WHILE defending his client against allegations of systemic corruption, cronyism, jury intimidation, misuse of public funds and links to cocaine trafficking, the former British Attorney General was not acting for one of his constituents in Torridge and West Devon but for the PM of the British Virgin Islands. For this and other services, Geoffrey Cox was paid almost £900,000 by international law firm Withersworldwide LLP and others over the past year ("Johnson urged to investigate MP who earned £1m in lockdown", The Herald, November 10).

The furore surrounding Geoffrey Cox's money-spinning sojourn in the Caribbean has prompted us to again shine a light on the ownership of Scottish land by foreign-owned companies, such as those registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Foreign companies own 750,000 acres of Scottish land worth £4.4 billion. Many of these companies are registered in tax havens which allows them to avoid paying tax. It is deeply concerning that no one knows who owns £4.4bn of Scottish property. Much of the Isle of Jura, where I live, is owned or leased by companies registered in tax havens, including the British Virgin Islands.

The Scottish Government, however, is intending to introduce regulations for a new public register of controlling interests which will take effect from April 1, 2022. It is to be hoped that this will go some way to lifting the veil of secrecy on beneficial ownership of land in Scotland.

And, in the meantime, if Sir Geoffrey were to invest his windfall in the Windies into the Tory party coffers, he would be a third of the way to securing his peerage.

Carter Thomson, Craighouse, Jura.


CHARLES Wardrop (Letters, November 10) estimates that the UK is responsible for 0.00845% of global carbon dioxide emissions. This figure is wrong. Most analyses put the UK’s contribution at around 1%. For example, the 2019 revision of the Emission Database for Global Research (EDGAR) estimated the UK’s contribution at 1.03%, which placed the UK as the 17th highest emitter in a league table of 209 countries. The UK contribution is 120 times higher than Dr Wardrop says it is.

The idea that one per cent of the world cannot influence the world’s affairs is also profoundly fallacious. By that reckoning, there are 192 countries in the world even more impotent than the UK. But collectively, the nations who wish to clean up their act vastly outnumber the few who have chosen to ignore the current deliberations at COP26.

If we hold our nerve, and Glasgow can show the way ahead, then sooner or later the recalcitrant nations who remain devoted to fossil fuels will realise that they are, themselves, fossils. Dr Wardrop, you are on the wrong side of history.

Dr Hamish Maclaren, Thornhill.


WITH COP26 now in its final stages, I want to highlight four myths surrounding global climate change:

1) There is currently no such thing as a "green" road vehicle. All modes of transport are produced with materials that were manufactured by "unclean" methods.

2) There is also no such thing, at present, as "green energy", since all means of producing energy (wind, wave, photovoltaic or nuclear) leave a huge carbon footprint during manufacturing and construction. The only reasonable description is "renewable".

3) We are not planning the proposed changes to save the planet. The planet has survived the age of the meteor, the ice age, the age of volcanic eruptions, and in recent years, raging infernos due to man’s interference. The planet will take care of itself in spite of us, and I would suggest that current weather events is the planet’s way of trying to do exactly that, and like Canute, we will be unable to push back the tide of climate change.

4) We cannot live without oil. Without oil, everything we use and take for granted today would fall apart, and I doubt if it is possible for them to be made from plant-based material – and in simple terms that includes toothbrushes and combs.

Changing to plant-based products for food and construction would be unachievable. There are 7.8 billion humans and there will be 2.8bn more by the end of the century, and the demand would be far greater than production could ever hope to achieve. Even if it could be ramped up, clean usable water is not in the places needed for massive food and timber production.

Yes we need to make a start, and as soon as possible, but the best we can hope for is standing still – and I can’t see how that will be possible while the planet’s population continues to grow at such an alarming rate.

(Mr) Francis Deigman, Erskine.


IT’S a pity that Rosemary Goring ("Let Glasgow flourish by hosting an annual Scottish COP to hear the best green ideas feels that the expression “no mean city” somehow derides Glasgow.

Consider the following: Mohammed Ali was no mean boxer. Tiger Woods, for example, is no mean golfer. Scoring a maximum 147 at the snooker table is no mean feat. Landing men on the moon and bringing them back safely is no mean achievement.

Deriding? Surely not. Thinking of the word “mean” in its sense of “average” or “ordinary” produces the true picture.

Litotes is no mean figure of speech.

Al Cowie, Milton of Campsie.


I AM impressed by Jim Prentice’s awareness of current events as a youngster sitting in his classroom at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in absolute terror, fearing it could be the last day of his life (Letters, November 10).

I confess my over-riding concern was that the concurrent raging measles outbreak might scupper my impending November honeymoon.

Missiles be damned.

R Russell Smith, Largs.