP receives a custodial prison sentence, is suspended from the House or is convicted of providing false or misleading expenses claims. A similar mechanism should be adopted at Holyrood and built upon to include MSPs who don't turn up and other actions that don't live up to what is expected of MSPs.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Conservatives support this. All parties should come together to clean up Holyrood before it happens again.

Richard Wood, Edinburgh

Primitive paper

In a similar vein to Rosie Playfair and her trip to France (Letters, 31 August), my wife and I face travel difficulties due to the lack of electronic/QR-based vaccine status evidence. We are planning a trip to Belgium. As things stand today, I can travel – I was vaccinated in England and have access to the English Covid status app. My wife, however, cannot join me. She was vaccinated in Scotland, and can supply only the current paper proof. Under existing Belgian rules, this is deemed unacceptable, and entry is forbidden other than for a very limited range of circumstances. Leisure/social travel to Belgium in her case is forbidden.

Please step up to the plate, Ms. Sturgeon/Mr. Yousaf, and get the job done as a matter of urgency. If we lack the capacity or ability to do it here in Scotland, I'm sure the Westminster government would allow us to use the English NHS app if you asked nicely.

Paul Marsden, Ecclefechan, Dumfries & Galloway

Second class

I sympathise with Rosie Playfair. Her first-hand experience of the second class status of vaccinated Scots in France underlines what I’ve heard from friends already there; that this curiously low-tech document causes confusion at best, refusal at worst.I normally anticipate trips to France with pleasure, but Brexit and Covid have already combined to make French visits significantly more difficult than in the past.My unusual apprehension about an upcoming trip is only increased by the shortcomings of the double-jag certification from the Scottish NHS.Why was it decided to have a version so different from the more adaptable – and digital – English model? Why not use that, and who made the decision not to?Was its likely incompatibility with European means of vaccination proof taken into account?And when is an upgrade to be made available?Opposition MSPs. or determined journalists, should seek answers to these questions, as this meagre sheet of paper discourages optimism about further distinctively Scottish solutions in future.

Anthony O’Donnell, Edinburgh

Pure blarney

Tricia Grey (Letters, 31 August) is the latest separatist hoping to transform Alba into Éire. But would she actually prefer to live in a country where the majority must pay (American style) for healthcare, despite having higher personal income tax rates than us?

In a society where cronyism, nepotism and corruption are so embedded that they are elephants in the room which many prefer not to acknowledge?

It's likely, though, that Ms Grey applauds successive Dublin governments who have slavishly implemented Brussels directives in the same way they used to obey every Papal bull from Rome; so much for “the power to make their own decisions”.

Some 15.7 per cent of Irish people exist below the poverty line, only 1.3 per cent less than the UK figure. And in Europe's league table of wealth inequality, Ireland ranks second only to Great Britain.

Ms Grey employs much Celtic Tiger blarney while crowing about Ireland's growth statistics, but no doubt the SNP's new Green partners would be appalled, since they don't believe in such things as economic growth.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Short shift

If the Scottish Government wish to trial a four-day working week could they perhaps start with the First Minister and give us all a day’s break from her daily Covid briefings?

Ken Currie, Edinburgh

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