Readers’ Letters: Real thing is madder than April 1 joke news


In 1975, London firefighters add finishing touches to a seductive female Nessie, intended to lure the Loch Ness Monster from his Scottish depths. All part of an English plot? (Picture: Ian Tyas/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

On the other hand a report that Education Scotland is suggesting that secondary school pupils be taught that the Loch Ness monster is a symbol of British domination would be spotted too easily. It’s surely too far a stretch from the truth to be credible.

Except – it isn’t! The British state, we are told, conjured up “the idea of ​​a prehistoric monster in a loch” to “affirm the idea that Scotland is a rural wilderness bypassed by progress”. This was in a bid to “use its scientific prowess to survey and control the entirety of its borders”. It has long been obvious that Education Scotland is in the pocket of the SNP but why not cut out the middle man, let the public know the SNP is writing the “history” curriculum and save taxpayers millions of pounds a year?

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This would be funny except it ain’t no joke. Instead of spending five years trying – but failing – to fulfill the ambitions of Nicola Sturgeon’s “priority” on which she wished to be judged, the SNP are more interested in filling the heads of school pupils with propaganda promoting what is her only priority. .

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak says that he can’t help everyone – but he could help struggling pensioners by reintroducing the triple lock on pensions. This would raise pensions on 11 April by 8 per cent and provide help to those pensioners having to decide whether to heat or eat. In November last the House of Lords voted to keep the lock but the House of Commons later overruled it, letting pensions rise this April by only about 2.5 per cent. The triple lock, a pension commitment, is due to return in April 2023, but the funding crisis is here and now. The Chancellor has nine days to act.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

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It just goes on and on. Nicola Sturgeon bleats on and on about saving jobs at Ferguson Marine. It now appears they cannot even agree the number of actual employees from Govan or otherwise. Any idiot can save jobs if they have a bottomless pit of Scottish taxpayers’ money but no commercial sense. We have had Bi-fab, the Fort William smelter and Prestwick ongoing. If the SNP had been in power when the Romans were here they would have saved the jobs of the chariot workers and we would still be making chariots.

The Glen Sannox, if ever finished, will be plagued by breakdowns and repairs to equipment that has not been in use for over three years. I previously suggested the two hulks be donated to the RAF and Navy, towed out and used as for target practice and the sunk wrecks become a conservation marine dive site called “Nicola’s Folly” to placate her Green colleagues. Needless to say, Ferguson Marine must be shut down and liquidated now.

I am willing to bet that ordering two ferries now from overseas yards would see them delivered earlier and at a lesser cost than allowing those two ill-conceived ferries to be completed.

The Scotsman will be able to follow the SNP’s latest lunatic decisions in the running of Scotland’s railways from this month.

When, on the end of a deserved grilling over the ferry fiasco, Nicola Sturgeon gave the reply that her actions “saved the yard and jobs”. hmm! This is perhaps the case for now, though it will cost about £1 million per job at the end of the day. What is more likely to be the case is that the incompetence of the SNP and their management of the whole project has ensured that the yard will have no future and no prospects of future work anyway.

This is not fantasy as even the Scottish Government knows this is the case. They couldn’t bring themselves to award their very own yard – saved by the costly actions of the First Minister – the contract to build Scotland’s next two ferries. Who else is going to entertain Ferguson Marine, if not the owners? SNP, protecting jobs and yards in Turkey.

Odds are closing that this Ferguson ferry fiasco is becoming Nicola’s Last Stand. Sturgeon is surrounded, the fighting ground is beside a river and her battle plan is in tatters. Added to these problems, her army of her is full of incompetents. Ella she’s tried throwing Derek Mackay under a passing bus and, in her usual incompetent manner, missed.

First she swung champagne at a ferry with painted windows, now she’s reduced to swinging the lead. This SNP government and Sturgeon are a complete bunch of amateurs out of their depth, sullying the name of Clyde Built – what used to stand for strong and reliable is now smeared as weak and feeble.

The SNP has morphed from being a political party to a comedy show, a laughing stock. Now we know why the First Minister wants everyone to keep wearing masks; nothing to do with Covid, more to do with mocking laughter.

Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire

We must all share Bill Simpson’s dismay at the very worryingly high proportion of Scots habituated or addicted to unhealthy and/or fatal “recreational” drugs, including excess alcohol, and tobacco smoking (Letters, 31 March). He offers no practical suggestions for reductions in such self-harm.

Believing that governments can play a part, Mr Simpson and others imply that politicians must share the blame. The causal problems are surely not a party political matter, except inasmuch as this lifestyle epidemic is linked to poverty and hopelessness.

The most obvious model for reducing the disease toll is the very marked fall in cigarette smoking over many years, partly from higher tobacco taxation and better public health education.

Systems for reducing illicit drug and excessive alcohol habits are only partially successful. Perhaps the most underprivileged victims are relatively impervious to habit-change. Better public information and employment prospects would help… but how to achieve that?

Variations within the UK’s nations reflecting differing levels of unemployment and poverty could be helped only partially by increased government spending.

Ultimately, beyond a hard core of refractory “victims”, better employment prospects are the best way to minimize this public health problem. However, improved trends in numbers at work must depend on boosting successful business. Higher social security spending cannot be a realistic solution but falling taxes could help business activity and poverty.

Avoidance of wastes of taxpayers’ money is the main way to achieve lower taxes, which increase revenue as demonstrated in the Laffer curve.

Such options depend on government action being a higher priority than boosting “handouts”.

Can Scotsman readers propose how government can reduce avoidable spending?

(Dr) Charles Wardrop, Perth

Mark Wilson makes a very important point about the need for energy storage in a net-zero Scotland (Sustainable Scotland, 31 March). The recent splendid week of excellent blue-sky, fair and calm weather proves his point. GridWatch records that from 23-28 March, the UK wind energy supplied to the grid never exceeded 10 per cent of demand and at times was even less than 0.5 per cent. A similar week-long anticyclone occurred in December.

Clearly, increasing our wind farm estate by even ten times would not solve this problem. If all of our fossil fuel generation was replaced by nuclear power we might have a chance, but this is not considered an option in Scotland.

Of course, we might import nuclear supported energy from the UK, but would that be moral? It would also make us a very dependent nation. According to the SNP Energy Strategy, Hydrogen Hubs with local storage are the favored solution. Unfortunately, hydrogen is not a great choice for volume energy distribution.

On the other hand, capturing carbon dioxide and combining it with hydrogen produces a liquid fuel called methanol. We do not seem to be pursuing this possibility. The Icelanders, however, do already have a small methanol production facility and a second plant has recently been approved. A search shows that other countries are moving in the same direction.

Bill Graham, Forres, Moray

The ferries have not gone to plan (if there was one) for the SNP. Nor has the NHS or education or the economy. Now even the figures for renewable electricity generation are falling. In 2020, it was 98.6 per cent achieved.

This was seized upon by the SNP and Greens as a pointer to our all renewable energy future so oil and gas could be “abandoned” and nuclear continue to be phased out. Like all these other SNP plans, this one has come unstuck too – 2021 saw a reduction from the 98.6 per cent figure to 83.7 per cent, something blamed on poor wind speeds.

The SNP and Greens believe all their own hype but nature isn’t listening. We need a mix of energy productions. Just when will the Scottish Government realize this?

Sadly due to the increasing cost of living I will have to burn my daily copy of The Scotsman to heat my home.

I will, however, keep the sports section to line my chest.

John Cutland, Kirkcaldy, Fife

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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