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Readers’ letters: A spooky Halloween spirit, climate change and Nicola Sturgeon

Readers' letters: A spooky Halloween spirit, climate change and Nicola Sturgeon
The Swan Bar darts team joined by a ghostly figure in 1976.

Sir, – Has the EE discovered a true spirit outside the Swan Bar, now gone, with the photo of the darts team (Aberdonian, October 12, page 5)?

Second from right, there is a face but no body or legs. The paranormal can come out in various ways and places. Hope you can throw some light on this.

T Shirron, Davidson Drive, Aberdeen.

The British people never have a say in who’s prime minister

Sir, – Nicola Sturgeon and others have called for a general election because Rishi Sunak has become prime minister without the British public having any say in the matter.

Under the present constitution of the United Kingdom, there is no way that the general public do have any say on the appointment of the prime minister.

When we vote, we vote for a particular political party and usually (unless there is a coalition) the party winning the most seats in parliament forms the government, and that party elect their leader who is then appointed prime minister.

Nowhere on the ballot paper is there anywhere for choosing the prime minister. Since 1900, there have been 28 prime ministers in the United Kingdom (some have been PM twice) but only 11 of these have been appointed PM following a general election – the other 17 have all taken office between elections, the last five being Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown, Theresa May and, of course, Boris Johnson. So more prime ministers have come into office outwith a general election than after one.

So I don’t understand the outrage that is going on about it happening again to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.

I agree that there should be a general election – not because of the appointment of the PM but because the Conservative Party is destroying this country.

Nicola Sturgeon claims Rishi Sunak got into power without the public having a say but I don’t remember the SNP calling a Scottish election when Alex Salmond stood down and she was appointed first minister.

Hugh Millar, Castlegreen Road, Thurso.

Nicola’s double standard

Sir, – When it comes to double standards, Nicola Sturgeon is in a class of her own.

She says Rishi Sunak should call an election in order to get his own mandate. Has she forgotten that she was in the same position when she took over from Alex Salmond in 2014?

When she finally faced the electorate in 2016, she lost the majority she had inherited from her predecessor. She failed to regain it in 2021 and now leads a government kept afloat by the Greens.

If having his own majority is the standard she is setting for Rishi Sunak then, going by her own standard, she has never had a mandate.

There should certainly be an election but not to give our new PM a mandate.

There should be an election because this Tory-created mess is so serious that the electorate must be allowed to decide who is best placed to get us out of it.

G Macdonald, Upper Bayble, Lewis.

Where were the flags for Iran?

Sir, – How dare Rishi Sunak criticise Vladimir Putin and accuse him of destabilising the world with “his” Ukraine war. Sunak is now nominal head of the British State, which has done more than its fair share of global destabilising since WW2, along with their American and other partners.

For example, the British state was complicit in the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953 after the Iranians nationalised their own oil. More recently, the British state directly or indirectly bombed Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen back to the Stone Age.

This year, British MPs waved the Ukraine flag in solidarity, but why didn’t they wave Iranian flags when Iraq invaded in 1980?

And billions of pounds in British military aid is being supplied to prolong the terrible situation in Ukraine.

I could give plenty of other examples.

Geoff Moore, Braeface Park, Alness.

I didn’t get the FM I voted for either

Sir, – Yet again, the first minister trots out the same old mantra that “Scotland didn’t get the prime minister it voted for”.

Although her previous career as a lawyer was relatively unsuccessful, she ought to know that that is not how it works!

Perhaps I can help her?

The prime minister is appointed by the monarch and is normally the leader of the largest party.

When the leadership changes, the largest party can nominate the successor. Ms Sturgeon may even recall what happened when Alex Salmond resigned.

Like the majority of the electorate, I didn’t get the first minister I voted for – but that is how the system works.

David Burnside, Albert Terrace, Aberdeen.

We need more spending scrutiny

Sir, – Protestations from Ms Sturgeon to successive prime ministers that she would like to have a harmonious interchange of views with Westminster are somewhat dented by a steady stream of criticism and unsolicited advice as to what they should do in the running of the UK. Not as though she is doing such a great job for Scotland.

Regular demands for more “levers of power” or increasing social handouts are unabated like those of kids in a sweet shop.

Kids with their pocket money can soon find it spent and gone – even money directed to Edinburgh for the NHS budget found its way elsewhere.

We need to have a closer watch on how and where Edinburgh spend their Barnett consequentials following on from the Clyde ferries and that other list of losers.

For example, Scottish government staff (better known as spin doctors) increased their salary bills from £1.5 million in 2014 to £3.7 million this last year. Worse, in total, they have spent more than £36 million on scribblers – they cost us £3,739,324 in 2021 up from £1,834,164 in 2006.

