JANE Lax is correct when she states “there are much more important things to get agitated about than football on TV” (Letters, November 17). However, she is wrong to conclude that the anger expressed at the failure to screen Scotland v Denmark on free-to-air TV is faux outrage fermented by rabid Scottish nationalists.

The events of Monday evening, when Scotland’s vital fixture was sidelined in favour of a meaningless England demolition of San Marino, is symptomatic of many issues which flow from having control of the BBC and independent broadcasters exercised from London. The BBC "national news" is dominated by domestic reports on health, education and transport which only apply south of the Border. These bulletins are followed by the "UK Weather" which invariably concentrates on the populous south and generally refers to Scotland en passant as “the far north” or, where I live, “the extreme north”. No wonder all fair-minded Scots are exasperated.

The BBC Scotland channel has been a small but welcome development, but it is run on a shoestring and ultimate editorial control still resides elsewhere. Scotland is poorly served by the BBC and ITV, who understandably will always look to serve their majority English audience.

There is an obvious need to wrest control of broadcasting to Scotland, but I suspect that will not happen until Scotland decides to take full responsibility for its governance in a second referendum.

Until then, returning to Ms Lax’s theme, we could be getting agitated about topics such as Tory sleaze, Westminster corruption and the failure of our MP (Douglas Ross) to remember his two other jobs and timeously declare his earnings.

Iain Gunn, Elgin.


A HEALTHY functioning democracy depends on voters having access to information and news from more than one source. Television is one, if not the major, provider of such information and especially of news.

Sadly, those of us who live in the south of Scotland are very limited in the TV news we can access about our own country, having only a choice between Border TV (based in England) and BBC Scotland (London-dominated and not the most impartial of broadcasters when it comes to Scotland).

I have little interest in news from Carlisle or Cumbria in general, yet my so-called “local” news is dominated by items from these areas. I am much more interested in what happens in the rest of Scotland – where I was born, where I live and where most of my family and friends reside.

I know some lucky people can view STV (Scottish Television) via the internet or satellite, but surely it is time this channel – again, Scottish TV – was available on terrestrial signals for the whole of Scotland.

Fiona Lessels, Beattock.


ADAM Tomkins speaks for himself when he states in his column that being an MP or MSP is a part-time job (“Being an MP or an MSP is a part-time job. They should all be forced to have a real job too”, The Herald, November 17). Having been elected to serve in the Scottish Parliament for one term, courtesy of the Tory Party list, Professor Tomkins managed to find the time to do another job and collect another salary in academia. He obviously did not consider himself to be first and foremost a representative of the people and I wonder how he would have fared if he had stood for election in a constituency instead of depending on a party ticket.

I think I can speak with more parliamentary experience than Prof Tomkins. When I announced my retirement in 2007, I was the longest-serving parliamentarian in the Scottish Parliament, having served at Westminster for more than a quarter of a century, followed by eight years at Holyrood. At the first election to the Scottish Parliament, I was the only Independent member to be elected. I had the biggest majority of any constituency in Scotland on both occasions when I stood for the Scottish Parliament.

I do not think that my constituents would have returned me time after time if I had been a part-timer. It is a great privilege to serve as a parliamentarian and the fact that some MPs and MSPs, mainly from Prof Tomkins' party, have abused their position should not detract from the fact that the majority of MPS and MSPs are full-time public servants who work hard for the people they represent.

Dennis Canavan, Bannockburn.


IT came as no surprise when I learned that five of the six Scottish Conservative MPs voted in the House of Commons on Monday night to break their manifesto commitment to retain the triple lock on state pensions [David Mundell did not vote]. This action will deny pensioners around £500 per annum, an amount that could pay dividends to their wellbeing during winter by allowing the heating to be switched on, by eating the right kind of nourishing food in cold winter days. Yet those MPs here in Scotland prioritised following the party line over pensioners in their constituencies.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


NICOLA Sturgeon has carried out the first part of her energy strategy by declaring her opposition to the Cambo oil field ("Sturgeon finally sets out opposition to Cambo oil field being given green light", The Herald, November 17). However, what the First Minister has still to outline is her future strategy on obtaining the fossil fuel needed to power the gas turbine plant at Peterhead which will replace Hunterston B or to supply the gas grid if the policy issued by Patrick Harvie to rip out every boiler has not been dropped into the bin, as neither the public purse nor the taxpayer can afford the £33 billion debt ("Warning householders must contribute to £33bn bill for greener heating", The Herald, November 17).

The plan now being adopted by the First Minister involves a 20% hydrogen mix into the grid, meaning a requirement for 80% of domestic gas still remains – hence the need for the Cambo output to keep the lights on in Scotland when the wind does not blow and to keep central heating systems operational over the winter.

The problem for Alasdair Galloway in his claim that "fighting climate change does not have to make us poorer" (Letters, November 17) is that it is incorrect. It is an expensive technology that is required to split hydrogen from water and then transport the gas to the point of use or provide stand-by plant when wind turbines sit idle in rural Scotland. All those costs have to be met by the energy consumer, thus escalating bills to more than £6,000 a year. Going green means a poorer standard of living for the majority of Scots.

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.

* REGARDING the cost of greener heating: if a scheme were introduced whereby the cost of carbon-neutralising one’s home would be recovered with an inheritance tax credit, those who could afford it could be incentivised to spend the money at no immediate cost to the Government.

Alexander Caldwell, East Kilbride.

* AN increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has an important effect on the Earth's climate but it is a wilful abuse of the language to describe it as pollution. The main constituents of the atmosphere are nitrogen, oxygen, argon, water vapour and carbon dioxide and the increase of any of them would not be pollution, regardless of any possible consequences.

PM Dryburgh, Edinburgh.


I AM recovering from the "shock and horror" forecast by Willie Maclean (Letters, November 17) in his defence of a Tory government. However, at the risk of causing yet more shock and horror, I must express my gratitude to Westminster governments for building miles of motorways all across England while doing Scotland the favour of keeping us virtually motorway-free for years; we now know that was all for the best, as motorways only encouraged people to drive on them.

My bus pass gets me around Scotland, and I am pleased that from the end of January the Scottish Government is introducing free bus travel for residents in Scotland aged under 22. We need to wean people from cars back on to buses and trains.

One Sunday afternoon recently I visited a huge new housing estate a few miles from Edinburgh which has a regular bus service to the city, and was struck by the fact that almost every driveway held at least two cars; they can't all have belonged to visitors. I suspect that housing estate is not unique, but even halving the number of cars in their driveways would help make a significant contribution to the environment.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

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