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Readers’ letters: MSP ‘interference’ in local council as national problems grow

Pictures by JASON HEDGES 31.05.2021 URN: CR0028621 Richard Lochhead MSP has written to the Chief Executive of Visit Scotland seeking a package of support to help the tourism sector in Speyside and across Moray recover from the pandemic and impact of recent tougher restrictions in the area. Richard is pictured at Craigellachie Bridge.
MSP Richard Lochhead is accused of getting his priorities wrong. Pictures by Jason Hedges

Sir, – It appears to have started already, the SNP MSP Mr Lochhead trying to influence members of the newly-elected Moray Council to support the retention of the SNP councillors in their bid to retain control of the authority.

He makes bold statements about how disastrous a Conservative led leadership will be for the people of Moray. Mr Lochhead, since you like publicity, you could possibly highlight for the readers the SNP-led council’s achievements over the last five years – don’t forget to mention all the cuts to frontline services etc.

The MSP’s interference in local politics proves what a lot of us suspected about the previous council leaders – that any decision was deferred until a consultation with the hierarchy in the central belt was carried out.

I feel about your interference exactly the way I would feel about any party MP or MSP sticking their nose in – local politics should be exactly that, local. I would have thought that you and your colleagues would have enough on your plate with problems on the state railways, island ferries, roads, airports, NHS, policing and, of course, your new policy providers, the Greens.

Finlay G Mackintosh, Forres.

Lobby groups lack factual credibility

Sir, – Since the claims in the first paragraph of Clark Cross’s letter (“Global warming is storm in a teacup”) are questionable, to say the least, I thought I would do some research on the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) which produced them.

This quickly revealed that, far from being a reputable scientific body, it is basically a lobbying group for climate change deniers. This might be why the Royal Society and Met Office chose not to waste their time responding to the paper quoted.

I’m sure that it may be possible, by very selective use of data, to produce the conclusions quoted, but these refer only to UK weather, whereas the data for the world as a whole show that the science is indeed “settled” and that climate change is a fact.

Despite at least four FoI requests to the GWPF to disclose their funding sources, “it is very telling that these invitations were not taken up”, to use some of Mr Cross’s own words.

Draw your own conclusions.

I know I have.

Kathleen Simpson, Druid Temple Way, Inverness.

Tone down the talk of climate crisis

Sir, – Thanks for publishing the letter from Clark Cross in the P&J.  Whereas I do not doubt that the climate is warming, he quotes the report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation that UK weather trends have changed very little in recent decades.

The climate change rhetoric uses words like “catastrophe”, “extreme” and “unprecedented” to embellish the narrative when even just minor research discloses that much of the weather we experience is not, in fact, unprecedented.

Even the recent Storm Arwen is precedented by the “Big Blaw” of the 1950s, and Storm Frank was also precedented, especially in the 19th Century. Outwith the UK the incidence of hurricanes was higher in the 1930s and as recently as the 1980s.

Wildfires in California and Australia are not a new phenomenon, made worse by current lack of forestry management in clearing undergrowth and brushwood, something the Australian Aborigines knew and practised for centuries.

The threat of famine is often quoted by the alarmist sector, but again a little research will tell you the European famines occurred in the 15th-17th centuries during cold periods which caused widespread crop failures.

Indeed, currently the world continues to feed its population in spite of its growth in numbers. The “crisis” needs to be toned down, otherwise we are going to make some dreadful and expensive mistakes.

The real and current crisis, in my view, is that of single use and other plastics which are wrecking the marine environment and getting into the human food chain – there is a real crisis! And one which governments could fix relatively quickly.

Mike Salter, Glassel, Banchory.

Language follows the American way

Sir, – English? Gaelic? Scots? Doric? Is there another language we need to add to the list? Today in a well-known supermarket car park in Inverness, the automatic parking ticket machine invited me to “enter your licence plate number”.

When did British car registration numbers become licence plate numbers? I suppose it was only a matter of time, now that chips have become fries, the railway station has evolved into the train station and the roads authority undertakes highway maintenance.

Sandy Thomson, Birch Drive, Maryburgh.

Energy oligarchs now in green suits

Sir,– It’s a few short years since the 2014 referendum vote when oil and gas were hailed as the source of never-ending money streams to fund SNP grandiose plans, given that oil was valued at $115 per barrel and North Sea gas would be firing up power stations for cheap electricity production.

All was looking rosy and income would fund much of Scotland’s needs whilst no nuclear or coal-fired plants would be needed.

Now, though, less than 10 years later, the much vaunted manna from North Sea heaven is paradoxically the very same ingredients fuelling the exorbitant cost of domestic gas, electricity and every vehicle’s fuel tank, as global pricing of oil is pushing many Scots in all circumstances into fuel poverty, and the knock-on to food production and distribution is causing others to be in food poverty.

The global energy companies, as reported in the P&J, May 24, are committing £250 billion to green energy investment by 2030, and this equates to £201bn from 2012 to 2021, but the elephant in the room is “how will energy prices be regulated?” and “what replaces the oil and gas tax take?”

The answer is not clear and no one is suggesting price-capping to protect consumers. What is clear is the move of oil and gas oligarchs transitioning to wind, wave and hydrogen oligarchs in green suits, and they will have us paying their volatile prices leaving ordinary customers as powerless as ever in our energy choices.

Over to you energy minister – your undivided attention to the day job to help out the millions who appear to be held to energy ransom.

Angus McNair, Clochan, Buckie.

Lack of integrity ‘plain for all to see’

Sir, – I suggest that a statue of the “Wise Monkeys” is erected outside No10 Downing Street to reflect the apparent great difficulty the prime minister has in realising the simple truth.

His claims of no parties and abiding by the lockdown rules are clearly complete and utter nonsense.

The facts were in plain view for all who worked in the prime minister’s office to see, hear, and speak. Even the fourth wise monkey would probably even have smelt the truth of the overnight bottle debris remaining from the night before.

Allegra Straton’s resignation from her job as a senior government spokeswoman in 2021 came after only one day of drama at Westminster. The complete absence of honour and integrity from Boris Johnson is now apparent. We did not need Sue Gray’s report to establish the facts.

Conservative MPs need to collectively rid us of this complete and utter charlatan.

David Philip, Knockhall Way, Newburgh.

Rules were for everyone

Sir, – At last we have the Sue Gray report on “Partygate” and it is clear that those who wrote the rules for lockdown blatantly ignored them.

Most people conformed with the restrictions and many suffered by not getting the chance to visit relatives, attend weddings or funerals – and yet the rule-makers partied on for two years.

Don McKay, Provost Hogg Court, Aberdeen.

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