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Readers’ letters: Humble spud remains a food stalwart when chips are down

"The Golden Wonders truly named, While other brands are just as famed In life today, No other type of food is able, To oust the tattie from our table, So, we must pay." Picture by Kim Cessford / DCT Media.
"The Golden Wonders truly named, While other brands are just as famed In life today, No other type of food is able, To oust the tattie from our table, So, we must pay." Picture by Kim Cessford / DCT Media.

Sir, – My post Platinum Jubilee gloom has been instantly dispelled by Richard Wright’s article headed “Future looks positive for humble spud” where experts suggest that with the world food supply in chaos and other crops near production limits, potato growth could double in the next 10 years.

My love affair with potatoes began during the 1940s when, along with oatmeal, they were the mainstay of our diets.

Tatties, whole, mashed or fried, never baked, were part of every dinner (lunch in more affluent circles). Tatties and chives, tatties and margarine, tatties and want (nothing).

Fried tatties and spam would make the driest of mouths salivate and lead to many Oliver Twist moments of disappointment as seconds were denied, not as in Oliver’s case by cruelty but because there was none left.

My homage to the champion of carbohydrates is shared by poet Janette R Gordon who penned the collections Left by the Tide and Poems of the Wayside in a work entitled The Proud Potato printed in the P&J under the heading The North-east Muse, way back in the 1970s, carefully archived along with many articles from the paper by a local historian and friend.

How I wish there had been more like her. Space permits me to share only the final verse – The Golden Wonders truly named, While other brands are just as famed In life today, No other type of food is able, To oust the tattie from our table, So, we must pay.

Aye shoppers, money well spent. You’ll never go hungry if you can afford a few tatties.

Ivan W Reid. Kirkburn, Laurencekirk.

Johnson’s backers are having a laugh

Sir, – By all accounts Boris Johnson’s jaiket is hanging by a shoogly nail, “but who can possibly replace him” is the cry from the cognoscenti.

As a keen observer of politics for the last 50-plus years I can tell you anyone would be a more capable prime minister than Johnson.

Anyone, that is, apart from those who voted to keep him as PM and the half dozen of your correspondents whose praise of Johnson you so regularly publish.

G Davidson. Birse, Aboyne.

PM continues to be SNP whipping boy

Sir, – Nicola Sturgeon must be over the moon at Boris’s victory or at least survival in Westminster.

Without her bogeyman in London who would she blame for all the failings of the devolved administration here in Scotland?

She must be praying he’ll be around long enough for Indyref 2.

Steve Roberts. Earlspark Drive, Aberdeen.

If UK is working then why fix it?

Sir, – What a wonderful celebration the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was.

The goodwill, happiness, fun and pride that was so evident could not fail to impress and cannot be pushed aside by disgruntled SNP supporters as being an English thing.

It was a true display of Britishness that encompassed the UK and indeed the world.

This should now be time for serious reflection as to why Scotland, via the failing SNP, is endeavouring to take the destructive, joyless path of separation and division.

Scotland needs a wake-up call – all Scots must surely now recognize that life as an insular country would see us diminished in all aspects.

Only as part of the United Kingdom will we be secure and have influence in the world.

Why change something that is not broken?

Pauline Eggermont. Drummond Place, Inverness.

Global warming needs action now

Sir, – Your correspondent Clark Cross again refers to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) as if it is a respected scientific establishment. It is no such thing. It is a lobby group with the twin aims of spreading doubt about climate science and promoting the interests of fossil fuels.

If the so-called foundation really were interested in advancing climate science, its members would submit papers to major periodicals such as Nature to be peer-reviewed before publication. Instead, all GWPF reports carry this disclaimer: ‘Views expressed in the publications of the Global Warming Policy Foundation are those of the authors, not those of the GWPF, its Academic Advisory Council members or its directors’. In other words, all its reports are the baseless opinions of unqualified writers.

Climate change is real, man-made and its effects will be catastrophic for human society unless we rapidly move towards low-carbon and renewable forms of energy.

Jeff Rogers. The Island, Banchory.

Garden’s redesign up to the families

Sir, – The petition against the proposed redesign and renaming of the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden should be proof that any modifications are not welcomed by all.

If the city council and its planning department had any real intelligence it would immediately realise that furthering ideas at the expense of others and community is an extremely bad idea. If more than 5,000 people say that something’s disrespectful, and as Pat Ballantyne noted a “cultural icon”, then notions of redesign shouldn’t be progressed.

