IT is good to see Iain Macwhirter outlining and analysing the SNP’s economic failures so skilfully (“Never has SNP’s lack of an industrial policy been so obvious”, February 20). He correctly identifies Nicola Sturgeon’s antipathy to “capitalism”, to private enterprise generally, as a factor in this. Another problem, however, is that no-one in the SNP Government, and perhaps even in the entire SNP MSP cohort, has any expertise in business.
How many of them have ever had a proper job, outside the realm of local councils or being political advisers before becoming MSPs? How many of them would be employable anywhere in the private sector, even operating the proverbial whelk stall? Ms Sturgeon’s instincts are statist, as nationalising the ailing ferries and the shoogly rail system demonstrate. It is noticeable that businessmen are not queuing up to endorse the SNP’s economic management.
Scotland used to be a country of enterprise, innovation, inspiration. Decades of statist control, first under Labour and now, disastrously, under the SNP, have mercilessly ground that out of us. How on earth anyone thinks that Scotland in this dire state would be fit to operate as a separate polity is a complete mystery.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.
A FAILURE TO LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE
IAIN Macwhirter’s scathing critique of the SNP’s industrial policy highlights the Government’s failure to establish and support manufacturing industry in this country. The list of blunders to which he draws our attention includes the puzzling absence of a promised Scottish National Energy Company, the Ferguson ferry fiasco and the closure of BiFab. He concludes that the SNP appears to have abdicated responsibility for the economy.
Committing errors is an integral component of the essence of humanity and, if not an essential part, at least one which none of us can avoid. However, to fail to learn from experience and to go on making the same mistake time and again calls into question judgment, competence and, ultimately, one’s grip on reality. Perhaps the same can be said of human institutions, including political parties and governments.
At the SNP’s 2021 national conference, which was conducted online remotely, the deputy leader Keith Brown, in a gushing tribute to his boss declared that the future of the planet depends on Scottish independence. Given that singular view of the potential impact of this country on global affairs, when coupled to its lamentable record on industrial development, one wonders if the SNP is living in the real world, or a virtual one.
Bob Scott, Drymen.
CONCENTRATE ON STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES
IAIN Macwhirter justifiably castigates the SNP Government’s failure to create jobs in wind energy manufacture to Scotland. It is not just the SNP – all parties, from Greens to Tory via Labour, are guilty and have promised thousands of jobs in the sustainable energy sector.
We should accept we have missed the bus on wind turbines. It left 40 years ago, when Howdens in Glasgow pulled out of turbine manufacture. I am familiar from having supplied equipment to wind turbine makers in six countries that there is now an over-capacity. These companies are well established with a range of machines and an export network.
Turbine prices have fallen. It would be extremely difficult to enter the market at this late stage and create from scratch a design and assembly team, supply chain and a sales and service network worldwide without which sufficient production volumes to allow the creation of a competitive supplier will never be achieved.
The Chinese have cornered the solar panel market, making huge volumes with benefits of economies of scale.
Should we not be developing technologies for energy storage for electricity generation on a giant scale? There are no well-established methods, apart from hydro pumped storage, to produce electricity when the wind does not blow; just a myriad of small-scale developments around the world. Government intervention seems to be required as the market favours making money from money rather than manufacturing. It’s risky, but more likely to produce a long-term future than scraps like blades and towers from the wind turbine makers table?
Dick Philbrick, Glasgow.
MoD COULD WORK WITH SCOTLAND
BOB MacDougall (Letters, February 27) says that defence giant Babcock might move its fabrication facilities from Rosyth to England in the event of not being welcomed in an independent Scotland.
He then goes on to say why that might be a bad thing.
I am slightly baffled and so I have one question. Why does Mr MacDougall think that Babcock would not be welcome in an independent Scotland?
For the record, the Royal Navy has had ships built in “foreign” countries before. Notably Norway and Ireland.
George Archibald, West Linton.
