Readers' letters: Will Scotland’s water become ‘Scotland’s oil’?

Some of us recall the drought and heatwave of summer 1976 which lasted for two whole months. It puts the present situation in England and Wales into perspective.

Scottish energy development firm Intelligent Land Investments is working on large-scale pumped hydro storage projects, including  Red John at Loch Ness and two other proposed schemes at Loch Ericht and Loch Awe
Scottish energy development firm Intelligent Land Investments is working on large-scale pumped hydro storage projects, including Red John at Loch Ness and two other proposed schemes at Loch Ericht and Loch Awe

Let's start with the fact Loch Ness contains more water than in the whole of England.Scotland has 31,000 fresh water lochs and most are unused. With Climate Change, Scotland will become warmer and wetter.

Even if England builds reservoirs, treatment plants, reduces leakages and families cut back, they face a nightmare.

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In 1976 the idea, first mooted in 1942, was raised of transporting water, through a series of canals, to England. In 2018 both Boris Johnson and Alex Salmond supported it.

The idea was endorsed by the world renowned Professor Roger Falconer at Cardiff University, famed for his interviews on global water security. It received support too from the Environment Agency.

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Admittedly there were logistical problems, but Aecom, one of the biggest engineering design firms in the world, said it was feasible.

Until the recent calamity, the idea was in abeyance, with the Scottish Government promoting Scotland as a hydro nation, ie giving international support to other countries sharing academic expertise in water governance and water management technology.

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Given England's H2O woes, Scotland's water is now poised to be the new "Scotland's oil"! It would be considerably cheaper than HS2.

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing

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Football finance

While it has been a bad start for Scottish football teams in Europe, our league is not as rubbish as Mark Boyle makes out (letters, 13 August).

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Our UEFA club co-efficiency is currently ninth out of 55 European nations and attendances per head of population remain the highest in Europe. Thanks to Champions League money, most other leading countries are also totally dominated by the same one to three clubs.

Norway in 17th spot, which has no clubs with the international profile of Celtic and Rangers, manages to attract £65 million a year in TV rights and is more than double what Scotland gets from Sky. If broadcasting was devolved, or in an independent country, the TV companies would have to up their game.

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On average, Scottish league matches on TV attract higher viewing figures than the English Championship which receives £119 million a year. Therefore, it is ludicrous that Neil Doncaster on behalf of the SPFL is reportedly negotiating an even worse £30 million deal some three years before the existing deal expires.

It is also a nonsense that clubs are not allowed to stream all matches to their supporters and opposition fans, when not clashing with live TV.

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Neil Doncaster needs to call on Mick Lynch to teach him how to negotiate a better deal for his members.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

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Funny old game

Ged O'Brien is enthusiastically telling us that football was invented in Scotland and has been played here "for 500 years".

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He's a historian and should be aware that a law was passed in England in 1365 banning the playing of football as this was interfering with young men practising their Archery.

That was nearly 700 years ago and the popularity of playing football leading to such a law being passed suggests that the game had been in existence in England for some considerable time before 1365.

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D Mason, Penicuik

Cancer screening

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With reference to Ted Hennessey’s article (Bowel cancer checks at record high ‘thanks to James’ Scotsman, 13 August):

In Scotland if you're over 50 you get screened very two years. However, if you feel you need a test outwith this two-year gap, you can't get one (despite there being a link on NHS Inform to request one).

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I asked for one several months ago and got a no. Surprised, I asked again saying surely if you feel you need one you can get one outwith the normal timeframe, to which I got a very curt answer.

Annoyed, I asked my MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton to see if he could invoke some sanity. Several months down the line we're still waiting on a response from Humza Yousaf, so perhaps "The Scotsman" could see if they get can one for me?

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For cancer-related things we're always told speed is of the essence and we're constantly told how things are "free at the point of delivery" but for cancer checks I'd reckon "available at the point of need" was rather more important. These tests aren't even that expensive, and I'd even have been happy to pay for an out of band one, so our Scottish Bowel Screening appears to have a serious flaw in its operation.

