Readers' Letters: Winds of change are failing UK householders

The government has warned that in a reasonable worst case scenario, power cuts will be necessary next winter. How have we come to this in the world's fifth largest economy?

The answer lies in a directive made by the European Commission and adopted enthusiastically by Labour's Ed Miliband as the UK's first Climate Change Minister. It was taken further by Theresa May when, as Prime Minister, she introduced a Climate Change Act without parliamentary scrutiny which will devastate Britain along the road to net zero.

The government proceeded to demolish nearly all of our coal-fired power stations, including all those along Megawatt Valley which supplied electricity 365 day a year 24 hours a day. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took a trip to Longannet, being piped in and out by a piper, just to see one of the biggest power stations in Europe blown up.

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The statutory remit of the Central Electricity Generating Board, and the other Boards, was to produce a surplus of electricity. The first objective of wind farm companies is to produce maximum profits, including delaying payments under the contracts for difference regime. As I write, all the wind farms in Britain are producing 6.1 per cent of the nation's electricity; this morning it was 3.8 per cent.

A coal miner walks through the site at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire, northern England, on December 18, 2015, on the mine's last operational day (Picture; Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)A coal miner walks through the site at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire, northern England, on December 18, 2015, on the mine's last operational day (Picture; Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)
A coal miner walks through the site at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire, northern England, on December 18, 2015, on the mine's last operational day (Picture; Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

When the last deep mine in Britain, Kellingley Colliery, was shut its general manager said we would rue the day we closed down coal mining in Britain.

From relying on reliable British coal to keep the lights on – and of which we have 187 billion tons of reserves – we are now supposed to be relying on a fickle and paltry mixture of wind, solar, and imported gas. All this to avoid increasing CO2, which makes up 0.04 per cent of the Earth's atmosphere and to which the UK contributes less than 1 per cent of the world's total.

During the Beast From the East in 2018 our six remaining coal power stations were crucial in keeping the lights on. They worked flat out. Now we have just three left, and the government has delayed their closure because now, at last, it realises that they will be needed this winter in an attempt to avoid disaster. And hospitals, which rely on back-up diesel generators, may struggle to find fuel if further sanctions on Russia prevents the import of that crucial commodity.

When will we have an energy policy based on common sense rather than green ideology disconnected from the real world?

William Loneskie, Oxton, Berwickshire

Nicola rules

How low can this Prime Minister stoop than to use the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, heralding freedom from Europe, by wishing to return to the imperial system. How ludicrous; as another smoke screen covers up his many fraudulent failures.

The utterly discredited Boris Johnson clings to power as his Brexit disaster unfolds. Anglo-British nationalism is now breaking up the United Kingdom and promoting the independence movements in Scotland and Wales along with Irish reunification.In contrast, the calm and steady leadership of Nicola Sturgeon has made her the longest serving and most successful First Minister of Scotland. With Indyref2 promised next year, the break-up of the UK is inevitable, with perhaps a snap General Election called by Boris!At any rate, Scotland must focus on creating a social democratic society, where the people who live in Scotland decide their future government of our well endowed and highly regarded nation.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland

Sauce for goose

The scandal of “Partygate” rumbles on, yet Boris Johnson refuses to accept responsibility for his despicable, arrogant behaviour and mendacity at a time of national crisis.

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His subsequent attempt to change the rules on ministerial conduct would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. We have yet to see whether Tory MPs have the moral courage to remove him.

However, in Scotland our First Minister doesn’t worry about codes of conduct. She just ignores them. In March 2021, Nicola Sturgeon was shown to have misled parliament over the Alex Salmond inquiry.

The Holyrood committee inquiry found the First Minister gave “an inaccurate account” of her actions and so misled the cross-party investigation. She was so confident of the support of her sycophantic followers that she did not resign.

What’s sauce for the Westminster gander should also be sauce for the Scottish goose.

James Quinn, Lanark

Suit yourselves

The Conservatives have been in power for 32 of the last 50 years, including continuously since 2010.

