DB Watson’s letter (November 7) clearly illustrates the folly of the UK’s failure to have a coherent energy planning authority, one which is staffed with professionally competent expertise and completely independent of vested, self-serving interests and political prejudices.

At present we have a chaotic situation where almost all investment is incentivised by ill-judged political subsidies and the pursuit of shareholder value with no responsibility for the long-term cost and strategic security of our energy supply. It would be an act of real political insight to enable the establishment of an independent energy planning authority but, having done so, politicians must not be allowed to influence the strategic planning process, only legislate on the published recommendations.

We are entering a very dangerous and technically challenging time. A country that leaves its energy future entirely in the hands of the market and populist politicians will pay a heavy price.

The result of decisions on national infrastructure take a long time to reveal. It has taken 30 years to expose the costly consequences of applying free market zealotry to electricity supply and the terrible consequences of applying Thatcherite policy to everything, regardless of whether it is sensible.

Neither can we leave our future energy planning to the current Holyrood incumbents, obsessed as they are with wasting time and effort on independence rather than concentrating on what really is important. Their mix of naïve green solutions and sanctimonious comments on Westminster’s performance ensures they are singularly ill-equipped to formulate a secure, low-carbon and cost-effective energy strategy.
Norman McNab, Killearn

Muscatelli must make a stand

I AM moved to question whether or not the University of Glasgow in its top ranks appreciates how damaging to its reputation and standing the claims of discriminatory behaviour have proved to be with the associated headlines such as "Anger over professor’s ‘female brain' image" (The Herald, November 3), "Professor battles discrimination" and "Professor says his ‘eyes were opened' to discrimination by cancer diagnosis"(both The Herald, November 7).

Last week the university produced an apology to staff and students after an inquiry, established by it, identified "sexist and discriminatory" behaviour within the medical school, yet blame for such activity remained unattributed. It has been stated that a plan was being prepared following "unacceptable and distressing incidents" and that a new oversight group is being established to devise an action plan to make improvements "where necessary".

What is now required, in my view, is for a statement from Principal Muscatelli confirming that the university has accepted the seriousness of the matter and that he, on behalf of the university, is committed to ensuring that all necessary improvements are implemented to bring an end to, in the university’s own words, "culpable behaviours …. that fell short of our high professional expectations".
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie

The road to confusion

AS someone who gave up cycling years ago due to my wish to avoid confrontation and injury, and having driven for most of my adult life the blame game regarding cyclists (Letters, November 1, 2, 3, 4 & 7) is interesting to watch.

I recently came close to a confrontation with a one-horsepower mode of transport with its driver several feet above me.

The truth surely is that the mixing of these various means of transport is dangerous.

Comparing my modern automatic vehicle cruising at a modest 40 mph with a nervous horse on an unrestricted single carriageway makes me question the advisability of allowing, let alone encouraging, these practices when the likelihood of death or serious injury is ever-present.
Thomas Law, Sandbank, Argyll and Bute

Primary debates going strong

MANY will agree with Doug Clark (Letters, November 8) over bringing back school debating clubs.This very subject was initiated by East Renfrewshire in 1996 in the first year of existence. It was termed the Provost's Debate.

Each Primary 7 class was invited to the council HQ debating chamber. Twelve pupils were appointed as councillors, three pupils as members of the press. The remainder of the class were the public who consulted with the councillors during breaks over the two-hour session. The Provost presided as chairman. The subject matters were previously selected by the visiting school. A vote on the motion was taken. The chairman would then use a roving mic to interview all involved.

Whilst I was privileged to host the initial 420 debates (over a seven-year period) the five subsequent provosts have all ensured the lively weekly debates continue.
Allan C Steele, Giffnock

Back to village school

WHILE Russell Smith (Letters, November 8) is correct in quoting Oliver Goldsmith lines regarding "The Village Schoolmaster", the correct name of the poem is of course "The Deserted Village" and the line is "the village master taught his little school".

The memories of my English class were certainly all contained in that one verse of the poem, and haunts me to this day, some 70 years later.
Robin Johnston, Newton Mearns

Drying laundry: the big pull

YOUR Issue of the Day on Monday ("How are you drying your laundry?", The Herald, November 7) contained a load of tosh. Heated clothes dryers, dehumidifiers, fan heaters to blast off moisture ... has no one heard of a pulley?

After wash day you would hear that familiar squeak as your mother raised the kitchen pulley loaded with washing. Maybe it could take one to two days to dry but during this time there was no restricted access to the room or floor and no consumption of electricity – hard to beat.
Ian McCallum, Glasgow


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