Sir, I hope SNP leaders and their followers have taken careful note of the recent events in Greece and their causes.
Greece is a perfect example of a small independent country, running a poorly diversified economy, and borrowing billions in international markets to fund a welfare regime and lifestyle that it could not afford.
The situation also demonstrates the lack of resolve and agreement within EU member Governments about the necessary course of actions needed and the necessary speed of implementation.
A clear case of “governance by committee” being useless in matters of crisis resolution.
So the questions for the SNP are, given the upbeat stories we have heard for the last few years about the glorious future of an independent Scotland:
1) have you now changed your tune on the realities and dangers of small country independence?
2) If not, what is your risk strategy to prevent a similar disaster befalling the people of Scotland you purport to represent in matters of national policy development.
Despite losing the referendum, the undercurrent of nationalism prevails in the SNP and just as the Greek people were seriously misled by those elected to protect and develop the nation, the recent vote in the general election demonstrates the dishonesty of the illusions broadcast
so widely by the SNP’s one- sided obsession with the need to proclaim disadvantage and discrimination practised against the Scots by the nasty parliamentarians in London.
Hopefully, the lesson of Greece will persuade the SNP to adopt a less confrontational and cheerleading stance against the United Kingdom, and more responsibility towards the future welfare of the people of Scotland.
Derek Farmer Knightsward Farm Anstruther
A misplaced obsession
Sir, “Job Losses Blamed on Westminster” headlined Nicola Sturgeon’s response to the news Samsung was abandoning its offshore wind project in Methil.
When the First Minister accused the Westminster Government of a lack of support, presumably she did not mean the Renewable Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme.
Available since 2002, this scheme offers offshore windfarms a guaranteed 25-year bonus payment of 200% and onshore windfarms a guaranteed 25-year bonus of 100% on any electricity they produce.
Only 15 months ago the Westminster Government agreed to raise the subsidy rate for Samsung’s turbine to 250%.
The Renewable Obligation subsidy scheme is open to all UK wind projects, and far from being discriminated against, Scotland has been the recipient of the lions’ share of onshore wind subsidy.
This has not only supported the SNP’s much more ambitious target for renewable energy.
It has also bankrolled Scottish ministers in their argument that investment and expansion of onshore wind was an essential precondition for development in offshore wind.
Nor can the First Minister have meant the Contracts for Difference (CfD) subsidy scheme, introduced last year as part of the UK’s electricity market reform to promote competition and hence lower electricity costs among renewable energy providers.
The first auction earlier this year awarded contracts to 10 Scottish onshore windfarms and only five in the rest of the UK, and to one offshore project in Scotland and the rest of the UK respectively.
Nor presumably did the First Minister mean the Renewable Energy Investment Fund.
The Scottish Government launched it in 2012 with £103 million, all of which came from Westminster as a one-off grant from the UK Fossil Fuel Levy for the purpose of supporting greater investment in Scotland’s renewable sector.
So what did the First Minister mean by lack of support for Scotland’s offshore wind ambitions?
Perhaps she misunderstood the Conservatives’ recently announced “cut” to onshore wind subsidy.
This merely closes the RO scheme one year early in favour of CfDs and is the result of the UK, and Scotland, meeting their targets for renewable energy ahead of schedule.
It does not discriminate against Scotland and no offshore projects are affected.
If the First Minister really wants to understand why Samsung is pulling out of Methil and Scotland’s offshore wind industry still hasn’t got off the ground, she needs to let go of her knee-jerk responses that Westminster is to blame and that more public money is the answer.
The Scottish Government has already funnelled more than £5 million of Scottish taxpayers’ money into the Methil turbine.
“White elephant” doesn’t begin to describe something that has barely turned since its erection, and that is in a location on the Methil beach which cannot begin to replicate the technological challenges of being 10 miles out in the North Sea.
Samsung is walking away from something it got for free.
The ongoing discussions between Samsung, Scottish Enterprise and Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (Orec) have been welcomed by Fife Council’s Lesley Laird because, quoting the Orec spin, “it would provide UK industry and academia with unrivalled opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of operations and maintenance of offshore wind turbines and thus drive down the cost of delivering clean energy from offshore wind”.
Few politicians can resist, at least in the short term, running with industry spin promising thousands of jobs and billions of investment, but they would do a better job for deprived communities if they got off the merry-go-round of pumping ever more public money into lost causes, whether the money comes from Westminster or Holyrood.
Graham Lang Chairman Scotland Against Spin
The failure of renewables
Sir, Samsung Heavy Industries have axed plans for an offshore wind turbine manufacturing plant in Methil, only three years after Alex Salmond announced the deal that was backed by £8 million of Scottish taxpayers’ money.
This is only the latest of failed renewable ventures which promised Scottish jobs in return for Scottish grants.
Remember the failed joint venture of Aaeger and Pelamis Wave Power?
Remember Welcon? Part of Skycon took over an old Vestas factory in Macrahanish and promised turbine manufacturing jobs in return for Scottish grants.
They went into liquidation. Millions of pounds have been squandered by our politicians on doomed projects.
When will they ever learn?
Dan Arnott St Brycedale Court Kirkcaldy
Lessons to learn from Spain
Sir, With banner headlines the solar industry declared that, on July 3, one-sixth of the UK’s power came from sunshine.
It was quite ironic to read this article as the rain came down in torrents.
The industry is saying that solar energy would be as cheap as fossil fuel electricity by 2020, that 56,900 jobs would be created and solar would need no subsidies.
The wind industry has also made similar unrealistic claims.
Those who can afford to pay for solar panels are being subsidised by their neighbours who can’t.
The industry talks of a new generation of batteries being developed to store energy, but in Spain proposed legislation would force owners of solar-plus-storage systems to pay additional taxes.
Over the last five years the Spanish government has aggressively rolled back subsidies for all renewable energy technologies and this has been especially adverse for the solar industry.
Spain’s Supreme Court recently rejected a lawsuit brought by solar developers against the Spanish government for cutting solar subsidies.
Still think solar is a good investment?
Clark Cross Springfield Road Linlithgow
Sir, Like most of your readers I was appalled and sickened at the barbarity of someone laying a trap that could had terrible consequences for the animal that was caught in it.
It is beyond belief that somebody could have done this.
The pain this poor, defenceless animal has endured is too much to even comprehend.
Any person with knowledge of who has done this, please contact the police.
Ed Thomson Camphill Broughty Ferry
Demonstrating a lack of respect
Sirs, I was very disappointed when watching BBC News 24 on Friday, with the coverage of the one minute silence for the victims of the Tunisian terrorist attacks, to see many people in the UK and in Tunisia using mobile phones for filming the occasion and or taking selfies.
I think that was the height of disrespect and it was crass.
I know modern technology has taken over the world, but can people really not cope for one minute without their devices?
Gordon Kennedy Simpson Square Perth
56 must stand up for Scotland
Sir, After the recent general election most of Scotland rejoiced at the result of that day, sending 56 SNP MPs to Westminster.
By now most of them will have settled in, but not too well I hope.
They have to understand that Scotland has great hope and faith in their abilities to be heard.
They should not spend too much time considering the ethics, proprietaries and customs of Westminster.
We expect them to be heard loudly as a group protesting against the austerity which is being forced on us.
Joan M Stewart Ballifeary Lane Inverness