Readers' Letters: SNP putting political gain above climate crisis

Last week UK Environment Secretary George Eustice announced legislation allowing gene-edited products to be produced in England, with an offer to extend the system to Scotland with Holyrood's permission.

Such products will greatly cut the use of pesticides and fertilisers, and create animal feeds which make less methane – so reducing the country's carbon footprint and helping combat climate change. The technology is safe, and is backed by National Farmers Union Scotland.

It sounds like a no-brainer, yes? Yet the Scottish Government has rejected the proposal from Mr Eustice on the basis that it wants to keep its regulations tied to the EU's, which does not support a change. Supporting the English model might potentially prejudice Scotland's rejoining the bloc if the country becomes independent. A spokesman said its policy is to “stay aligned, where practicable, with the EU in this regard”. However, Professor Joyce Tait, whose Innogen Institute at the University of Edinburgh conducts world-leading research into genomics, has apparently warned that there is a big risk of Scotland being left behind and the country's farmers losing out by rejecting this technology.

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The Scottish Government is putting political gain ahead of combating climate change or reducing our carbon footprint. It is surely hypocrisy on a mega-scale from our political leaders who proclaim “green” policies yet reject them if they stand in the way of independence and EU membership. And another anti-Brexit two-fingered salute to the UK Government.

A scientist holds a Petri dish containing sprouting barley embryos that have received spliced genetic material (Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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Donald Morgan, Ayr

So take control

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Being an old man I have experienced many periods of inflation. For example. when I married in 1964 my wage as a skilled tradesman, for 40 hours, was £12.50. I am quite sure that that is now an hourly wage. We then had to endure various periods of inflation with various governments not having a clue as to what to do and not learning from the past or trying to predict the future. Heaven forbid that we will have a repeat of the Seventies and Eighties when the lights went out. We were paying our mortgage at 15 per cent, and inflation was 25 per cent. Once it got going there was no stopping it. This time we have reached 9 per cent, with so-called experts predicting 10 per cent. I believe that it will go much higher. Inflation does not come on its own. Industrial unrest has started already, by next winter we will have real problems.

Perhaps the Government could do something radical, rather than giving a temporary bribe to the electorate. Tell oil firms to supply the home market at a price controlled by an independent body, and export the rest at world prices. After all, India has banned the export of wheat and Indonesia the export of palm oil. PM Johnson’s slogan during Brexit was “let’s take back control”, well, do it. However, having a multi-millionaire in charge of the nation’s finances, what are the chances of nipping the problem in the bud? Instead, Rishi Sunak will tinker with the problem and get nowhere. He must go to the source of the problem and control it.

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Sandy Philip, Edinburgh

No crown ban

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So the UK Government is looking to bring back crown symbols on pint glasses after the EU had removed them. A great story, with the UK “taking back control” from blundering Brussels bureaucrats – but yet another Euro-myth.

The crown stamp has been used on pint glasses for more than 300 years to show that they are large enough to hold a full pint. A 2006 EU directive required the use of an EU-wide “CE” mark which stands for Conformité Européenne – French for “European Conformity”. CE appears on many other products, from toys to medical devices, and it shows that they meet the EU’s safety, health and environmental rules. However, EU rules did not stop the UK from having the crown stamp on glasses.

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As we have become accustomed to when it comes to the UK and its relationship with the EU, the truth often proves to be a sad casualty.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

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French blessing

Dave McEwan Hill (Letters, 30 May) asks why Rishi Sunak hasn’t followed the French in capping energy prices. I think the answer is because they can! Seventy per cent of French electricity is nuclear and about 20 per cent renewable, meaning they generate only 10 per cent from gas or coal or imports. In the UK, though, 17 per cent is nuclear and about 40 per cent renewable, leaving considerably more power (43 per cent) to be generated by fossil fuels here subject to world market prices, or imported.I am not sure if uranium is subject to any price volatility, but since I understand that a typical nuclear generating plant will only use about 20 tons of uranium a year, perhaps it wouldn’t have that much effect anyway.Another difference is less domestic gas usage in France – in fact, gas central heating in newbuilds was banned in 2021 – and much more use of their cheaper electricity for heating and cooking.

