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Readers’ letters: Are we heading for prohibition?

Readers of the Press & Journal and the Evening Express discuss the issues that matter to them the most including queues at SPECTRA festival, Boris Johnson comeback fears and the cost of Brexit.

One reader believes that if the promotion of whisky is stopped then prohibition could soon be introduced in Scotland.
One reader believes that if the promotion of whisky is stopped then prohibition could soon be introduced in Scotland.

Readers of the Press & Journal and the Evening Express discuss the issues that matter to them the most including queues at SPECTRA festival, Boris Johnson comeback fears and the cost of Brexit.

China is the opposite of a paragon of climate virtue

Sir, – Many thanks to Mr Rogers for his comments on my recent letter (Letters, February 8).

He’s quite correct to say that Ellon, along with many other towns and villages in the north-east, will experience some degree of flooding in the future. Looking at our past history, it seems inevitable.

However, my contention is we bring a lot of these disasters on ourselves as a result of foolish decisions taken by planners and builders, aided and abetted by action that we, as individuals, take.

For example, when I moved to my present house 42 years ago, it was new and the garden uncultivated.

Gradually, over the years, the garden soil has got wetter, but I put this down not so much to climate change, but to my neighbours expanding driveways, adding extensions and covering the ground with plastic sheets and chuckies.

I’ve done some of this myself, but it’s not a practice conducive to allowing rainwater to percolate away in a timely fashion – hence, known areas of flooding will be exacerbated especially during wet periods.

As for referencing China as a paragon of virtue with regard to CO2 reduction, Mr Rogers has to be having a laugh.

I’ve just consulted Mr Google, who tells me that, despite solemn pledges to cut emissions, China is, in fact, going on a coal-burning spree. Apparently they have about 35 years of coal left to dig out and they have every intention of doing just that.

Clearly, China has decided that the rest of us can do the heavy lifting of reducing CO2, damaging our civilisations in the process, whilst they can crack on, getting ever more dominant in our world, and those Chinese windmills Mr Rogers mentions will be exported to us as part of this plan.

Alex J Gray, Dunvegan Place, Ellon.

The true cost of sanctions

Sir, – It is cruel that Western countries didn’t immediately review sanctions on Syria that are hampering earthquake relief efforts.

The mindset of the political establishment might be guessed from the response in 1996 by the late Madeleine Albright, then US ambassador to the UN, when asked if the deaths of half a million Iraqi children, which sanctions had contributed to, were worth it. Albright replied: “We think the price is worth it”.

Geoff Moore, Braeface Park, Alness.

Readers are tired of Boris Johnson making comebacks. Image: Shutterstock

No more Boris comebacks, please

Sir, – More than partygate, the BBC “Sharpgate” will be the defining scandal of Boris Johnson’s premiership and career.

It raises concerns about a prime minister willing to make decisions influenced by financial worries and has trashed an otherwise tremendously successful career based on his general election landslide, Brexit, Covid and leadership on Ukraine.

Unbelievably, cronies want him to replace Rishi Sunak after the predicted huge council elections defeat, ironically caused by Johnson and Truss. I hope the PM is astute enough to use this latest scandal to end Johnson’s political career once and for all.

Allan Sutherland, Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Are we heading for prohibition?

Sir, – Hugh Millar (Letters February 11) makes a good point about the future of the Scotch whisky industry, if the promotion of whisky is stopped, as was that of tobacco.

As Mr Millar points out, whisky is not even the choice of those who depend on alcohol.

In the view of many, prohibition will come soon while we have an executive in our Parliament whose priority is bizarre social engineering at the expense of everything else, including the economy.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Kinross.

SPECTRA wowed crowds in Aberdeen but the queues were too long for some.

Spotlighting role of fossil fuels

Sir, – The Spectra 2023 festival’s been well-attended and has begun the longer journey the reimagined Union Terrace Gardens requires to take its place in people’s hearts like its previous iteration.

However, there were some issues that need addressed for the next light festival.

The one-way system was not signposted well, as most visitors will have read newspapers and seen TV coverage and then gone to see Spectra.

The long queues were not sensible for people with mobility issues, and the way that some people seemed to queue-jump left a sour taste with those who noticed it happening.

Aside from that, what’s to say about the light show?

