Why don’t people want holiday jobs any more? - Readers' Letters

I've just returned from a week caravaning in north-west Scotland and can confirm what has been reported elsewhere: there is a serious shortage of staff.

Summer jobs such as waiting tables are available if people are prepared to look for them, says a reader
Summer jobs such as waiting tables are available if people are prepared to look for them, says a reader

The default culprits are Brexit and Covid but business owners I spoke to pointed to the failure of efforts to attract Scottish people, for example the unemployed and students, both groups – especially the latter – who are unoccupied during the peak summer months.

I'm told the pay is good (you could easily make £400 a week) , accommodation is available and for many the work and social experince would be invaluable and something meaningful to put on a CV.

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The bottom line seems to be the thought of going to work just doesn't enter their heads, in marked contrast to us baby boomers, when summer jobs were normal and the money and often overtime funded a good holiday at the end.

My 18 part-time and holiday jobs from the age of 15, as a dustman, building site labourer, Burgundy grape picker, operating theatre orderly, barman, dishwasher, gardener and Pennsylvania resort breakfast cook were by no means atypical and set me up for life.

How about Nicola Sturgeon going on TV to urge people to consider these jobs?

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

EU citizens

One of the constant themes uttered by Nicola Sturgeon is that she wants Scotland to have its own immigration controls, separately from the Government. The reason for this is that she believes that the SNP-run administration north of the border would then be able to encourage EU nationals to come and live in Scotland.

Well, I have some good news for her and some bad news. First, the good news. At the time of the Brexit vote, three million EU citizens were estimated to be in the UK. Despite the opinion of many, the SNP to the fore amongst them, we were told that Brexit was bad and that we would lose a huge amount of talent when EU citizens who were here returned home wholesale to Europe.

In May of this year, it transpired that the number of EU citizens in the UK was actually 5.4 million. By June, that number had arisen to 5.61 million, which is almost ten per cent of the entire UK population! Lots of EU citizens here, then, for the SNP to encourage north. Now, the bad news for Ms Sturgeon. Of the 5.4 million EU citizens in the UK in May, 4.9 million had applied for UK residency. Unfortunately for the SNP, out of the 4.9 million applying for UK residency, 4.88 million were living in England. Odd, isn’t it how the welcoming nationalist party of Scotland which wants to break up the UK and rejoin the EU doesn’t seem to be of any interest to 4.88 million out of 4.9 million of the people they want to welcome here? Odd too, how so many EU citizens don’t want to live in the EU, but want to live in Brexit UK?

Maybe they know something about separatist Scotland that the separatist Scottish voters don’t know.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Sign up or shut up

Ruth Harvey and Josh Littlejohn are the co-conveners of Scotland's Climate Assembly and have said “with this mandate, we can lead the world on tackling climate change” (Scotsman, 24 June).

Fine words. With more than 100 members taking part in Scotland's Climate Assembly they can show that Scotland leads the world with personal climate pledges as follows: “I will never own, drive or travel in a petrol/diesel vehicle or have goods delivered by one. I will only travel by public transport. I will turn off my gas supply and until electricity is genuinely 100 per cent produced from renewables I will switch off my electricity. I will not fly or go on foreign holidays. I will restrict my meat consumption, I will downsize my home and only have one child. I will not use a wood burning stove. I will not buy mobile phones or electronic and other goods from China, which is responsible for 30 per cent of global emissions.”

Signing this would show real commitment from Ruth Harvey, Josh Littlejohn and the 100 members. They might even persuade the 30,000 delegates attending Cop26 to sign. Then again . . .

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Changing tmes

In the 1960s, Enoch Powell once mooted that the day would perhaps come when Labour ceased to represent the labouring classes, since stranger ironies than that had happened in history.

One doubts in his wildest dreams whether he would ever have thought the Liberals would cease to represent liberalism, the SNP would cease to represent Scottish nationalism, the Conservatives would cease to represent conservation, and the Greens cease to represent environmentalism whenever it clashed with transgender ideology!

