MUSHROOMING fuel costs are not only affecting people trying to get to work, they are also driving up the costs of basic items. The response of the Tory government and their PR wing, the BBC, is that rising petrol costs are the result of “global factors”. However, if you look at the figures, they are lying, as usual.

Certainly the price of petrol in western Europe is roughly equivalent: Germany $2.083; France $2.263; Ireland $2.127; UK $2.199. These are retail (pump) prices for Octane 95 gasoline.

However, if you compare oil-producing countries, Scotland is $2.199 but the USA is $1.331 – almost half. Saudia Arabia is $0.621 and Russia is $0.84 – that is right, there isn’t a digit missing, it’s pennies, or rather cents. If you look further afield around the world, Argentina is $1.057; Ghana is $1.303; South Korea is $1.59.

The inescapable conclusion is that prices, rather than being cost-driven, are market-led. They are charging what they can get away with.

They may come back with varying costs of extraction. But Shell at the forecourt are buying from Shell, and BP are buying from BP. Last year, we, us, the taxpayer, paid them to extract oil.

The government should act immediately to set retail prices for gasoline products. There is no justification whatsoever for the sky-high prices at the pump or, even worse, in people’s larders.
Ian Richmond

DO we want independence or not? I sometimes wonder. In my view, our initial goal should be independence and nothing more. Once that goal is attained then the people of Scotland and their representatives have decisions to make. Every time we trumpet that we will do this, that or the other as part of that independence struggle, we alienate some of our potential supporters.

Last Saturday, The National had it that we are to be an independent republic, despite many loyal monarchists among our supporters and real doubts about how a republic would work; give me a creditable name for a president of Scotland and I’ll find multitudes of those that it would alienate.

I don’t like the Buck House horror show either, but think about what you replace it with. The SNP have lost the plot with GRA legislation – many, many people think it’s a mistake, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the case for it. Are we joining Nato when independent? Are we rejoining the EU after independence or maybe Efta?

All of these questions are for after independence and will be the cause of discord then, but we should let the people decide. Do not do the “Better Together” people’s job for them; these and other things will be pushed by them as a means to put off potential Yes people.
Dougie Blackwood

I WAS at a loss to note that those who suggested various candidates for a head of a possible future republic (June 5) did not mention Nicola [Sturgeon]. In your Thursday edition there is a photograph of her relaxed and smiling while handing out awards for children who have enjoyed reading. In this capacity, she brings people of all backgrounds together. Nicola also does well when she visits people in governments in Europe and America. I think she is a great ambassador for Scotland. Nicola would be a great boon for Scotland on the international stage.
George McKnight
West Calder

IN reply to the letter from Julia Pannell (June 4) with regard to the Code of Conduct at the Progress to Yes event. I found her statement as follows interesting: “It also clarifies which political parties would be involved in the Yes movement and which would not: SNP/Greens in, Independence for Scotland and Alba out.”

While this was not the main point of her letter, it did signify that there is some sort of vendetta against Alba and the ISP by the SNP/Greens.

Not being privy to the aims of Progress to Yes, but as an active member of the SNP, I have tried on numerous occasions to involve local Yes-supporting groups for support in the numerous campaigns conducted recently, and would welcome any group willing to work with us towards independence.

If we are to attract the small numbers of “soft No” voters to our side of the argument, we need to be seen to be a united movement. After all, if we cannot be seen to work together in harmony in our quest for an independent Scotland, we have no chance of bringing the doubters to our side. I would implore independence supporters and groups to cease promoting this implied division in our movement. It does harm to our movement and gives ammunition to our opponents.
Graham Smith
Arbroath, Angus

THAT’S great – Diageo are moving on from fossil fuels (Drinks giant wins solar farm go-ahead, June 7). Don’t stop there, Diageo! Let’s see electric trains on a spur from the Levenmouth rail link, powered by your solar farm, gliding in and out of your Fife bottling plant, taking all those lorries off our roads.
Malcolm Bruce