Readers' Letters: Independence zealots 'more Scottish than the Scots'

Wendy Wood, one of the founders of SNP forerunner the National Party of Scotland, pictured in 1951 (Picture: Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images)
Wendy Wood, one of the founders of SNP forerunner the National Party of Scotland, pictured in 1951 (Picture: Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images)

She claims to be “returning the favour” of 21 Scots who signed the Declaration of Independence (of America, not Scotland, mind), but, as I am someone related to the last Confederate General appointed by Jefferson Davis, I expect that she would support my suggesting that the USA split into its individual states once again? Do tell.

Indeed, the majority of those whom I know personally who are actively supporting independence have one thing in common: they are either half-Scots, like a number of SNP leaders (Mike Russell, Angus Robertson) or hardly Scots in any way at all, like Ms Thompson and founders of the SNP, Compton Mackenzie and Wendy Wood. Others, of course, have a strong Irish background : Brian Cox; SNP MPs Stephen Flynn and Brendan O'Hara; ex-MP Natalie McGarry; Ash Regan etc. This phenomenon is well-known. It is a form of self-protection. Be more native than the natives and no one can tell you that you're not a Scot. What could be more Scots than being a Scottish nationalist?

Well, actually, there is. Being a patriot, which allows you (like most Scots) to be Scottish and British.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Scotland’s oil etc

The UK Government says developing the Rosebank oil field will provide energy security and lower prices. This is a lie. All oil is sold on international markets, so UK consumers will pay the going rate. Because UK energy is in private hands, the UK Government has little control over supply and prices, in contrast to Norway and France, where energy is largely state-owned.

Energy is legally recognised as an essential service, as are healthcare, water, education and transport. But the UK energy market is a fractured hot mess that started with Margaret Thatcher’s mass privatisations. The only service that hasn’t been fully privatised is the NHS (and, in Scotland, water). As a result, UK consumers pay the highest energy costs in Europe and Scots pay the highest in the UK. From October 2022, it is estimated that 35 per cent of Scottish households were in fuel poverty, an outrage given our energy wealth.

Alistair Darling admitted in 2008 that “Scotland’s oil revenues have been underwriting the UK’s failure to balance its books for decades”. It’s why the UK Government buried the McCrone report that confirmed Scotland would be a wealthy nation freed from the ruinous union.

The theft is being repeated with Scottish renewables. Profits are flowing to private companies and shareholders who are Tory and Labour donors, while Scots are dying. Scotland’s resources legally belong to the Scottish People, who are the Scottish Crown. To reclaim our Crown jewels, we must end the union.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

Climate betrayal

Rosebank delivers little economic benefit to the UK given that the new North Sea oil and gas project will be run by Norwegian government-owned Equinor and its junior partner Ithaca, a Canadian oil and gas company that happens to have a listing in London. Output will be sold on world markets with no direct benefit to the UK either in terms of securing our energy security or reducing our gas bills.

The decision makes sense politically for three reasons. Firstly, the gullible may agree with the new Energy Secretary that Rosebank will “secure Britain against tyrants”. It merely confirms, however, that we have been bullied into accepting huge hikes in energy prices while Russia continues to benefit. Energy experts see Rosebank as almost irrelevant in securing energy security.

Secondly, it ties in nicely with Rishi Sunak’s decision to delay climate targets and pander to the Tory right’s love for fossil fuel-linked businesses. Given an estimated £3.5 million of Tory donor funds depend on them this is hardly surprising.

Finally, by being counter to much of the free world, by applying nearly £4 billion of tax breaks for new fossil fuel development rather than renewables, Sunak wants to portray himself as a pragmatist who recognises that oil and gas will remain vital beyond 2050, something that he hopes resonates with his electoral base.

Perhaps petrolheads like Jeremy Clarkson but not red wall voters in Yorkshire. Instead many, including some Tory MPs, consider it unforgivable that the UK, the host at Glasgow’s COP26, has completely betrayed its climate principles.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Rail funders

Travelling to Glasgow on the train today, the conductor helpfully highlighted the off peak trial that begins next week. However, I was surprised that his script made an unnecessary reference to how this is being “funded by the Scottish Government”.

This feels like a political promo and something that isn't needed in terms of the information being given to passengers.

Perhaps if a reference must be included they should say "it is being funded by you, the Scottish taxpayers”?

J Lewis, Edinburgh

Tax tourists

Kenny MacAskill is quite right, we should have tourist taxes to help fund the badly needed local infrastructure (Perspective, 28 September).
Like him, my ancestors were from Lewis and I’ve seen the growth in tourism there and elsewhere, without any noticeable benefit to the local communities. After all, who would notice a small daily tourist tax, about the cost of a cup of coffee?
Let’s hope it becomes possible. Then we might have our city potholes repaired.

Fiona Garwood, Edinburgh

Green hydrogen

There have recently been numerous letters/articles in this newspaper extolling the virtues of so-called green hydrogen as a replacement for fossil fuel energy.

Unfortunately none of these have included actual numbers, which are a prerequisite of any scientific/technical discussion. To produce, store and transport just one unit of hydrogen energy to the point of use requires the input of about 6 units of renewable energy.

In wind terms in GWh that means 9000 of the larger onshore turbines (2MW installed capacity with 33 per cent load factor) to replace the output of our remaining, and soon to be disposed of, nuclear power station at Torness with its hydrogen equivalent.

Green hydrogen may not produce greenhouse gases but it certainly has other environmental, and very costly, consequences – and let's not forget the energy “lost” in its production.

This may not add to global warming by the greenhouse effect but it certainly makes some small direct contribution, as does every other use of energy – but that's another story.

A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries

Wind rush

Dr Sam Gardner, ScottishPower’s head of climate change and sustainability, insists Government planning rules are delaying renewable energy schemes for years (28 September). He obviously doesn’t understand there is a good reason for the length of time taken for any application to work its way through the planning system – or is he only concerned about loss of profit?

Nowhere does he mention the impact of these energy schemes on the environment, wildlife and rural communities which bear the brunt of the rush towards net zero. These all have to be assessed and consulted upon. If he has his way, rural communities will have less time to respond and/or fundraise to pay for professional advice and support and other consultees, already under extreme pressure, won’t be able to adequately scrutinise applications. This will inevitably result in even more disastrous decisions being made.

But why should Government or Industry care, it’s a great way to silence any opposition to their plans.

Aileen Jackson, Scotland Against Spin, East Renfrewshire

Mean streets

I see Richard Allison and Gerald Edwards have identikit letters in The Scotsman regarding Scotland's record cancer, drugs and alcohol deaths – all apparently the fault of the current administration in Holyrood (27 September).

Aye, right.

Because that Scottish society that inspired Trainspotting, No Mean City, Just A Boy's Game and Buckfast Presentation Boxes never existed, only a tartan and shortbread rustic paradise of happy-go-lucky Free Presbyterian teetotalism where the only thing smoked was kippers, and there were no mass hospitalisations after Old Firm matches.
Get real! Scots have overindulged in life's vices for centuries – the land of the boozer's larynx – and paid its price, without needing any outside agency's help or neglect to facilitate it.

Anyone trying to claim otherwise lives not in Scotland, but Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Ruinous ramblings

I am convinced the most effective way the Scottish Greens could contribute to climate change would be to keep quiet and reduce the carbon emissions from their ramblings.

Derek Sharp, Edinburgh

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts – no letters submitted elsewhere, please. Write to including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line – be specific. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.