Readers' Letters: Independence would solve nation’s fuel crisis

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves seems ignorant of the fiscal constraints of devolution or that Scotland has the best provision of social security for those less well off in the whole of the UK (your report, 1 September).

Due to successive UK governments failures on energy policy, the Scottish Government’s budget is also hammered as this year’s block grant was fixed by Westminster long before the Tory cost of living inflation took effect and by law our government has to balance its books each year with minuscule borrowing powers.

The SNP’s provision of free child care, free school meals and the child payment of £20 a week per child, which is lifting tens of thousands out of poverty, is unmatched anywhere in the UK, while public sector workers in Scotland are already paid more than their counterparts elsewhere.

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The question that seems to be ignored by UK politicians is why those living or running businesses in an energy-rich Scotland face the highest fuel bills in Europe and higher daily standing charges than the rest of the UK. Scotland provides some 90 per cent of the oil and gas extracted in the UK and 60 per cent of the UK’s onshore wind power. We have 25 per cent of Europe’s total offshore wind and tidal resources and 10 per cent of Europe’s wave power potential

Wind turbines operated by ScottishPower Renewables at Whitelee Onshore Windfarm on Eaglesham Moor, southwest of Glasgow (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty)
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Renewables are by far the cheapest form of energy and Scotland generated over 97 per cent of its electricity needs from renewables in 2020. The cost of onshore wind generation is falling dramatically but still, our energy bills rise.

With independence, all of our energy needs could be met by renewables, and the horrendous price rises of today would be a thing of the past.

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Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

Turbines ahoy

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I was fishing this week at Cobbinshaw Reservoir, which is the compensation reservoir for the Union Canal. It is situated just south of West Calder. As we approached we could see the wind farm with six turbines just south of Pates Hill and we could also see that there were new turbines being installed just to the west.

These new turbines are presumably the ones that are going to be so much bigger that the roundabouts on the A71 have had to be flattened on one side to allow the new longer turbine blades to pass them.

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When we turned down the road to the reservoir we could see another wind farm with ten turbines at Stallashaws Moss, and then when we were at the reservoir to the East there is a seven-turbine wind farm on the Bog Burn, and just to its south a 21-turbine wind farm just beside Harburn Golf Course.

I would imagine that most people living in this area have no idea of the number of wind farms there are, and one has to wonder why our energy bills are rising at such an alarming rate.

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Mike McKinnell, Blackhall, Edinburgh

Folly-rood

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The case being put forward for Scotland becoming independent of the UK gets more farcical by the hour. The SNP minority administration has singularly failed to come up with any acceptable answers as to how Scotland's economy would fare without the huge level of support currently received in general from the Westminster Exchequer – or more specifically through the mechanism of the Barnett Formula.

Also, they offer no credible explanations as to what they would create to act as a substitute for the Bank of England or the pound Sterling in their fantasy world of Scottish independence.

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Furthermore, it is a fact that most, if not all, of our local banks such as RBS and Bank of Scotland are now subsidiaries of London-based banks. Surely, even to the most ardent followers of the SNP, this must present huge problems?

The present minority SNP administration at Holyrood is at sixes and sevens when it comes to just about every area of administration in Scotland.

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In fact it really is quite difficult to give them credit for success in any of the major areas of government – be it in health, education, policing, public transport, welfare, local authorities, etc.

Their most recent folly, in an already long list of disasters, is what can only be described as a very amateur attempt to create a Foreign Office. So far they have established, at no mean cost, around 8 or 9 “pretendy” Scottish Embassy/Consulate type establishments in selected countries.

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The folks in the Foreign Office in London must be laughing up their sleeves at this latest farcical move on the part of the SNP to emulate their function.

What, prithee, can we mere voters expect to hear about next from the fantasy world of the Holyrood “fun-park”?

