WITH the recent cold snap we have all experienced, it is a little disappointing to read the comments on renewable energy wind turbine systems failing to generate energy on days of calm. Though not an unrealistic expectation, the implication is that wind turbines are a flawed strategy.

In my mind, I see these comments as unhelpful and not adding value to moving our energy production from carbon to renewable sources, wind turbines or other renewable systems.

Currently, we are in transition from stuff we have been using for more than a hundred or so years (coal, oil and gas) and it is unsurprising that parts are not yet all in place for the new stuff.

Wind turbines are not perfect – they have issues such as the question of how to store and reuse the energy they provide. This is a gap that needs closing but is in the plan.

READ MORE: We need a constitutional convention – and my vote is for Believe in Scotland

The second question would be: How do we get the energy from generator to user?

In the UK’s case, this responsibility falls to the National Grid. However, these issues must be solved as we need wind energy generation and other renewable energy systems.

If we had started building the energy storage systems before the turbines, I am sure the negative comments would have been well deserved.

Every change to our infrastructure cannot be implemented by the snapping of one’s fingers as in the TV show Bewitched, much as we would like it.

It takes time, so it’s better to focus on the tasks and pace rather than the actual change.
Alistair Ballantyne

I AGREE with much that Ivor Telfer says in his letters published regularly in The National, and must agree with part of his latest on Alex Salmond’s current action against the Scottish Government when he says “what has never been proven in any court of law, to date, however, was that anyone was oot to ‘get’ Alex in any sort of malicious manner” (Letters, December 3).

I am also sure that such a person as presiding judge Lord Pentland was not oot to “get” anyone when he said he found the behaviour of the former permanent secretary to the Scottish Government Leslie Evans and her officials in putting the case together made it “unlawful, unfair and tainted with apparent bias.”

Surely Salmond’s case against the Scottish Government is precisely because, as Ivor says, it has never been proven in any court that anyone was oot to get Alex with malicious intent. And yet it worked for the Tories in Westminster, who already had called him “public enemy number one” simply because he wished to free Scotland from English hegemony, and despite him winning both the civil and criminal trials against him, his reputation in Scotland was demolished to such a lowly status that it was even lower than that of the appalling liar Boris Johnson.

I must therefore disagree with Ivor, and say Alex Salmond richly deserves his day in court. His other appearances have all been at the behest of others and against him. Now it’s his turn. If royalty, mere personalities, lovies and even footballers’ wives wish to air their grievances in court, why not Alex Salmond? A first-class politician, both at Westminster and Holyrood, who has done more for Scottish independence than anyone alive today, whose reputation was ruined by the proceedings against him. A procedure commonly used by ne’er-do-wells at Westminster in efforts to destroy innocent people in the past. Of course, no evidence will be found on the banks of the Thames. The low life that makes its home there can always find someone else to carry out its dirty work. It’s called cowardice in more sophisticated establishments.
Bruce Moglia
via email

APPARENTLY in the BBC’s aim to save £500 million, it plans to cut back Newsnight to half an hour. There will be an extended lunchtime news and BBC Breakfast will be 15 minutes longer. However, here is the sinister bit: Newsnight will lose its dedicated reporting team along with more than half of its 60 jobs and be turned into a “debate and discussion show”! We seriously don’t need any more Question Time-type programmes, chaired by the likes of Fiona Bruce, whose idea of impartiality is very odd indeed! Well, it’s not really “odd”. She just favours the right-wing voices. Simple!

The National: Newsnight.

So, in the main, the tame, anodyne, inoffensive news programmes, unlikely to particularly rile the Tory, swivel-eyed ones are going to be longer. The one that they really loathe, and which causes much grinding of their teeth because it actually does some pretty fearless reporting that tells the truth about that lot and those of their ilk, is going to be hacked to bits!

They couldn’t do the same to Channel 4 News as they failed to privatise it, which in my view was mainly motivated by their desire to snuff out their most loathed news channel which had an annoying habit of telling the truth about them. With compliant high-heid yins in the BBC, however, it’s curtains for Newsnight as we know it!

Basically, it’s just shutting up and cancelling yet more journalists that have the temerity to speak truth to power – well, to an extent, anyway. Cancel culture rules, but not the kind the right are always banging on about. It’s the type they endorse to the hilt but never admit to.

I acknowledge when Newsnight covers anything about Scottish politics it’s the usual “SNP/independence bad” stuff, with any opponents of our government getting a free ride. Then there is their cherry on top – those supporters of independence that also vocally oppose it. Many within the independence movement, therefore, may well probably think “who gives a stuff about Newsnight!”

