Stop this drive for wind power now

Very informative article on wind farms in The Herald on Sunday (What is the true cost of wind power?, August 25). Linda Holt raised some very compelling issues in her case for the prosecution and add to these the destruction of the land and seascapes of our beautiful country, where it is becoming more difficult to have a view that is not interrupted by wind turbines waving their monstrous arms. Surely it is time to call a halt to this destruction. We could cover every inch of our country with these alien structures and it would have no impact whatsoever on climate change.

That’s not to say that we should not be striving for alternatives to fossil fuels; of course we should, and wind power has a part to play, but enough is enough and it would seem that the driving force for more wind power has less to do with concern for the climate and more about financial gain for Scottish Renewables. Wind farms have certainly brought no financial benefit to the consumer who has seen the cost of electricity soar, regardless of the fact that a large proportion is generated from renewables.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the SNP government seems to have an obsession with wind generation and has even overruled local authorities on the odd occasion that the authority has refused planning consent for a wind farm, so perhaps, come 2021, we should take the opportunity to replace them with a government that has a better regard for our beautiful country. As yet it remains to be seen who that might be.

Alexander Irving


Politicians have warned that Britain will never reach its goal to cut greenhouse gases to zero by 2050 if the government continues to freeze fuel duty while public transport becomes more expensive. The fuel duty in every litre of fuel is 57.95p plus VAT of 20% = 69.54p and brings in £28 billion a year plus VAT. As electric vehicles increase in numbers, subsidised by the taxpayer with a grant of £3,500 and £500 for a home-charging point, what taxes will replace the fuel duty lost?

The UK (1.13% of global emissions) could shut down tomorrow and it would not make any difference to the “climate emergency”.

Countries responsible for the majority of emissions are still burning fossil fuels, driving 1.2 billion petrol/diesel vehicles, increasing to two billion by 2035, eating meat from one billion cattle, one billion sheep and 900 million pigs. The world population of 7.7 billion, increasing to 9.8 billion by 2050, is a colossal factor the climate brigade choose to ignore.

Clark Cross


Boris, Brexit and indyref2

The phrase that leapt to my eye in Keith Howell’s letter reads “if the circumstances arise where a UK government is minded to agree a second independence referendum” (The Herald on Sunday, August 25). The circumstances have already arisen – Scotland faces being hauled over the hard Brexit cliff and out of the EU against our expressed will.

As Mr Howell must be aware, David Cameron was able to call the EU referendum without asking if the EU were minded to agree.

When you can’t choose to leave a union, or to hold a referendum on the subject of leaving a union, that is not a healthy position for any country to be in, and Scotland must refuse to accept prisoner conditions and insist upon the right to put Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands, for good.

Ruth Marr


I watched the BBC’s excellent Yes/No: Inside The Indyref on Thursday and was a lot more impressed by the leadership, strategy and cross-party spirit than I was as a lowly "leafletter".

Currently, I despair at the lack of any focused pro-UK campaign and personalities but if the lunacy keeps unfolding and indyref2 comes about I was heartened to see that there are able, talented people like Ramsay Jones, Jim Murphy, Douglas Alexander, Blair McDougall and many battle-hardened others whose experience could be harnessed again to win a brutal campaign that will make indyref1 look like a Broons picnic at the But an’ Ben.

These days we could add the techniques of Dominic Cumming, widely credited as the brains behind the Brexit Leave campaign, and, assuming young Finn is of school age, perhaps Ruth Davidson could be coaxed back to be the leader.

I’m feeling Better Already.

Allan Sutherland


I am puzzled at Alexander McKay’s comment about the SNP doing gigantic U-turns on the monarchy and Nato and saying this is part of the SNP’s DNA (The Herald on Sunday, August).

I well remember the Nato episode, and the uproar within the SNP. We lost a few members, but mainly from those who had joined the SNP from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). It was a heated debate at the conference, but passed after a spirited speech from Kenny MacAskill. I know because I was there.

Mr McKay’s inclusion of the monarchy left me baffled; the SNP policy on independence was against the Union of the Parliaments in 1707, and not about the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

I have no recollection of any change in policy on this, but there was, and still is I believe , a broad conception of republicanism. When we look at the opulent life styles of the royal family and the antiquated House of Lords there is a case for reform, but this can be tackled after independence.

Incidentally, as the UK charges towards an economic, political and human disaster the Queen can still stop this; as no one voted for her, she has no votes to lose.

Jim Lynch


As politicians jockey for position over Brexit, the signs are that the divisions would be all the worse if we have a second independence referendum. With the SNP unable to agree among themselves over a range of critical matters it is difficult to see how it could put a credible plan forward for what would happen next were it to get its way on independence.

First, there is EU membership, now the proposed justification for indyref2. Yet a significant proportion of SNP supporters are no more fond of Brussels than Westminster. The many years of austerity required to convert an independent Scotland’s economy into a sustainable position would also be highly contentious.

The left-wing of the SNP is

adamantly against the idea but the SNP’s own Growth Commission explained it would be essential. On currency, some in the SNP want a new Scottish currency as quickly as possible, while others preferring a softer exit from the UK want to stay with sterling for longer. Others admit the Euro will have to be the eventual currency, something that for many in the SNP would be a complete anathema.

The republicans in the SNP want an independent Scotland to have yet another referendum, this time to abolish the monarchy, and replace it with a president (we can only speculate who), something which for many would be beyond the pale, and enough on its own to put them off the whole idea of separating from the UK.

Brexit is proving to be one of the trickiest of conundrums to deliver upon, but Scotland trying to leave the UK is likely to prove all the more intractable.

Keith Howell

West Linton

An interesting insight ... really?

Notwithstanding the inherent seriousness of the issues arising from the blue water school scandal, reading the analysis of “expert in crowd psychology” John Drury on why authority is currently so widely and unwisely distrusted by the public was like listening to the late Bernard Manning critique the racial biases of Martin Luther King speeches (Madness of crowds: how social media and mistrust sowed the seeds of panic, The Herald on Sunday, August 25).

Mr Drury himself seemed to alter to the accusation: key words such as “conspiracy”, “paranoid”, and “delusional” were absent from his thesis. Little wonder, given the number of lives of genuine victims which historically have been destroyed by the reckless use of such terms.

Behavioural insights psychology seeks to promote what are deemed to be optimal choices being made by the public. By manipulating the presentation of information, and by designing out inferior options wherever possible, individuals are “nudged” towards making decisions considered to be both in their best interests and those of the common good. Be it in the fields of diet, alcohol intake, the wording of bills etc, we are told what will help us do the right thing (and override our personal autonomy which may well lead us astray).

Has Mr Drury considered that behavioural insights psychologists created this problem of popular mistrust for themselves by their own conduct, and only failed to anticipate this fairly obvious and inevitable consequence of their actions because they were lacking in, er, behavioural insight?

The public’s distrust of authority is as nothing when set against authority’s distrust of the public.

Archie Beaton