Dr David Coffield, Edinburgh

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Age concern

Andrew Gray’s proposed “growing up” trigger warning by universities is spot on (‘Life lesson’, letters, August 13).

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Do those university “leaders” issuing cautions on what they think may be “disturbing” content not realise that they insult not only their students, but the parents and schoolteachers for having, by implication, brought up their teenagers as too immature for university anyway?

As a teenager I read the horrors of 1984, The Scourge of the Swastika, and The Knights of Bushido without any obvious ill-effects but certainly with an abiding hatred of all the 20th century’s malign “isms”.

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Moreover, if they are right that such warnings are needed, is that not an admission that our politicians’ decisions to give voting and other rights to children of 18 or even 16 were unwarranted or just downright fatuous?

Some go even further and want 16-year-olds to become local councillors, and for teachers to collude in enabling youngsters to change their legal sex or gender descriptions without their parents’ knowledge, but do not realise their illogicality in also wanting a “named person” to be responsible for every child up to age 18!

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A minimum age of 21 for voting (and some other age-of-majority thresholds) would mean that the average first-time voter was 23-24, aligning with recent medical data showing that the human brain does not mature until the mid-twenties.

It is also arguable that late teenagers in earlier generations were on average more mature than nowadays, having been employed in the “real” world of practical apprenticeships for several years rather than full-time education.

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Likewise, Mark Twain’s alleged comment from the 19th century remains apt - “When I was 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

John Birkett, St Andrews

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Blame the victim

Your correspondent E Campbell (Saturday 13 August) follows the well-established nationalist practice of blaming others for your own actions when he/she argues “any (post independence) UK government which tried to exclude Scotland from the Common Travel Area would disadvantage citizens of both Scotland and the remainder of the UK and damage the unique ties between them.”

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I submit it would be the act of independence itself, and not the reaction to it, that would disadvantage all citizens and damage the unique ties that we all currently enjoy.

To argue otherwise is rather Putinesque - blame the victims for your own aggression.

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Rodney Pinder, Kelso

Free speech

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I fear that those defending Salman Rushdie’s ‘right of free speech’ are partly responsible for the attack on this man who in my opinion abused this ‘right’.

My reason is that there is no right at all to free speech per se: classically no one has the right to stand up in a crowded auditorium and falsely shout ‘Fire! Fire!’

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It is high time that the clarifying conditional ‘responsible’ and also in my opinion ‘informed’ became permanently attached prefixes to ‘free’.

There is far too much often dangerous - as the Rushdie case demonstrates - rubbish spouted by persons who ignore those two conditions.

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I hope that I haven’t here made that same error myself. Yours responsibly and informed:

Tim Flinn, Haddington

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Crisis point

Key workers not involved in the NHS have been pretty much ignored by both governments for at least two years during pandemic.

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So, is possible industrial action by folk like Royal Mail delivery staff, council staff, BT staff, and railway workers really a surprise to our politicians?

Why do we wait until 'crisis point ' in this country before having a summit on what to do about the crisis?

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Adult social care staff and supermarket workers have been low paid for years and only now after the pandemic are we thinking of doing something about it. Why?

When I was 16 years old in 1988, we had First Past The Post election, an unelected House of Lords and 16-year-olds could not vote in a general election and with the possibility of a woman Prime Minister at the head of a right-wing Tory Government.

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So, 2022 is pretty much the same with regard to Westminster politics as 1988, is it not?

If we have had one former Foreign Secretary as Prime Minister and he has, in my opinion, been a bit of a disaster as a leader what makes us think another will be any better?

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With a new Prime Minister just before my 50th birthday do you think we might have politicians working together and foreseeing things before they become a crisis and reforming the union rather than breaking it apart?

Was Brexit not disastrous enough for everyone apart from the ERG Group?

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Peter Ovenstone, Peterhead

Write to The Scotsman

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