Readers' Letters: If Harvie's heat pump plan is dead why do Greens still have power?
Why doesn't Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf quietly ditch the architects of these useless ideas, namely the Greens?
Jim Houston, Edinburgh
Does Scotland still have a functional government? Not content with the damage it has already caused to society, the SNP /Green alliance has new gems to present to the public. SNP Community Safety minister Siobhian Brown is still assessing the dangers of the XL Bully breed of dog as the attacks in Scotland do not mirror the severity of those in England. To this end she will not ban this breed as is about to happen down South. Hopefully she is right and no harm comes to Scots from these dogs but if she is wrong, what happens to her?
Not to be outdone, the Greens' Patrick Harvie wants us to have "choices" over our heating systems. You can put in a totally inadequate heat pump but if you don't, you will be charged a higher rate of council tax. Over 55 and can't afford this? No problem says Mr Harvie, use equity release to raise the money.
Perhaps an embattled Humza Yousaf might remind us how come, given his poor showing with voters, Mr Harvie is a minister of state in his government and why Ms Brown should be so flippant with the lives of our population. Government “for” the people?
Gerald Edwards, Glasgow
SNP minister Michael Matheson has, for several years, rented out a £200,000 holiday home on Skye (with unlimited wifi) for £10- £15,000 per year but assures us he makes absolutely no profit on this amount, claiming running costs eat up the entire rental income – and so presumably he pays nil income tax on the rent.
Really? Since it's unthinkable someone as trustworthy as an SNP government minister wouldn't pay all income tax personally due to HMRC, must we instead assume he's extraordinarily financially naive by making no profit from a valuable commercial asset for a protracted period? If so, why is Matheson in charge of a £15 billion NHS budget?
Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire
There’s a basic rule which should be adhered to by all politicians: Engage brain before opening mouth. Lee Anderson, Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party, says “asylum seekers should be sent to the Orkney Isles, rather than Rwanda”.
I appreciate that Mr Anderson – a former coalminer – makes plain speaking his USP but this wasn't his finest hour. Scottish Conservatives Leader, Douglas Ross must be thrilled to bits by this example of a Westminster Tory’s insensitivity to Scottish politics. The Orkney’s Council has already explored the possibility of the islands returning to Norway simply to escape British – and more specifically, SNP – rule. I'm sure if they were even aware of it they would have treated the comments with the contempt they deserve. On the other hand, they may now be a step closer to Norway...
This may mean nothing to Mr Anderson but to many Scots it’s the daftest idea yet from this senior Westminster Tory. A beer too many, perhaps.
Doug Morrison, Cranbrook, Kent
I read with disbelief Steuart Campbell’s suggestion that “shading the planet” is the solution to climate change – change the climate it certainly would (Letters, 26 November)!All life on earth depends on the sun – trees and all other plants need it to produce the chlorophyll that will absorb CO2 to feed themselves and excrete the oxygen all animals and humans need to breathe, so shading the earth from the sun would be catastrophic on that score alone.
It would also disrupt the most efficient current form of “green” energy, solar power. Plus, the heat of the sun controls many of the wind systems on earth, and it is the winds, particularly at high altitude, that dictate much of the weather, which is already unpredictable in many parts of the world.In short, shading the planet is one of the crazier ideas from the noisy global warming lobby!
Ian McNicholas, Ebbw Vale, Wales
Your correspondent Brian Barbour is living in a parallel universe and an outdated one at that (Letters, 27 November).
He reiterates the tired old Barnett formula argument which really needs to be “scotched” once and for all.
It's a drop in the ocean compared to the revenue going straight from Scotland's energy production, be it oil and gas or renewables, into the UK Treasury where it can then be squandered on PPE, HS2 and other monumental blunders, as well as the “national” debt. We then have the privilege of buying it back from the “National” Grid at 54 p per kilowatt while those in the Southeast of England pay 39p!
He goes on to imply the BBC's coverage of politics is fair and proportionate.
How can that possibly be when the infamous Michael Matheson iPad football streaming scandal receives far more attention than the ongoing shenanigans and contracts for cronies in the longest running farce in the West End, the Conservative Government at Westminster?
Even the coverage of “foreign affairs” aka war is always skewed from a misty-eyed British colonial mindset.
It may be warmer in the Borders than it is here in Edinburgh but in an independent Scotland no one would need to choose between heating and eating.
Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh
Stupid or cynical?
Regarding the COP28 gathering that will begin this week in Dubai, is it sheer political ineptitude or economic opportunism that condones a crucial international climate conference being held in, and chaired by, one of the top oil-producing countries in the world?
What a golden chance to market yet more of the product that we were hoping to leave in the ground! This looks like a global paradigm for our own homegrown ferry fiasco!
S R Wild, Edinburgh
The excellent article from Paul Wilson should be mandatory reading for politicians, the green brigade and the eco-demonstrators (Perspective, 23 November).
It is a refreshing change from the doomsday articles by Dr Richard Dixon. Paul Wilson points out the problems with electric cars and heat pumps which should have been obvious to politicians who have numerous highly paid “experts” on the taxpayers' payroll. Some would say far too many. EVs are mega-expensive, can catch fire, have been banned from underground parking in many countries and the yearly insurance costs average £1,000. Heat pumps are also mega-expensive at £20,000 plus bigger radiators and redecoration. They are also noisy and get even louder as they age.
Paul Wilson cleverly sums up the climate debate very neatly when he says "We won't move the needle on emissions until countries such as China, Russia, India and all the developing world stop putting improved living standards and bringing their populations out of poverty above reducing their carbon footprints". More of the same please Paul.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian
The annual survey from the EIS teaching union, highlighting the scale of violence in our schools, should come as no surprise (your report, 24 November).
Just under two-thirds of those teachers surveyed said there were daily incidents of pupil-on-teacher violence or aggression in their school, and these had significantly increased over the last four years.
Many of these incidents are linked to pupils with additional support needs (ASN), with numbers more than doubling since 2012, and now amounting to more than a third of children, who are also experiencing an increasing complexity of need.
These numbers have been exacerbated by the traumatic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost- of-living crisis, with us also facing a mental health emergency.
However, this is set against a background of acute under-resourcing to support their needs, with the number of specialist ASN teachers falling by 546 between 2012 and 2022 as just one example.
Additional funding is desperately needed to increase the support available to those with ASN, including specialist teachers, teaching assistants, mental health professionals and educational psychologists.
While we support the principle of mainstreaming, that all children be taught in mainstream classes unless exceptional circumstances apply, this has never been properly resourced. Those with ASN are therefore frequently being inadequately supported, which is also impacting on other pupils.
Violence against any member of school staff or another pupil is never acceptable, and it is critical that with the Scottish Budget being published next month, our schools are given the necessary resources to ensure that they are safe places in which to work and to learn.
Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (Kenny Graham, Falkland House School; Lynn Bell, LOVE Learning; Stephen McGhee, Spark of Genius; Niall Kelly, Young Foundations), Edinburgh
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