Sir, – As Nicola Sturgeon belatedly steps down as first minister, history, I fear, will not be kind to her.
Her greatest achievement has always been her relentless self-promotion. Strong on rhetoric, but woeful on delivery, the epithet bestowed on her by Liz Truss (at least she got something right).
Having been a career politician practically all her life, apart from a short spell as a solicitor in her 20s, there is very little of substance regarding her political achievements that can be recorded for posterity. Largely responsible for organising the SNP’s push for independence in 2014 as the cabinet minister for infrastructure, she was rewarded for the subsequent failure of the referendum by elevation to the role of first minister.
In 2015, shortly after taking post, she had this to say about education: “Let me be clear, I want to be judged on this. If you are not, as first minister, prepared to put your neck on the line on the education of our young people then when are you prepared to?” The recently-published Audit Scotland report on her achievements in this regard show an unequivocal fail.
The parlous state of the NHS, crumbling criminal justice system, underfunded police service, scandalous drug death figures, inability to deliver much-needed lifeline ferries on time or budget, failure to move the dial upwards on the perpetual quest for independence, unwillingness to co-operate with the UK Government on any issue and ill-judged and widely unpopular legislation such as the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, hate crime legislation, named person scheme and the bottle deposit scheme to name but a few of her “successes”, hardly qualify her as the national treasure she and her believers like to portray.
Her real legacy is to leave Scotland in a far worse and divided state than she found it when assuming the role of FM.
Yes, she won elections but what good is power without delivery? History will not be kind to her.
Mike Masson, Oak Tree Avenue, Banchory.
Teachers shortage must be addressed
Sir, – It’s not hard to understand why Aberdeenshire Council can’t fill teaching vacancies.
Few can afford to move here and pay extortionate house prices. Experienced teachers are leaving because of violence, bad behaviour, classroom disruption and concerns about the sinister creep of sex education for children as young as eight. Word of this puts off potential new entrants to the profession, a source of supply already weakened now that a whole generation of Curriculum for Excellence graduates is here.
Surely it’s time for the Scottish opposition parties to not only make this a huge issue for the incoming first minister but start telling the voters what they will do to solve the problem.
They might even win a national election for – by the date of the next Holyrood elections in 2026 – the first time in 23 years. That’s right, it will be 23 years since Labour, Conservative or Lib Dems have won an election in Scotland.
Allan Sutherland, Willow Row, Stonehaven.
Time running out over climate crisis
Sir, – Your correspondent Geoff Moore must be a busy person continually trawling the world of academia for any hint that climate change might not be real (Letters, March 25). His latest “find” refers to the work of a PhD student in Uppsala University. This study is not peer-reviewed published work, so is not agreed science. It can safely be ignored.
What cannot be ignored, however, is the “final warning” on the looming climate crisis.
If we do not reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we will soon trigger runaway global warming which cannot be stopped.
This will shrink the human race through widespread drought, crop failures, catastrophic storms and wars over scarce resources. I’m happy to be labelled a climate alarmist if that is what it takes to bring this crisis to people’s attention.
Meanwhile, it seems that the Westminster caravan is about to roll into Aberdeen trumpeting energy security while handing out taxpayers’ money to line the already-deep pockets of their friends in oil and gas.
Deckchairs on the Titanic springs to mind.
Jeff Rogers, Waters of Feugh, Banchory.
SNP rebel refusing to pull his punches
Sir, – Fergus Ewing didn’t pull any punches as he blasted his party over the delays to the A9 dualling scheme, saying “any more failure will not be forgiven’’ (P&J, March 22).
As an SNP rebel he took aim at the Scottish Government at Holyrood for failing to deliver a pledge to dual the route between Inverness and Perth by 2025, a promise made by the SNP back in 2007.
Fergus Ewing’s criticism of the SNP has more punch than any of the opposition parties could have, and certainly highlights the dreadful mess of his Scottish Government.
Mind you, there are still many problems to be solved, in education, housing, public transport, and the falling apart of our NHS, along with the continuing saga of the unfinished ferries. We in Scotland deserve better, we need change, and change must come – and soon.
Ken Watmough, Aberdeen.
Get switched on to the nuclear option
Sir, – Whether the new first minister sticks with the current SNP party line of opposition to electricity generation by nuclear power, only time will tell.
Unlike Frances McKie (Letters, March 25) I do not consider the historical incidents at Dounreay to be either “terrible” or “awful”. They have been managed to prevent harm to humans, and their impact is totally insignificant compared to the lethal ones associated with fossil fuel extraction, such as the Aberfan or Piper Alpha catastrophes or the effects of the many, many tons of greenhouse gases emitted daily in Scotland.
If Scotland eschews nuclear power, it is safe to predict that when we have given up using natural gas and when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, to keep the lights on we will have to import electricity from England generated by nuclear power.
I declare an interest as someone who has used radioactive isotopes produced in a nuclear reactor in his research on viruses.
Hugh Pennington, Carlton Place, Aberdeen.
State pension rise ‘won’t touch sides’
Sir, – Pensioners are pleased with the 10.1% rise in the state pension in April. Now look hard at how much benefit it is to us.
Food prices up 17%, council tax rise of 5%, inflation up to 10.4% , no more help with energy costs.
Rent rises are coming soon, telephone and broadband up by 14.4 % and the bank rate up for the 11th time in the last few months to 4.25%.
Don McKay, Provost Hogg Court, Torry, Aberdeen.
Don’t leave quotas to the fishermen
Sir, – Ken Watmough (Letters, March 24) says the fishing communities are already fragile. Could this be because there is a shortage of fish?
Will closing some areas help fish stocks? I’m sure full consideration has been given to the economic case. He speaks as if this is just the Greens who want this. I’m sure we all want our fish stocks protected for future generations.
We have to learn natural resources are not to be exploited for today but need to be protected for years to come. We have already seen pristine sea beds destroyed by illegally trawling that will take many years to recover, if they ever do.
I fear for all fish stocks now we have been dragged out of the EU. The EU saved North Sea stocks with quotas and decommissioning. Left to the fishermen there would be no fish left.
The loss of fishing grounds to offshore windfarms was not theft. Boats that fished in an area to be excluded by wind farms will be compensated for the loss of grounds.
Herbert Petrie, Dyce, Aberdeen.
Clarify charges for Duthie Park events
Sir, – I see tickets for the Duthie Park Pipe Band Championships event are now going on sale. Is it not part of the charter giving Duthie Park to the city that no charge will be made for any event held on the grounds? How is this being circumvented?
I stand to be corrected.
Ranald S Cameron, Aberdeen.
Will the plug now be pulled on EVs?
Sir, – Controversy has been provoked by the German government’s changed stance on outlawing, from 2035, internal combustion engines (ICE) for cars.
Despite the Greens’ fury, the electric car’s problems of battery charging, fire risks, high prices new, and low sell-on values prompt the likely new EU policy.
EVs are not green once manufacturing, their lithium batteries and extra electricity needs are considered.
Given these dire drawbacks of EVs, they may not now be judged suitable fully to replace ICE cars.
Moreover, carbon dioxide’s imminent exoneration as the villain of climate change (see Lightfoot and Ratzer’s work, 2201,2,3), will likely make decarbonisation avoidable.
The future of compulsory EVs is now in grave doubt.
Charles Wardrop, Viewlands Road West, Perth.
Inconvenient truth over the future of oil
Sir, – OEUK’s latest reports and press releases show a self-centred lobby group in disarray as the world they have become used to crumbles around them, and as the much-needed change away from the petrochemical-dependent world continues without them.
No matter how much Dave Whitehouse may want fossil fuel to be part of future energy production, it simply cannot be that way as North Sea oil has got people into dire financial straits due to lies involving Putin and Ukraine.
Their all-too-cosy Conservative friends are equally up to their necks in the same environmental mess they have created.
The world must move to credible methods of renewable energy production including solar, air and ground-source heat pumps with all homes and businesses being better insulated, using wind, wave, tidal and hydro power to maximum capacity through gearing and storage options and there will be more than plenty to go around.
If we don’t, many more will be in a far worse situation than present burdened by outdated and costly ideas like carbon capture and hydrogen when the former is best done working with nature not against, and the latter is some 96% fossil fuel dependent.
There is no credible net-zero unless oil dies and that’s one of the most inconvenient truths about humanity’s future.
Ian Beattie, Baker Street, Aberdeen.
The demolition needs to stop
Sir, – You ask the people of Aberdeen to volunteer to tidy up the city, but first of all, I would appreciate your guarantee of halting the demolition you continuously do.
The council spent millions on the UTG which are empty, our market and the BHS building are gone, and apparently it’s to demolish our Beach Leisure Centre and shut down many more amenities which the people really desperately need now.
When will it stop? There are malls all over the city centre struggling and even closing. Now the council hopes to fill the empty shops on Union Street.
Their visions are extremely short-sighted and their purse is empty.
However, they press on with their plans for our beautiful beach and want us, the people, to scrub up the mess they helped to create in our town centre, while they continue to decimate our city.
This demolition should stop, then get together building, repairing and tidying up our once-beautiful city centre, which I’m sure many will help to do.
Communities can’t lose pool
Sir, – I would like to bring your attention to the potential closing of the Bucksburn swimming pool.
This would be a disaster for the community not only in the immediate area, but also Kingswells.
The pool is busy all day from 6am every day and it also has disabled access into the pool – found nowhere else close.
If this happens on your watch, it will be an indelible stain which will go down in history as the worst decision ACC has ever made – and there are many.
As you may know, the UK Government has made the decision to send depleted uranium ammunition to Ukraine, which has caused generational birth defects in Iraq that can be seen online – it’s horrific. If this happens and we cannot stop this madness, there will be nothing left to save!
Please make it absolutely clear Aberdeen does not consent to the barbaric attack and does not agree with the unelected (WEF puppet) Rishi Sunak’s decision.