Readers' Letters: Would Statler and Waldorf be at 2022 Tattoo?

Here we go again. Under the guise of bringing in a younger audience the organisers have hired a New Zealand born whiz kid to “modernise” the Tattoo. Let's forget that it is called “The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo” and ignore its original purpose and traditions for the sake of bringing in more punters.

Muppets Statler and Waldorf might be too old for next year's Tattoo (Picture: Getty)

If you have tried to get tickets for previous performances you will know that each year the Esplanade is jammed with visitors from all over the world and that it is fully booked each night.

So what is going on? There is a hint in the story in your paper. “Let's get rid of the ‘tartan and shortbread’ image”, says one of the organisers. “We need to present it in a more contemporary way.” In other words, let's not showcase what it is about Scotland that appeals to our overseas visitors and instead destroy one more Scottish cultural icon by bringing it to its lowest common denominator to suit the masses. Promises to retain the flavour ring hollow.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

I see the new director has worked with Muppets creator Jim Henson’s company.

How very appropriate.

Jim Bell, Edinburgh

Read More

Read More
Tattoo chief vows to shed its 'tartan and shortbread' image as comeback plans fo...

Bad government

Murdo Fraser (Perspective, 1 December) is on shaky ground when he claims Nicola Sturgeon is not co-operating with the UK government. When the Scottish and Welsh governments called for a Day Eight PCR Covid test for isolation situations, rather than the Day Two test proposed by Boris Johnson as Covid has a five-day incubation period, they were completely ignored by the UK government. The Scottish Government’s more cautious approach has paid dividends, with lower mortality rates, higher vaccination rates and significantly lower hospital-acquired infection rates than the rest of the UK, despite NHS staff shortages due to Brexit.

Scotland voted against Brexit and argued to remain part of the Single Market and now the latest ONS figures show that Scotland's economy is among the hardest hit by Brexit. In contrast, Northern Ireland, which retains unfettered access to the largest and most advanced trading network, has suffered the least.

Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland’s trade with Europe has increased by 50 per cent, while thousands of financial sector jobs have moved to Dublin in order to continue trading with the EU. These are jobs that could have come to Edinburgh had we been independent, whereas Murdo Fraser merely wants Westminster to accelerate its power grab of devolved issues and trample over the priorities of our democratically elected Scottish Government.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

Hot topic

Those who wax lyrical about the wealth of wind we have in Scotland close their eyes to the obvious shortcomings of an intermittent power source like wind turbines. Until we have something reliable – gas, nuclear, even coal – we will never be self-reliant and will often be subject to the severe effects of a storm like the one we recently experienced.

There is one source of clean power upon which we could rely and which is accessible to us using technology of which we have abundant experience thanks to the oil riches which are currently lambasted by the Green lobby in the Scottish Parliament. That technology is drilling and we can use that to drill into the Earth’s crust to use geothermal power, as happens in Iceland. Yes, the Earth’s crust may require drilling down 5km to achieve temperatures of 190C in the north-west zone of Scotland, but it is feasible and it was the subject of an independent report for the Scottish Government in 2013.

Surely, in the wake of COP26, this would be worth reviving, making use of the skills we have in our workforce – or are the Greens against this source of power too?

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

My generation

Gill Turner has leapt to the defence of Kate Forbes’ statement regarding renewable electricity in Scotland (Letters, 1 December). Ms Forbes referred to two years ago, so here are the figures for 2019 as published by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Scotland generated 30,521 GWh from renewable sources. Incidentally, the UK as a whole generated 120,515 GWh so Scotland produces around a quarter of that. Total generation in Scotland was 49,969 GWh so 61 per cent of the energy generated here was from renewables.

Scotland was a net exporter of electricity with consumption in Scotland amounting to 29,381 GWh. This, of course, is less than the 30,521 GWh generated by renewables. The SNP PR machine therefore manipulates the figures by discounting Bioenergy as a renewable source, reducing the renewable generation figure by 2,450 GWh and giving the 96 per cent statistic. This figure is disingenuous nonsense.

