Readers' Letters: Praise for SNP media machine misses point

I hardly know where to begin to comment on the naive and inconceivable article by Dr Azeem Ibrahim lauding Nicola Sturgeon and her “formidable media and spin machine” as some important and respected world leader during COP26 (Perspective, 19 November).

Nicola Sturgeon with former French premier and foreign minister Laurent Fabius at COP26 (Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

Dr Ibrahim, Ms Sturgeon neglected, yes seriously neglected her role as First Minister so she “spent two weeks chasing after global leaders for selfies”. “Elsie McSelfie”, as she has been nicknamed, embarrassed Scotland with her puppy-like adoration of world leaders to enhance her personal credibility for a post-political position and “boost her own profile” because she knows the game is up.Her hapless and deeply out-of-depth deputy John Swinney was left to carry the can for the continuing mismanagement of our country while she cringingly, shamelessly ducked and dived to ambush the great and the good. Dr Ibrahim believes the work of the £3 million per annum media operation by spin advisers is the reason “the people of Scotland are attracted to the SNP”. Yes supporters are attracted by no more than spin because there is no substance to the SNP “government”. Nicola Sturgeon is a master of one thing only – rhetoric. She can talk the hind legs off a donkey and some people are very easily swayed.

With Ms Sturgeon’s hypocrisy over throwing thousands of oil workers under a bus at the behest of her new Green masters and her shocking record over seven years, Dr Ibrahim’s frivolous piece praising her media machine is not worthy of a seemingly intelligent man.

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Douglas Cowe, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire

Time for fracking

It is sad and regrettable that the COP26 Conference in Glasgow turned out to be another flop, when so much could have been achieved. If only countries such as India and China would agree to convert their dirty coal-fired power stations to natural gas there could be a substantial saving in global CO2 emissions. Modern gas-fired power stations of the CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbines) variety are relatively cheap, quick to build, and efficient, offering a 60 per cent saving in CO2 emissions compared to their coal cousins.

Until feasible environmentally friendly means for the generation of large amounts of electricity are developed, then controlled and safe fracking should be implemented. This will not only make the UK independent on energy, but greatly enhance the economy such that money can be forthcoming for the development of nuclear fusion – the Holy Grail of power generation.

We are where we are, and Government strategy in the meanwhile should be based predominantly on CCGT power stations, ably supported by tidal and hydro, instead of wasting billions on large-scale wind and solar, which by their very nature are unpredictable and limited sources of power.

Dave Haskell, Cardigan, Ceredigion

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Cambo oil field: Nicola Sturgeon faces backlash over her opposition to Cambo oil...

Capped threat

There have been a number of comments concerning rising sea levels as a result of melting polar icecaps, and the latest is from Elizabeth Marshall, (Letters, 16 November). Unfortunately for the doomsayers this won’t occur for the following reason: 7/8ths of the mass of those icecaps lie below the surface of the sea and therefore the melted ice will take the place of the void left by the solid ice. This can be demonstrated easily at home by part-filling a tumbler with water, adding a good-sized cube of ice, then marking the water level. When the ice has melted there will be no change to the water level. Hence, there will be no rise in sea level.

(Dr) Gordon Cochrane, Dunblane

Too poor

A nation's prosperity depends upon its wealth, and so its public services, including health and safety, in regards to national and international security, demand armed and unarmed forces. The generation of monetary wealth can come from manufacturing goods that people want to buy, financial and like services, like "money changing"in the City and in harvesting the sea and the land beneath our feet.

Scotland, basically a financially poor country, used to depend mainly on heavy industry, needing energy from fossil fuels. Therefore, why do "Green" forces seek the ending of the enhancing of our mineral wealth in particular, currently, the Cambo oil field and other sources of fossil fuels?

Their justification cannot sensibly include our output of greenhouse gases since we already release amounts negligible proportionate to the planet's total. Without our own oil we must import it from abroad at higher prices and lower security of supply.

