YOUR regular contributor, Neil Mackay, imagines a future of destitution for workers in the North-East of Scotland (‘If we sacrifice oil and gas jobs, climate fight is lost’, May 21). 

His article is peppered with scenes of devastation. One example is,”Are we prepared to throw thousands on the scrapheap, along with their jobs and communities?”. This borders on hysteria.
Everyone knows that North Sea oil and gas production has been shrinking at around 4% every year since the turn of the century.

Politicians know it, the oil and gas operators know it, the supply chain companies know it, the unions know it and, one hopes, the workers know it. No amount of new licences or drilling will make a difference to this trend.


Read more: If we sacrifice oil and gas jobs, we’ve already lost the climate fight


Oil and gas workers cannot realistically expect the UK government (i.e., the taxpayer) to pay for a magic conveyor belt to transport them to another job in an entirely different industry.

In the same way that everyone working in oil and gas had to compete for their existing job based on their skills, experience and attitude, so they must compete for all new jobs in renewables and other high-tech industries. The competition for these jobs will be intense.

Renewable energy requires much less manpower than fossil fuels; this is one reason why it’s cheaper.

On a more positive note, however, I would like to highlight employment figures in renewables as reported by the Fraser of Allander Institute in December last year. I quote: “We estimate that the renewable energy industry supports over £10.1 billion of output, over £4.7 billion of gross value added and over 42,000 full-time equivalent employment across the Scottish economy”.  

This jobs figure is considerably more than that quoted by Mr Mackay in his article. Renewable energy continues to grow in Scotland, and employment with it.

It is up to workers in oil and gas to either embrace the opportunities or hang on in the hopes of an early pension.
Jeff Rogers, Banchory, Aberdeenshire.


The Quintinshill rail tragedy
IT was interesting to read of the article highlighting the 109th anniversary of the Quintinshill rail tragedy  in 1915 where so many troops on the way to the Western Front were killed (‘Memorial set to take place for Britain’s worst-ever rail disaster’, May 23). 

Today, as there is a preoccupation with holding public inquiries into all kind of disasters, it may be worth referencing what happened by way of public follow- up to this crash.

One might have imagined with the substantial loss of life that there would have been a public inquiry. There was, of sorts.

A mandatory Fatal Accident Inquiry at Dumfries was held on November 4, 1915, only six months later, but only into the deaths of three of the people who died. 

These were Frances William Scott, James Hannah and Samuel Stephen Lynn who were, respectively, the driver and fireman of the troop train and the railway saloon attendant on the express train.

These FAIs were mandatory under the then 1895 and 1906 legislation as these three were the only ones who died in the course of their employment.

The other deaths, including those of some civilian passengers on the express train, plus regular as well as volunteer soldiers, did not merit a mention.

The finding was that there had been signalling errors. It does not focus on the wider picture on what must have been relevant factors at the time. This might have considered the use of priority transport in wartime.

The deaths of the military personnel did not result in the holding of any Fatal Accident Inquiry or indeed under any other system.

Presumably, wartime censorship prevented this, due to the possible effect on morale, as can be seen from the article on the tremendous loss of life in Leith. 

This was an unfortunate feature of World War One deaths as many joined up together from work or areas in which they lived, and where disaster struck had this kind of impact.

Under separate proceedings there were also successful prosecution of the signalmen for culpable homicide at the High Court, of James Tinsley and George Meakin on September  14, 1915. 
Gillian Mawdsley, Glasgow.


Circular economy in operation
BRIAN Wilson (“Ferry farce piles irony upon scandal”, May 23) is perhaps missing an obvious example of incompetent governance in practice. Giving CalMac a large annual subsidy then clawing back £3.8 million a year is simply Lorna Slater’s ‘Circular Economy’ in practice (as interpreted by Holyrood).
Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh.


Human reminder of Gaza conflict
MY heart goes out to the Palestinian born Dr Salim Ghayyda, as it does to any Jewish person who is totally against what Israel is doing in Palestine and has been doing for a very long time (‘NHS doctor raises £100k to rescue his family from Gaza conflict’, May 22).

Antony Loewenstein’s book, The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports the Technology of Occupation Around the World, should be read by anyone struggling to understand what is happening in Palestine and should be compulsory reading for BBC interviewers who seem to constantly conflate being anti-Israeli as being anti-Jewish or anti-Semite.

The UK government’s failure to support the warrants issued by the International Criminal Court is a clear statement that Westminster is happy to deny justice for the people of Palestine and Israel. 

The UK government’s stance on this call for justice adds to the litany of heart rending examples of ignoring the people, and makes a mockery of the oft-used mantra “British values” – Windrush, contaminated bloods, Stephen Lawrence, Grenfell, Hillsborough, the Post Office.

Thank you, Dr Ghayyda, for bringing this “I’m only human” story, to the pages of The Herald.
Daphne Hamilton, Clackmannanshire.


Animal rights policy for Alba
REPLYING to Jill Stephenson’s letter, ‘Who’d negotiate with Alba?’ (May 22), I reckon Alba needs to put clear blue water between itself and the toxic SNP (whose fortunes may be affected by developments in PC MacPlod’s Operation Branchform. One way to profile themselves would be to adopt an animal rights policy with a ban on ritual slaughter at its heart.
George Morton, Rosyth.