Readers' Letters: Oh yes, an Indyref2 will bring Scots together

In an understated, almost throwaway, phrase, Kenny MacAskill has unveiled some important information (Perspective, 15 July 2021). With reference to the post-Covid situation he tells us, without qualification, that “there can’t be a recovery without independence”.

Would a new referendum campaign be the flame to bring us together or would it simply generate hot air (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Would a new referendum campaign be the flame to bring us together or would it simply generate hot air (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

I must admit I had not made that connection but, now that it has been pointed out, it seems obvious.

After being kept apart by 18 months of social restrictions, a referendum campaign, with its marching, flags and good humoured debate, would be the ideal way to bring people together again.

Undoubtedly there will be a boom in inward investment and trade as businesses compete for the opportunity to experience the new border procedures between Scotland and its largest market.

It can only be a positive to reduce public expenditure in Scotland in line with the tax raised in Scotland and, by using our neighbour’s currency, there is no need to worry about such troubling matters as setting interest rates and controlling foreign exchange rates.

So, thank you Mr MacAskill for this gem. It certainly brightened my morning – though not, perhaps, in the way you intended.

George Rennie, Inverness

Clever virus

In the pathogenic world one might wonder if the current Covid-19 virus has been listening or watching and has adapted to meet the challenging puzzles set by Nicola Sturgeon in her daily bulletins to the masses.

If it is able to interpret the instructions relating to pub/restaurant opening times; mass stadium seated/standing spectator levels; groups of people who can meet at each others houses or gardens, and permutations thereof according to the area in which such are located – then perhaps that is why it has had the edge on us mere human beings.

Sadly, the First Minister cannot deliver the scientific certainty of what lies beyond the next fork in the viral world; and to most folk her instructions are merely gobbledygook.

Robert I G Scott, Ceres, Fife

Act now on energy

Your article “Climate change should be treated 'as emergency like pandemic' ” (13 July) gave important coverage to the work by Glasgow Caledonian University.

Climate change is like a pandemic but on a much larger scale and where there is no vaccine. Governments do not appear to grasp the magnitude of the emergency and if they would treat it in a similar way to Covid-19, which saw government investment procure the necessary vaccines, they could help solve many of the issues.

Government should provide the energy infrastructure investment to build all new electricity generating plants using the very low borrowing rates to ensure the price of electricity is kept as low as possible and carbon emissions are reduced.

At present there is no viable energy policy being put forward by any of the UK governments, many try to mislead people into thinking that they have plans.

An energy policy is required showing that actions can be implemented effectively now to achieve the goals necessary to avoid an irreversible global disaster unfolding in the coming years.

C Scott, Edinburgh

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Green fraud

Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Secretary, proposes extra, Green "carbon taxes" on all road vehicles and flights. The purported purpose is to limit the UK's man-made carbon dioxide output in aid of mitigating the planet's climate changes. Since all British businesses have suffered enormously in the continuing lockdowns, any extra taxation can only further hurt our national economies.

The UK's output of man-made CO2 being negligible as a proportion of the global total, the stated pupose of "net zero carbon" in aid of the world's climate is based on false pretences which amount, in moral terms, virtually to fraud.

Think again, Mr Shapps.

Charles Wardrop, Viewlands Rd West, Perth

Mast madness

Jim Pratt alerts the people of Edinburgh to an application to change the conditions of a consented wind farm at Cloich Forest to the right of the road from Edinburgh to Peebles (Letters, 14 July) with 12 turbines, 8 metres short of the height of Blackpool Tower. The wind farm was consented in 2016 against the wishes of Borders Council, which said it would do “unacceptable harm to the landscape”.

The scheme had 18 turbines, reaching 115m high. The new scheme is 12 turbines 149.5m high. There is a comparison of the two schemes in the application admitting that this height difference will result in increases in adverse effects on landscape. The scheme is to produce only 4MW more electricity than the first scheme. The turbines are nearly half as high again and will in my opinion dominate this beautiful area and the Gateway to the Borders.

Questions must be asked why, when the first project was deemed so unacceptable to planners and Councillors at Borders Council, the Energy Consents Unit and ministers would even consider this application.

Celia Hobbs, Penicuik, Midlothian

Costs query

The Renewable Sector claim on-shore wind energy is now cheaper than gas. Can anyone therefore explain why Scots are charged 16p/unit for electricity but only 4p/unit for gas?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas

Suspect data

Colin Hamilton (Letters 15 July) writes to criticise SNP transparency. However, it seems a bit ironic that, while criticising the openness and integrity of others, he's not averse to bending the truth himself.

He repeats that the Freedom of Information (FOI) request dealing with deaths in care homes “continued to be blocked until after the election following an intervention by the Cabinet Secretary”. That is a distortion of the truth. As the original article made clear, ministers accepted that the decision on release was a matter for National Records of Scotland (NRS). However, it was suggested that the stakeholders most likely to be adversely affected by the release, care homes providers, should be consulted.

Mr Hamilton then goes on to deal with the issue of comparable deaths in care homes relative to England and Scotland. He repeats the line taken in the Scotsman article that the First Minister had been made aware by the NRS that deaths were higher in Scottish care homes when expressing doubts about whether this was the case during media interviews.

Unfortunately, neither the original article by Conor Matchett, nor Mr Hamilton's selective quoting of it, presents the complete picture.

The article does state that the analysis was made by comparing data from published sources. What the article did not state, and what Colin Hamilton seems unaware of, was that a number of studies have been very critical of the quality of data relating to deaths in English care homes, supplied to the Care Quality Commission there.

One, by health and data experts at Manchester University, concluded that the number of deaths had been "hugely underestimated", by as much as 10,000 deaths.

It seems that the scepticism expressed during interviews by the First Minister about the number of deaths in English care homes was well placed and the NRS were wise to quickly abandon a futile exercise based on suspect data.

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

It’s all racism

Every window pane on the house occupied by the SNP must be shattered.

The party which said not a jot about the Saltires and other flags being draped over bridges on the Scottish Border, some of which included unprintable expletives telling any English visitor to go home, and would have qualified in any court in any country as being racist as well as offensive, have pounced on the Prime Minister and Home Secretary for what they see as encouraging the abhorrent racism regarding English football players.

But I am afraid the old cry of hypocrisy must be raised. Scottish nationalists simply do not regard anti-English obscenities and remarks as being racist; in the SNP mindset they do not count and the perpetrators in many cases are regarded as semi-heroes in the William Wallace mould.

When the SNP adopt an anti-racist stance that recognises and condemns every strand of the sickness, then, perhaps people will listen.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Neglected city

It is not just the stink from the sewage in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens that is disturbing for Edinburgh citizens.

Where is the money that was supposed to be provided by the Scottish Government and by our hefty rates and taxes for Edinburgh infrastructure and other fundamental needs? Everywhere around us we see neglec t – our roads full of potholes; culverts uncleaned and drains not serviced so rains bring flooding; pavements in a dangerous state of decay – and this is only what we can see on the surface, as we struggle around the city avoiding these hazards.

We need answers and transparency. Above all, we need our beautiful city to be properly maintained and not left to disintegrate before our eyes.

Elizabeth Marshall, Western Harbour Midway, Edinburgh

Keeping abreast

With such fripperies as record temperatures, flash fires, floods, presidential assassinations and the end of Covid 19 restrictions distracting all too many, let us give thanks to actress Gillian Anderson for her earth-shattering announcement that she is no longer wearing a bra.

The citizens of the globe will sleep easier tonight for it.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

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