Readers' Letters: Scotland should welcome hydrogen car plant

The potential benefits to come from the Government's Green Freeport idea have taken an exciting shape in the last few days.

A company called Riversimple wants to set up a car factory in the Aberdeen area to build hydrogen-powered cars. Starting with around 5,000 cars, this could go on to create many thousands thereafter which will be the next generation of “green” vehicles whose only exhaust will be water.

There has not been a car manufacturer in Scotland since the Linwood factory which made the Hillman Imp in the Sixties and Seventies.

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Hydrogen-powered cars, such as the Riversimple's Rasa generate electric power using hydrogen and may well become the vehicles of choice for environmentalists. Scotland could find itself at the leading edge of such a development.

Rasa hydrogen-powered cars, manufactured by Riversimple, could be made in Aberdeen (Picture: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty)Rasa hydrogen-powered cars, manufactured by Riversimple, could be made in Aberdeen (Picture: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty)
Rasa hydrogen-powered cars, manufactured by Riversimple, could be made in Aberdeen (Picture: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty)

The United Kingdom has a thriving car industry which generates billions and this would bring Scotland into line with a new generation of manufacturing.

Like Lotus's £100 million, post-Brexit investment and Nissan's similar, post-Brexit commitment to its Sunderland factory, Riversimple holds out the promise of a thriving industrial manufacturing base developing at several sites throughout the country which is essential in the face of China as an economic and political threat.

We must become self-sufficient in manufacturing in the UK and develop a new industrial infrastructure to rival and overtake that of Germany again. Britain, Europe and the world need that.

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

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Green Freeport status could bring pioneering hydrogen car factory and 800 jobs t...


Many times, when discussing the constitution of Scotland, I have heard the comment, “I’m a proud Scot but I think we should stick with the Union”.

I don’t doubt that they are proud, but of what?

Three-hundred years and more of propaganda from all sides of the media and Westminster governments has convinced them to accept England’s history, language, culture and politics, so they have no real emotional connection with Scotland.

These attitudes, which are particularly noticeable in the Border counties of Scotland, become diluted as you venture north, into what I call the real Scotland.

And yet, living and walking amongst these folk are a multitude of English people who are passionate about Scotland being independent.

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They have learnt about the impressive education, inventiveness and skills of the people; the enormous potential of Scotland’s natural assets, especially in the production of clean energy; and the truly enormous wealth which would be released if Scotland was free of Westminster strictures, making it among the top 20 richest countries according to financial experts.

English people do not want independence because they have turned against their country of birth or even to be separated from it, but because they want to benefit from all the assets of the country they have made home.

Unionists usually mock these claims but can rarely counter with any compelling reasons for staying in the Union. Because of the propaganda I mentioned, they are unaware of the 63 former colonies which have left British rule, with not a single one of them requesting re-entry to a shrunken Empire.

I must stress that it is not the fault of Scots who cling to the Union, believing the myth that Scotland is subsidised by England’s Treasury.

After all, if a 30-second TV advert can persuade people to buy a product, what effect has 300 years of indoctrination had?

Richard Walthew, Duns, Scottish Borders

Time to wise up

I can never make up my mind whether those who want to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK are dishonest or merely dim-witted.

Mary Thomas, a frequent advocate of separation, states in Scotsman Letters (26 July) that the rights involved in the Common Travel Area agreement were reaffirmed in 2019 between the UK and Irish governments.

Quite so. But if Scotland were to leave the UK then that agreement would no longer automatically apply to us. It would have to be renegotiated and such an offer might not be on the table from the UK government, which the separatists claim to be at best indifferent to Scotland, and at worst inimical.

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So many people voted for Brexit foolishly believing that the UK could leave the European Union and nothing much would change in our relationship with the other 27 countries The separatists would like us to think the same way about Scotland leaving the UK. It's time for them to wise up or to own up to the truth.

Bill Cooper, Kinross, Perth & Kinross

Trust Truss?

