Sir, – Keith Howell’s letter, How will Scotland keep the lights on? (September 11) raises important questions for the SNP.
If Scotland was to be outside an integrated UK energy policy, we would face the prospect of a relatively imminent energy shortfall.
In May’s general election, the SNP stood on a populist anti-fracking stance.
Then the UK Government halted Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to despoil Scotland’s most beautiful hills with a further 800-plus windfarms.
It had seemed Ms Sturgeon’s options were narrowing.
Yet it is now accepted, from documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request, that Ms Sturgeon was in close contact with the head of Ineos about fracking, the company holding the majority share of Scottish shale gas exploration licences.
Ms Sturgeon will have to make a decision.
She must accept that Scotland’s energy supplies must remain thoroughly integrated with the rest of the UK, or make a U-turn on fracking, allowing its exploitation across some of the most densely-populated parts of Scotland.
And remember the SNP, if it is ever to present an even remotely credible financial argument for independence, needs tax revenues from fracking to replace those lost from the North Sea, I think we can all guess what decision Ms Sturgeon will make, can’t we?
Martin Redfern. 4 Royal Circus, Edinburgh.
New Madras not future proof
Sir, – I would like to respond to Colin Topping’s letter, Flawed Madras Figures (September 2).
I agree about the confusion on many issues surrounding this planning application for a new school at Pipeland, St Andrews, but these figures which I stated are from Fife Council’s web pages.
As far as the buses are concerned, Fife Council state 19 buses four times every school day which computes to 76 trips along the Largo Road from Pipeland towards Tay Bridgehead.
These buses are never full to capacity because of the wide catchment area which Madras covers.
What I have asked for on many occasions is what the emergency services think about these plans but, because there has been no specific detail submitted yet by Fife Council, they cannot give a response.
All these St Andrews services are based within a few hundred yards of Largo Road.
I have also requested a financial report on this proposed plan but have been informed that it is not a planning matter, so there has been no response on how our public funds are to be spent.
If one considers the cost of buying the land, the movement of loads of soil from the site, the movement of a major gas pipeline and the Largo Road traffic management alterations, I would estimate that half of the Madras school programme funding budget will have been used up before a brick has been laid.
This new school, wherever it is going to be built, has to be for the future 50 years or so, which means that we have to take into account that the population will grow in north-east Fife because there are aminimum of around 2,000 new houses proposed for the catchment area already in the local plan to be considered at a future date.
A new school must be ready for this and that includes sports facilities.
We all want a new school but it must tick all the boxes and I do not think that is what we have at this time.
Bill Sangster. 24 Main Street, Strathkinness.
UN must assist fleeing migrants
Sir, – Why do the poor refugees from Syria and elsewhere all want to come to Britain, Sweden and Germany?
There are better places in the world.
Going back to 1977 when I was a boy of 30 and studying applied economics, the study of demographics was most interesting.
Canada and Australia both have fewer than nine people per square mile.
They are vast countries and the enlightened economist who taught me said simply that these countries were underpopulated and, if they had larger populations, their economic success would soar.
All the extra millions of people would make goods and services for each other.
That is without considering the huge natural resources in these countries that are not found in Europe.
And so why are these countries not offering to take refugees?
Canada and Australia are usually crying out for families to come and work in their countries.
Are they not willing to take those who will need trained and some money spent on them until they become big contributors to nations with such enormous scope for expansion?
Of course, this country will take refugees. We are a caring nation. Well, some of us are.
But this is a small overcrowded island with a manufacturing base that has already been sold off and moved to Germany.
Are the foodbanks of the UK really so much better than life in the other countries of the world?
I would suggest that the United Nations manage the resettlement of refugees, who are fleeing vile and desperate regimes, but the UN has a bad habit of making a mess of anything it touches: a sort of Midas-touch in reverse.
KJ MacDougall. 3 Logie Avenue, Dundee.
Driving people towards union
Sir, – Reading the latest diatribe from David Roche, many readers may wonder if he is still in shock at his fellow Scots rejecting independence.
However, I would urge Mr Roche to continue with his writing as he is a great recruitment sergeant for unionism.
RHL Mulheron. 28 Cowgate, Tayport.
FM should be less sensitive
Sir, – So Nicola Sturgeon is shocked by the fierce criticism of her appearance by the media (September 8).
At the moment, she is at the epicentre of Scottish political life.
She opted to be a public figure and if she cannot stand the heat, she should get out of the kitchen.
Peter Stuart. Westwood, Kenmore Road, Aberfeldy.
Local MPs were not rapped
Sir, – Sorry, but feel I need to express concern at your article on Friday about MPs being shamed by the expenses watchdog.
Below the headline were the photographs of eight of our local MPs.
The article was about some obscure MPs who have been outed by the standards committee, but no mention of the eight local representatives.
I have checked the list of MPs who have been asked to repay the proportion of their expenses incorrectly claimed, and as far as I can see none of the MPs, with the exception of Sir Menzies Campbell, are on this list.
Look again at the MPs who have been doing the fiddling and you will see mostly Government ministers and MPs from the cash-greedy south-east of England.
Bill Crowe. 80 Castle Street, Montrose.
Field day for Britain bashers
Sir, – There is no situation so bad it cannot be made worse by the bogus moral superiority of SNP leaders, US celebrities, Germans and other Britain bashers.
Nicola Sturgeon’s offer to take 1000 refugees is pure tokenism as she knows they will be on the first bus south, making Scotland a staging post for London queue-jumpers.
Last year the UK accepted 650,000 migrants and we have given more to humanitarian efforts in the Middle East than the rest of the EU put together.
Sadly, the Refugee Convention is not designed to cope with the failure of entire cultures, to produce functioning civil societies and provide a decent standard of living for its people.
Since America was chief protagonist in Middle East wars, why are United States naval ships not in the Mediterranean picking up refugees and taking them off across the Atlantic?
Rev Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.
Don’t forget Brits living in Spain
Sir, – I noted with interest the call by Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, that EU free movement should mean the “freedom to move to a job”.
I wonder if the tens of thousands of British pensioners spending, or looking to spend, their retirement in Spain have been informed?
Alex Orr. 77 Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh.