I HAVE just heard Liz Truss, at her party conference, blame Nicola Sturgeon for the lack of new nuclear generation in Scotland. While I agree with the SNP’s opposition to nuclear weapons I disagree with its opposition to nuclear generation.
Ms Truss, in an interview while she was Foreign Secretary, pledged her support for “our Baltic allies across the Black Sea”. It now appears that her Paisley and Leeds education was also deficient in history; the last nuclear power station built in Scotland (Torness) received consent on May 24, 1978 when Nicola Sturgeon was seven years old and commenced operation in 1988.
This was followed in 1989 by the Electricity Act which empowered Thatcher’s Conservative Government to privatise the generation and supply of electricity, with the exception of nuclear stations which were initially considered unattractive to investors; the nuclear stations were sold off several years later.
When the industry was in public ownership it was led mainly by engineers who understood that successful energy strategy required a long planning horizon to minimise the risk of the cataclysmic fuel and energy crisis that we face today. The outstanding stability, reliability and cost-efficient power system delivered in the post-war period was testament to the confidence placed in those engineers by successive governments. Since privatisation, development of the energy supply system has been based on undying faith in market forces which would send signals to investors when system developments were required. The weakness of this doctrine is the fact that investors will look for returns much earlier than the 20 years or so associated with nuclear plants and politicians are only interested in retaining power at the next election.
The SNP must take a good hard look at its energy policy, but the dearth of new nuclear generation since 1988 is totally attributable to the actions of the Conservative Government in the 1980s and the failure of Blair’s Labour Government after 1997 to intervene.
Willie Maclean, Milngavie.
Rent freeze must be rethought
I OWN and let out a cottage in a Galloway village. I have deliberately kept the rent low and looked for tenants who would contribute to the life of the community.
I am currently between tenants, and will instead be furnishing the cottage and using it as a holiday let. I simply cannot risk the invitation being offered by the Scottish Government for tenants to move in, stop paying rent after a month and live at my expense free of any risk of enforcement or eviction for at least six months, possibly 18 months, and then as long as it would take for the legal system to act.
By all means restrict or ban rent increases (“Emergency laws to freeze rents clear the first hurdle”, The Herald October 5). Perhaps even make eviction more difficult than it is at the moment. But if the Government wants to maintain the supply of rental properties, it must give landlords a functioning and efficient system to ensure that rent is paid.
I Johnston, Galloway.
Humans replaced by silicon
IF Herald readers seek an escape from the noisy hurly-burly they should go by train to Glasgow or London, or any other town. No need to pay for a costly retreat or go to a monastery. Just go on a train. Passengers come in and almost instantly their eyes and noses are glued to silicon screens of mobile phones or tablets, but not the eating type. A devotional silence descends. Don’t think, just be.
To help a Glasgow charity, a small but reasonably wealthy one, I got out my passport and went from the south side to the west end of the city to meet a charity colleague, who stays there, in order that she could sign the identity papers required for banking, and be identified by me. At the bank branch owned by the Clydesdale Banking Group, which trades using the brand name Virgin Money (proudly stating they no longer are bank branches but are stores), I was told by a pleasant staff lady that they would text me a code number in silicon tradition which would open up for me an admin sesame, perhaps a hushed stairway to heaven. This despite the customer-friendly advice from my Newton Mearns branch that I and my colleague should come in to them and the paperwork would be attended to in person, there and then. The west end text code arrived through the ether, and failed in all respects. I shall now walk five minutes up the road to the Newton Mearns branch for real customer service.
We can be clever inventing many things. I hope in future we can invent human beings.
Graeme Smith, Newton Mearns.
End of a chapter
ON Christmas Day 1950 I was excited by the news on the wireless that the Stone of Destiny had been taken from Westminster Abbey and hopefully was on its way back to Scotland. As soon as the English papers were published I started a scrapbook . Over the years the Stone has continued to be in the news and I have maintained my scrapbook.
The sad news of Ian Hamilton’s death brings an end to a chapter (“Tributes paid to Stone of Destiny ‘legend’ Ian Hamilton”, The Herald, October 5). The Stone will still be in the news with the upcoming Coronation and the move to Perth.
David Paterson, Edinburgh.
On course for the good life
HAVING retreated, not before time, from the daily grind and the demands of an out-of-hours night and weekend rota more than two decades ago, I am in accord with Nicola Love (“’Quiet quitting’ is about restoring balance”, The Herald, October 5).
As Welsh poet William Henry Davies, ( 1872 - 1940 ), reflects in his oft-quoted “Leisure” :
“what is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare,
no time to stand beneath the boughs, and stare as long as sheep or cows - - -
- - - a poor life this, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”.
Or updating to one’s present trials and tribulations:
“What is this life, if full of care, We have no golf, to curse and swear”.
Balanced retirement is the best job I ever had.
R Russell Smith, Largs.
An open goal missed
WHAT an opportunity wasted last night in Liverpool (“Rangers European woes continue”, The Herald, October 5).
No, not the football result. Where was a smuggled-in “Eurovision for Glasgow” banner? Surely there was a fantastic opportunity to get one over Liverpool in that contest?
Never mind, there is always Ibrox next week.
Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs.
CREDIT: Drew Allan