SCOTLAND is exceptional. The only developed nation to discover oil and a high proportion of its people became poor.

The only government in the world that would close down its oil and gas fields, if it had the power to do so. In the context of independence, the SNP/Green Government would engage in economic lunacy ("Ministers consider speeding end to reliance on oil and gas", The Herald, January 11).

An independent government will require two essentials if Scotland’s people are to prosper: a consistent high revenue stream and a source of capital for investment in improved infrastructure, education, and stimulus of the SME sector as the main engines of growth. Both can be obtained from direct participation in the oil and gas industry in the North Sea and west of Shetland. Green jobs fantasy is no substitute, as their record of failure to establish a wind turbine industry demonstrates.

SNP/Green ministers are deluded if they think they are giving a lead to others. Lebanon and Israel see each other as enemies, yet they have reached agreement on a demarcation line in the Mediterranean to ensure both can reap the benefit of fossil fuels under its waters. Turkey, Greece and Cyprus are in dispute about who, under the law of the sea, will own and develop an oil and gas field in the eastern Mediterranean. Ghana believes its oil discoveries is an economic game changer, as does Guyana which, last July, was "pleased to announce two new oil field discoveries" bringing the total so far to 38,with no intention of closing them down.

Deb Haaland, US Secretary for the Interior, noted in August 2021 that "gas and oil production will continue well into the future", describing that as the economic "reality", due to the fact that oil fuels 35 per cent of world energy and 95% of world transport.

There are 6,000 essential and near-essential products which are why oil will remain important: it is, for example, the feedstock for solar panels, heart valves, eyeglasses, tyres (without which electric vehicles cannot move), vegan leather, dishwashing liquid, aspirin, antihistamines, antibacterials, suppositories, cough syrup, ointments, hand sanitiser, time-release drugs, Vaseline, sterile plastic bandages, disposable syringes, surgical gloves and masks, artificial limbs, hearing aids, bags and rubber tubing used for analysis, insect repellents, shampoo, toothpaste.

What does the future hold for an independent Scotland with an SNP/Green government? While the rest of the world uses its oil asset to grow economies, we shall be carrying out an exercise of massive self-harm. That is not a prospect likely to maximise the Yes vote.
Jim Sillars, Edinburgh

Concern over slavery fund

IT has been reported that the Church of England is to set up a fund of £10 million to allow for reparations for slavery. This causes concern (to me, at least) for several reasons.

First, why should any institution supposedly devoted to matters spiritual have such a vast sum evidently at its instant disposal? Secondly, who should be the beneficiaries of this fund?

Slavery is an ancient evil. It was endemic in Africa and Arabia and elsewhere long before the British became involved (even if that involvement is a real cause of shame). On one interpretation, I should be entitled to compensation from the Nordic countries for the probable enslavement of my ancestors in the north of Scotland who were no doubt scooped up by the Vikings, for whom slavery was a basic element of their economy. I look forward to their offer.

On a more sensible level, what is the point of apologising now (monetarily or otherwise) for something of which no-one alive now in the UK is directly responsible (though that may not be true of other nations, given that slavery is still an urgent humanitarian problem)? Regret is undoubtedly appropriate, but apology is meaningless.

Most importantly, why have the Church of England and others (Roman Catholic, Church of Scotland et al) not made the same voluntary gesture towards compensating the distressingly large numbers of those abused in their care who are still alive, without forcing their victims to go through the ordeal of legal process?
Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh

Watch out for the profiteering

I HAPPENED to find myself in a High Street with some free time and remembered that I needed to purchase some personal grooming product (I know, but my family insist upon it).

I entered a well-known chain and located the product, but on looking at the price it occurred to me that it was more expensive than I recalled. Resisting the necessity to buy I went to another well-known chain, located the product and found it to be the same price. Still unsatisfied with the price, I decided to wait till I returned to my home town with the intent of buying from my local pharmacy, which I usually use.

Next day I went to the local pharmacy and was delighted that memory was not playing tricks on me and the product was exactly half the price of the two high street giants.

I got my abacus out and figured out that the two high street chains were selling at a 200% mark-up. Profiteering without question.

I know this is a simple example, but who has not expressed astonishment at the prices our supermarkets have been charging over the last months and especially Christmas?

I know there are a lot of reasons for the cost of living crisis but I cannot help but feel our big supermarkets and chains are not serving us well. I for one will be watching very carefully as they declare their results.

I hope if there is indeed a series of record profit announcements the Government will take note and apply the necessary windfall taxes if excess profiteering is evident.
Ian McNair, Cellardyke, Fife

History lesson needed

IN your On This Day feature (The Herald, January 11) you state that Cromwell was defeated by the Royalists at the Battle of Naseby in 1645. You will be telling us next that Napoleon won the battle of Waterloo.
Jack Wilson, Inchinnan

Quip was a belter

MY school days pre-date Irene Munro’s by 20 years when corporal punishment was still a regular hazard (Letters, January 11).

One memorable episode involved a teacher, in hindsight clearly bipolar, ranting that he would have us doing mental arithmetic even if it took him all day.

“He’ll have us all mental by the end of the day,” said my companion sotto voce, but overheard by the demented pedagogue.

The outcome? You guessed it. The belt. But it was worth it for the rest of the oppressed.
R Russell Smith, Largs


Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.