Inflation is the highest in 40 years; the tax burden is the highest in 70 years and the national debt, at over £2 trillion pounds, is the highest ever.

It would appear that you do get what you vote for.

George Shanks, Edinburgh

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Get together

T Lamb makes some excellent points on council power sharing (Letters, 30 May). Why indeed should Labour or any other party opposed to independence go into coalition with the party that is determined to break up the UK?Let’s hope Labour, Tory and Lib Dem leaders follow the example of the foot soldiers at local level, stop squabbling with each other, and cooperate at all elections to maximise the pro-Union vote instead of ending up losing due to three way splits.

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

There is hope

I was saddened to read of Andy Goram’s illness, as reported by The Scotsman from another publication, and I wish him the very best. It is a disease I also have, with the same terminal diagnosis.However, the slightly sensationalist report in the other newspaper which was suggestive of it being the patient’s own fault with a short and agonising end did no favours for those who may face similar cancers in their lives. Mr Goram’s choice to not take chemotherapy is his right, and only he can make that call, but it is important to note that chemotherapy does not automatically mean an agonising treatment pathway, or indeed, diminished quality of remaining life.In a large amount of cases it improves quality, and lengthens the time to enjoy that quality so affairs can be put in order properly and good memories made for loved ones left behind. The nine-month time frame is also the median point of the pathway, some live double that with the chemotherapy and make the most of the time they have.I would urge anyone facing this disease to try one or two cycles at least before making those kind of decisions, unless a care team advises against it. A positive effect may be gained that quickly. Fight, but use all the tools to hand until a different decision needs to be made, and let’s try not to inaccurately report on medical matters that are hard enough to deal with in the first place.

S White, Stockport, Greater Manchester

Inflated fears?

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, assures us that his efforts to help the poor cope with inflated energy prices will not be inflationary.

If that claim came back to haunt the government it might (given previous form) insist it was never stated in the first place.

But this is why the government's own independent financial assessors –the Office for Budget Responsibility – should have been invited to consider if the plan would contribute to inflation.

How might the approach be inflationary? Giving everyone £400 is potentially inflationary. Several million spent helping those with second homes is potentially inflationary. Money spent maintaining tax breaks for oil and gas companies could have been spent to insulate thousands of homes. Insulating homes clearly will help with energy bills while not being inflationary.

The government needs to grasp the seriousness of the inflationary pressures the country now faces. In the Seventies, inflation caused constant strikes and the destabilising of the Labour government of the time. Inflationary pressures today, driven by a weak pound, poor productivity, the Ukraine war and Brexit could erode the benefits of Sunak's handouts very quickly, causing a dire need for more handouts. Yet the raising of interest rates just makes government borrowing more expensive. Targeted help that is non-inflationary was what we really needed. That is why a planned approach. not a hastily cobbled together one. was vital.

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh


It seems that there is a small group who oppose schools holding “religious services”. According to Fraser Sutherland, these “will usually be Christian” (Perspective, 31 May) . Clearly, he believes that it is awful. He cites a UN committee – many of which spout nonsense, of course – saying that “ any kind of religious worship or practice should be optional” . Pupils, he says “ are having their right to freedom of belief breached every day” . Well blow me!When I was a boy, many decades ago, my school held prayers every day. However, in a spirit of inclusivity, there was no mention of Christianity, or, indeed, of Christ, so that pupils with other beliefs could participate, but, in all honesty, I never felt that any of us held profound beliefs.

I am of the opinion that the majority of children spend their childhood learning about religion and some, like Mr Sutherland end up being evangelical (if he will pardon the phrase) about rejecting it. For many of us, Christianity is about love, which, perhaps is why it is the most widely observed religion in the world.

He criticises the SNP for failing itself as a “modern, liberal and progressive administration” but today's Christianity is a product of the Enlightenment and is itself modern, liberal and progressive, which leaves his humanism looking rather pointless.

Andrew HN Gra y, Edinburgh

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