Scotsman readers' letters: SNP and Greens should back Passivhaus idea

Archibald A Lawrie lays out the problems and options regarding our energy supply (Letters, 29 July). He does not mention that probably the most effective way of cutting energy use would be to build, or retrofit houses and buildings to Passivhaus standards.

Labour MSP Alex Rowley is attempting to bring in legislation to make this compulsory, but the move is being strongly opposed by the SNP, and amazingly the so-called Scottish Green Party.

Surely, given the blindingly obvious climate change effects now being experienced our present Holyrood administration should be seizing every opportunity to address the situation. Instead, the SNP is all too focused on Freedom! and the Greens on gender recognition.

Take a good look, fellow readers, and decide where your priorities lie – our survival, or the wingnut ideas of our masters in Holyrood.

MSP Alex Rowley wants the Passivhaus standard to apply to Scottish homes (Picture: Andrew MacColl/Shutterstock)

EP Carruthers, Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway

To free or not...

An interesting article by Iain Bruce (Perspective, 29 July) telling us how Scotland is able to be independent, but why no mention of why we need to be out of the British union to be free, yet we need to join the European Union? Surely, to be free, we should be out of all unions?

William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

Wee disagree

Iain Bruce re-peddles the infantile argument that those who do not want Scotland to leave the UK take this view because they think that Scotland is “too wee and too stupid”. I would have hoped that by now we would be having a more grown-up debate on whether or not Scotland should remain within the UK. I would have more respect for Mr Bruce’s views if he said he wanted Scotland to leave the UK irrespective of the risk or the cost.I think that there are many reasons Scotland should remain within the UK, but the country being “too wee” and the population being “too stupid” are not amongst them and it is insulting that Mr Bruce uses those terms.

K W McKay, Carrbridge, Scottish Highlands

Brexit achieved!

Those who proposed leaving the EU said we would have to wait five years to reap the benefits. As we are now past that date, it is interesting to note the large number of negatives that have resulted.

The farming, hospitality and retail sectors in Scotland are all suffering from lack of labour. Trade with the EU is down 14 per cent. Liz Truss has spent the last few years renegotiating deals with other countries and managed in most cases to end up with exactly the same deal already in place – apart from Australia where our farmers will be undercut by imports. The UK government is about to break international law over the NI Protocol while Boris Johnson claims to have got Brexit done. Academics are no longer able to cooperate with European counterparts to solve international problems.

The economic benefits, written on the side of a bus, were a fabrication. At least we have our borders back, as those queuing at Dover and Folkestone last weekend found out. According to the Tory leadership candidates, this was nothing to do with Brexit, although those working at the ports disagreed.

Who could have predicted these would be the results of leaving? The majority of Scots voters, perhaps.

Alastair Hunt, Longniddry, East Lothian

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The Passivhaus concept aimed at helping the environment and communities

Two-way taxation

The SNP continue to use the rising cost of living as yet another reason to rail against the UK Government. While there is certainly more that Westminster could consider doing why doesn't the First Minister and her party look closer to home for action?

My suggestion for their undoubtedly short list of solutions (it's far easier to complain than to act) is to introduce an immediate cut in Scottish Income Tax to put more money back in the pockets of the Scottish households that have earned it.

The Scottish Parliament website* says Scottish taxpayers have paid an additional £900 million in income tax as of April 2020 compared to those in the rest of the UK. If the SNP truly want to help then they can cut the taxes they control now and allow Scots to keep more of the money they've worked hard for to help meet the rising cost of living.

The tax powers of the Scottish Government shouldn't only work one way and to the disadvantage of Scottish taxpayers. Actions speak louder than words and grievances. Use the powers that you have if you truly want to make a difference.

J Lewis, Edinburgh

NHS origins

Professor Hugh Pennington is always worth reading, but his tongue-in-cheek comment that the “NHS was forced on us by a Welshman in Westminster” might mislead younger readers (Letters, 29 July).