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John Scarlett, Gorebridge, Midlothian

Brass necks

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There is something stereotypically SNP in the reaction of the nationalists to being ousted from Edinburgh City Council, having garnered a mere 27 per cent of the vote. They are outraged by Labour and the Lib Dems coming to a voting arrangement with the Tories, thus keeping the SNP out. Let me say as an Edinburgh voter, I am delighted. The squeals of outrage from the SNP was another sign of the sense of entitlement and arrogance the nationalists possess, the disintegration of which has clearly begun in Edinburgh and elsewhere and brings hope that there is at last clear light visible at the end of the nationalist nightmare tunnel.

What makes the “vote Labour get Tory” squeals most hypocritical is the news that the SNP approached the Tories themselves, seeking an accommodation, and were snubbed. It is hard to imagine a shinier brass neck than that.

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Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Read More
Farming: Time for Scotland to rethink policy on gene-editing - Andrew Arbuckle
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Long division

Brian Wilson writes that Nicola Sturgeon has long sown division “along constitutional lines” (Perspective, 28 May). At a deeper level, though, perhaps any such division is much more along ideological lines. Why do I support independence? In part because I do not like either corrupt Tory governments or the right wing entryists who, long ago, took charge of the Labour movement. Also, because Scotland suffers a democratic deficit whereby, apart from an unwanted Brexit, we’ve had 12 years of Tory governments we never voted for.

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Most of all, I support independence because I think that Scotland, on the whole, still believes in a politics of the common good. On the other hand, large swathes of England seem to have given up on what Mrs Thatcher dismissively referred to as “society”.

In Scotland, the older ideological divisions between the right and the social democratic left persist. Indeed, they could be said to underpin what Brian Wilson calls the constitutional divide. Sadly for him, a Blairite Third Way never made any headway here. In fact, it arguably cost the Labour Party the bulk of its Scottish voters

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Alastair McLeish, Edinburgh

Clouded view

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Alastair McBay’s argument (Letters, 28 May) that Christianity has not had an influence on human progress doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Slavery was caused by greedy merchants, not Christianity, and its abolition is largely credited to William Wilberforce, a devout Christian who, with the Clapham Sect, finally persuaded parliament through his strongly held Christian belief of equality for all.

While it is shameful that some church leaders have until recently failed to condemn it, there has not been paedophilia on an “industrial scale” as claimed. As with the historical persecution of witches and gay rights, these issues are being acknowledged and rectified. They were not caused by Christianity but by dogmatic leaders failing to adhere to Christian principles such as equality.

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Historically, sectarianism has been caused by different interpretations of the bible rather than Christianity itself. The reconciliation between Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley, Christians of different persuasions who put their dogma behind them, shows how the Christian principle of forgiveness can bridge the sectarian divide.

Christianity has helped bring people from different backgrounds together across the world, Christian agencies help support women into work and to education and give people opportunities to progress out of poverty. Many constitutions, including those of the US and UK, are based on Christian principles. They have served to protect indigenous peoples, not to attempt to conduct genocide against them as claimed.

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While not a practising Christian, I feel it’s no coincidence that while the influence of Christianity here has waned, standards have deteriorated to the extent that those yielding power prop up a prime minister who is an egoistical liar. There is an increasingly apathetic attitude to bad behaviour. A failure to understand the concept of right and wrong, central to Christianity and, importantly, other faiths, inhibits progress of humanity.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

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It’s all cuckoo

It's obvious the latest remake of John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos – in which spiteful children are given powers beyond their mental and emotional capacity to safely handle – is meant to be a powerful metaphor for the manner wokedom, cancel culture and "let a thousand genders bloom!" triggered Zeitgeist World War Three long before Vladimir Putin decided he preferred the more "old school" variety.

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Trouble is, those needing to digest the parallel will be too busy updating their TikTok feeds to watch it. Oh well Sky, you did try...

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

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