Readers' Letters: Let public have a say in how we heat our homes

Scotland’s energy problems mount (“Harvie unveils new deadlines for phase out of gas boilers”, 29 November). Scotland can get very cold as we are experiencing right now.
Scottish Greens minister Patrick Harvie is the face of the Scottish Government's campaign to help the country meet net zero targets (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)Scottish Greens minister Patrick Harvie is the face of the Scottish Government's campaign to help the country meet net zero targets (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
Scottish Greens minister Patrick Harvie is the face of the Scottish Government's campaign to help the country meet net zero targets (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

Politicians have a duty first and foremost to look after our welfare. Patrick Harvie seems not to have noticed this. Is his unworkable and highly unpopular, to say nothing of expensive, scheme for heat pumps really the answer? Can he can absolutely prove this to be in our interests instead of what we have?

At the same time Humza Yousaf is against new nuclear power stations in Scotland. What this tells Scots is that our welfare is being used as a political football instead of being grounded in reality. Given our climate, this really matters. Putting "net zero" as more important than us freezing is not on. If Mr Harvie and Mr Yousaf really want us all to adopt what, on the surface, appear to be totally inadequate alternatives to what we currently possess then perhaps a national referendum, so beloved of the SNP, upon this subject might actually be worthwhile for a change. Let the people decide.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Zealots at the door

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Having plodded through the Scottish Government website publication of the consultation documents on the proposed Heat in Buildings Bill, I now understand Patrick Harvie's interpretation of “Just Transition”. The key elements in encouraging home owners to take up green heating (primarily stick, little carrot) were admirably summed up in John McClellan's net zero article (Perspective, 28 November). They are: new systems to be funded by the householder (loans, equity release) and likely eventual penalties for failure to comply (increased local property tax, increased Land and Buildings Transaction Tax on sale). Mr Harvie wants us to "Just get on with it, pay for it yourself, and, if you don't, you will be penalised".

The Scottish housing market will tank if this becomes law. How much more economic distress can these zealots foist on the folk of Scotland before being shown the door in 2026?

Paul Marsden, Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway

Just Holyrood

So the penny finally drops in the head of Patrick Harvie, that the date set for ripping out boilers and replacing them with grossly expensive, and in some cases unusable, heat pumps is “unachievable”.

No lesser man than Lord Haughey, of City Refrigeration Holdings, who could make millions out of the sale of them, states they do nothing for the carbon footprint, “It still pugs into the grid, it is run by electricity”.

This in a long line of ridiculous ideas and policies from the utterly incompetent Green/SNP coalition. Gender recognition – in court. Protected marine areas – abandoned. Bottle return scheme – shambolic mess, to name but three.

And how much money has been squandered in attempting to put these fiascos into being? How much time frittered away on these pie in the sky policies and the misuse of civil servants’ time to promote self-aggrandising nonsense?

Add in the utter humiliation of the First Minister and his contempt for the Scottish Parliament in his backing of the now totally discredited Health Secretary, and the mess that is our devolved parliament is laid bare for all to see.

On a daily basis, it seems like another episode of Just William, with the FM trying to come up with another cunning plan to cling to power, supported by the dog-wagging tail of the Greens, Patrick Harvie trying to rebuild the castle in the nursery sandpit, while Lorna Slater sits in the background shouting “I’ll squeem and squeem” in an attempt get another of her bird-brained ideas onto the statute.

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If it wasn’t so utterly depressing, it would be a soap opera on prime time television. How lucky we are, indeed!

David Millar, Lauder, Scottish Borders

Watch Budget

Mary Thomas (Letters, 29 November) mounts a robust defence of the SNP government's performance.

Rather than just quote statistics I'm sure Ms Thomas will be eagerly awaiting the contents of the Scottish Budget, within which will be the consequences to two of her statistics; how are the NHS settlements in Scotland to be funded, and will Police Scotland receive the additional £128 million funding to avoid the “3,000 officer and staff jobs at risk”?

