Letters: Regardless of the shared values, share the wealth


REBECCA McQuillan (“Gordon Brown is Right – Scots and English Share More Than Divides Us”, The Herald, September 17) agrees with Gordon Brown on the common values ​​shared by Scots, English and Welsh ( what, no Irish?).

Me too, but the problem with this trope as a political engine is that these values ​​are universal in human societies. France and the Republic of Haiti even have the national motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”.

The real problem in the UK is that over the past 100 or more years the buildup of economic, political and media power in one corner of this island has been relentless.

Mr Brown needs a much better argument to convince the Scots that a natural desire for self-reliance is not the solution to this problem. Before that, he would have to convince those in the Home Counties that a fair sharing of wealth and power with other parts of the UK is for the common good. As we see with Boris Johnson’s ‘leveling up’ policy, this is a fantasy.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


REBECCA McQuillan reported on Gordon Brown’s efforts to highlight how much the Scots have in common with the English. One area where the difference is clear is that of attitudes towards Europe.

Robert Louis Stevenson once remarked that Scots “love change and travel for themselves”. Since the Middle Ages, Scottish traders have traveled across Europe to sell a wide variety of goods. Many Scottish students attended European universities to further their education, Scottish mercenaries in large numbers served in European navies and armies, such as those of Russia and Sweden, and many Scots held leadership positions in finance, diplomacy and the European armed forces. Additionally, there are a number of countries in Europe where Scots have been given a particularly warm welcome due to Scotland’s long-standing affinities with Europe.

If ever we wanted to have confirmation of the different attitudes towards Europe within the United Kingdom, we had it in the results of the EU referendum in 2016, when a majority in England (53.4%) voted to leave the EU and a majority in Scotland (62% voted to stay. The UK’s decision to leave has proven to be one of the most convincing arguments for the SNP in promoting Scottish independence .

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

How federalism could work

REBECCA McQuillan produced a fair comparison between Boris Johnson / Toryism and NicolaSturgeon / nationalism but limited the comparison to “us and [ the English] them. ”We have a lot in common with the rest of Europe and the British Commonwealth as well.

Scotland and all the nations of the Commonwealth have never had an Elizabeth I. We have never been successfully invaded by so many European countries and our national religion / church was not founded by a king who did not wanted a divorce only when the beheading of a woman became improper.

Unfortunately, and unlike our friends in the Commonwealth, we are still dominated by a majority English-only government and overall financial control.

If Gordon Brown promoted the Australian system of governance in which each state (in our case, each home nation) elected three members to the Senate instead of the House of Lords, then we might be okay with his federalism project. (as well as getting rid of an unelected, privileged and expensive second chamber with limited powers).

JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.


IAN Moir (Letters, September 17) laments that Scotland had to call on British power plants to guarantee uninterrupted power for the COP26 conference. I guess he’s not a big fan of renewable wind power generation, but he is speaking out against an industry which, with Westminster’s dead hand on the Scottish chessboard, is not yet a fully operational sector. Like the GERS figures, this is a picture of Scotland as it is now, and not as an independent country. Currently, energy control is reserved for Westminster.

To complete and make wind power more reliable, its production must be accompanied by storage capacity. It can take many forms, such as hydraulic pumping or gravity. However, there must also be investments in other forms of continuous generation such as tides and together with storage this can be a reliable power supply for Scotland although for this we need the tax audit of our economy to provide the necessary public investments. in renewable technologies and this can only come with independence.

By the way, last year 97% of Scotland’s electricity came from renewable energy production and Scotland has also been an exporter of electricity to England for a few years. As the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reports, “in 2019 Scotland exported a record 31.7% of its production in net transfers to England and Ireland from the North for a total of 15.9 TWh. Scotland’s renewable energy capacity has grown significantly in recent years, offsetting the decline in fossil fuel production to drive total production up 9.4% from 2016 to 2019. During this period, Scotland’s electricity demand fell 5.0%, leading to an increase in the electricity available for exports.

It seems that England needs our productive capacity more than we need theirs.

Tony Perridge, Inverness.


THE proposal to build a bridge / tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland (“The Big Read: ‘Building a Boris Bridge is not a stupid idea – it would create thousands of jobs and relaunch the economy”, The Herald, January 18) was brought up a few years ago and has since been promoted by the Prime Minister and vigorously debated. No matter what is possible by some individuals, it is utterly absurd and impractical for reasons too many to discuss. This madness is not a new concept with similar proposals dating back to the 1890s, which I detailed in a letter published in this journal on January 25, 2018.

Part of the estimated £ 20bn cost would be much better spent building bridges where possible between the besieged islands off the west coast of Scotland which are currently being driven from life and the existence by the ongoing dispute over the ferry service. Convenient and necessary terminal facilities to cope with new ferry construction would also be welcome. Part of that amount of money could also be a much better proposition for creating a lasting solution to the A82 either through new road works or, in fact, through tunneling. There is a lot to do for future engineers.

I fully understand that South West Scotland is a forgotten part of the country in more ways than one. Ignored, by and large, by tourists and visitors alike, there is more that could be done other than what could just happen with creating a hard link to /from Northern Ireland.

John Macnab, Falkirk.


WHAT a difference a Dey makes except, unfortunately, it doesn’t. Our new Transport Minister, Graeme Dey, seized the opportunity to make a radical change in ferry supply and instead followed the outdated and costly advice of CMAL, the Scottish Government’s supply agency for ferries. , an agency that has, over many years, witnessed an incredible decline in the quality and efficiency of our inter-island network.

While this government’s procurement record is mediocre to say the least, CMAL has dug new depths in this regard and its advice is unlikely to be recognized.

CMAL is undoubtedly sensitive to the fact that Pentland Ferries has robbed it of 15 years of progress in the transition to catamarans. Ordering more monohull ferries will bring this deficit to around 40 years or more. The probable £ 100million cost of these two boats for the Islay route, assuming they were on budget – an important assumption – could have purchased four catamarans of similar capacity without the need for dredging and d ‘additional and costly port infrastructure while offering greatly reduced operating costs.

CMAL’s relentless resistance to the catamaran concept, a concept now well proven by Pentland Ferries, is demonstrated by its extraordinary and contrived rejection of the Mull and Iona Ferries committee’s 80-car catamaran at the modest and fully compliant price of $ 11.5 million. pound sterling. . It is time for CMAL’s lavishness with our money to be brought under control once and for all and for the Scottish Government to seek professional advice elsewhere.

J Patrick Maclean, Oban.

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