DREAMS BEFORE COMMON SENSE
INSTEAD of deflecting attention to what is happening south of the Border down Westminster way, it would be wiser of Scots to focus on what is happening in our own midden under the SNP.
Education is continuing its downward spiral to the detriment of the future prospects of our under-served youngsters
The stories coming out about the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital must strike horror into the hearts of those who read what is happening with this flagship institution. And the least said about the fiasco over the ferries the SNP has taken under its damage-prone wing the better.
Prior to the the last referendum, we were fed fairy tales about how oil would be the engine of our economy and the stepping stone to give us our freedom from domination by Westminster. What is there now to fill that vast void if we were to take the plunge and vote for independence, which would really mean tying ourselves back into the EU with its regulatory system, since reliance upon fossil fuels is set to become obsolete to save our planet?
Then we need to contemplate what currency to adopt when we cut ourselves free from our dependency upon sterling. We could resurrect the wee bawbee as the basic unit of our sillar to provide the jingle of cash in our sporrans with a Scottish identity.
The bagpipe dreams of SNP politicians have been trying to drown out the common sense view that our future is likely to be more stable within the framework of the UK, once Westminster comes to its senses and realises what a disaster Brexit is turning out to be and reapplies for membership.
Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.
RT MUST BE REMOVED FROM OUR AIRWAVES
GIVEN Russia’s unprovoked attack upon Ukraine, I am surprised that more rapid steps are not being taken by the UK Government to remove the Kremlin’s mouthpiece, TV channel Russia Today, from British airwaves.
With the authoritarian Russian regime being anti-West and undemocratic, surely RT should never have been allowed to broadcast across Britain in the first place, given that its masters totally reject the British way of life.
I am disappointed that over the years British politicians have been seduced by the Russians and have taken part in the channel’s programmes and I agree with Nicola Sturgeon’s criticism of Alex Salmond for doing this. Despotic regimes should never be given legitimacy and practices such as allowing the laundering of Russian “dirty money” through the City of London should be stopped and no more blind eyes turned. Russia is now a pariah state and will be until Vladimir Putin goes.
Bob MacDougall, Kippen.
DANGER TO LIFE ON EARTH
I FOUND interesting the juxtapositioning of two articles on adjoining pages, the first on silence caused by decline in bird numbers (“One man’s search for a bird’s song … before it’s too late”, February 20), the other on the damage done by online shopping (Susan Swarbrick, “The grave cost of online shopping”, February 20)
I read Rachel Carson’s book on this very topic in 1973, Silent Spring. It was published in 1964. It pointed out that there would be a spring season when there would be no birdsong due to herbicides and pesticides killing the insects the birds ate. No food means no birds. No food, no birds, no progress since 1964, despite countless nature programmes on TV, radio and in cinemas.
In Search of One Last Song by Patrick Galbraith describes exactly what Rachel Carson foretold. The only ones who listened were labelled doom-mongers, like Chris Packham, David Attenborough and Rachael Hosking.
Susan Swarbrick describes the only bit of undeveloped land adjacent to Eurocentral in Lanarkshire, home to foxes, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, buzzards. Colourful flowers attract insects, these same insects are ones that pollinate our food plants. No insects, no food for humans. We are committing mass suicide, and nobody cares. Only four months after COP when the whole world made promises to act. Greta Thunberg was right when she said it amounted to just more blah, blah, blah.
Who is going to protect the existence of life on Earth?
Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.
THE POLL TAX ON WHEELS
DESPITE opposition, the Scottish Government has passed workplace parking levy legislation giving councils the power to charge employers for their parking spaces. On being challenged by Conservative MSP Graham Simpson, Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth accused him of attempting to deny Scottish councils the same powers as their counterparts in England. Wait a minute, though: there are 339 councils in England and only Nottingham imposed this charge.
Hard-pressed employers may be forced to pass this levy on to their employees. There is a solution. The Scottish council elections are on May 5, so voters must go and vote for any party other than the SNP and Greens. That would stop this poll tax on wheels.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow.