Readers' Letters: Sturgeon lets down Scots with trip to COP27

Politicians should be looking out first and foremost for their own citizens. Here in Scotland we have many issues that should be at the forefront of our First Minister’s thoughts.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits Buchanan Street Residential Children's Home in Coatbridge, to mark Care Experienced Week, east of Glasgow on October 24, 2022. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits Buchanan Street Residential Children's Home in Coatbridge, to mark Care Experienced Week, east of Glasgow on October 24, 2022. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

As Nicola Sturgeon regularly tells us, we have a cost-of-living crisis, but we also have Scottish NHS issues – the A&E waiting times, the lack of beds and medical staff and the time people are having to wait for operations. Add to this the social care crisis that we have where many vulnerable people are not getting the social care they are entitled to due to the lack of care staff.

Ms Sturgeon, however, believes that flying off to COP27 at Sharm El-Sheikh and being seen surrounded by world leaders in Egypt is more important. Rishi Sunak has sent a team to Sharm El-Sheikh to represent the UK while he stays at home to deal with the cost-of-living crisis. What many people fail to comprehend is that without a robust economy and financial stability, we will not be able to deal with climate issues. There is no cheap fix to the climate problems we face. The Prime Minister is doing what good leaders do. He’s delegating to his team around him, leaving them to represent him and us.

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Our First Minister doesn’t delegate as she is a narcissist who believes she must be there. Unfortunately for Scotland she is neglecting the most important issues that face our nation – the health and wellbeing of our citizens.

A selfie with the great and good will not help families heat their homes and put food on the tables this winter.

Jane Lax, Aberlour, Moray

No business

It is regrettable that the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is not to attend the COP27 conference in Egypt next month. That Nicola Sturgeon is going to attend is disgraceful.

The conference is for sovereign nations. Whatever Ms Sturgeon may wish for, Scotland is not a sovereign nation but a part of the United Kingdom, which is. Scotland should have no place at the conference. I expect that Ms Sturgeon will behave in the same objectionable way she did at COP 26 in Glasgow, taking every opportunity to have her photograph taken. Liz Truss was not mistaken when she described the First Minister as an attention seeker.

Ms Sturgeon's trip will no doubt be paid for by the Scottish taxpayer. I assume that I am not the only such taxpayer who strongly objects to this. I trust that the First Minister's trip to the conference will be challenged in the Scottish Parliament.

Alastair L Stewart, Broughty Ferry, Dundee

Revisit fracking

Rishi Sunak has made a good start to his premiership. He has brought financial stability and the widespread recognition that the billions borrowed during the Covid crisis will have to be paid back. Mr Sunak is a clever man who understands the complexity of the global financial system and has been described as a workaholic. He knows there is no forest of magic money trees.

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His decision not to attend the climate change industry's conference in Egypt is sensible and shows he is prioritising the cost-of-living crisis at home – unlike other leaders who view the COP27 junket as an opportunity to preen themselves on a world stage. However, Mr Sunak should revisit the Conservatives' manifesto policy on fracking which would allow it “if the science says it can be done safely”.

William Loneskie, Oxton, Berwickshire

Follow our leader?

Rishi Sunak is not going to the COP27 climate summit in Egypt in November, saying he must focus on “depressing domestic challenges” instead (your report, 29 October). He is correct, since the UK's 1.3 per cent of global emissions can make no difference whatsoever. However, never one to miss a photo-opportunity, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is going to COP27. The UK pledged Net Zero by 2050 but Ms Sturgeon had to go one better and say 2045 for Scotland's miniscule 0.15 per cent of global emissions.

