I WAS puzzled by elements of Leah Gunn Barrett’s letter (January 18) regarding the apparent merits of French state-controlled electricity versus that of our own competitive market set-up. It is worth noting that the French electricity sector has been open to competition since 2007. An examination of the International Energy Authority (www.iea.org) data for 2020 gives some perspective on national electricity generation sources.

For the United Kingdom, the list of sources for electricity generation is topped by natural gas (114,128 GWh), though this is trending downwards, followed by wind (75,610 GWh) in second place, nuclear in third (50,278 GWh), and biofuels (35,094 GWh) in fourth. French electricity for the same year is, on the other hand, heavily dominated by nuclear sources (353,833 GWh), leaving other sources in its wake – hydro (66,708 GWh), and wind (40,704 GWh); natural gas is in fourth. The energy mix in the UK is therefore arguably far more balanced, greener, and sustainable than that of the French, and the UK Government deserves some credit for enabling it to be this way.

Also, it is worth noting that in placing a cap in the prices EDF can charge, the French Government and presumably, by inference the taxpayer, has an immediate £7 billion financial hit to manage. There are no details on quite how this is going to melt away.

Grant Aitchison, Aberdeen.


BRITAIN'S electricity generation is 50 per cent dependent on natural gas, a reliable and weather-independent fuel. Much of that is imported. North Sea gas has less than half of the CO2 emissions of imported liquified natural gas according to Greg Hands, the UK Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister. The EU has categorised natural gas as a green fuel for investment, a proposal likely to become law in 2023. There are billions of cubic metres of gas still in North Sea fields. So why are we not developing these fields to help secure energy supply?

William Loneskie, Lauder.

* FOLLOWING on from the suggestion by Alan McGibbon (Letters, January 22) of "It's Scotland's wind" as a new slogan for the SNP, would he consider "Keep on spinning" as an alternative? Perhaps for badges, stickers and flags?

Eric Gardner, Glasgow.


I'M not surprised that many retired teachers don't want to re-enter the classroom; most of them have probably already given years of sterling service at the chalkface. I note that Maureen McGarry-O'Hanlon (Letters, January 19) makes no mention of the fact that SNP policies have resulted in the highest level of education investment in the UK, and Scotland has, proportionally, more schools than England or Wales and more teachers per pupil than can be found in England and Wales.

Teachers are also better paid in Scotland, with a starting salary of £32,994, while in Wales it is £27,018 and in England, £25,714, outside Greater London.

Improvements to education have seen Higher passes at a record level since devolution began, and the percentage of school leavers going on to further education, training or employment has increased under the SNP Government. And of course, in Scotland, university education is always based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.

Ruth Marr, Stirling


NADINE Dorries has brought into the glare of the spotlight her party's vindictive vendetta against one of our revered national institutions, the BBC ("Tories accused of ‘vendetta’ for freezing BBC licence fee", The Herald, January 18).

For a fairly long time there has been the drip-drip of a hostile narrative directed at this noble Reithian organisation from a right-wing perspective to downsize it and to cut its national funding.

There was no attempt to disguise the Culture Secretary's delight in making the announcement that the BBC must now consider joining the modern world in becoming a subscription service, likely to reduce it to an underfunded public broadcasting service and to undermine its place as the national broadcaster which displayed no bias, fear or favour in its examination of the issues affecting the nation.

It has been labelled by the right wing as a leftist-leaning organisation and as a right-leaning organisation by the left, depending upon who is in power at the time.

All around us we are witnessing the closing down of the liberal traditions which once graced the UK and we are experiencing the straitjacketing of our options in different areas. Freedom of speech, freedom to protest and freedom to think for ourselves are gradually being whittled away. That is what the attack upon the BBC amounts to.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

* JOHN Birkett (Letters, January 19) compares the salary of the Director-General of the BBC with those of the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff. This is not comparing like with like. It would be more appropriate to compare with the salary of the chief executive of ITV. In 2020, Dame Carolyn McCall’s basic salary was £833,000 after a voluntary 20% reduction. If the BBC were looking for a new DG, it is this salary that applicants would be comparing the £525,000 with, not the PM’s salary.

As for the “ludicrous” pay levels for presenters, news readers and so on, it is difficult to compare these with the payments offered by commercial television since ITV is not required to, and does not, publish the amounts it pays.

Billy Grierson, Perth.


I WONDER who chose the moniker of "Big Dog” for the project to save the Johnson premiership? Might I suggest “Clever Dog” as a better alternative? Any dog owner will tell you big dogs aren’t necessarily what you would want in a tricky situation.

My Jack Russell would run rings round this guy.

Thomas Law, Sandbank.


I AM pleased that Andy Murray is doing well at the Australian Open but could somebody please tell him that the wide-open mouth is not a good look for the camera? A modest smile would make him look more like Roger Federer and give us a more attractive front page photograph ("Andy's roar returns", The Herald, January 19). Sports psychology trainers please note.

Elizabeth Mueller, Glasgow.

Read more: Blame for the crisis in the teaching profession lies squarely with the SNP