Fracking could have brought great benefits

Economy Secretary Keith Brown.

Sir,– As the SNP meets to celebrate its “successes” and plan its future, it is worth considering some of the problems that face Scotland and are not being intelligently addressed by its government.

The anaemic 0.1% of growth in the second quarter of 2017 was hailed as “good news” by economy secretary Keith Brown.

One wonders what Mr Brown would regard as bad news.

Economists point out that even against the UK’s sluggish growth, Scotland is performing badly.

Fracking in Scotland has been – contrary to advice from the SNP’s own scientific panel – effectively banned, although processing the products of fracking elsewhere continues, for now.

In addition, taxpayers have now paid £30 million to support the Nicola Sturgeon Spaceport at Prestwick.

Prestwick’s advantage used to be that planes could land there in very high winds when they could not land at Edinburgh or Glasgow.

“Diverted to Prestwick” was a message that elicited groans from many travellers over the years.

That reason for its usefulness is now obsolete. It is said that Prestwick will become profitable in 2022.

But then that prediction comes from Derek Mackay, so we know what it is worth.

In sum, Scotland has a poor track record in growth but can afford to pass up the value that fracking would add to the economy and can support an airport that is a drain on the public purse.

Those involved in health and education must despair at this irresponsibility on the part of the Government.

Jill Stephenson.
Glenlockhart Valley,


Quality of foods under threat

Sir,– Currently the quality and safety of our foods is protected by standards that were introduced by the European Union.

Unless Scotland becomes independent before Brexit and remains in the EU, we will lose this protection for our food.

After Brexit, if we stay in the UK, there will be no guarantee that protection for food quality will remain.

Producers will once again have a free hand to include all kinds of “artificial colours”, unspecified “preservatives” and “E numbers” without any obligation to detail on these foods’ labels.

Susan Swain.
Tyme Cottage,


Psychiatric drugs the issue

Sir,– As the search for answers begins following the indiscriminate shooting in Las Vegas, the cause of senseless violence once again goes firmly under the spotlight.

It has been said many times before; there is never one simple explanation for what drives a human being to commit such an unspeakable act, but a common denominator has surfaced in hundreds of cases – prescribed psychiatric drugs, documented to cause mania, psychosis, violence, suicide and, in some cases, homicidal ideation.

For decades, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has been collecting information on numerous similar acts of senseless violence, acts where the psychiatric connections have eventually surfaced.

A recent example concerned the gunman involved in the Fort Lauderdale tragedy in January.

It was revealed he was being “treated” for mental health issues.

Then there was James Holmes, who murdered 12 people in a Colorado cinema.

It was revealed he, too, had been “treated” for mental health issues and had been prescribed an antidepressant drug.

It also surfaced Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who flew Flight 9525 into the Alps, killing all the passengers and crew, had been under psychiatric care and was being treated by several psychiatrists.

While gun laws in the United States are put to the top of the list as a means of curtailing such tragedies, the role of psychiatric treatment, especially psychiatric drugs, should also be investigated and closely scrutinised.

The safety of psychiatric drugs has been questioned for years now and, with so many violent deaths and suicides linked to their use, public safety continues to be compromised.

Worldwide concerns have been reflected in the release of 27 international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs citing effects of mania, hostility, violence and even homicidal ideation.

It is vital to continue repeating this message about the dangers of psychiatric treatments until it gets through to those who can make the necessary changes so that public safety is no longer compromised.

Brian Daniels.
East Grinstead,
West Sussex.


Charities could be punished

Sir,– The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) has lodged a formal complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) concerning the current poster campaign for offshore wind at Westminster tube station, claiming it is a deliberate attempt to influence MPs, peers and other decision makers.

The organisations behind this advertising all have financial or anti-fossil fuels interests.

The posters claim “the price paid for electricity from offshore wind farms has fallen by 50% over the last five years”.

GWPF claim this is untrue.

Dr Benny Peiser, the director of GWPF, said: “The claims in this campaign are some of the most blatant distortions of the truth that I have seen in pro-wind advertising.”

Those funding the advertising include Dong Energy, GE, Scottish Power Renewables, Siemens Gamesa, SSE, Vattenfall, Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Society and WWF.

An impressive array against ASA, but they shocked Friends of the Earth earlier this year by heavily censoring them over their scaremongering anti-fracking leaflet.

If this GWPF complaint is upheld, the charities involved should lose their charitable status.

Clark Cross.
Springfield Road,


Strachan could be a politician

Sir,– Congratulations to Jamie Buchan for his excellent article (October 10).

Indeed it is impossible for the NHS, police and teachers to perform better with higher demands, fewer resources and restricted finance.

With regard to Gordon Strachan, I find his response to comments by and questions from the media to be bizarre, rambling and way off addressing the matter under discussion.

If he attempts to explain his tactics, playing style, motivation and formations to the players in the same vein as he responds to the media, confusion would surely result.

Perhaps he hopes to make a future career in politics?

Bill Watson.
Seaton Estate,


City carrying the flag for Yes

Sir,– A casual reader of The Courier letters pages might think that Tayside and Fife was a hotbed of unionist activists, but closer examination reveals that most of the anti-independence letters emanate from a small coterie of dedicated propagandists from furth of Courier Country, from less enlightened parts, Edinburgh and the Lothians mostly.

So it is comforting to note that my trust in the good sense and political intelligence of the people of Courier Country is confirmed by this week’s poll of voting intentions, if there were to be a second independence referendum, in The Courier’s sister paper, the Evening Telegraph, which found that, of 3,000 respondents, 84.5%, would vote for independence.

As an adopted Dundonian, I was impressed with this rise from the 57% of votes cast for Yes in Dundee in the 2014 independence referendum, which was the highest percentage of any part of Scotland, and earned it the title of “Scotland’s Yes city”.

I would suggest that, in view of this virtual unanimity, Dundee should now be known as “Scotland’s yes, absolutely, definitely, and the sooner the better, city”.

Les Mackay.
Carmichael Gardens,