WITHIN days of Roseanna Cunningham unveiling her Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), it had been roundly condemned by all sections of the Scottish waste industry on the grounds that it would compromise well-established kerbside recycling services (and the thousands of jobs associated with it), couldn't deliver the promised targets, and would make no impression whatsoever on our awful litter problem. Even the Director of Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) distanced himself from the DRS, blaming it all on "a temporary employee who no longer works here".

However, the next development was the emergence of Circularity Scotland, soon after to be appointed as "DRS Regulator" led by a highly-paid chief executive and a staff of 45 (that includes the "temporary employee" who'd previously worked for ZWS).

Last year Scottish ministers authorised the Scottish Investment Bank to give Circularity Scotland £22 million. Last February Lorna Slater (who inherited Ms Cunningham's brief) gave Circularity Scotland another £7m. On Thursday it was announced that "due to the postponement of the introduction of the DRS, Circularity Scotland was on the brink of collapse and the (now 50) staff would be sent home" ("DRS firm’s workers may not get paid after latest delay by minister Slater", The Herald June 16).

How has all this been allowed to happen? Where have the millions of public funds gone?

Whose bright idea was it to let people with no background in municipal waste recycling have so much control in a project that had little chance of ever working in its present format?

The people of Scotland deserve better.

John F Crawford, Lytham.

Peak SNP well and truly over

THE SNP has been run for years on the back of its strength when it comes to elections. Nicola Sturgeon always claimed she had popular support when she was in a political tight corner. Humza Yousaf is her continuity candidate. What will he make of the council by-election result from Bellshill that gave his party 753 votes but gave Labour 1,440 ("SNP thrashed by Labour in sex scandal by-election in Bellshill", heraldscotland, June 16)?

To compound this the Greens received 44 votes, soundly beaten even by Alba at 107. The turnout was low at around 23% so no doubt that will be his excuse, along with saying "there were local issues at play here" or that maybe SNP supporters just stayed at home.

No matter how one looks at this it seems peak SNP is well and truly over. Do Scots really want three more years of decay under the SNP and Greens?

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

Read more: Circularity Scotland on brink of collapse

Scandal of the drugs deaths

A MICROCOSM of SNP politics in Scotland is apparent in the latest official figures that show drug deaths in Scotland in the first three months of 2023 have continued to rise ("Number of Scots women dying from drug-related deaths rockets by 14%", The Herald, June 14). We remain champions of Europe on this unenviable matter, if nothing else.

To say the SNP and its leadership have been "distracted" from this scandal raises understatement to a new level. It simply does not seem to register with the party and its leaders. They appear unable to link a profusion of pretend embassies being established and staffed overseas and ministerial jamborees to foreign parts and colossal wastes of scarce resources on making us all – in the eyes of nationalists if not in fact – somehow more Scottish, has any connection.

The previous first minister admitted she had taken her "eye off the ball’’ on this matter. That will rank as one of the greatest understatements of all time and unfortunately is being paid for in human lives.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

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Anyone surprised by these failures?

BORIS Johnson, the serial liar, misled Parliament ("Johnson misled Parliament and committee over lockdown parties", The Herald, June 16).

Privatisation has poisoned British infrastructure and wrecked everything in the name of profit.

A failing empire leaving the EU (its post-war economic life-raft) has disastrously damaged the UK economically and in terms of global credibility.

Would the three people who are surprised please stand up?

Amanda Baker, Edinburgh.

•I T seems Boris Johnson does not have the business acumen of one of his predecessors, Lloyd George. At least the latter sold the peerages for the benefit of party funds.

Scott Simpson, Glasgow.

Careless talk

MY late mother (b.1910) taught me this principle: "Be good and you'll be happy but, if you can't be good, be careful."

Admiral Lord West accidentally left secret papers in a taxi 40 years ago but that careless mistake did not stop him from ultimately becoming the First Sea Lord.

Three Very, Very, Important Politicians of world note, Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon and Donald Trump, are now, in flouting my mother's practical principle, paying the prices for their carelessness.

Did their errors reflect an arrogance born of great power or was it just simple, fairly forgivable, human errors?

Have I myself adhered to that sensible maternal advice?

That would be telling but, then, I'm not a VVIP of world note.

Charles Wardrop, Perth.

Private schools don't need our help

ARE you a British taxpayer? Do you object to subsidising Eton College? Do you feel your taxes would be better spent on state schools rather than lowering the fees for a scant 7% of privileged kids? That is the situation across the UK. Most private schools are charities, exempt from VAT, corporation tax and in England, not even paying full business rates.

In another anomaly, most teachers in private schools pay into the Government-backed superannuation scheme. This ensures that they are entitled to a gold-plated, index-linked public pension after their years working for what is in effect a private business. Yes, it also contributes to the pensions agency. The row with teachers at Hutcheson’s Grammar School is over a business that has decided it can’t afford the pension premiums, and would like to replace it with a cheaper defined contribution pension scheme, where instead of a guaranteed retirement income, the performance of the pension fund dictates the outcome.

You could argue that through council tax, private school parents help fund the state sector. This is true, but they have chosen to pay school fees. Those who pay taxes to the UK Government have no say in what their money is spent on. It is time to look at the charitable status of schools who may have large investment portfolios, lavish capital in the form of property, and operate as businesses, with their facilities for hire to anyone able to pay the price. Does that truly benefit the community?

I am sure that Anas Sarwar, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, does not need my financial help to put his children through a private education. I am just as sure that the UK Tory Government has no intention of changing the status quo to "level up" education.

Frances Scott, Edinburgh.

The Herald: Should independent schools retain their charity status?Should independent schools retain their charity status? (Image: Getty)

A lesson in incompetence

I ALMOST raised a laugh when I read your report of the review of how Renfrewshire Council has made a gigantic blunder by building a new school in Bishopton a third of the size necessary to accommodate all the pupils ("Review blast at ‘too small’ school blunder", The Herald, June 16). The article goes on to describe Renfrewshire Council as amateurish and incompetent.

Information on likely school numbers can be easily gleaned from our recent Census and is available to all ... oh, wait...

Tom Wylie, Elderslie.

Not such a green King

ISN’T it great to have a King who is so sensitive to the environment at last ("Extended flypast plan after weather-hit Coronation display", The Herald, June 16)?

I take it the 70 aircraft which are taking off from locations all over the UK to congregate in London and then fly past Buckingham Palace as part of the King’s birthday bash are now battery-powered? Or are they fuelled by the same wine our King uses to run his Aston Martin?

Perish the thought that our environmentalist King would condone, let alone be the centre of, anything that might contribute unnecessarily to climate change.

Or are the emissions being offset by the fact that the swimming pools in Buck House are now heated by solar energy?

After all, it surely can’t be one rule for the royals and another for us hoi polloi.

Can it?

William Thomson, Denny.

Read more: We need to put ferries network into the hands of the local communities

Energy approach is madness

I HAVE been monitoring the flow of electricity between Scotland and England during the past few days which shows Scotland to be consistently importing electricity, and up to a massive 2.8GW at times. This is significantly more than half the average Scottish electricity demand of around 5GW.

This belies the repeated claim by politicians and wind developers who consistently tell us that renewable generation (mostly wind) meets our requirements and demonstrates the obvious truth that no matter how many wind turbines are built, they are useless when the wind does not blow. At present the installed wind generation capacity in Scotland is around 11GW, with another 8.5GW approved or under construction and another 10GW at the planning stage.

This all-eggs-in-one-basket approach to energy supply/security is sheer madness with little or no consideration given to backup needs when there is little or no wind or the lack of infrastructure to cope with these huge wind generation levels. There are no batteries on Earth which can cope with and help balance such huge quantities.

GM Lindsay, Kinross.

Vaping is so uncool

THOUGH concern has recently been expressed in your columns about vaping, I feel sure that this will go the way of flared trousers, scampi-in-the-basket etc, before very long. Those who vape look too much like babies with dummies in their mouths for the habit ever to seem sophisticated.

It was otherwise with proper tobacco for a reason. I remember when every children’s book depicted daddy as smoking a pipe; fathers of subsidiary characters wore cloth caps and smoked cigarettes. Yet Audrey Hepburn and others looked superbly cool with a cigarette in a holder, and I can well remember standing in front of a mirror practising taking the cigarette out of one corner of my mouth and putting it in the other corner, until I could do it just like George Raft.

Who would take such trouble over vaping technique? It would be like growing one’s hair long to play the electronic keyboard.

Robin Dow, Helensburgh.