No matter where you stand on the Catalonian independence issue, it was hard to stomach the scenes of police brutality taking place in Barcelona on Sunday. I applaud The Scotsman for their editorial condemning the shameful acts of violence which we witnessed with growing anger and dismay.
They took no action to evacuate the occupants of the polling stations, which were set up in schools where generations of children who were born in the post-Spanish Civil War years have learnt about the atrocities carried out by General Franco’s troops during that appalling conflict.
Many Catalonians born in the 1930s clearly remember the brutality which they witnessed under Franco’s regime, and events on Sunday will have opened up psychological wounds which will only serve to deepen their resolve to defy the Spanish government and to demand self-determination.
Wellbank, Broughty Ferry Dundee
It is interesting indeed, to compare the civilised way the British Government handled the Scottish independence referendum, with the staggering ineptitude of the Spanish Government over the Catalonian one.
The tragedy for Spain is that the unionist side may well have won this referendum, with support for breaking away at about 40 per cent; this would have defused the situation. Now, they have alienated even moderate opinion, hence making independence more certain.
How fortunate indeed we are to live in the UK, where wiser counsels prevailed. Unfortunately, the SNP won’t agree, and won’t be budged from their intransigence.
Dean Road, Bo’ness, West Lothian
The contrasts between the Catalan and Iraqi Kurdish independence referenda are unsettling.
Catalonia is divided with as many people opposed to its separation from Spain as in support of it. Although Catalan as a language is distinct from Castilian Spanish, there is no great cultural or ethnic divide.
The Spanish government sought legally, if harshly, to disrupt and undermine the vote. ‘No’ voters largely stayed at home. And yet the Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont claims a mandate to unilaterally declare independence.
By contrast, support for independence among Iraqi Kurds is rock solid, as it would be among the Kurds of Turkey, Syria and Iran, if they were ever to be asked. Also, there are deep ethnic and linguistic differences between the Kurds and their Arab and Turkish neighbours.
So the Catalan nationalists on limited support and an illegitimate referendum are throwing Spain and the EU into crisis and may soon achieve independence, while the Kurds, the victims of repeated genocidal injustice, will just have to wait.
It is time we stopped indulging Catalan, Scottish and other micro-nationalisms unsupported by any substantial ethnic difference, where demagogic politicians seek to split successful countries for personal glory and self-advancement.
Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh
The Scottish National Party have put themselves somewhat out on a shaky limb by wholeheartedly backing the Catalonia independence movement. The declaration of ‘independence’ courtesy of the ‘result’ of the referendum by the leader of the Catalans, Carles Puigdemont, is on totally shaky ground. The actual vote was illegal and there was no opposition movement to speak of, therefore, it was a foregone conclusion that almost all the votes were pro independence.
The Catalan ‘government’ is a minority party itself and with a turnout of only 42.3 per cent of eligible voters the result is not valid on every level.
The SNP seem to be ignoring all these elements that make the vote irrelevant. The result is not binding and the SNP cannot take anything positive out of this debacle.
What they have done, however, is to harden opposition in the Spanish government to look favourably on any future EU membership by an independent Scotland.
(Dr) Gerald Edwards
Broom Road, Glasgow
It is horrifying to have watched a flickering flame of fascism being reignited this weekend in Catalonia. It is the only possible understanding of the Spanish reaction to the Catalonian referendum on independence.
What shocks me even more is the silence from Westminster, EU and United Nations. Are they so hypocritical that they proclaim “human rights” but stand silently by while such rights are violated so blatantly?
This is not a time for posturing: this flickering flame of fascism must be extinguished and Spain must take a step backwards from further violence.
Gylemuir Road, Edinburgh.
Following Brian Wilson’s last article (Scotsman, September 29) telling the Scottish government to keep out of the Catalonia independence referendum and questioning the right of small nations to take their future in their own hands, can we now expect his next one to congratulate the Spanish government on their strong arm response?
Perhaps in a perverse reversal of history he could form an International Brigade to help them and any countries with annoying minorities seeking their own destiny to stub out such ideas once and for all.
Or he could take his own advice and keep his nose out and leave such matters to those who have a sense of what is right and just.
The recent spate of articles and correspondence in your paper on the subject of renewable energy might suggest this is relatively new concept.
James Nasmyth, the engineering son of the Edinburgh artist Alexander Nasmyth, wrote in his autobiography published in 1883 an interesting idea on the subject.
With reference to the moon and its effect on tides he wrote: “Then there are the tides, so useful to man, ...what business she transacts! She lifts hundreds of ships and barges filled with valuable cargoes, up our tidal rivers.....She performs a vast amount of mechanical drudgery;..and now that we understand the convertibility and conservation of force, we may be able to use her tide-producing functions through the agency of electricity. It is even possible that the tides may yet light our streets and houses!”
If this inventive engineer were alive today, he would be in the forefront of those trying to harness this reliable source of power.
Canaan Lane, Edinburgh
‘Green’ and social welfare policies both cost much money, but there is a conflict between them which only politicians in power can resolve.
Your report (Scotsman, 2 October) on the repeated calls for a ban on Scottish fracking highlights that conflict, since we do depend for our financial wealth upon safe exploitation of our natural resources, of which petroleum is a vital example. We are a relatively poor nation now, and in debt.
On ideological grounds of preserving Scotland’s perceived world leading role in fighting climate changes, ‘green’ interests call for a total ban on fracking.
They thus threaten our wealth, perhaps without considering the impact of a ban on government’s ability to meet needs in important public spending.
The SNP, evidently depending on Green Party support, should seek to resist their call for a total fracking ban, or accept greater dependency on money from the Barnett formula, which would lapse with separation of Scotland from the UK: the Scottish Government can and must choose a policy in the nation’s best interest.
(Dr) Charles Wardrop
Viewlands Road West Perth
The letter from Michael Riley of Scottish Renewables was yet another propaganda piece in support of his organisation’s end (Scotsman, 2 October).
He squeezed in the usual virtue-signalling platitudes but, as ever from such vested-interest bodies, there is absolutely no mention or solution to the vital question of where we will obtain the base load supply of electricity when the wind doesn’t blow. This happens very often in anticyclonic conditions, in winter, when demand for electricity is at its greatest. Also in yesterday’s edition there was the article stating that the Scottish Government is about to impose a complete ban on fracking.
Despite the scare stories that Green zealots continue to promote, all of the evidence tells us that the process is completely safe and brings enormous and much-needed economic benefits.
If fracking is banned, it will be for cowardly, politically-driven reasons and will be another, possibly fatal, blow to the nation from the disastrous absence of a sound long term energy policy for Scotland and the whole of the UK.
David K Allan
Hopper Gardens, Edinburgh
Michael Riley’s letter in defence of the wind industry provides no evidence for what he claims are the “economic and social benefits to Scotland” and fails to identify the true costs of decarbonising electricity generation in Scotland. For those of us who get out from behind our desks and love our mountain landscapes the real evidence of the environmental costs is seen in the industrial scale developments on the slopes and summits of our once beautiful highland glens.
Sadly, what makes matters even worse is that the technology used to develop this industry in Scotland will rapidly become out of date and in any normal market for energy would be rapidly replaced by fewer more efficient wind farms in areas where they would be less damaging to the landscape.
However, it appears due to the contracts written in blind haste we will be stuck with this uneconomic high cost technology for 25 years leading to economic, social and environmental damage to our country.
Alan J Black
Camus Avenue Edinburgh