Ronnie Hek bagged this image of a deer standing majestically on the horizon in front of Norham Castle.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
FIGURING OUT WHY COAL IS STILL KING
Sir, – I see that the multinational WWF organisation has persuaded Scottish Borders Council to extinguish the lights of the Borders abbeys during its self-styled “Earth Hour”.
The actuality is that WWF and the climate-change industry can expect the lights of the whole of the Borders to go out if government continues to follow its energy policy which is basically pushing Big Wind. Much was made of the day last April when no electricity was generated by coal for the first time in 130 years as demand was low. The green zealots cheered when Longannet, Ferrybridge, Eggborough and other massive coal-burning power stations were closed, and Cockenzie demolished, with the remaining stations set to shut in a few years.
But during the recent severe weather the National Grid would have crashed if our remaining coal-fired power stations had not been working flat out. On February 26, for example, coal was producing 22% of the UK’s energy compared with 9% for wind. In the early hours of March 1, with gas in short supply, coal was producing over a third of the UK’s electricity. On the morning of March 9, coal was still supplying over 15% of Britain’s needs with wind at 3%. So where will our power come from when these power stations are closed? And, remember, there are plans to shut down Britain’s gas-fired stations which normally supply half of our electricity.
It does not matter how many wind machines there are, weather patterns will ensure that, at times, there is not sufficient wind to power them. Then the lights will go out. The non-jobbers like Historic Environment Scotland’s climate-change manager, Mairi Davies, have a lot to answer for. On the night of March 24 I shall be turning all my lights on in protest at the misinformation, alarmism, costly policies and future blackouts of the climate-change industry. Why don’t you join me? – Yours, etc.,
POWERHOUSE TO A MOUTHPIECE
Sir, – When Britain was on its knees in 1941, Winston Churchill appointed Tom Johnston as Secretary of State for Scotland.
To say this man was a giant among the roll-call of insipid men, all men, to fill the post since him is an understatement. In only four years during which time Britain faced uncertainty and hardship during the Second World War, he attracted 700 businesses and 90,000 jobs to Scotland by sheer force of personality. He regulated housing rents and set up a prototype NHS. He even persuaded Churchill to start devolving some powers away from Westminster.
But surely his greatest legacy is the ambitious hydroelectric scheme he inaugurated and from which we are still benefitting. These monuments to the skill of civil engineers can still be admired today. Tom Johnston was probably the last Secretary to do anything constructive for Scotland.
The office of Secretary of State for Scotland became largely symbolic after devolution, and as the incumbent has to abide by cabinet collective responsibility rather than speaking up for Scotland, the post is essentially a waste of money and David Mundell is simply a mouthpiece attempting to justify disastrous Westminster policies. So unnecessary is he regarded by the PM that he was not even at the Chequers House Brexit summit.
So in the absence of a Secretary doing anything useful for Scotland, thank goodness that we have the SNP government which is doing very well considering the constraints within which it has to make policy. But not until the country is once again standing on its own feet will we see Scotland truly flower. Yours, etc.,
SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Sir, – The London government appears to be set on dragging Scotland out of the European Union, along with the rest of the UK, against the wishes of a majority of Scots.
It is keen on setting up trade deals with the United States after Brexit, but in return for accepting imports of UK goods, the Americans will insist that we import from them such things as chlorinated chicken, beef injected with hormones and Bourbon sold as “Scottish Whiskey”. Are these the kind of things that we in Scotland wish to see on our supermarket shelves rather than Scottish produce? There’s only one way to avoid this – Scotland needs to become independent so that we can remain in the European Single Market and Customs Union. Then – and only then – will we be able to keep such products out of Scotland and also retain European rules which protect working conditions for Scottish employees, protect the quality and safety of our food, and avoid restrictions on people from overseas being allowed to come here to work in our health service and to help with fruit and vegetable harvesting. Yours, etc.,
CALLING STURGEON TO ACCOUNT
Sir, – During her time as health secretary (2007-2012), bad decisions by Nicola Sturgeon have caused chronic shortages of nurses and midwives across Scotland.
These numbers have soared since 2011, prompting claims that the First Minister, who cut training places while in charge of the health portfolio, must take responsibility.
“Between 2009-2012, the number of training places for nurses and midwives in Scotland was slashed by more than 20%, and health boards cut more than 2,000 nursing jobs,” according to the Royal College of Nursing Scotland.
This was a spectacular error of judgement and increased pressure on over-worked medical staff and let waiting patients down. Ms Sturgeon should account for this scandalous situation without delay (please don’t hold your breath in the meantime). – Yours,etc.,
A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS
Sir, – Fred was the codename allocated to a local golden eagle – born and bred in the Borders. He was equipped with an appropriate unit to send out messages plotting his movements over grouse moors, up in the Pentland Hills, south of Edinburgh.
Fred ceased to send out his messages. That is, until messages commenced to come back from Fred, now deceased, out in the middle of the Firth of Forth. Evidently, masking material applied to his transmitter unit must have fallen off. Fred was just one of the 41 Scottish golden eagles lost near grouse moors. A sad reflection on the state of affairs for anyone who loves the Scottish countryside and Scottish wildlife. – Yours, etc.,
James D. Lough
PROTECTING OUR PLANET
Sir, – I’m encouraging readers to join the thousands of people across Scotland and millions across the world taking part in the biggest event to protect the planet, WWF’s Earth Hour – at 8.30pm on Saturday, March 24. This year, make a #PromiseForThePlanet and change an aspect of your life to live more sustainably. This could be switching to a green energy provider, refusing plastic cutlery with takeaway food or buying a reusable coffee cup. Individually, these changes may seem small, but together they will have a huge impact and help to reduce our environmental footprint. With almost 50% of species at risk of local extinction if global temperatures continue to rise at the current rate, this year’s Earth Hour is focusing on the need for us all to play a part in protecting our planet – for people and nature. By working together, we can show we care and are willing to take action to ensure –that species such as polar bears, elephants, tigers and marine turtles, to name but a few – will still be around for our children and grandchildren. Take part on March 24 and make a promise to protect our planet at wwfscotland.org.uk/earthhour. – Yours, etc.,
(tennis player and WWF