Readers Letters: Don’t hound historic pub into changing name

The longtime name of a popular Linlithgow tavern has been labelled problematic.The longtime name of a popular Linlithgow tavern has been labelled problematic.
The longtime name of a popular Linlithgow tavern has been labelled problematic.
I am shocked at the intention of the Greene King pub chain to change the name of an old watering hole I frequented back in the day, namely The Black Bitch in Linlithgow.

The brewery want to change its name to The Black Hound because the name has “racist and offensive connotations”. A brief examination of the origins of the name confirm that it related to a black female canine who supplied food to her owner, who was marooned on an island in Linlithgow loch as a punishment for a crime and, when caught, suffered the same fate. It seems that the Sussex-based company feels that in light of the PC world we inhabit the name must be changed. It appears that they consulted the West Lothian Community Race Forum.

It would be interesting to note the terms of their response to the consultation with Greene King, the nature of their concern. Were it the use of the word “black”, can we look forward to their protest at the use of name Black Watch, the pipe tune Black Bear or to the number of pubs in England called the Black Prince?

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Perhaps we should remove the word black and replace it on pub signs with the heraldic terms “Sable” – but that might offend the anti-fur protesters.

Residents of Linlithgow might hear a low rumbling sound of an evening. It could be plate tectonics but I believe it is more likely to be former publicans of the renamed Sable Female Canine (it doesn’t quite trip off the tongue, does it?) spinning in their graves, together with the plethora of friends who have shuffled off this mortal coil but will return to haunt the company.

St Michael, the saint associated with Linlithgow, is “kind to strangers” but Greene King’s attitude to the town might have to result in divine intervention.

Ronald H Oliver, Elie, Fife

Lead by example

Ten days after Omicron was detected in Scotland the First Minister has failed to act yet again. Unlike Austria she hasn't made the vaccine compulsory, or made it compulsory for NHS or care workers like in England.Nor has she introduced eight-day isolation for people flying into Scotland, despite calling for the UK Government to do it in England.She hasn't led by example by making the Holyrood Parliament online again, nor has she banned hospital visits, or shut down or curfewed pubs and nightclubs like many European countries.

In other words, once again she has done nothing but try to shift the blame elsewhere. As we head towards 13,000 Covid deaths in Scotland by the end of this winter, Nicola Sturgeon should be ashamed.

David Watson, Leith, Edinburgh

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Historic Linlithgow pub to change its name from 'The Black Bitch' over 'racist c...

Green poverty

George Rennie in his response to Gill Turner could have included the point that Holyrood politicians rarely provide data on the costs of implementing COP26 (Letters, 2 December). It was therefore a surprise to note that, in his address to parliament on improving the efficiency of Scottish homes, Green Minister Patrick Harvie actually stated that the first phase of a £150 billion Green Revolution project would cost £33bn. However, the sting in the response was that, because of the poor state of the Scottish economy, the public purse could only cover £2bn, leaving home owners to repay the outstanding £31bn.

Indeed, for the owner of a flat the bill will be over £40,000 to meet the cost of bolting an air pump to the outside wall of the property – a truly massive debt for those on the average wage! The effect that politicians attempt to hide is that implementing COP26 is not pain free or cost free – going green will make Scots poor, as can be noted in energy bills. At 1 April electricity was five times the cost of gas, hence a ban on fossil fuels will send the current cap price of £1,200 to over £6,000, which is around 33 per cent of the take-home average wage in Scotland.

Again, there is no indication of how the additional £117bn of the Green Revolution project will be funded, but it can only add to the debt misery for a majority of Scots.

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It’s time for Holyrood to be honest with the voting public and provide details of the impact of the massive debt to transfer to a zero emission economy.

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway

Nature of things?

Storm Arwen was a salutary reminder of the power of nature that left many of us in an unfamiliar cold, silent, dark and comfortless world. It also prompted recollections of the past and also what the future may hold. Back in the 1930s winters were harsher and central heating, television, telephone, electric light and mass personal transport were in their infancy. The temporary inconveniences we've experienced in the wake of this violent storm are not so different from lifestyles of that era, when carbon footprints were negligible and unheard of.