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Robert I G Scott, Ceres, Fife

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Edinburgh agrees to apologise for historic links to slavery and colonialism
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Laughable leaflet

The SNP is delivering a leaflet to households in Scotland entitled “The new case for independence… the facts”. It states: “the evidence shows independence works”. Apart from comparing Scotland to other “small” countries, they provide absolutely no evidence that Scottish independence will work. This SNP “government” will not provide “the people of Scotland” with the economic and financial facts and figures to prove Independence will be successful for Scotland.

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The brochure also states: “Scotland could and should be doing so much better”. So “could” do much better, and indeed, Nicola Sturgeon stated recently of independence, “there is no guarantee of success”. She adds that Scots could be “wealthier, happier, fairer”. What on earth has she and her party been doing for 15 years? It beggars belief.

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire

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Distraction

If Edinburgh's councillors wish to issue an apology for the city's involvement in the slave trade they can do so (your report, 31 August). However, as Professor Sir Geoff Palmer's report stated, “These events happened long ago, in a different world” and the current obsession with slavery is diverting attention away from today's racial problems.

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On the same page there was a report on how a 48-year-old man made a very offensive racist gesture at a 13-year-old boy playing in a youth football match in Edinburgh, and it is not surprising the boy was reduced to tears.

Turning the page, there was a report on the shocking stabbing of rapper Takayo Nembhard at the Notting Hill Carnival.

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I am all for a museum about Scotland's involvement in the slave trade, but slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833. Instead of endlessly going over about something that has long since vanished into history, we need to be tackling the unacceptable racist abuse and racially motivated crimes that are happening nowadays in our supposedly more enlightened world.

Robert Kelly, Dumbarton

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Sinking feeling

There should be no surprise in the fears that the two CalMac ferries being built at Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow will likely be subject to further completion delays. The whole thing has been an unmitigated disaster from the start due to ineptitude ranging from the top of the political ladder to the shop floor. If our political leaders had to answer to a board of management, they would have been looking for new jobs long ago and yet they are still in power shielded by the public purse.

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It's anyone's guess how long this farce will go on or how much it will ultimately cost the taxpayer for two vessels which are fast becoming white elephants. With the onset of a cost of living crisis could the money lavished on these hulks not have been better spent?

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirlingshire

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Losing touch

Murdo Fraser's accusation that the Scottish Government is “sniping from the sidelines” is a little disingenuous to say the least (Perspective, 31 August). Sniping from the sidelines would seem to be his own particular speciality! As a fellow Christian, not a popular position to adhere to in current times, I believe he means well. But perhaps he has lost touch with the New Testament concept of grace in his increasingly outspoken meanderings?

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Iain Masterton, Kirknewton, West Lothian

Heath and hubris

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Nearly 30 years ago, former President Mikhail Gorbachev delivered one in the series of Lothian European Lectures, sponsored by the then Lothian Regional Council, addressing a packed and appreciative McEwan Hall. People unable to get a seat clustered round the entrances, and glimpsing people smiling and waving outside, Mr Gorbachev briefly paused in the ceremonial procession leading him to the hall and gestured to those outside to come on in.

Although that wasn’t possible, those who witnessed his generosity and charm will remember that as vividly as those inside remember the great occasion itself.

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The event was chaired, also with charm and humour, by Sir Edward Heath. No friend of Mrs Thatcher, the former prime minister had never, in fact, met the Russia President with whom Margaret Thatcher had famously said one “could do business”.

That slight was no doubt in Sir Edward’s mind as he fielded questions from the audience, one of which was put by a young schoolgirl. Congratulating her on her question, and wishing her well for her future, and perhaps a political career, Sir Edward nonetheless ruefully commiserated with her over the sad fact that there was absolutely no chance whatsoever she would achieve the highest office as another female Prime Minister.

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The MacEwan Hall got the joke and roared its approval with thunderous applause.

Thirty years is a very long generation in Tory politics. The latest spin of the revolving door of deposed Tory leaders and leadership elections is proving not to be so “strong and stable” after all, and not “better together”, even without an Opposition. Sir Edward’s preferred epithet, as a determined European, might have been “hubris”.

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Geraldine Prince, North Berwick, East Lothian

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