Liz Truss in particular has put the wishes of 0.03 per cent of the electorate ahead of the rest of the UK population. Those Conservative members seem more interested in anti-immigration, pro-Thatcherite policies and short-term tax cuts than controlling the spiralling inflation fuelling the cost of living crisis. These policies chime with Ms Truss and polling suggests that 62 per cent of members would vote for her.Ms Truss’ economic policy is immoral, leadership rival Rishi Sunak suggests, given it would exacerbate and prolong the cost of living crisis.

Truss claims, however, that her party has mismanaged the economy since it came to power 12 years ago; given that she was Chief Secretary to the Treasury, why did she not call out this then?

Why does she support spending £30 billion on tax cuts from a magic money tree that the Institute of Fiscal Studies claims probably does not exist, and precipitate an interest rate rise to 7 per cent, killing the housing market?

In his desperation for power, the last leader to promise an electorate such unattainable giveaways was Jeremy Corbyn.

Moreover, in declaring that Boris Johnson be allowed to continue, how can Truss reconcile her “loyal” position with the vast majority of the electorate and Tory MPs?A narcissistic Truss leadership would follow the path of Boris Johnson, misleading the nation, lurching from one crisis to another. Despite polls suggesting Rishi Sunak is more electable among UK voters, the Conservative party seems set to choose another disastrous leader. The remaining 99.97 per cent can only wait until the next general election to vote in a new PM. Meanwhile don’t expect “I agree with Rishi” but “I agree with Paddy Ashdown…” was uttered when Truss questioned the role of the monarchy in 1994. She can only hope the monarch forgives her past if she assumes power!

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Embrace reform

The Tories are facing an election, so naturally we hear soundbites on immigration. We can be sure, however, that even if it is “controlled and legal” under them it will still be large scale and demographically transformational. Their key supporters get off on cheaper labour and pushing up property prices.

Not, of course, that the other parties offer any alternative. For Labour, migrants are potential Labour voters. The Lib Dems lean further the same way out of their own blend of woolly mindedness, virtue signalling and terror of being labelled racist. To make an independent Scotland credible, the SNP would welcome settlers of every nation except the English.

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It puts one in sympathy with the at-the-time scandalous Dinky toy election van slogan “Don’t vote, it only encourages them”. Even Russell Brand telling me not to can hardly bring me to vote again.

And yet, when we cease to care which of them wins, we become empowered to punish those who inflict this stunted choice upon us. The current crop of MPs has the power to give us reform in time for the next general election.

The present system delivers rough justice to candidates. We can vote to ensure that the reform-blockers feel its roughest edge. The uncertainty of re-election in such a climate must be made to outweigh that feared from allowing granularity of choice.

John Riseley, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Neglected Fife

With the news of more UK-wide railway signalling staff strikes this week it struck me how different it is this time.

Under British Rail, with the same reduced signalling staff cover, it was always possible to run trains around the Fife circle due to the modern signalling system compared with further north.

However, what these recent strikes have shown is that neither ScotRail nor Network Rail Scotland feel it is worth their time or effort to even equal, let alone exceed, the capability of the old nationalised organisation.

Along with the much reduced "full timetable" in Fife it really shows how this part of Scotland is viewed by today's railway management.

Allan Morton, Kirkcaldy, Fife

Get direct

Last weekend, any bluebird rash enough to brave the white cliffs of Dover would have choked on traffic fumes.

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While Westminster was blaming the French, and the French were blaming Brexit, the reality was that the UK Government had declined to invest in the required port infrastructure which needed double the number of French customs booths.

The cost of transport, allied to the deadly hold-ups at the coast, mean that the time has come to set up direct routes to the Continent, from Rosyth, Leith and Aberdeen. Roll on independence!It is no longer cheap to fuel a delayed lorry journey from Scotland to the south of England. Environmental concerns apart, a container full of rotting meat or fish destroys businesses.

Meanwhile, Priti Patel might like to copy the emigration technique employed at Dover: let the people stew in their cars without toilet facilities for much of the day. They will soon learn to staycation instead of heading abroad in search of a better life.

Frances Scott, Edinburgh

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