Labour’s post-war Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan is too often viewed as crucial to the founding of the NHS. In fact it grew out of proposals preceding the war, from Lloyd George’s 1911 National Insurance Act and Neville Chamberlain’s long period as Health Minister through the 1920s, with such writings as A J Cronin’s The Citadel being influential, culminating in the 1942 Beveridge Report accepted by Winston Churchill, who said “we must establish on broad and solid foundations a national health service”. The Conservative Health Minister Sir Henry Willink published A National Health Service in 1944 and his party’s 1945 election manifesto included the commitment to setting it up.

There seemed to be a general belief that its cost would fall over time as the population’s health improved, with no consideration given to a bottomless pit arising from its basis of “free at the point of need” along with ever-increasing public expectations and entitlement, self-inflicted afflictions and less active lifestyles, new diseases emerging, brilliant but expensive new medical treatments, and so forth.

So whenever any mention is made even by a Labour minister of the need to review certain mantras and procedures, it is stymied by the “no privatisation” cries and refusal to admit that there could be a middle-way between the UK and USA systems. Many countries have excellent national medical systems producing better results than the UK without a sanctified NHS “national religion”.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

Biased BBC

Further to Richard Walthew's letter (28 July), I think BBC stands for Blatantly Biased Corporation. To take one egregious example, when Scotland won the rugby Grand Slam in 1990 it was not in the news, but when England won it in 1991 it was the lead item! As they say, we are British when we win, but Scots when we lose.

Colin McAllister, St Andrews, Fife

Empire boon

The start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham seems a fitting time to scotch the propaganda claims by Scottish nationalists about the example of former colonies' independence. The standard SNP line, as expressed by Richard Walthew, is that “of the 63 former colonies which have left British rule… not a single one of them [has requested] re-entry to a shrunken Empire”.

First, there is no empire, shrunken or otherwise. Second, Scotland is not and never has been a colony. Scots benefited disproportionately highly from participating in colonisation. Third, Scotland is an integral part of the United Kingdom, which colonies never were. Thus, colonies never, for example, sent MPs to Westminster, whereas Scots have, since 1707. Indeed, a great many Scots have served in UK cabinets and some have become Prime Minister.

Fourth, if the former colonies are antagonistic to the UK, why are representatives of 72 countries participating – joyously, if Thursday’s opening ceremony was anything to go by – in the Commonwealth and its Games in a city in the UK? One might almost think that they enjoy their association with us.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Who apologises?

The recent stooshy about a BBC commentator lambasting the English ladies' football team for being entirely white couldn't come at a better time. It is being pointed out that it is not wrong to be white. We do not carry a burden of guilt for the actions of our ancestors. Suggesting otherwise is outrageous. Your article “Scotland could make ‘national apology for slavery’ under SNP plans” (28 July) shows a Black Lives Matter protester at the Melville Monument. Henry Dundas, to whom the monument is dedicated, defended an escaped slave called Joseph Knight and obtained his freedom in an age when slavery was not only acceptable, but universal. He argued that slavery would be abolished “as Christianity advanced”.

Remember that the slaves purchased had been enslaved by the Africans who sold them to European slave traders. That does not exonerate the traders, but it also does not exonerate those who instigated the entire process and they were black. The whole distasteful slavery business was practised by Africans against the nations of northern Europe long before Henry Dundas's time. The Barbary pirates raided indiscriminately from the early 1500s and enslaved between 1 and 1.25 million people at the least from such countries as Scotland, England, Iceland and Ireland. On one occasion – Baltimore in Ireland – the whole village was enslaved so the whole Black Lives Matter should atone for that. To put things in context, Scotland's population in 1801 was 1.6 million, so African slavers captured roughly two-thirds or more of that number.

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

Turn style

I am waiting for Liz Truss to say: “I’ll turn if I want to. The Lady’s for turning on being a Liberal, anti-monarchy and a Remainer.”

Tim Jackson, Gullane, East Lothian

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