Readers' letters:  Truss’s voodoo economics will not work

The news that Liz Truss is lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses is consistent with her belief that tax cuts alone will magically restore economic growth.

Prime Minister Liz Truss, expected to reveal details of the support package this week, speaks in the House of Commons alongside Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng
Prime Minister Liz Truss, expected to reveal details of the support package this week, speaks in the House of Commons alongside Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng

The Tories have only ever had one answer to economic problems – tax cuts, deregulation and letting the market rip.

The fact that this voodoo economics approach has never delivered national prosperity doesn’t interest them.

They have wholly abdicated their responsibility as a government, which is to regulate market failures to protect the population, because they’ve been too busy lining their own pockets and those of their oligarch donors.

There is no better example of ruinous market failure than the so-called ‘energy market,’ run by private corporations for profit alone. It doesn’t function efficiently, doesn’t serve the interests of people and business, and has failed to invest in renewable energy and technology.

The UK stands alone amongst European states in having sold off its energy assets and it did so in the service of a failed ideology.

It’s why even though the prices of wholesale gas and electricity are the cheapest since 2010, energy bills have soared 85 per cent since March. It’s pure profiteering.

We’re living through the death throes of neoliberalism, an economic ideology indifferent to human suffering.

Scotland’s opportunity is to build a state that prioritises its citizens’ welfare, by taking back control of its resources and establishing and enforcing regulations to save and enhance lives.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

Energy figures

Among other somewhat ridiculous assertions Dr Richard Dixon (Scotsman, 15 September ) claims that our new PM is "backing far-off, ridiculously expensive, nuclear power".

Instead of such waffle, let’s do a Kelvin and at at least try to put in the numbers that every serious scientific argument requires.

The new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will produce 3.1 GW for 60 years at an installation cost of £26billion - that's about £140m per GWyr of essential baseload.

Almost finished is our latest and largest windfarm, Seagreen, off the Angus coast, which will, according to its owners, produce an average 0.55GW for 25 years at an installation cost of £3 billion or £218 million per GWyr of intermittent supply

It will take about six Seagreens (600 plus huge turbines covering an area of near 7000 square miles) to equal Hinkley's output and a huge and costly increase in energy storage to make them truly viable.

The nuclear station, I have no doubt, will be more expensive to run than offshore windfarm equivalency.

I am unable to make numerical comparisons but it seems to me that, contrary to such wild assertions as Dr Dixon's, it is going to be neither ridiculously expensive compared with wind power nor so much later in delivery than its wind power near equivalent.

Dr A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries

Fracking alarm

Clark Cross does well to lay to rest the alarmism against fracking in his letter of 17 September.

Opponents of hydraulic fracturing major on the supposed harmful chemicals used. But the high pressure water and sand mixture has only one chemical, polyacrylamide, which makes up 0.05 per cent of the solution.

Polyacrylamide has been declared safe by the Environment Agency, and is also used in the manufacture of contact lenses.

We will need natural gas for decades to come, so it makes sense to get it from Lancashire and other areas rather than import it.

The British Geological Survey has estimated there may be over two trillion cubic feet of onshore gas reserves in Britain.

William Loneskie, Lauder

Nuclear legacy

Reader Steuart Campbell spoiled his positive case for nuclear electricity by providing no verifiable figures to support his conclusions (Letters, September 17).

A crucial omission was the true cost of dealing with the nuclear waste that has to be kept safe for well over a thousand years.

As things now stand no country has invested a capital sum whose compound interest is sufficient to avoid our descendants for the next millennia having to pay taxes to cover the costs of managing the wastes we created in keeping our lights on yesterday and today.

If Mr Campbell knows otherwise, perhaps he could share that information with us?

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Fans disrespect

We found out on Wednesday evening the true mindset of a large section of Celtic supporters in Warsaw.

We found out on Saturday the mindset of a large section of Dundee United supporters, not a minority as their management claims.

If Celtic fans want to show allegiance to Ireland I understand that, the history of their club is the clue.

As for the Dundee United fans. that baffles me. Regardless of where allegiances lie, to show such disrespect and venom towards our Queen is despicable and the boards of both clubs should set the example and clamp down.

They know who they sold the tickets to.

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth

Climate King

King Charles III can be appropriately apolitical, particularly non-party political, while maintaining his interest and work on the global warming emergency.

Those with a vested interest in framing the climate emergency as a mere political issue rather than a global existential crisis mustn't succeed in silencing the new King.

King Charles III’s concern for restoring balance within our dangerously challenged ecological systems is grounded in his knowledge of the land and the soil.

It is a locally grounded knowledge that has been affirmed by his extensive travels to every part of the planet.

It is as a climate king that Charles can do most to define a new age and contribute to a better future for the planet and, ironically, for both the monarchy and capitalism.

Stewart Sweeney, Adelaide, South Australia

Learning curve

I note the SNP’s top economic ‘’guru,’’ Tim Rideout, after completion of his ‘’anti-racism course,’’ is returning to work for the party.

Having read some of his forecasts and statements, I fear there should also have been a compulsory course on basic economics and most of all,one on living in the real world.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Market garden

Since the Brexit vote in 2016 the value of the pound against the US dollar has fallen 28 per cent.

The value of the pound against the Euro is 18 per cent less since mid-2016; the value of the pound against the Canadian dollar is 25 per cent less since mid-2016.

The following sample import quantities are World Bank figures 2019 (46 per cent of food consumed in Britain is imported):

The United States sell about $1 billion in food to the United Kingdom.

The eight countries selling Britain more food than the USA does are all in the European Union, starting with France, which sells $4 billion in food to the UK.

These figures show a calculated deception and betrayal of the British people and especially the poorest.

The value of the pound lurched downwards as soon as the 2016 referendum was announced.

The barrage of deception from rich fanatics and richer currency investors intensified and was aimed straight at the least informed voters and those resentful of anything foreign.

Britain did exactly what Kremlin strategists have thirsted to see since the 1920s. Britain beggared itself and insulted a European project of peace, stability and democracy.

The new Prime Minister of the UK has unwittingly identified a way out of this disaster

She promises that any constitutional referendum in Scotland must carry a majority of all qualified voters to effect any change.

The principle is correct for plebiscites literally affecting life and death, and UK poverty this winter will be a matter of life and death, mostly thanks to the public being misled into a wasteland.

Let the decision to leave the European Union be annulled unless 50 per cent of qualified electors confirm it in a new referendum.There is no problem on the European side. They’ve consistently said they’ll welcome the UK back.

Tim Cox, Bern 6, Switzerland

False hopes

The latest data on the NHS Inform website claims that the SNP have got waiting times for orthopaedic operations down to a mere 26 weeks.

This figure was attained by means of a new method of counting, which considers only the median waiting times of 7564 people who actually managed to get themselves treated between April and June this year.

The Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, anticipated that the "new platform" would "provide people with some reassurance on the possible length of their wait".

You can just imagine the wave of reassurance sweeping over the 42,372 people still on the waiting list, 12,209 of whom have already been waiting for more than a year!

Not surprisingly the surgeons who are toiling manfully on the front line have labelled the figure as "grossly misleading", obviously by omitting to report the waiting times of those still on the list.

The tens of thousand of patients concerned will be finding the process of waiting arduous enough without being fed false hopes and unrealistic expectations.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

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