Sir, – The publication of the latest GERS figures has triggered a now traditional feeding frenzy, with a black hole in Scotland’s finances heralded by Unionist politicians as validating the continuation of their beloved Union.
The killer phrase for me from the GERS report is: “The report is designed to allow users to understand and analyse Scotland’s fiscal position under different scenarios within the current constitutional framework.”
GERS is therefore a measure of the public finances under the current Union – hardly the greatest endorsement for how the economy has been managed on the UK’s watch.
Major economic levers required to stimulate economic growth are still currently reserved to Westminster.
It is indeed a bizarre scenario when politicians from Unionist parties, who should be ashamed at the situation, actively gloat and support a Union that has mismanaged the economy so appallingly.
GERS is a set of figures, based on a measure of guesswork that indicate very little, except highlighting the negatives of the current Union.
It has little bearing on the finances of an independent Scotland.
The point of independence is not to do everything in the same way as it has been done within the current constitutional framework, but to move away from this one-size-fits-all fiscal straitjacket to a tailored approach.
77 Leamington Tce,
Fly famous old flag with pride
Sir, – I should like to add my concern about opposition to flying the Merchant Navy flag on September 3.
Ian Malcolm (Letters, August 24) laid out the high loss of life and injury suffered by merchant navy seamen (male and female) in the Second World War as they kept our sea lanes open.
I should like to add something from my personal experience.
As a schoolboy in his mid-teens, in 1946 I spent part of my summer holidays on board the SS Arch Royal, run by the Tay Sand Co Ltd, Dundee.
She was a coaster with a carrying capacity of some 400 tons and was on passage with cargo from Wick to London.
Passing down the Yarmouth Roads at low tide, quite a few wrecks of mined, bombed or torpedoed ships stuck out from the sandbanks where they had been beached to keep the navigation channels open.
However as we neared the approaches to the Thames, the full horror of the war at sea in that area became apparent.
It was dusk and the twinkling lights from buoys in the river approaches made it, after years of blackout, look like a fairyland until one realised that most ( a later report suggested some 200) were wreck buoys marking the last resting place of ships and, certainly, of some of their crews.
The war’s effect on seamen was also clearly illustrated to me as we later sailed out of the Thames.
Suddenly there was an enormous noise and the ship juddered as if it had been hit on the starboard side by a massive rubber hammer.
I was writing a letter home while the captain slept; one second he was fast asleep in his bunk, the next he was vertical standing ready beside it – second nature from his wartime experiences.
It transpired that wartime wrecks were being dispersed with underwater explosives.
In subsequent school and university holiday voyages working on similar coasters, I learned much more of the hardships, challenges and trauma that other merchant seamen had suffered during the difficult days of the war.
Had it not been for the courage and dogged determination of these brave “ordinary” seamen and their officers, we might not now have the freedom to fly the “Red Duster” or any other national flag, so please let us fly it with pride on September 3 to honour the Merchant Navy, its sacrifices and continuing service to the nation.
Douglas G. Neilson.
4 Argyle Street,
Make the right decision – fast
Sir, – It has been great to see so much continued support from the Courier articles and also from individuals through your letters to the editor for flying of the Red Ensign from the Montrose Ball House on September 3.
It is only right and respectful that this should happen.
We can get the Scottish flag back up the next day.
I hope that council leaders will soon be in a position to advise of their decision with regard to flying the flag –there are only a few days left.
14 Graham Street,
High price of renewables
Sir, – The £1.2 billion that has been reported as the cost of the planned Inch Cape offshore wind turbine array, visible from Arbroath, could be put instead to very much better uses, such as our national health, education and welfare.
We know from the “Winderful” and other websites that the proportion of used UK electricity from the entire fleet of wind turbines is, typically, 5% or less, exceeded only when the wind speed is optimal, otherwise they are becalmed or, when the winds are too high, switched off.
Then, constraint payments to the electricity suppliers continues, at great cost, for nothing in return.
The projected life of offshore turbines is much lower than the approximately 15 years projected for onshore wind farms, with , for sure, more breakdowns and higher maintenance expenses.
Damage to seascapes, like that onshore, represents a vast hazard to our environment.
The slaughter of avian wildlife is a violation of the humane “green” impulses originally underlying the renewables dreams, especially affecting bats and birds of prey.
In Australasia, the likely ending of the vital subsidies for wind powered electricity generation, because of very high costs and blackouts, especially in South Australia, will cripple these renewables’ further installations.
These, and other, adverse impacts on us and on our surroundings vastly outweigh the very meagre benefits from wind turbines, except for beneficiaries such as the developers, landowners and some foreign manufacturers.
No reduction in greenhouse gases output, no significant increase in long term local employment and the heavy drain on national finances mitigate against the renewables dream, making, in fact, for a protracted nightmare.
Unfortunately, many of those in charge have been deceived about the multiple benefits claimed for wind turbines.
The sooner the better for us when, as in Australia, the high subsidies can be withdrawn.
Dr Charles Wardrop,
111 Viewlands Rd West,
Uphold our traditions
Sir, – Why is there so much fuss over Police Scotland having the Gaelic translation “Poileas” on their vehicles?
Despite the fact that only 1.1% of the population speak it, we should remember that it is our national language.
I have travelled many times to Wales, where they display Heddlu on their police cars,and Ireland, where it is Poilini, and none of their population seem to have any issues with it.
Road signs and train stations also add to our heritage,so what is the problem?
38 Gellatly Road,
Take time out to contemplate
Sir, – Driving is becoming ever more frantic due to a number of factors, the most significant being increased aggression.
Although the following passage by Harendranath Maitra may not offer a complete panacea, it provides something for serious contemplation: “In studying Western civilisation I have felt that there is something wanting. This something India has. If we want to avert all future wars, even the possibility of war, we must humbly sit on a prayer-rug, instead of rushing about in motor-cars”.
6 Swallow Apts,
Trading some semantic sins
Sir, – Unfortunately neither Alex Salmond nor Nicola Sturgeon appears to be aware of the meaning of the verb “refute”.
In recent public statements both have used that word as meaning to “deny”.
Its correct meaning is “disprove”.
Alastair L Stewart.
86 Albany Road,