We cannot leave our energy needs in the hands of politicians

DB Watson’s letter (November 7) clearly illustrates the folly of the UK’s failure to have a cohesive energy planning authority, with professionally competent expertise and completely independent of personal interests and political bias.

Right now we have a chaotic situation where nearly all investment is driven by misguided political subsidies and the pursuit of shareholder value with no responsibility for the long-term cost and strategic security of our energy supply. It would be an act of real political acumen to allow the creation of an independent energy planning authority, but once that is done, politicians should not be allowed to influence the strategic planning process, only legislate on published recommendations.

We are entering a very dangerous and technically difficult period. A country that leaves its energy future entirely in the hands of the market and populist politicians will pay a heavy price.

The outcome of national infrastructure decisions takes a long time to come to light. It has taken 30 years to expose the costly consequences of applying free market fanaticism to electricity supply and the terrible consequences of applying Thatcherite politics to everything, whether it makes sense or not.

Nor can we leave our future energy planning to the current incumbents of Holyrood, obsessed with wasting time and effort on independence rather than focusing on what is truly important. Their mix of naive green solutions and judgmental commentary on Westminster’s performance ensures they are singularly ill-equipped to formulate a secure, low-carbon and cost-effective energy strategy.
Norman McNab, Killearn

Muscatelli must take a stand

I AM moved to wonder whether or not the University of Glasgow in its senior ranks appreciates how the allegations of discriminatory behavior have proven damaging to its reputation and reputation with associated headlines such as ‘Anger over of the professor’s “female brain” image (The Herald, November 3), “Professor fights discrimination” and “Professor says his ‘eyes have been opened’ to discrimination by cancer diagnosis” ( both The Herald, November 7).

The university last week issued an apology to staff and students after an investigation, compiled by it, identified ‘sexist and discriminatory’ behavior within the medical school, but blames it for such activity was not assigned. It was said that a plan was being prepared following “unacceptable and distressing incidents” and that a new monitoring group was being set up to draw up an action plan to make improvements “the optionally”.

What is needed now, in my view, is a statement from Principal Muscatelli confirming that the university has accepted the seriousness of the matter and that he undertakes, on behalf of the university, to ensure that all necessary improvements be implemented to bring an end to, in the university’s own words, “culpable behaviors…that have failed to meet our high professional expectations.”
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie

The Path of Confusion

AS someone who gave up cycling years ago due to my wish to avoid clashes and injuries, and having ridden for most of my adult life the blame game regarding cyclists ( Letters, November 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7) is interesting to watch.

I recently came close to a confrontation with a one-horsepower transport with its driver several feet above me.

The truth is surely that mixing these different means of transport is dangerous.

Comparing my modern automatic vehicle traveling at a modest 40 mph with a nervous horse on an unrestricted single carriageway makes me doubt the propriety of allowing, let alone encouraging, these practices when the likelihood of death or serious injury is still present.
Thomas Law, Sandbar, Argyll and Bute

The primary debates are going well

MANY will agree with Doug Clark (Letters, November 8) on the return of school debate clubs. This very subject was initiated by East Renfrewshire in 1996 during the first year of existence. It was called the Provost’s Debate.

Each primary 7 class was invited to the hemicycle of the council headquarters. Twelve pupils have been appointed councillors, three pupils members of the press. The rest of the class were the audience who consulted with counselors during breaks during the two-hour session. The provost presided as president. The subjects have been selected beforehand by the visiting school. A vote on the motion was taken. The president would then use a traveling microphone to interview everyone involved.

While I had the privilege of moderating the initial 420 debates (over a period of seven years), the following five provosts have all ensured that the lively weekly debates continue.
Allan C. Steele, Giffnock

Back to the village school

WHILE Russell Smith (Letters, November 8) is correct in quoting Oliver Goldsmith’s lines regarding “The Village Schoolmaster”, the correct name of the poem is of course “The Deserted Village” and the line is “the village schoolmaster has taught his little school”.

The memories of my English class were certainly all contained in this verse of the poem and still haunts me today, some 70 years later.
Robin Johnson, Newton–Mearns

Drying the laundry: the big attraction

YOUR Monday issue of the day (“How do you dry your laundry?”, The Herald, November 7) contained a load of tosh. Heated clothes dryers, dehumidifiers, fan heaters to evacuate moisture…has anyone heard of a pulley?

After laundry day, you heard that familiar creak as your mother lifted the kitchen pulley loaded with laundry. Maybe it could take a day or two to dry, but during that time there was no restricted room or floor access and no electricity consumption – hard to beat.
Ian McCallum, Glasgow


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