It would be refreshing if, only once, the defenders of the current administration could admit not everything can be blamed on Scotland not being “an independent country”; failure to build ferries, dual the A9 and address the drug problem being just three of them.

Derek Stevenson, Edinburgh

All bark

Anyone who believes the SNP administration's decision not to follow Westminster's lead by banning American XL bully dogs is anything to do with dogs is delusional. As usual, being different just for the sake of it.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Trump was right

It is indeed time to talk about fascism, as Henry McLeish writes (Perspective, 29 November). But I hope he reads Struan Stevenson's much more apposite article the same day, which describes the full nature of genuine fascist/nazi practice as evidenced by Iran's theological thugs – and the fact that Donald Trump had the measure of them and their utter evil far more than Joe Biden has.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

In like Flynn

Stephen Flynn, SNP leader at Westminster, was lightning fast in diving in to demand the UK returns the Elgin Marbles to Greece after the cancelled meeting of the UK and Greek and leaders over this vexed issue. In opportunism Mr Flynn is first class – in the ability to think things through, like all his SNP colleagues, he is an abysmal failure. Were his demand granted, all the works of art of foreign origin in Scotland's galleries and even private homes, no matter if paid for or not, would be subject to Mr Flynn's edict and returned to the source country.

Or would he have one law for Scotland and another for everyone else?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Game of Marbles

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It’s time for a little calm (and facts) to descend on the arguments about the Elgin Marbles. Rishi Sunak is being blamed when the appointment with Kyriakos Mitsotakis was cancelled, but it was the Greek Prime Minister who caused the whole embarrassing episode. Admittedly, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg led the discussion in that direction, but Mr Mitsotakis said, “they belong to Greece and were essentially stolen”. In fact, one of the reasons that prompted Lord Elgin to obtain the Marbles was that he had observed other marble sculptures at the Parthenon being destroyed. The Parthenon was a mess and still was when my wife visited it in 1967. There wasn’t even a path to the temple, just a boulder field!

The ”firman” (official document) giving permission to Elgin stated, “should they wish to take away any pieces of stone with old inscriptions, and figures, that no opposition be made”. So, not stolen.

Mr Mitsotakis compares the Elgin Marbles with tearing up the Mona Lisa, with half in London and half in Paris, without apparent irony. Yet that painting comes from Italy, not France, as I am sure he knows, but that’s OK apparently. France also owns its own Greek artefacts, like the Winged Victory of Samothrace, also in the Louvre. Strange, then, surely, that Mr Mitsotakis is not demanding the return of that to Greece too.

It is because it isn‘t part of the political game he is playing with Britain, that’s why.

This is getting silly.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Hopeless cases

Stephen Flynn is at it again, sticking his beak into matters which don't concern him. Why can't the SNP members North and South of Hadrian's Wall get on with their day jobs, God knows they need the practice – aside from playing the victim at every opportunity they're hopeless at everything.

Next year we'll get rid of most of them from Westminster but we have two more years before the idiots are ditched from Holyrood and by then the next administration will have a hell of a job fixing all their blunders throughout Scotland.

Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire

Lockdown value

In recent days the Covid Inquiry has been examining whether the lockdowns were initiated early enough.

But shouldn't the question be asked as to whether thelockdowns were even appropriate?

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An international study led by Jonas Herby and published in January 2022 analysed and reviewed 34 previous papers on the effects of lockdown on Covid-19 mortality.

Herby concludes that “lockdowns have had little to no effect on Covid-19 mortality” and in Europe and the US “only reduced covid-19 mortality by 0.2% on average”.

Those who still think lockdowns were worth it should read the 2022 study by Casey B Mulligan which found that Sweden, which had little or no lockdown, suffered only 33 per 100,000 non-Covid excess deaths compared to 64 per 100,000 in the European Union as a whole.

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

Pope and glory

I had to check that it wasn't April Fools Day with your brilliant headline “Pope tells Newcastle to be infallible” (28 November)!

I’m just glad it wasn't Rangers playing!!

Scott Miller, Joppa, Edinburgh

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