Firstly, if we are rightly concerned about the future wellbeing of our children, we must also be concerned to ensure they inherit the complete gamut of values, including the right to obtain medical treatment and not be stranded in ambulances held up by people sitting on a road, and the right to travel to work without excessive hold-ups.
Secondly, if the issue of climate change is of significant concern for the future welfare of society then surely it is incumbent on us all to make changes, such as foregoing foreign holidays that involve unnecessary use of fossil fuels; reduce our use of electricity (and hence production) by significantly reducing our use of social media and the plethora of gadgets in every home!
Thirdly, we can return to a previous generation's habits and eat food in season and produced within Great Britain (or, for Scottish Nationalists, within Scotland). Of course, there are potential side-effects, such as less stress, as the household budget will go further with reduced overheads and we won't be stuck in never-ending queues at airports, and staycations are likely to be less expensive. There will be improved mental health as we cease striving to keep up with, not the Jones, but the myth peddled by social media, and enjoy a return to an old-fashioned Christian belief in the unique worth of every individual.
We might even produce politicians eager to tell us what they intend to do (with demonstrable outcomes), rather than what they intend to spend (our hard-earned money, often poured down the drain in fanciful schemes); but maybe this is a step into unicorn territory!
James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian
The purchase of the secondhand ferry from Norway for £9 million to service the Western Isles was presented as almost a triumph by the SNP administration. I am aware that the nationalists have to keep their army of taxpayer-supplied special advisers in some kind of employment but trying to put a positive spin of any kind on any aspect of the Scottish ferry catastrophe is Mission Impossible. Some £100 million plus of our taxes were spent on prestige ‘’Scottish’’ ferry projects and they now lie rusting in their shipyard stocks.
That would have paid a good percentage of the cash required to reimburse the temporary £20 a week extra being docked from the Universal Credit benefits of some recipients. This is incompetence and mismanagement on a scale that beggars belief.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
Barely a day goes by without The Scotsman warning us of the impending climate apocalypse and citing rising seas as clear evidence. However, I must admit to being somewhat confused. If the oceans are rising significantly then two things must happen. First the extra water must come from somewhere – presumably from melting ice caps, and second, there will be permanent, significant flooding of low-lying coastal areas.
As the Arctic Ice extent is currently at a seven-year high I fail to see where all this extra water has come from, and when I checked today with Google Earth, the Maldives, for example, which average just 4 feet above sea level, were just fine.
There are, of course, many “predictions” of ocean rise by countless “experts” and of course, the inevitable warning of future catastrophe for the low-lying Maldives. I simply ask the numerous experts to give examples of ocean rise that have actually taken place. Anyone can say this or that may/could/perhaps happen in the future and because one calls oneself an expert doesn’t necessarily make the prediction true.
Alastair McCulloch, Dunblane, Stirling & Falkirk
It’s not rot
Robert Sinclair (Letters, 7 October) says that my statements of unpicked fruit and vegetables being left to rot through a shortage of pickers are “extravagant and baseless”. In fact, I based my comments on statements and comments made by the chair of the Horticulture Group of the NFU. Things may be fine in Mr Sinclair’s little corner of East Lothian, but if he cared to lift his horizons a bit, he will find that a major problem relating to to this issue has been reported throughout the length of Britain by numerous broadcast and newspaper outlets.If Mr Sinclair has access to the internet, I suggest he puts the phrase “Farmers say fruit is being left to rot in the fields”. He will find a plethora of reports saying that unprecedented labour shortages have left hundreds of tonnes of produce rotting in the fields.
Gill Turner, Edinburgh
Thank you NHS
I thought after reading so much anti-NHS material, that it might be useful to provide a simple good news story regarding our local medical service delivery.
I haven’t been feeling well since the weekend, with a swollen face, which I assumed to be a face infection. After a very bad night on Tuesday during which I developed shooting pains, mouth ulcers and face blisters, I contacted our local practice at 9am, and I was contacted by a doctor by telephone at 10.15am. The doctor indicated that my symptoms sounded like shingles and asked me to see him at 3pm on Wednesday. I was initially seen by a medical student and then by a senior practice doctor, who advised me that I did indeed have shingles. He prescribed me the appropriate medication, which I obtained that very afternoon and I would say that this was a five-star service, which I certainly appreciated. It’s not all bad news!
Alex Duncan, St Fillans, Perth & Kinross
On the level
Until recently the electricity price per unit was four times that of gas, which would make the replacement of gas domestic heating by electricity extremely expensive. However, in the past couple of weeks the wholesale price of gas has rocketed fourfold, making it more compatible with the price of electricity, resulting in a consequent increase in home energy bills.
Is this what is known as levelling up?
GM Lindsay, Kinross, Perth & Kinross
Hope for Boris
I could not but reflect on the last paragraph in your editorial in yesterday’s Scotsman: “However, perhaps it is hard to land a blow on a politician who says things that may sound good while delivering little but pipe dreams for those desperate enough to believe in them.” Whilst a not inaccurate summary of Boris Johnson, it could be equally applied to Nicola Sturgeon. The only difference between the two is that Ms Sturgeon has been at it for a lot longer. There may still be hope for Boris.
John B Gorrie, Edinburgh
A nuclear future
Tim Flinn asks about nuclear fuel running out and about the solution to nuclear waste and the "pollution” the latter causes (Letters, 6 October). In fact, it's very unlikely that supplies of uranium, if that's what he means, will ever run out. It is estimated that the average concentration of uranium in the earth’s crust is about 3g per tonne of rock; in sea water it is about 1g per thousand tonnes. About 1,300trillion tonnes of uranium exist in the earth’s crust. Failing that, the solar system's asteroids could be mined. Mined resources depend on the price; the higher the price, the more resources are worth mining.Nuclear waste does not cause pollution; it just requires management and safe storage until it's radioactivity declines to a safe level. Some reactors will consume their own waste. So-called “high-level waste” is in fact unused fuel and can be recycled. Plutonium, generated in reactors, can be used as fuel in fast reactors, which can also be used to turn non-fissile U-238 into plutonium. The UK should not have abandoned its fast reactor programme. Russia, India, China and Japan have continued with theirs.The future is nuclear.
Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh
Having voted unanimously to approve the Scottish Parliament Bills enshrining the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Charter of Local Government into Scots Law it is hypocritical for Unionist MSPs to attack the SNP for introducing those sensible measures which Scotland’s Chief Law Officer and the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer deemed to be competent.
Apart from the opinion that the UK Supreme Court is in breach of Article 19 of the 1707 Treaty of Union and the 1689 Scottish Parliament Claim of Right Act, which outlines Scotland’s constitutional law, the Supreme Court decision should remind everyone that power devolved is power retained and that under the current arrangements we can’t stop a UK government trampling over democracy in Scotland.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack claims that a generation is 25 years and opinion polls need to show 60 per cent support over 12 months for a Westminster government to allow a referendum on independence.
However, the 1998 Northern Ireland Act clearly defined a political generation between referenda as seven years and that the NI Secretary of State is legally obliged to order a border poll if at any time it appears likely to him that a simple majority of “plus one” of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom.
The previous majority vote in our Scottish Parliament for a referendum was further endorsed at May’s election, with 62 SNP constituency MSPs elected on such a mandate compared to the five Tories, four Lib Dems and two Labour members who campaigned on a “no referendum” platform.
Fraser Grant, Edinburgh
Write to The Scotsman
We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line.
A message from the Editor
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.