Climate super-computers can apparently predict what lies ahead and storms like Arwen are said to be previews of the future if we fail to mend our ways. They similarly predicted that there would be an increased incidence of tornadoes, flooding, wildfires and droughts, events which apocalyptic images in our newspapers and TV screens appear to verify.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Those who care to look carefully will find that no lesser body that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change actually concede that there are no significant increased trends in any extreme weather events. They are in fact declining.

Our political leaders in their wisdom are set on an all-electric future based primarily on intermittent renewable energy that is supposed to provide carbon-free power for everything from millions of electric vehicles, to air source heat pumps and replacement of domestic gas installations, as well as meeting the demands of industry. This is the Green utopia that will almost certainly lead to power outages such as we have experienced of late, with grave financial and physical consequences. Rather like King Canute they presumably welcome cold, cheerless winter days and nights huddled over a gas stove with flickering candles and extra layers of synthetic clothing, all derived from the petroleum that they so despise while imagining they can significantly influence Nature's many invincible forces.

Neil J Bryce, Kelso, Scottish Borders

Wrong and right

The Scotsman headline was “Almost a quarter of Scots back shutdown of the oil and gas industry” (1 December). This was misleading. The article itself based on a poll by Britain Thinks for Oil & Gas UK revealed that 70 per cent would prefer to use UK-produced oil and gas over imports and even more agreed that oil and gas companies in Scotland play a vital part in the economy. The 23 per cent backing the shutdown of the oil and gas industry fell to 13 per cent when told that most of the UK's oil and gas would have to be imported from overseas.

Your editorial of the same day, “Walking a tightrope into the future”, however, got it right with “The idea that oil and gas production can be switched off overnight is utterly idiotic”. The next Scotsman article could determine when other countries will cease producing gas and oil. There are 99 of them: United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iraq, China, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Iran, Kuwait, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Norway, Mexico, Qatar, Angola, Algeria, Oman plus another 81. It is a pity that this vital issue was not raised at COP26 – perhaps because there would then be no COP27.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Who benefits?

Have the quarter of Scots reported to want our oil and gas industries shut down thought through the consequense of such a drastic step? To use the Latin legal question “cui bono?”, who or what will benefit?

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Not planet earth, since the UK's total output of man-made carbon dioxide is negligible at 0.00845% of the world's entire output.

Not our people, who would lose most of our artificial heat and light, plastics manufacturing and lubricating oils, including those for “renewables”.

Not medical and hospital services, many of whose functions depend on petroleum products.

Not those employed by oil and gas firms.

Not the Exchequer, whose losses would have to be maintained by new, extra taxes.

The only beneficiaries would be foreign exporters of essential petroleum products, of which much-increased supplies would still be needed and so necessarily imported.

Please think again, all those Scots seeking the ending of our oil and gas production.

Charles Wardrop, Perth

Tory shame

Shame on the Tory wannabes for attempting to politicise an event of nature. Storm Arwen was off the scale in terms of what could realistically be prepared for, unless umpteen millions was set aside for a “just-in-case” scenario.

It actually had been, within budgetary constraints, allowed for. But these are the same umpteen millions that the Tory naysayers have demanded be ploughed into their cronies’ pockets to “other use”. Get your boots on, Douglas Ross, and get out there on the ground. At the moment, a willingness to work constructively is clearly not a Tory strongpoint.

Iain Masterton, Kirknewton, West Lothian

No surprises

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Which of the following is the more shocking statistic? The fact that the SNP government exposed the Scottish taxpayer to the potential loss of £586 million in a dubious deal with a metal magnate (your report, 2 December)? Or is it the fact that in answer to a Freedom of Information request it took the SNP not 20 working days to respond but two years!

The answer is neither. The Scottish electorate have become so accustomed both to SNP incompetence and secrecy that regular repeats evoked no surprise.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

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