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Age before beauty

I assume Robert Farquharson, being over 66, has a well-matured sense of April 1st humour, by proposing that another Scottish independenc” vote be based on his Life Expectancy Consequential Weighting, in giving votes by those with the least maturity and life experience (aged 16-25) six times the weighting of those with the most (aged over 66) (Letters, 26 June). Why not include primary school children too, at say ten times their grandparents’ weightings?

I suggest an alternative such as reverting to the more sensible minimum voting age of 21 (based on the scientific data, after all, of the human brain reaching maturity) with no other age-related weighting (however tempting to those of us already well over our biblical life-spans) but with a sensible franchise and minimum majority requirement (albeit both very difficult to establish and agree) and a non-leading question – all to determine the credible long-term “settled will” of the Scottish people.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

Power play

How extraordinary to hear former energy minister Brian Wilson extolling the virtues of Drax. (“Hydro power can once again be a force for Scotland's good”, Scotsman, 25 June) That will be the Drax that is ‘saving the planet’ by gobbling up whole forests, destroying wildlife habitats, and shipping timber half way across the world to feed its biomass incinerators.

This further lunacy demonstrates perfectly how utterly useless hundreds of giant, industrial wind turbines, carpeting our hills, are at providing constant, reliable energy as and when required.

Pumped storage is by definition not renewable energy! Our tides have been pumping vast quantities of water uphill for millions of years, twice a day, without the need for any giant bird-mincers, or ruined landscapes. It’s called tidal power, Brian.

The concrete required in hydro storage plants, for a paltry few minutes of back-up energy, is 18 times greater than even a nuclear plant which provides constant, baseload power, day in day out, 365 days a year. Nuclear plants in the UK, for example, require 2,025 times less land than wind.

Scotland's scenic grandeur should be permanently protected for us and our children to inherit. It really is the beating heart of our tourist industry and ought not to be trashed any further, because of an ill-thought-out energy policy.

I met a German tourist recently, high on the hill above Loch Ness where another vast hydro scheme is also planned. As he scanned a horizon of wind turbines, he asked ruefully: ""How can you Scots allow this to happen?”

George Herraghty, Lhanbryde, Moray

Busting myths

Andrew HN Gray (Letters, 26 June) seeks to perpetuate two myths in his letter on the ongoing Andy Burnham saga. First he repeats the frankly nonsensical assertion that the ban on non-essential travel to the Manchester area is not a health measure, but a cynically devised anti-English attack on the Labour run mayoralty of Greater Manchester. Then he says that the Scottish Government have no legal right to ban non-essential travel to the area. He seems to have missed the passage of emergency Covid legislation and similar action taken by the devolved parliament in Wales.

What is also curious is, that in all the sound and fury generated by what Laura Waddell correctly characterised as a politically motivated "tantrum" by a senior Labour figure with one eye on the leadership (Scotsman, 25 June), is that the travel guidance on the Greater Manchester website, clearly states that citizens should not make non-essential travel outside their own local areas.

In a final hypocritical and cringeworthy irony, Mr Gray contends that being Mayor of Manchester is a higher status than the First Minister of Scotland and it's OK for him to use immoderate language in a conversation with Nicola Sturgeon, while accusing her of bad manners for not informing him of the travel ban. How embarrassing.

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

Mission creep

The success of science in the modern era has given scientists an undeserved moral authority which can be used to cow legitimate dissent in almost every field from climate change to viral pandemics.

Of course science and politics have always been linked whether in Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany or the Anglo-American war-time administrations but there is a point at which scientific advice can become tyrannical.

The words “scientific consensus” should raise a red flag. Sage had immense power because ministers lacked the skills to interrogate what was presented as a “consensus” but was often an incoherent mosaic of value judgments.

In a technocratic age, democratic institutions must be able to rationally challenge the assertions of scientists who are as susceptible to groupthink, dogma and venality as anyone.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife

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