Sir, – Interesting to see all the expensive projects earmarked for the so-called Red Wall regions of the north of England, as part of the levelling up promised by Boris Johnson as a bribe or reward to the newly elected Tory MPs who helped him secure Brexit.
Even more interesting is the way that these bribes and promises can soon be withdrawn if any of the new MPs refuse to toe the party line.
Either new schools or roads are needed or they’re not and if this is really a government for the whole country, then these projects should go ahead for the benefit of the people who live there and not be used as a carrot and stick depending on the loyalty of MPs.
Now we know what the people of Scotland have to do in order to secure worthwhile investments, like a carbon capture plant, decent rail links or a ferry port to the Continent – vote Tory.
Surely – if we have a bigger bunch of insignificant lightweights waiting cap-in-hand for the odd favour from leaders based 500 miles away – that will work?
Or else we could choose independence and, like other small countries, run our own affairs by electing people who live here and who are accountable to the people who live and also vote here in Scotland.
Janet Ramsay. Ordie Place, Perth.
The choice to believe in God’s existence down to the will of the individual
Sir, – I refer to Sam Graves’ letter. He asks a number of questions which I would like to attempt to answer.
Where did God come from? This question gets us nowhere.
If God came from someone, where did that someone come from, and so on ad infinitum. No, the Creator is uncreated, eternal, outside of time and matter, a spirit being. The Beginner has no beginning. He said to Moses “I am that I am”.
Why is there misery in the world? At creation God declared everything was very good, but our first parents disobeyed God and sin and death entered our world and the Earth was cursed. We now live in a fallen world.
Much of the misery is the result of man’s inhumanity to man. God intervened to halt man’s wickedness by a flood in Noah’s day when life was destroyed except for Noah and his family. God proved his love by sending his son Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross that we might have eternal life. He is long-suffering to give us the opportunity to repent and believe.
I agree that religious belief has brought suffering, especially the religion of atheism as seen in Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler etc.
I see ample evidence for the existence of God. The resurrection of Christ from the grave in fulfilment of prophecy is one of the most attested facts of history.
The creation in all its intricate detail, variety and beauty speaks of a creator.
The DNA code in its incredible complexity shouts design. The fact that our Earth is just the right distance from the sun for life, the water, the tides, the stars all speak of a designer.
The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by around 40 authors over hundreds of years and yet forming a coherent whole with a theme of redemption through Christ.
Many of its prophecies were fulfilled in the birth, life, burial and resurrection of Christ. We all have an innate sense of justice and right and wrong.
I find it strange that the discovery of some fossil fragments has convinced Mr Graves that man evolved.
I find it entirely reasonable that God used a similar body plan for ourselves and the apes.
This does not prove that one evolved into the other. This does not address the origin of life.
The Big Bang sounds like something from nothing.
I doubt my letter will convince Mr Graves but I hope it will give food for thought.
I am reminded of Abraham’s words to the rich man in Luke 16: “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead”.
We all have the same evidence but we choose to believe or not as a matter of will.
Paul Read. Clevitch, Newburgh.
Lights out without gas and nuclear?
Sir, – The anti-fossil fuel and anti-nuclear green brigade pounce when anyone dares to suggest that fracking is a way for the UK to become self-reliant as opposed to being at the mercy of foreign dictatorships.
We need gas and nuclear power or the lights will go out. For the past week gas has been supplying 49.2% of our electricity, nuclear 15.7 and wind 19.4.
The figures for the last month were gas 39.3, nuclear 19.2 and wind 23.6. For the last year gas 41.7, nuclear 16.4 and wind 18.9. What do these Green Luddites suggest to replace gas and nuclear – more inefficient wind turbines?
Clark Cross. Springfield Road, Linlithgow.
Serious energy policy is needed
Sir, – One of the many econo-scientific laws unrecognised by the Scottish Government is the iron law of electricity – “people, businesses and countries will do what it takes to get the electricity they need”. Whatever may have been hoped, US coal consumption jumped by 20% in the months since Donald Trump exited the White House.
With international gas prices soaring, electricity producers in both the east and west have had little choice but to burn coal. So much for all the baloney talked at COP26. It was only at the last moment in Glasgow that China and India spoke up for the real world of developing nations and western pensioners facing a fuel poverty of “eat or heat”?