I don’t think it’s as simple as that. In an era when the trend seems to be for extreme right-wing garbage such as GB News and established telly channels being surreptitiously steered in that direction, we surely need to cling on to some of the more in-depth investigative journalism that Newsnight has provided. Though it’s not perfect by any means, losing that is a slippery slope towards yet more journalists being agents of party political propaganda (ie for the Tories!).

Scotland, being a far more progressive country politically than England, is more and more having racist, xenophobic, culture-war type bile spewing out of the airwaves into our beloved country via an increasingly extreme right-wing English media. This can only do harm to our traditional national consciousness. In my view, therefore, the loss of Newsnight as we know it is a dark and sinister day. What’s really scary is – what’s next?
Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay, Fife

IF ever there was a reason to renew my subscription to The National, the article in Tuesday’s edition “BBC is now a threat to all local newspapers” did more than enough to convince me I will renew.

My first impression was “this looks like an advert” because it was in a different typeface but I continued nevertheless.

I do not watch “live television”, therefore do not pay for a license. I have watched various news programmes and it is clear the BBC is nothing more than a Tory-led “mouthpiece” – a propaganda tool used by successive prime ministers to support and “prop up” weak but self-benefitting policies.

I don’t read BBC online news, or for that matter, any of the others, and I particularly avoid GB News at all cost.

I take my news from The National, from what I learn from my own life experiences and decide for myself what to believe and what is propaganda.

There was a time, in a previous life, when I travelled throughout the world, that I would tune in to the BBC World Service, particularly as I was often in politically sensitive countries that didn’t always look at strangers favourably.

Back then, the BBC World Service was to be generally believed, again, using my life skills and personal experiences to balance some of their content.

Now, the BBC spends vast sums of money transporting journalists to far-flung (and not-so-far-flung) places to cover an “Incident” LIVE!

While this may add to the viewers’ experience, I don’t agree that watching a cargo aeroplane at the end of a runway on a very foggy day as it waits to take off with two pandas onboard to be “responsible expenditure”.

There is a fascination at the BBC to transport journalists immediately to some remote location just to “be the first” to report their version of the “news” while local services are decimated.

To all of this excess by the BBC, I say, not at my expense. You don’t get my hard-earned cash. I’d rather spend it on the albeit imperfect National.
Jim Todd

AS Kaftrio, the miracle drug from pharmaceutical giant Vertex, may be withdrawn from NHS treatments (as the cost for each patient works out at almost £200,000 per year, and thus considered too expensive) many under-six-year-old cystic fibrosis sufferers will miss out on this life-saving treatment.

As this drug can extend sufferers’ lives by up to 40 years, some parents are now terrified for their infants’ lives.

Yet introducing wealth taxes, replacing council tax with property tax and taxing private jets could raise £2.5 billion a year for the NHS. So why should the ultra-wealthy escape fair taxes when it might cost children’s lives?
Stephen McCarthy

I SHALL hopefully see The Simpsons’ Scottish episode soon, with my partner who has a tele, but can I record a dear chum’s concern, perhaps stemming from his hypersensitivity towards Groundskeeper Willie being described as “the Scottish character” which he feels is a deliberate pan-Scottish categorisation resulting from an alleged Central Belt bias. Willie, as many know, is Aberdonian, as is engineer officer Scott in Star Trek.

I’ll leave that with you.
JD Moir
via email

I WONDER if Andrew Bowie, the clueless, youthful ministerial cheerleader for nuclear power, is concerned at all about leaks coming from a huge silo of radioactive waste at the crumbling Sellafield nuclear site.

Norway, Ireland and the US certainly are. Norway is worried that an accident could lead to a radioactive plume that would contaminate food production and harm wildlife and is even considering providing funding to help manage the site. In 2006, Ireland, concerned about Sellafield’s environmental impact, referred it to a UN tribunal. US diplomats have expressed alarm over its ageing infrastructure and the UK’s lack of transparency over dangers at the site.

Described as one of the “highest nuclear hazards in the UK”, Sellafield stores and treats nuclear waste from weapons manufacture and power generation. Formerly known as Windscale, the site of the UK’s worst nuclear accident in 1957, a 2001 EU report highlighted Sellafield’s problems, warning that another accident could be far worse than the Chornobyl disaster.

Sellafield is a perfect symbol for the failing UK. To avoid further contamination, Scotland must end this toxic Union.
Leah Gunn Barrett