She repeats ad nauseam: “Where Scotland leads others will follow.” Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Thailand are “critically insufficient” in their Net Zero targets. Fifteen other countries including Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, China and India are “highly insufficient” and the rest are “insufficient”. Strange that these countries are not following Scotland's lead.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

No declaration

Recent events at Westminster are, if nothing else, a sign of disintegration. The Conservative Party has lost that cohesiveness which has characterised it for a very long time. The party of empire, the party of investment in money markets, is showing early signs of internal weakness.All empires eventually disintegrate. History is littered with examples. The British Empire is long gone, though not everyone recognises that fact. The mini-empire of Great Britain still exists but the process of disintegration is setting in.How many Scots are acquainted with the memoirs of George Lockhart of Carnwath or the writings of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun? Both describe, in some detail, the Scottish parliamentary events which led up to the Treaty of Union. The arguments, the debates, the connivance which led eventually to the Treaty of Union of 1707. Why are these matters not taught in our homes, our schools and our universities?Almost nobody wanted the Union. When the Union was being debated in parliament hall some members had to have armed guards to see them home. As Edinburgh author Paul Henderson Scott commented, the Union was brought about by a mixture of chicanery, bribery and military intimidation. Neither the Scots nor the English wanted the Union. Indeed, the matter of bribery is well documented and was commonly known to the Scottish population at large, as witness the poem by no less a person than Robert Burns, “Such a parcel of rogues in a nation”. The rogues being, of course, the nobles and others who accepted the bribes which were distributed by the Earl of Glasgow.Independence will come. It is only a matter of time. Will there be a public declaration? When and by whom?

Jamus Smith, Aberdeen

Pretend logic

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Alex Orr (Letters, 28 October) tries to defend the self-contradictory position of the SNP on the EU (yes) and the euro (no). He quotes Jean-Claude Juncker, former President of the EU Commission, who said “I have no intention of forcing countries to join the euro if they are not willing or not able to do so”.

Orr seems not to notice the arrogance of Juncker’s statement. It sounds as if he had all the authority of a monarch, which is a reminder of the powerless state of the EU Parliament. The poor citizens of the EU can vote for their MEPs to sit in their pretend Parliament, but the real power lies with the Commission. Mr Orr needs to address the question of why Scotland should prefer a pretend Parliament in the EU over a fully democratic Parliament in the UK.

Les Reid, Edinburgh

Norway? No way

Nicola Sturgeon’s recent economics paper for a separate Scotland has been disparaged not only by her natural critics but by those on her own side, including the fervent nationalist blogger Robin McAlpine and the SNP’s economics guru Professor Richard Murphy. Hard on the heels of this, Ms Sturgeon has made what we may kindly call “errors”.

First, when told that EU sources had contradicted her claim that an independent Scotland would not have to use the euro if it joined the EU, she “rejected” that statement, leading a senior EU official to reiterate that countries wishing to join the EU must commit to joining the euro, in time.

Second, Ms Sturgeon claimed at FMQs that Scotland was now generating almost 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables. Obediently, her Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, and her deputy, John Swinney, repeated this claim. In actual fact, the figure for Scottish electricity generated by renewables is just over 50 per cent. Ms Sturgeon privately had the Holyrood record amended, but continued to claim that “the equivalent of 98.8 per cent of our gross electricity consumption is already provided by renewable energy sources”. This is blatantly untrue. The figure is nearer 56 per cent.

Third, the ferries saga rumbles on. The latest news is that this venture has hit a fuel snag. The Scottish Government had claimed that the ferries would run on environmentally friendly energy sources, but now the nationalised shipbuilder has stated that the ferries – if they ever materialise – will have to operate on diesel, at least at first. This is due to a “technical design issue”, something else – along with the unsuitability of some harbours for the new ferries – that might have been foreseen.

Now, economist Tony Mackay, the brains behind Norway’s oil and gas wealth fund, has criticised Ms Sturgeon’s aspiration to create a “New Scotland Fund” based largely on oil and gas revenues. There is, he says, simply not enough revenue now from these sources, adding: “How a New Scotland Fund would be financed is therefore very unclear.”

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Why are opposition parties not raising these matters unremittingly? Perhaps because the flawed Holyrood system gives them little scope. Why are newspapers not putting 2 and 3 and 4 together and showing up SNP incompetence and dishonesty as the only unchanging features of our current administration?

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Trouble ahead

The rebellion by some SNP MSPs surrounding the Gender Recognition Bill going through the Scottish parliament has nothing to do with SNP people finally finding their backbone, it's because they have finally realised Independence is a no-hoper and are fed up being marched up the Indy-hill by Sturgeon and marched right back down again. So there may be trouble ahead… without the mood music.

Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire

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