Whilst the wider Aberdeen public won’t have failed to note the serious message about the climate and nature in decline, how many will have also seen the potential to read the event as a sensory garden for the mentally incapable within the fossil fuel industry?

They delude themselves with notions about being part of the solution as they profiteer whilst others starve or have their gardens taken away for intellectually deficient despots greenwashing the gullible.

Ian Beattie, Baker Street, Aberdeen.

Pavement seating proposal mistake

Sir, – As a retired former chartered surveyor with 50 years’ professional experience of commercial property matters, I find it difficult to believe that there are proposals to forgo strict town and country planning control of the pavement placement of tables and seating.

At present, there is an excess of street furniture impeding the passage of disabled persons, and it only takes one misplaced table or chair, perhaps unknown to the proprietor, for the unwitting pedestrian to step off the kerb and into the road and to be hit by a passing vehicle.

This proposal is truly ill-conceived in my opinion.

Richard Fox, Commerce Street, Lossiemouth.

Scottish independence, as ever, is a main discussion point in the letters section. Image: Shutterstock
Scottish independence, as ever, is a main discussion point in the letters section. Image: Shutterstock

Unity is vital for independence

Sir, – To the obvious delight of the Tories and unionist opposition, the near-hysterical reaction of some SNP members and office-bearers to the delay in dualling the A9 is utterly ludicrous.

Sadly, against the tragedy of road deaths, Covid, Brexit, Ukraine and strikes, along with a cost-of-living crisis overseen by corrupt and incompetent UK governments, have drastically reduced the flow of cash to Holyrood.

However, let it be clear that the SNP-led Scottish Government’s commitment to complete the A9 dualling remains absolute.

Holyrood Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth announced that contracts are being re-tendered “with pace and urgency”. While not always in agreement, I stand with her and others as we support and urge the SNP to complete the A9 project, since no other party government would take it on.

In truth, however, against all other SNP policy considerations (including GRR), I believe unity of purpose is vital if we are to keep independence, climate change and human rights to the forefront.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

We must put the Union behind us

Sir, – Let’s look at this like any good economist would. Let’s put all the billions wasted, the Brexit fiasco, the illegal wars, the lies told in 2014 and 2016 behind us and look forward to a brighter future.

Any good economist would also say that’s not possible while consecutive UK governments just carry on with the same bad management.

If we want to follow the tried and tested principle of any economist, we need to put it all behind us come the next general election. As we have been denied democracy, we all need to vote for a pro-independence party with only one manifesto pledge – a de facto referendum on independence.

Only then can we put the disastrous, unequal, flawed Union behind us. Scotland will then prosper after decades of being held back.

Modern Money Scotland specialises in the economics of monetarily sovereign countries, and they can categorically say that the claim from the IFS and wider unionist groups is wrong. Scotland is not subsidised by England.

On the contrary, it is the other way round.

Herbert Petrie, Parkhill, Dyce, Aberdeen.

‘Billions’ have been poured into NHS

Sir, – The latest piece by Grant Frazer (Letters, February 9) should have been headlined “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.

For example, he claimed the extra £350m per week promised by the Brexiteers (which was supposed to be available by leaving the EU) has never been spent towards our NHS. Really?

You have to wonder what kind of bubble he has been living in when extra billons have been poured into the NHS following Covid-19. Indeed, I bet the chancellor would have been delighted if the extra spent on our healthcare during the past few years had been restricted to the figure claimed on the side of the now-infamous red bus.

He then went on to make sweeping statements about Brexit as the sole reason for higher food prices and labour shortages.

The truth, of course, is somewhat different, as there are now 600,000 more economically inactive individuals than in early 2020, which is a significant share of working-age population outside the workforce since the onset of Covid-19.

This has had a devastating impact on output, adding to the pressures on prices compounded by the higher energy and food prices directly as a result of the war in Ukraine.

With regard to his amazing Damascus road conversion; may I remind him that if Yes had won in 2014, we would have been kicked out of the EU with little chance of rejoining for years to come.

Finally, rather than be delusional about support for his beloved SNP growing, the truth is the opposite, with the latest opinion polls showing the Nats still in the minority – especially since the chaotic situation allowing convicted rapists into women’s prisons.

Time for a reality check for Mr Frazer, methinks?

Ian Lakin, Murtle Den Road, Milltimber, Aberdeen.

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