Therefore, the Scottish Government's policy of banning the harvesting of oil by mining and fracking makes no sense.

Charles Wardrop, Perth

Dump fossil fuels

Objections to dualling the A9 and A96 and improving roads in general seem to be based on the assumption that all the vehicles using future roads will be powered by fossil fuels: bad for the climate. Or is it that the use of road transport per se is a bad thing and should be deterred?However, are we not moving to a future in which all road vehicles will be powered by non-fossil fuel methods? Road vehicles are not going to go out of fashion; people and goods will still have to move by road, essential in many cases, and those roads should be as safe as possible and in good condition.

Keep the roads but dump the fossil fuels.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Bad decision

The First Minister has made many misjudgments but she has surpassed herself in coming out against the Cambo oil field development. It is, after all, just seven years since the Independence referendum when the SNP’s infamous paper on the benefits of independence was predicated on “Scotland’s oil” and a price per barrel in excess of $100.

The future was financially rosy in an “independent” Scotland. Sturgeon’s volte-face on this issue is entirely political and frankly has nothing to do with “Green” jobs or the environment. She fails to mention the huge job losses coming down the road in the North East, nor her and her Government’s complete failure in creating some of the highly skilled Green jobs that were promised. There is no answer to the questioning around increasing our reliance on imported oil from regimes with appalling human rights records and where we have absolutely zero influence into working practices, never mind the environmental practices in extracting the oil. We have exactly those influences in extracting oil from the Cambo field. Her decision is a sop to the Green lobby and in an instant will cast thousands of jobs onto the scrap heap.

Finally, it rather looks like she has also misjudged her support in the North East, and not just among the electorate but also fellow SNP MSP’s. The case for independence is economically dead and the First Minister’s ill-thought out political decision will come back to haunt her.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Surplus problems

Mary Thomas has a letter in The Scotsman of 19 November entitled “Scotland’s surplus” which highlights the abundance of wind and tidal power available in Scotland, and states that the Cambo field is only required for England. There is only one problem with the argument, namely that oil and gas created a monetary surplus, whereas wind, wave and tidal need subsidies right through their operational period stretching out to 25 years for wind turbines.

Current UK renewable subsidies run at around £10 billion per annum with a substantial share going to Scotland. The money is paid through an energy levy of around £400 per household each year. Around 95 per cent is paid for by those living south of the Border, so any savings that can be made on the current GERS Scottish budget deficit of £36bn will be more than exceeded by the costs associated with taking full responsibility for renewable subsidies in Scotland, post independence. Other problems rest with wind and solar in that these are dependent on irregular wind and light, which diminishes during winter when the energy is required the most.

John Peter, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire

Booking system

Interesting comments from Gill Turner in support of the First Minister's decision to allow Val McDermid's latest book to be launched at Bute House (Letters, 19 November).

I'm sure this has nothing to do with the fact that Val McDermid is an Independence-supporting SNP voter. Of course our fair-minded First Minister would have allowed this book launch at Bute House even if Ms McDermid had been a Conservative-voting supporter of the Union.

David Walker, Edinburgh

Anti-Val

Aidan Smith claims that John Cleese was aping a newsreader with the Monty Python catchphrase “And now for something completely different” (Perspective, 16 November).

But surely it was Valerie Singleton who was being parodied, because she said “And now for something quite different” so often on Blue Peter that some viewers complained!

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews, Fife

Prohibition ahead

Bob Cairns is correct to caution the use of pricing as a means of reducing alcohol consumption (Letters, 20 November). Those who must have alcohol will obtain it regardless, just as those who need drugs will assault and steal to satisfy their addiction. Anyone who doubts this, should see those chilling films Lost Weekend and Days of Wine and Roses.

The next step to pricing as a means of control is prohibition, and this could be possible in Scotland as economic considerations are low on the present government’s scale of priorities.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross, Perth & Kinross

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