LESLEY Riddoch writes of the energy sector being "plagued by short-term, quick-buck, ‘out-source it' thinking" ("It’s time to re-nationalise: Thatcher’s privatisation of the energy sector has failed", The Herald, September 20). That state of affairs was probably as a result of privatisation.

Policy and strategic decisions in the sector are now being made by companies in their own commercial, profit-orientated interests with their boards of directors being responsible for keeping content their groups of shareholders. Many of the large operators in the UK are now headquartered abroad, in Spain, France and Germany and have no particular desire nor need to act in the national interest of the UK. This is contrary to the pre-privatised situation when investment decisions, including those involving new power generation, were made in the national interest.

Yes, privatisation has created a situation where the customer is able to choose from a range of suppliers, but at what cost?

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


THE privatisation programme must surely be losing its appeal to the paying public right now with the rise in gas prices and a large part of the profits being siphoned off to keep the companies' shareholders happy.

Gas used to be one of the utilities nationally-owned and any profits made were ploughed back into improving the service and ensuring that the customer got a fair deal.

Perhaps the community conscience will now recognise that such services must not be treated as competitive element, since the gas and the pipelines carrying the gas are common to all customers and my gas is no different from yours in what it does and how it reaches any of us.

Gas, electricity, medicine and education, to name but a few of the nationwide services we all rely on, do not belong to the private sphere where competition and profits rule the roost.

Such services march to the beat of a different drum and that difference must be taken into account so that we have a proper mixed economy where what is necessary nationally and what is up to the choice of the individual need to be differentiated, one from the other to ensure that the community is served well while the individual chooses in those areas appropriately reserved for individual choice.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.


IS Tim Flinn (Letters, September 18) seriously suggesting that after 40 years of trying to join the rest of the world in a unified weights and measures, that we should now go back, by his own words, to a Neolithic system?

Mr Flinn may have 12, 14 or 16 fingers on his hands, but our counting system is based on tens, and multiples thereof for a good reason. It therefore follows on that a measurement system based on tens and multiples thereof is the logical system to use. It is very logical, and very simple to use.

For the really ridiculous, perhaps we should go back to pounds, shillings and old pennies, while we're at it?

The fact that this Government is even contemplating this nonsense tells me all I need to know about where this Government's priorities lie.

Andy Deans, Kilconquhar.

* I WAS about to reply to AJ Clarence (Letters, September 20) to point out that those of us who were in Primary 3 in 1952 developed considerable agility of intellect from the mental arithmetic required to deal with imperial measures. Then I remembered that Primary 3 in 2021 would probably use the calculator app on their mobile phones to derive the cost of 13 feet 6 inches of material priced at £2 13s 4d per yard.

Eric Begbie, Stirling.

* NOW we appear to be going back to using imperial units of measurement, the use of English, Scottish and Irish measures may return. An English mile is 1,760 yards. A Scots mile is 1,984 yards and an Irish mile 2,240 yards. Likewise an English acre is 4,840 square yards, a Scots acre 6,150.4 square yards and an Irish acre 7,840 square yards.

Eric Flack, Glasgow.


ERIC Scott’s letter about COP26 (September 20) reminded me of a train journey I took to Glasgow one bitterly cold winter morning a number of years ago.

A few stations from our destination two mature women boarded the train and took the seats opposite mine.

I couldn’t avoid overhearing their conversation and enjoyed a quiet chuckle as one said to the other: “I know global warming is a terrible thing but at least it will make it a bit more pleasant around here.”

George Rennie, Inverness.


MOIRA Love, who suggests having the Royal Navy drafted in to assist Calmac with lifeline services to the islands (Letters, September 18), has obviously never watched the Royal Navy attempting to bring a ship alongside a pier.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


I AM surprised at the low availability of that symbol of a man’s mood, personality, interests and status, namely the tie, descendant of the cravat, and fashionable since the 1920s ("Tie wearers shocked as shops run out", The Herald, September 18). But I am more surprised that demand has risen as people emerge from lockdown.

Unlike socks, wilful and free-spirited, ties don’t go AWOL. They group together happily, don’t wear out, require little maintenance, and haven’t gone anywhere during lockdown.

My own collection, of varied provenance, including Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, redundant for the last18 months, apart from a recent funeral, are poised ready to go.

A tie is for life. Not just for Christmas.

R Russell Smith, Largs.