I TAKE exception to the tired old line trotted out by Dr Gerald Edwards (Letters, May 12) that First Minister Humza Yousaf should apologise for "the near-terminal state of the Scottish NHS".

He's obviously in my opinion been listening too much to the man who does make me ill when he opens his mouth, Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross, and has accepted the biased views and commentaries continually rehashed by the right-wing media.

When Dr Edwards talks of "no capacity left in the state system for prompt actions by doctors and even slower service from the hospitals..." that is insulting to doctors, nurses and all those who work for the NHS.

Is he talking from experience? Because it is not what I nor many of my friends suffering from cancer, strokes and other ailments have encountered in recent weeks and months at our surgeries and hospitals across Scotland.

We have never ceased to be in awe of the professionalism, courtesy and help provided by all who work for the NHS. Yes, there are difficulties, but the staff remain unflinching in their commitment.

They should be praised rather than used as pawns in a political game.

When Dr Edwards says "private clinics are popping up to take over from NHS GPs" that is exactly what the UK Government wants.

Covid offered the Conservatives the perfect opportunity to fast-track plans to privatise the health service by putting even more pressure on the NHS.

My concern is if Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is the next inhabitant of 10 Downing Street those plans will continue.

Best to stick with Scotland.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

Is education system failing us?

I NOTE the proposal that wealthy families should pay for university places for their children ("Wealthy paying tuition fees is not the answer", The Herald, May 10). The SNP Government is to be commended for increasing the number of young people from disadvantaged areas at our universities. The Robbins Report (1964), which had brought to the country’s attention that only 5% went into higher education as compared with 25% in America and 12% in France, led to more children being given the opportunity for such education. The steps included the increasing of the number of universities.

The actions taken in England in more recent times with regard to the introduction of tuition fees moves, I believe, in a contrary direction, with access being narrowed somewhat to those who can afford it most. The current position in Scotland should be supported.

The answer to the question of many Scottish children being prevented from securing a university education is for the SNP to find the means to increase the further education budgets. Disposing of the Scottish "embassies" abroad, reducing the number of special advisers, abandoning a few ill-thought-out schemes, such as restrictions on fishing, would be a start in finding the cash needed.

James Scotland in The History of Scottish Education observed: "At its best the Scottish tradition in education has served the people of Scotland well." How well is Scotland being served today?

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

Read more: SNP must reverse this disastrous policy on university fees

Older people are SNP priority

YOUR Agenda article "Why Scotland needs an older people’s champion", The Herald, May 12) made for some alarming reading. It highlighted issues like loneliness, isolation and exclusion, real everyday issues for older people, as is the startling figure disclosed of 150,000 pensioners currently living in poverty in Scotland.

It has been common knowledge for some time that we are an ageing population and in an effort to address this issue, Debbie Horne calls for the Scottish Government to appoint an Older People’s Commissioner. However, in 2021Christina McKelvie was appointed Minister for Equalities and Older People, demonstrating that the SNP Government saw the needs and issues affecting our ageing population.

In 2023 our First Minister appointed Emma Roddick Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees with a remit that includes within the Equalities brief that of older people.

Those appointments clearly demonstrate the issue of our ageing population has not fallen off the Scottish Government’s agenda, and highlights the importance it is giving this ongoing issue that will ultimately affect us all.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

Torness was an expensive mistake

IAN Moir (Letters, May 12) seems to have dropped a zero in his claimed original cost of Torness nuclear power station. Far from costing £224 million to build in the 1980s it actually cost more than 10 times that, and that was in 1980 money.

In 1984 the well-respected Economics Editor of The Herald, Alf Young, wrote an article entitled ''Torness plant was a £2,500 million mistake''. His first paragraph said: ''Scottish Office sources have admitted for the first time that the Torness nuclear power station constructed at a cost to the public funds and still being commissioned was a mistake and should never have been built".

When Torness was commissioned it brought Scotland's installed generating capacity to a figure twice the Peak Demand for electricity in Scotland. It spent most of its long life as the main reason why Scotland has been a massive net exporter of electricity to England. And its construction did serious harm to the Scottish economy. If any benefit ever transpired it went, post-1990, to private companies.

The financial arrangement in the 1980s for constructing projects like Torness was to capitalise the building cost but to charge the interest accruing on the ongoing and increasing capital being borrowed to the consumers' bills. You can imagine what that interest burden was like as Torness reached completion.

At that time Strathclyde Regional Council was desperately trying to save Ravenscraig. But the massive burden of interest charges being added to Ravenscraig's electricity charges was a serious impediment.

The story of Torness is just one of the many instances when decisions were being foisted on Scotland in a way few understood the consequences for the country.

I followed all this at the time, writing a number of letters to The Herald, which indeed you published. I still have a copy of one published in September 1984 that the Editor headed ''Staggering expenditure for a small country''. In my letter I had added ''to put this, ie the cost, into perspective it is probably three or four times in relative investment terms, the cost of the Channel Tunnel''. And at that time even the UK struggled to finance the Channel Tunnel.

Why did SSEB go ahead with Torness? It was never for Scotland's benefit, but our consumers paid a big cost.

Nick Dekker, Cumbernauld.

Read more: Lamentable standard in road repairs are a waste of public funds

Why so many wind turbines?

AS yet more reports come in of whales washing up on beaches in the UK and the United States, the seemingly acceptable practice of annihilating wildlife onshore and offshore for industrial wind turbines, that are doing nothing to bring energy bills down or give us energy security, continues unabated. It seems that every loophole a wind operator can exploit to cost us more and increase their shareholders' bank balances they will do.

Thousands upon thousands of acres in our oceans, glens and communities are being industrialised by wealthy multinationals in a feeding frenzy for profit and absolutely nothing else is deemed important enough to stop them.

This is not saving the planet. This is destroying it and all we hold dear and is backed by the Scottish Government, Westminster and just about every politician and clueless celebrity I have had the misfortune to hear spout ignorantly on the subject.

As the elephants stampede into the room we have to call a halt. There is no joined-up thinking here. Building more and more wind turbines on land and sea with nowhere for their intermittent energy to flow to is barking mad. We are already awash with wind energy and pay millions for turbines to switch off from the grid. England cannot take any more of it and probably won’t for a decade, if at all. If we allow these power companies to continue as they have, not only will Scotland become a further industrial mess, more wildlife will be slaughtered and our energy bills will keep on rising as the wind bottleneck at the border gets even bigger.

Why is no-one in government joining the dots? Are they too feart to answer the questions we want answers to? What power are these multinationals wielding over them?

Where is the data and evidence of need for all this wind power and its devastating infrastructure? Why are we being forced to pay for something without being given any proof of need?

Lyndsey Ward, Spokeswoman for Communities B4 Power Companies, Beauly.