President Biden’s administration pledge to decarbonise the electric grid by 2035 was as ludicrous as Nicola Sturgeon’s “green and tartan” belief that something is true just because she wishes it was. Such foolishness is for Extinction Rebellion’s fruits and nuts and flakes – a serious energy policy cannot be based on such nonsense.
Dr John Cameron. Howard Place, St Andrews.
Grasp the nettle to improve our roads
Sir, – Scotland’s roads are a national disgrace and their condition shows a steady depreciation. Not only that, but they are downright dangerous and littered with potholes and drain covers on the point of collapse.
It is easy to cast the blame towards local authorities, who must accept the initial responsibility, but equally the government must face and share criticism, in that for many years councils have been strapped of cash, unable to raise rates in the face of the rising cost of living and faced with the threat of receiving reduced government income if they do. Worse is set to come if we experience a harsh period of winter weather – which, to date, we have managed to avoid – when frost and ice will exacerbate road conditions.
This failure must be addressed, the nettle grasped, and without delay, before a spate of accidents and fatalities.
David L Thomson. Laurence Park, Kinglassie.
Holiday operators’ licensing unclear
Sir, – So the Scottish Government has gone ahead with its new legislation that all holiday accommodation in Scotland will have to be licensed in the next couple of years (except bothies, tents or anything moveable on wheels). Worryingly for small B&B operators who rent out a bedroom in their private home, they have been lumped in with larger businesses. The financial costs involved in getting homes up to the regulations that will be required to obtain the licence will make it impossible for many to keep going.
There is already a UK-wide government scheme called Rent A Room that allows home owners to rent a spare bedroom to lodgers or for B&B without having to go through a costly, bureaucratic process, earning a modest amount. Nowhere does this new legislation state that Rent A Room makes you exempt.
This new legislation was originally intended to address the problem of unavailable housing stock for long-term lets in Edinburgh, the East Neuk, the Highlands and Islands, etc. Renting out a spare bedroom does not do away with housing stock.
The Scottish Government has rushed this legislation through without comprehending the damage that it will do to ordinary people trying to make a small amount from their private property.
Each council has to set up its own scheme for this, which is another cost for them and will ultimately end up with even higher council tax bills for us all.
If you are worried about this, please contact your MSP.
Sarah Wilkinson. Tigh na dail, Bridge of Cally.
Humour definitely the best medicine
Sir, – Words seen on a painting in an art shop in Edinburgh – “a smile travels faster than a virus”.
Ercell Carruthers. Poplar Avenue, Blairgowrie.
Legislation outlay a costly ‘shambles’
Sir, – Last autumn, I spent more than £500 on having my electrician install smoke detectors in my home, in conformity with the (then) requirement that this be done by February 1 2022.
Now, it seems that the requirement has been placed in the “too difficult” box.
Even insurance companies who, we were told, would require the installation of these alarms, seem not to be interested in them.
This is legislation by shambles. To whom do I apply to have my £500-plus, that I have needlessly spent to meet a government requirement, refunded?
Jill Stephenson. Corstorphine, Edinburgh.
City council praised for showing the way
Sir, – Dundee City Council supporting the primary school for the Western Gateway catchment, Invergowrie area, and the new-builds at Dykes of Grey and the old Liff Hospital environs is good news.
A spend of around £16 million to create this new primary school is allocated, according to social media. I am sure that the Dundee West MSP has had a hand in moving this, but the SNP city council has also been very proactive, listening to the residents’ needs, and responding appropriately.
What is disappointing was Angus Council’s intransigence to the tri-school project, which would have created a high school serving the Western Gateway communities and the south west of Angus, where around 450 pupils are bussed to Monifieth High School and another 2-300 are transported to Perth Academy.
Both trips are 40-odd minutes there and the same to come back five days a week, in several diesel-powered buses.
It is regretful that Angus south-west pupils have been left to take the bus.
Thank you to the Conservative and independent Angus Council for its short-sightedness and, yes, sarcasm is a poor quality of humour – I put my hand up to this.
I hope the youngsters will understand. They would have appreciated these benefits – a school on their doorsteps, or nearly so, with sports and extra-curricular activities.
Good luck to these pupils, and their parents and siblings.
Alistair Ballantyne. Birkhill, Angus.