Lest we forget, the always-dangerous one-trick pony of the oil industry has had so little to do with the garden since its inception so it’s beyond staggering that it would be appropriate for these companies to be involved now after 34 years.

Aside from the obvious lack of tact and consultation with relatives and survivors it’s also part of the precedent set by a self-made pariah of a plutocrat who’s still on the same deluded track with the threat to St Fittick’s Park and proves that my assertion that all the city’s gardens are under threat, after all things Union Terrace Gardens is moot.

Ian Beattie. Baker Street, Aberdeen.

Holyrood mandate includes IndyRef2

Sir, – We have the usual contributors, who detest the SNP with a vengeance, jumping up and down again in angst.

This time, the £20 million set aside for a second independence referendum is their target.

They completely fail to mention the £700m a year that has to be set aside to mitigate the welfare cuts made by Westminster. Any comments on that lads and lassies? It is a much more significant amount after all, and ongoing.

We have a government, in Holyrood, elected on a mandate that included a second referendum, which has around 50% of popular support.

The Unionist parties failed to win at the polls – the people chose.

That is the reality.

Unless the Unionist faction come up with some reasonable alternative, it will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Ron Campbell. Richmond Walk, Aberdeen.

A global increase in extreme events

Sir, – Charles Wardrop misrepresents the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concerning “significant differences” between modern and historical “climate adverse events” in his letter.

The IPCC, (AR6, 2021, The Physical Science Basis), states: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.

“Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.

“Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since AR5.”

This assessment is based upon numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers, such as “quantifying the influence of global warming on unprecedented extreme climate events”, PNAS, Diffenburgh et al, 2017, which states “global warming has increased the severity and probability of the hottest monthly and daily events at more than 80% of the observed area and has increased the probability of the driest and wettest events at approximately half of the observed area.”

Such results, based on numerous examples, are statistically robust, but Mr Wardrop may have been misled by denialist websites that fool their readers by only examining particular individual events. Individual extreme events, by definition, do not occur frequently, so it takes many decades or more for sufficient data to establish statistically “significant differences” from the past.

Observing individual events often leads to false conclusions, but the IPCC is not so misled, and the global increase in extreme events is statistically significant.

Roy Turnbull. Torniscar, Nethy Bridge.

Facts over climate change out of date

Sir, – I can only conclude that Mr Wardrop is getting his science from dubious sources on the internet – not one of his scientific facts is correct, it is all out of date.

There is no disagreement on the main causes of climate change or its current impact.

He is right that many other economies are far worse emitters, in particular India, China, Australia and the USA. This attitude, though, does nothing to move us forward.

It denies us the economic benefit of investing in the technologies of the future and ties us to the technologies of the past.

Some of the countries named are the most vulnerable to climate change as the USA is rapidly finding out. As in Australia, the actual impact of climate change on their citizens’ lives then becomes a major factor. How many more trees does Mr Wardrop want to see blown down – 16 million in the UK last winter, mostly in Scotland, which dwarfs the one million to be planted for the Jubilee.

Or perhaps he prefers excessive heat, wildfires or floods? Is this the future we want? If not, we have to stop burning fossil fuels as fast as possible.

We have left it too late for slow measured change – fast change is now being forced upon us.

Lesley Ellis. Reekitlane, Coull.

Slipping back to bad old days

Sir, – It seems live sport has descended to the bad old days. In football we have had pitch invasions, and flares let off and thrown.

Fans attacking players and playing staff, and vice versa.

Now, in what was thought to be the tranquil sport of tennis, we also have pitch invaders.

Looks to me like pitches – whether they be football, tennis or for other sports – will have to be caged to protect participants.

Shame on those causing danger – the 21st Century is going back towards the dark days.

Come on, authorities, act now – especially in football, with explosives being allowed into grounds.

Michael North, Lang Stracht, Aberdeen

Time to tidy up

Sir, – I agree with Kevin Stewart regarding rusty dishes on properties and feel that our city needs a massive clean-up – especially King Street, one of the main coastal routes for tourists.

Unsightly bins, unkempt gardens with empty vodka bottles littering some of the front gardens.

I appreciate it is mostly a student area. However it could be kept reasonably tidy with landlords taking some responsibility for the outsides of their properties.

HC, Aberdeen

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