Under the CES governance rules most of that money will go to the Scottish Government. How will they spend it? Will they subsidise energy supplies to end users? Will it be used to insulate houses? Will it be used to protect communities from rising sea levels? That £700m leasing fee will be used by the end users, thus a large tax on energy bills because of lack of other power sources, forcing the UK to import gas and other sources of electricity from overseas. Deals like this for CES will increase poverty in Scotland while making more demands for the needy on the public purse. This type of deal will also add additional costs to industry and commerce, reducing the opportunities for businesses and employment.
James A Mackie, Garmouth, Moray
The SNP has long bemoaned the fact that the UK Government did not use the proceeds from North Sea oil to build a Sovereign Wealth Fund as Norway did. Presumably, now that monies are rolling in to the Scottish Government from the first of the ScotWind offshore auctions they will practice what they have long preached and put a deposit down for future generations? Or will they take the usual SNP tack and squander it on vanity projects and giveaways? I suspect the latter unfortunately.
Ken Currie, Edinburgh
One of the many econo-scientific laws unrecognised by the Scottish government is the “Iron Law of Electricity” – “People, businesses and countries will do what it takes to get the electricity they need”. Whatever may have been hoped, US coal consumption jumped by 20 per cent in the months since Donald Trump exited the White House.
With international gas prices soaring electricity producers in both East and West had little choice but burn coal. So much for all the baloney talked at COP26. It was only at the last moment in Glasgow that China and India spoke up for the real world of developing nations and Western pensioners facing a fuel poverty of “eat or heat”?
The Biden administration’s pledge to decarbonise the electric grid by 2035 was as ludicrous as Nicola Sturgeon’s “green and tartan” belief that something is true just because she wishes it so. Such foolishness is for Extinction Rebellion’s fruits and flakes – a serious energy policy cannot be based on such nonsense.
(Dr) John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife
A story which seemed to slip under the radar of most news outlets recently, due to the omnishambles surrounding Downing Street, was Chancellor Rishi Sunak's writing off of £4.3 billion in fraudulent Covid loans. Factor in the £37bn of public money squandered by this government on a useless Test and Trace system plus the billions paid out to Tory friends, donors and family through its unlawful PPE fast track procedure. Millions of pounds worth of this equipment, having proved unusable, is now stored in tankers on England’s south coast, costing the taxpayer further millions every day to keep it there. It was only a few weeks ago that Sunak made the jaw-dropping statement that “only the Conservatives can be trusted with public money”. Maybe the smiling Chancellor's super rich status means this isn't such an astronomical sum of money to him as it is to we mere mortals.Yesterday I listened to The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 as elderly and disabled people told heartbreaking stories of how they were unable to heat their homes adequately with the massive increase in energy costs. A fraction of the money wasted by this incompetent government would have helped those people at least heat more than one room, even over the winter months. It could even have restored the £20 cut in benefits so many of the most vulnerable in society have had to endure.The Downing Street parties may be shocking but the Tories indifference to how huge sums of public money is used and abused is the real criminality going on here. They must not be allowed to sweep it under the carpet.
D Mitchell, Edinburgh
Tim Flinn (Letters, 17 January) praises Boris Johnson for being the "one who honoured the Brexit referendum”, but goes on to say he was let down by “persons promoted a level or two beyond their natural ability”. Putting to one side the fact that Brexit has been an economic and administrative disaster, we are left to wonder who did the promoting?The other question is, having culled the Conservative ranks of any dissenting voices in order to have Yes men and women in place in order to make sure that Brexit got done, who was responsible for the policy which left the Conservative cabinet scraping the bottom of the barrel of political ability and integrity?
Gill Turner, Edinburgh
Get Boris done
So Conservative MPs are waiting for Sue Gray's inquiry to provide the expected anaemic result – which gives the party the chance to sweep Boris Johnson's misdemeanours under the carpet.
Seems like they are waiting to see what they can get off with, while several government ministers assure us that they know Boris so well that they can trust his contrition to be genuine and his unfortunate assumption that he thought the alcohol was for a working party to be the truth.
But even the bulk of Tory voters can see that Boris Johnston's integrity is now very much in doubt, and that his persona now invites ridicule. The day when he could conjure up belief in claims backed by the thinnest of arguments is over. The tide of voters demanding Brexit “getting done” have cooled their ardour with a dose of buyer's remorse. So the MPs who help him continue in office despite committing the sackable offence of repeatedly telling lies to Parliament are complicit in allowing democracy and its high standards to be completely eroded.
Andrew Vass, Edinburgh
The SNP had little or nothing to do with the formation of the Scottish Executive, as it was known, on 6 May 1999. It was members of the Scottish Labour Party, with help from some Liberal Democrat Party allies, which sparked off the idea; and with Westminster's Agreement the Scottish Executive was created on 6 May 1999, under the Scotland Acts. Later, in 2007, the name was changed from “Executive” to “Government” but this change had no effect on the powers already granted to the Scottish Parliament.
The key intention was for certain aspects of Scotland's Administration to be handled at regional level through the devolved Parliament in Edinburgh. Similar arrangements were also initiated in Wales and Northern Ireland. Key functions such as the Economy, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Bank of England and Currency, Energy Sourcing, etc continued to be the total responsibility of the UK Government at Westminster.
But that position has never satisfied extreme elements within the SNP, who continue to clamour for more say in Scotland's overall administration. And as everyone is aware they failed to gain support for “independence” in 2014 and, being bad losers, have continued to whinge about it ever since. In any case, any further moves by the SNP towards Scotland becoming “independent” of the UK would be disastrous. Indeed, there is a strong case for some of the powers devolved to Holyrood being transferred back to Westminster. You must judge for yourselves just how well the SNP Administration has done in sectors such as Health, Education, Police, Rural Affairs, the Environment, Local Authorities, and most especially the Scottish Economy.
I am certain that even the more hardened Nationalists were much relieved to see further economic support being transferred from the Exchequer to prop up the Scottish Economy during the peak of the pandemic instigated lockdown.
Robert I G Scott, Northfield, Ceres, Fife
So Sir Keir Starmer has been caught enjoying a pint. Not an image pursued by the media managers. It seems the misadventures of the celebrity Royal Princes and the self-serving antics of the leading tennis star, not to mention alleged civil service gatherings at Nos. 10, 11,and 12 Downing Street, are far more important than balanced reporting. I do not pretend to know all the facts but one thing that is clear is that the current crop of civil servants are very different from those who went before them. To be a senior civil servant was a very honourable profession which attracted able people who could be trusted by the government of the day, regardless of political persuasion.
Contrast with today where it seems acceptable for civil servants to put their own agendas way above any notion of loyalty or confidentiality.
In earlier times the alleged Chinese infiltration of the Labour Party would have dominated the headlines for weeks. Instead, we have a daily dripping of information about meetings which may or may not be truly regarded as “parties”, and which may or may not have been attended by ministers.
Whatever we may think of Boris he was the only one who could complete Brexit for us and it was he who saw us vaccinated in record time. If knighthoods are to be handed out to former prime ministers then he would surely qualify. But what ever happened to that story?
Real democracy should put power into the hands of the little people like me, but that will only happen if we can sift out the truth from the blizzard of misinformation coming from the enemy within some of our once proud institutions.
Perhaps it is time to wake up and smell the hypocrisy.
Alan Sim, Aberdeen
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. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.
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. Click on this link for more information.