PERHAPS Walter Paul (Letters, April 9) might like to consider the corollary of his view that the SNP Government has “some cheek” in not wanting to pay a share of renovating Westminster, simply because Scotland is currently part of the UK. He would then also believe that the Westminster Government should honour its duty to reciprocate with similar funding for Scotland.

By this same token, as Scotland’s share of everything considered to be UK spend is normally calculated on the proportion of our population in UK terms, ie, approximately 8.4%, the Westminster Government share should be 91.6% of everything of UK benefit. Yet throughout all the years that 80%+ of the oil came from Scottish territorial waters, only that 8.4% of income was credited as Scotland’s share, while the rest went to rUK. This is still and will continue to be the case as long as the oil is recovered from our territorial waters.

Currently, while renewable energy produced in the North of Scotland is fed into the National Grid to benefit the whole UK, with England using at least 40%, the producers in the North of Scotland pay a connection charge of £7.36 per mwh, those producing it in Wales pay 49p and those in the South-east of England receive a subsidy. Meantime the standing charge on our energy bills has just risen to approximately 61p per day compared to around 40p in England. So again, Scotland produces for UK benefit and pays over the odds for the privilege.

Plans are now being drawn up for an upgrade of the National Grid, specifically to enable more renewable power to be sent to England, admitted recently by a member of the UK Government who said that this was “absolutely fundamental... to get low-carbon power to England”. We will pay a share of this on our bills, while subsea cables and new pylons, which will impact our rural communities and tourism, bypass Scotland for distribution to England.

Alongside this, planning is under way to find a means of taking water from Loch Ness to the areas of the South-east that regularly suffer water shortages. Again, we will pay a share, even though this may deplete our water supply and risk more shortages in Scotland. For example, if coastal tankers were to be used, each one would reduce the water level by at least a metre during a time when our weather would also probably see some natural lowering anyway. If pipelines were used, we would still pay a share of the work and suffer the disruption for no benefit to Scotland.
Perhaps Mr Paul should ask himself why Scotland should be paying for sending our resources south, while the recipient gets the lion’s share of the income and other benefits. Shades of an Empire once described by one of its administrators as being run by “the usual robbery, pillage and murder”, just this time without the murder. At least when we become independent, we will be more than willing, as good neighbours, to continue to share these resources, but would then receive payment instead of paying for the privilege.
L McGregor, Falkirk.

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Why are the experts ignored?
ON reading Jim Sillars's remarks last week on  the SNP's "stupidity" ("Scotland's baby box doesn't compare with the need for good housing", The Herald, April 8), I recalled two recent comments on "stupidity" that I read and pass on as I think that they are relevant to much that this SNP Government has done to Scotland. I was once a member of the SNP and about five years ago I woke up and smelled the coffee.

The first comment is a quotation that I randomly found on the internet while searching for something else. I don't know the source but it states: "We live in a time where intelligent people are being silenced so that stupid people are not offended." The second is from my memory of a passage in author Bonnie Garmus's book Lessons in Chemistry. The quotation is from a statement by the main character in the book, named Elizabeth Zott, and she says in a conversation that "the problem that stupid people have is that they do not know that they are stupid".

People like Jim Sillars and Dennis Canavan, whose letter commenting on Kevin McKenna's interview with Mr Sillars appeared last Wednesday (April 10), are rare amongst today's political class. Those who share the type of integrity and sense displayed by them, such as Kate Forbes and Fergus Ewing, seem to get sidelined by the party machine. It happens in other parties too where putting one's head above the parapet is effectively asking for it to be shot at.

I can also think of business people who try to make a difference, such as Jim McColl, Stuart Ballantyne and Roy Pedersen, all of whom have expertise in the design and build and operation of ferries, this still being the topic of the time and whose knowledge while acknowledged by our Government and CMAL, are none the less disregarded and sidelined.

It makes me wonder if there is another agenda going on as implied by Neil Mackay in one of his opinion columns of a few years ago when he wondered if the SNP had been infiltrated immediately following the referendum by a faction intent on limiting its growth and success of the time. One day history will comment with accuracy rather than speculation.
Ian W Gray, Croftamie.

U-turn is no surprise
IN 2015 Sir Keir Starmer opposed both renewing Trident and its use. Given his history it is no surprise that he now proclaims an “unshakeable commitment to Trident”.
Trident also provides many thousands of highly paid, skilled jobs across England, with both Tory and Labour leaders seeking photo-ops in Barrow-in-Furness. Ernest Bevin is quoted: “We’ve got to have this thing (atomic bomb), whatever it costs. We’ve got to have a bloody Union Jack on top of it.” This “patriotic” bomb will assure the UK of its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, even as many in the UK endure widespread impoverishment these days.

Many countries have the technical knowledge to build nuclear weapons, and many years ago, an Israeli general stated that if a war with Iran broke out, Iran wouldn’t have enough people left alive to bury the dead: threats which motivate Iran to have the same MAD (mutually assured destruction) weapons as Israel.
GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Beware indoctrination
I READ your article about the Scottish Climate Change People's Panel report and its recommendation that lessons on the topic should be compulsory in all schools ("Call for lessons on climate", The Herald, April 11).

I'm naturally sceptical about all this; it seems a bit like indoctrination, not education, especially at a time when basic education standards are slipping. I'm also a bit suspicious of the boast that the members are randomly selected members of the public with little knowledge of the subject before participating and therefore perhaps not equipped to evaluate the objectivity of their briefings.

I don't suppose there was or will be much discussion about how much climate change is actually man-made, or whether Scotland, which only produces 0.1% of global warming, would be better preparing for the effects of global change, such as flood, coastal erosion and mass immigration from countries devastated by the looming disaster.
Having said that, much of the content on the panel website raised some hope that at least the Scottish Government's policies, performance regarding missed targets and job creation and botched legislation may be scrutinised.

It's also reassuring that the eminently sensible MSP Edward Mountain is convener of the Net Zero, Energy & Transport Committee that will discuss the panel's report. Commenting on the report he reminded us that “just last month the Climate Change Committee said that Scotland’s 2030 climate goals are no longer credible".
Hopefully, however we will have moved on from a previous attempt to influence young minds when Al Gore's since-discredited "Inconvenient Truth" film was shown in schools across the UK.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

The Herald: Sir Keir Starmer has backed TridentSir Keir Starmer has backed Trident (Image: PA)

How many MSPs go green?
GIVEN all the rules we the public are being asked to comply with to support the battle against climate change, could we ascertain how many MSPs have already complied with the various dictats of the SNP?

It would be particularly interesting to know how many SNP and Green MSPs already drive electric cars (are ministerial cars electric?) or have previously done away with gas central heating and fitted heat pumps.
I am also curious to know how many previously believed the Millennium Bug was a real threat but I don't suppose we will ever find this out.
James Kelly, Larbert.