IN reply to William Ross’s letter of Tuesday (Let’s scrap the green subsidies and start fracking) – I would say let’s not. Scotland had its discussion over fracking in the years and months leading up to the fracking moratorium in 2017 and decided that this was not a route Scotland wanted to go down.

The problems with fracking were myriad. Vast quantities of poisons and water were to be pumped down drilling wells to crack rock to release oil or gas. Some of this water would be left there to seep into local waterways and water tables, the rest to sit in festering pools as no-one knew how to clean it. The wells themselves were notorious for leaking methane, which is worse for the environment than CO2, and then there was the risk of earthquakes, the likely effect on house prices, the increase in lorry traffic and the fact that to work in any sort of quantity, new wells have to be drilled after a few years, spreading over the landscape like a rash.

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The fact that most of the oil/gas-bearing rock in Scotland is in the most populous Central Belt also meant that there could not be any sort of distance between wells, their noxious emissions and people.

These were some of the problems highlighted in this discussion. No, I would say to William Ross that the climate crisis has moved on. The green route is the one we have to go down, and what Scotland has to do is get better at storing energy when the sun is shining and the wind blowing, in batteries or by converting water into green hydrogen which can then either make electricity or by using the hydrogen to fuel motorised transport.

We need more green subsidies so that we can capitalise on our tidal and wave-powered electricity generation, and fewer subsidies for the oil or gas industry. I do not believe that Westminster will be forthcoming with any of these green subsidies, so Scotland needs independence fast so we can be at the forefront of these developments so that our former oil and gas workers can be utilised to work in these industries.

Kathleen Byron

QUITE a few of your readers will be familiar with my views on Scotland’s national anthem (chiefly that it is NOT the embarrassing dirge Flower of Scotland). I missed last Saturday’s National I’m afraid, but was pretty horrified to see – in Monday’s edition – that some of your readers still cling to the profound misapprehension that a “nice”, couthy song will do.

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Freedom Come A’ Ye is admirable but complicated. The Wild Mountain Thyme fails the essential requirement of a national anthem of being noble, stirring and relevant. Caledonia and others are great folk songs for the pub, but lack the gravitas for the job. With Scotland’s glorious – and, yes, tragic – history, nothing less than a stirring and noble melody – not a maudlin ditty – will do. Scots Wha’ Hae, with jauntier tempo, drum roll and crash of brass, is thrilling and has impeccable cultural and historical credentials. I continue to insist that the Scottish Government set up a committee to quietly look into this hugely important aspect of independence, consulting expert advisors. God forbid the happy day arrives and we snatch at Stop Your Tickling, Jock or somesuch Lauderish “people’s favourite” nonsense chosen by a poll in the red-top tabloids.

One of Europe’s original nation states deserves a magnificent anthem.

David Roche
Coupar Angus

I FULLY endorse Sandy Gordon's observations (Letters, January 10) regarding the current “British” national anthem and make some additional points in his support.

The song’s six verses were celebrated from the late 17th and especially the 18th centuries, and were sung enthusiastically in England, their background being

the record of the British and government military actions during and subsequent to the Glencoe massacre (1692) and the 45/46 Jacobite insurrection. Those actions – whose victims were Scottish soldiers, their wives, their children, their friends, their relatives and their property – were disgraceful behaviour for a civilised country and were not dissimilar to those of the Nazis 200 years later. For any doubt upon that subject I would recommend Glencoe and Culloden by John Prebble!!

That of course is history, but the song is not. It has been adopted by England as its national anthem, sung only by its English and Northern Irish support and as such is certainly not “British”. It is equally not “Scottish” for the aforementioned reasons, and deserves some scrutiny. Against whom exactly should “She” and shortly “He” be sent victorious, happy and glorious? Further, there is a groundswell of discontent regarding the behaviour of what some regard as a dysfunctional family with less and less apparent regard for “the common people”.

The Tory advocate of the song as a sign of the now discredited Union has won for Scotland’s independence campaign a well-deserved boost.

John Hamilton

WILD Mountain Thyme (Letters, Jan 10) is an Irish cutty adaptation o the Scots sang The Braes o Balwhither/Balquidder. Scotland’s weil aff wi aw kinkynd o sangs; whey conseider an Irish ane for our anthem?

Reid Moffat