YET again the spotlight has fallen upon Police Scotland with suggestions of turmoil within the ranks and reported unhappiness with the leadership of Chief Constable Joanna Farrell ("‘No happy ship’: Whistleblower claims leadership of Police Scotland is ‘in turmoil’", April 14).

It's surely the case that any discord within the higher echelons of an organisation must filter down and ultimately affect the service provided.

Since its inception Police Scotland has not had inspiring leaders, with Sir Stephen House at the very outset decimating crucial support staff which in turn must have led to police officers being taken off front line duties to fulfil support roles. I was also flabbergasted that the former Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone, on leaving his role, should have admitted that institutional racism, sexism, misogyny and discrimination existed within the service. What had he done about it?

Having spent over 30 years "in the job", I am dismayed that a once-proud and respected police service should be in this state of flux and disarray. There is a perception that there is now more central government control over the police with local accountability virtually being abandoned. The SNP Government may have succeeded in its goal to create a police service which is more susceptible to government influence but in doing so it has brought into being an organisation which hardly fits the bill, or even "the Old Bill".

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

Forget China, work for indy

SNP MP Stewart McDonald is obsessing about Chinese spies ("SNP MP targeted by Chinese spies warns Scot Gov puts nation at risk with over-reliance on Beijing", April 14), when perhaps he should be more concerned about MI5 spies who are doing all they can to keep Scotland in its UK prison.

If Mr McDonald is genuinely concerned about malign foreign influences from countries like China, shouldn’t he be working day and night to make Scotland an independent nation?

Because if Scotland were a grown-up country and not a colonial vassal, it would be able to manage its economy, take back ownership of its land and resources from foreign governments and corporations, and create an energy and industrial policy so that it could manufacture its own wind turbines.

It could decide with which countries and on what terms to trade.

It could choose to no longer be a US lapdog and forge an independent defence policy. It could have its own immigration policy and determine how many foreign nationals should be allowed to attend Scottish universities after, that is, demand from Scottish students is satisfied.

Stewart McDonald pretends to be some kind of statesman when he’s just another run-of-the-mill colonial administrator eager to please his London masters. That’s pathetic.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.


We're sick of Big Brother Harvie's endless virtue signalling

Why should men who want to be women get more protection than we do?

UK Government's attitude to the Middle East is a disgrace

The hypocrisy of biomass

IN last week's Herald on Sunday, a Scottish Government spokesperson justified the banning of wood-burning stoves in new build-houses saying that tackling the climate emergency requires us to address the emissions caused by heating our homes ("Scots Gov may review ‘woolly’ rules on stoves", April 14). In simple terms the Scottish Government's argument appears to be: burning wood, bad; consuming renewably-generated, electrical-powered heating, good.

In his wonderfully-titled 2023 book, Not Zero: How an Irrational Target will Impoverish You, Help China (and Won't Even Save the Planet), Ross Clark uses Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, the single biggest source of renewable energy in the UK, to satirise the arrogance and hypocrisy of the Net Zero zealots.

Drax is germane to the Scottish Government war on stoves because although at one point the largest coal-fired power station in Europe it has since been converted to burn biomass. In other words, it burns wood. According to Clark, Drax is the biggest single generator of renewable energy in the UK. Drax is a place that proudly burns wood. In fact its website makes the scientific case for burning wood. One argument for excluding Drax from the emissions count is that unlike coal, which releases historically captured carbon, burning biomass only re-releases contemporary carbon: an argument that strikes me as more semantic than scientific. It would be more honest if they just said that some burning wood is more equal than other burning wood. Burning wood at Drax, good: burning wood at home, bad.

There appears to be two reasons why burning wood grown, harvested and processed into pellets in the US and then shipped across the Atlantic is good for the UK’s environment, but burning British wood in your own home is bad for the environment. The first is a piece of accounting genius. It's a very simple formula; you simply don't count the emissions that you don't want to count. Like other subjects dear to the heart of Green MSPs, you simply ignore reality. All the emissions generated throughout the pellets' manufacture and transportation processes are simply wished away. O brave new world, where the principles of science and mathematics don't matter.

This zero-emission fiction is further sustained by not counting the emissions produced by the burning of industrial biomass. Carbon emissions produced by stove-burnt wood in domestic premises is counted towards the country's overall emissions figure but wood burnt by Drax doesn’t count. Our common sense has been abandoned and like our industry before it, our moral responsibility has been conveniently outsourced.

Many commentators have rightly pointed out that this decision by the Green-SNP administration is part of a wider culture war waged by metropolitans on the rural community. It is; but I would suggest that it is a case of an elitist caste making up rules as they go along and ultimately indifferent to whether the rules make any logical sense or not. The ban on wood-burning stoves reveals the disdain in which the holier-than-thou, Net Zero zealots hold everyone else.

Graeme Arnott, Stewarton.

Do not abandon Ukraine

IT was heartbreaking to watch President Zelenskyy virtually pleading for aid in his broadcast this week.

After all the promises of solidarity from well-meaning supporters, his forces have yet to receive the air defence cover so sorely needed to repel the Russians.

As Ukraine's cache of much-needed weaponry runs down, the country is on the verge of a major defeat thanks to its western allies putting that situation into what looks like cold storage and leaving the Ukrainians short of the military equipment it needs to counter what the invaders are now doing with greater success.

The Ukrainians, no matter how determined they are to keep their country out of the hands of Putin, must be close to running on empty with an exhausted army and the lack of essential supplies to keep up their morale .

If we have other fish to fry, it does not provide us with the excuse to abandon that nation to the inevitable plight it faces without our backing.

Warm words from our side will not give the Ukrainians the steel they need to drive back the enemy If the equipment is not forthcoming soon to give Ukraine the hope it needs to continue its fight for independence and freedom, the West will rue the day it stood back and let Putin continue with grinding Ukraine into the ground.

Do we really want the collapse of that country on our conscience with the inevitable consequences flowing therefrom?

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

The Herald: The Drax power stationThe Drax power station (Image: PA)

Stand with Israel against Iran

BLESSED with a large, young and highly educated population, vast deposits of oil, a 3,000-year-long history and a distinctive culture, Iran should be a wealthy, successful and happy country.

Unfortunately, the religious fanatics who govern it have only two priorities: setting the Middle East on fire and wiping out Israel with its Jewish people. The welfare of the Iranian people is a matter of complete indifference to them.

This is the country where only 19 months ago a young woman, Mahsa Amini, was beaten to death by the ironically named Morality Police for not covering her hair properly. This led to the Woman, Life, Freedom movement and the murder by the regime of hundreds of protesters.

What is truly frightening is that Iran not only has ballistic missiles but is far down the path to nuclear weapons.

For our own sake as much as for the peoples of the Middle East, we should stand with Israel in whatever action they deem necessary to take against the Iranian regime.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.

Hit PO bosses in the pocket

IT almost beggars belief to hear senior managers and directors of the Post Office giving evidence at the inquiry saying they knew nothing about the sub-postmasters being sacked and prosecuted There should be some mechanism for their fat cat salaries and bonuses to be recovered and shared out with the managers who were so unfairly treated.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.