A lot of cones and penny chews, eh?

Sam Coull, Lendrum Terrace, Boddam.

Climate change calculations

Sir, – Matthew Clubb (P&J October 25) fearfully urges us to move forward the discussion on climate change in order to counter Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warnings of a potential global climate catastrophe.

Perhaps he should pause for a moment and reflect that carbon dioxide (CO2) constitutes just 0.04% of all atmospheric gases. Furthermore, entirely natural sources constitute 96.2% of this figure, while human emissions make up the remaining 3.8%.

A simple calculation reveals that this amounts to a human influence of 0.00152%. Are we really to believe that this vanishingly small component of our atmosphere is the prime factor that drives climate change?

What about the array of infinitely more powerful drivers of climate such as the sun, clouds and ocean currents?

Mr Clubb cites the recent flooding in Pakistan as prime evidence of the IPCC’s warnings of extreme weather events.

Clearly, he is unaware of a recent extensive critical assessment of such events, which concluded that natural disasters, floods, droughts, ecosystem productivity and crop yields “show no clear positive trend of extreme events”.

Indeed, the Pakistan disaster owes its origins primarily in mass deforestation of its watershed, which resulted in monsoon rains flowing unimpeded to the lowlands, carrying millions of tonnes of topsoil which silted up the Indus river, thus reducing its water holding capacity. This was coupled with poor embankment maintenance and exacerbated by widespread corruption.

It appears that he is also oblivious of the recent findings that the methodology used to promote the much-quoted 97% “scientific consensus” on human-induced climate change have been proved to be deeply flawed, as have the climate computer models on which the IPCC base their predictions.

In recent weeks, we have seen two erstwhile climate alarmists – the celebrated founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, and Tom Harris, executive director of International Science Coalition – speaking of their belated realisation that casting CO2 as the principal villain of climate change is hugely misguided.

Neil J Bryce, Gateshaw Cottage, Kelso.

Influences beyond our reach

Sir, – Matthew Clubb tells us not to kid ourselves, to do the right thing and to use our imagination.

His sermon-like pleas for idealism must not be allowed to conceal erroneous analyses of unproven climate alarms or emergencies while discounting their fatal scientific flaws.

The proportion of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2), mistakenly believed in currently received opinion to be the atmosphere’s major greenhouse gas forcing planetary overheating, is negligible at 0.00128% of the air or, by alternative calculations, never more than 0.04 %.

CO2’s infra-red blocking power is almost negated by saturation of its CO2 binding bands.

CO2 – no pollutant but essential for nutrition of the planet’s vegetation – at its present concentration of about 400 parts per million, is at its lowest level for that vital function.

The UK’s release of CO2 is nowadays less than 1.3% of the global total.

Historic CO2 release is, pragmatically, now irrelevant.

The real controller of Earth’s climate is the activity of the sun, along with cosmic rays and, especially, clouds and water vapour. Many additional natural influences beyond man’s reach are believed to be relevant.

Therefore the western world’s failing but hugely costly attempts are entirely unrealistic in their aims to influence the Earth’s climate.

Most eastern nations, whatever they may claim, have no policies to curb their CO2 release. These countries put out most of the world’s greenhouse gases but, in eschewing attempts to decarbonise, maintain and boost their industrial, financial and domestic strengths.

The unintended cruelty of further damage and impoverishment to the West’s poorer nations and peoples represents true immorality in attempting decarbonisation.

In the UK’s case, these futile policies are crazily harmful and desperately need revision.

Charles Wardrop, Viewlands Road West, Perth.

Councils are being ignored

Sir, – What is the planning role of Scotland’s democratically elected councils, when democratically elected councils all over Scotland (with the exception of Orkney Islands council who themselves unfortunately are the main wind farm applicants, anything for a pound) have had over 200 decisions turning down wind farm applications overturned by the Scottish government allowing them, thus undermining the council’s authority?

Therefore, why have all the undermined Scottish councils not joined forces?

You are all members of Cosla – an organisation that’s supposed to represent councils in Scotland and tell the Scottish government enough is enough. (Government ministers even undermine their own planning experts by going against their decisions).

This present government is a dictatorship and, as a previous correspondent from Shetland wrote in the P&J, he could not see wind turbines from the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

This Scottish government obviously adopts a “not in my backyard” approach, but doesn’t mind destroying many other parts of rural Scotland to keep the capital’s lights on.

First minister, wake up and listen as you are turning the very people you are supposed to represent against you.

Jim Leitch, Evie, Orkney.

Truss out of this world

Sir, – Much has been made of Rishi Sunak being the first person of Asian origin to become PM.

Big deal – Liz Truss came from another planet and no one batted an eyelid.

G Duncan, Stonehaven.