Scotland produces more renewable energy than it needs when conditions are favourable and much of the renewable energy is exported. Conversely, on windless days, Scotland imports electricity primarily generated from nuclear and gas sources. It would be more meaningful to present the proportion of electricity consumed in Scotland generated from renewable sources which, in 2019, was 56 per cent. Full Fact (which Ms Turner quotes) actually said: “To suggest that it's almost 100 per cent is misleading.”

It is indeed good that Scotland generates and uses a high proportion of renewables but why is it necessary for politicians to deliberately mislead by exaggerating the figures? Is it because they would prefer not to acknowledge Scotland’s inter-dependence with the rest of the UK and the essential role the National Grid plays in balancing consumption with production?

George Rennie, Inverness

Renewed worries

I think that we should all be aware that no matter how many pigs you produce, if you can't get them to market then you are going to go bust rather quickly. We can only have as much power generation in Scotland because we are part of the UK National Grid. Generation and transmission costs are heavily subsidised by UK consumers as a whole.

In a very few years generation in Scotland will be oriented very much towards the extreme North, ie very much higher transmission costs, overwhelmingly from intermittent sources, which means a position of supply instability and hence a less valuable product. So-called renewable energy is often claimed to be one of Scotland's most valuable assets – it could very well turn out to be the proverbial pig in a poke.

(Dr) A McCormick, Dumfries

Trunk call

Because the UK is on the northern edge of the Atlantic Ocean, we will always have intermittent periods of exceedingly high wind speeds and so it must be expected that, due to lack of the necessary legislation, overhead power lines will be brought down at times by falling trees and cars will be crushed by massive trees that are allowed to grow so close to the roadside.This will continue until legislation is brought in, to put upon landowners the responsibility to fell trees growing on their land if they fall into one of two categories: a) They are over 12 feet tall (3 metres) and growing to be within striking distance of an overhead power line; b) They are over 12 feet tall (3 metres) and growing within falling distance of a public highway.Such legislation would both save lives and reduce the necessity of so many families having to spend days on end at home without any power at all!

Archibald A Lawrie, Kingskettle, Fife

Failing vulnerable

I listened with astonishment to John Swinney’s reply to a question posed to him in Holyrood this week. When asked if he had approached the UK government for assistance after Storm Arwen, he said it was not his job to tell the power companies how to do their jobs. This is a dereliction of duty which is to keep the population of Scotland safe.

No one was asking the Deputy First Minister to don a hi-viz jacket and climb up a telegraph pole but to ask the likes of SSEN if having additional resources would be of benefit in helping fix the storm damage. The UK government could provided military assistance to work alongside the engineers or provide generators to care homes. I will never forget the sight of elderly residents sitting in a care home shivering from the lack of heating. Do we really have a party in power that would rather see our elderly shivering than asking the UK government to help the most vulnerable in our communities?

Jane Lax, Aberlour

Waxing lyrical

Anent rural power cuts: whatever happened to the country bumpkin “three fuels” wisdom? Where I grew up alternatives for lighting, heating and cooking were standard items; as was fresh water, candles, matches and at least a week's food reserves. We've since added a standby power generator which worked well over the years until I failed to change the fuel, forgetting that it too has a use by date (something to do with oxygen evaporating over time). So it was the device failed to start in the recent power failure. I found reading by candle light an impossibility! No fool like an old one, I suppose.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Counting chickens

I note that Covid is being cited as the prime reason for the Scottish Government decision to delay the census scheduled for 21 March this year to next year, at a cost of £21.6 million (your report, 1 December). Very strange, given that the rest of the UK managed just fine, with England, Wales and N Ireland delivering a 97 per cent response rate.Some might suspect that this was just another SNP ploy to be different, but if so it has backfired and demolished the myth they incessantly peddle of Scotland’s superior pandemic management!

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

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 here for details.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.