Why should we give in to Patrick Harvie’s blackmail?

If Mr Harvie can pinpoint that 13% of Scotland’s emissions come from this source, then he must know that we homeowners, who are now in de facto recession, are not directly responsible for the other 87%. May I respectfully suggest that Mr Harvie reconsider his priorities, which may be skewed by his unfamiliar seat on his high horse, and that he tackle the biggest polluters first? Who rules this country?

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

The Greens are in charge

NEIL Mackay’s article (“Desperate SNP, Naive Greens. Something must give way,” The Herald, August 15) aptly sums up the conundrum that poor Humza Yousaf faces as SNP leader.

Unfortunately, the current top duo of the Greens is now the tail-wagging head of the party. If Lorna Slater had asked any other country that already had a deposit return system how it worked – even if she had considered consulting with colleagues in England and Wales – she might, might have been the first national system in the UK to come up put their feet up and received praise and praise for their ingenuity. But no, counseling is not part of her plan. She feels she must outdo Westminster at every turn so that when obvious objections and possible pitfalls are presented, she can jump on the SNP complaint train and whine.

And Patrick Harvie’s recent quip — no more solar panel money unless you install a heat pump or something — is still a long way off.

No one denies that climate change is happening, the evidence is worldwide, but Mr Hardie and Ms Slater need to remember the old adage that you can get a horse to water, but you can’t get it to drink.

Celia Richter, Ayr.

Read more: Patrick Harvie cuts funding for solar power to spur heat pump strategy

THE Green/SNP response to the outcry over the cost of around £15,000 to install a heat pump has been to highlight around £7,500 in government grants. They are funded from our taxes. There are around 2.5 million households in Scotland. If two million of these homes applied for £75,000 in grants, it would cost Scotland’s 2.8 million income taxpayers £15bn, a rough average of £5,000 each.
Many of these taxpayers live together, so some households may have to pay £17.5k for their £15k heat pump after a £7.5k subsidy.
Alan Sutherland, stonehaven

The cost of the census is shameful

WHEN future historians look back at the present period of Scottish political life they will have to reckon with many, many catastrophes. The gross misuse of taxpayers’ money has become the norm under the SNP, and has at times reached gargantuan proportions. However, one faux pas outweighs all the others despite costing a relatively modest £140million. It is the outrage of the census (“Census delay cost £140m”, The Herald, 15 August). This was obsessive and unhealthy Scottish nationalism at its most extreme.

Led by Angus Robertson and determined from the outset to differentiate itself from the hated UK at all costs, it was postponed for a year. This meant Scotland missed out on all British outreach, and in the end the number of Scots who had completed the decade-long survey was an all-time low and fewer than needed to produce meaningful population statistics. But Mr Robertson must have been reassured that we were different nonetheless, and for the first time in 200 years not in tune with everyone else on these islands, and that would no doubt have caused cheers and champagne.

All of this has been revealed by the National Records of Scotland and the final cost will be at least £140million. That would no doubt have paid for a few more overseas treats and fake embassies for Mr Robertson and his entourage to open or visit, but money doesn’t seem to be an issue for the SNP.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

Hypocrisy from a Blair minister

BRIAN Wilson advocates that politicians reconnect with the public and listen to their concerns in open meetings, which “should be the lifeblood of responsible, well-informed politics” (“Forget Edinburgh schmooze-ins and public meetings bring back,” The Herald, August 14).

I agree with him on that, although I suspect those days are over because the discourse, if that is the case at all, is being swamped and trivialized by social media and all the attendant safety issues in public appearances. What I find really insulting about his column is that a former member of Tony Blair’s government of all people lectures us about “accountability” and “well-informed politics”. Where was he when millions of people – ordinary people – marched and protested against the threat of invasion of Iraq and imaginary weapons of mass destruction? Who in the government listened to their concerns at the time?

One can speculate to what extent Blair’s actions have increased distrust of politicians in general, along with the expectation that politicians lie on a regular basis. There may have been a time when socialist politicians were expected to be more sensitive to, and accountable to, the wants, needs and concerns of ordinary people. I’m afraid those days are long gone too – not only is it difficult to figure out who the “socialists” are, but it’s very rare nowadays to find “socialism” and “work” in the same sentence.

dr Angus MacMillan, Dumfries.

Read more: Why are we friendly to Ukrainians but not to brown or black refugees?

Long-term debate on the refugee issue

BOTH your columnist Kevin McKenna (“Britain’s cruelty to migrants reflects an older hatred”, The Herald, August 15) and your letter writer Robina Qureshi (August 15) make valid attempts to explain the current situation with migrants who take unauthorized routes enter the UK, shown in perspective.

I would just add to Mr McKenna that the hostility towards migrants is neither new nor typically British. The famous “Strangers” speech attributed to Shakespeare in the Tudor play Sir Thomas More shows that there was resistance in France to Protestant refugees from Catholic persecution, and no doubt there are many other examples from earlier history . Nor should it paint an overly rosy picture of Germany’s recent migration history: In the 1970s, I lived on a street in this country that locals described as “only suitable for Turks and students”. Furthermore, the initiative by Angela Merkel’s government to welcome large numbers of Syrian and other immigrants to the eastern part of reunified Germany has prompted a backlash that has led to the resurgence of far-right skinheads and the rise of the Alternative Fuer Deutschland party.

At the same time, it is easy to see where Ms. Qureshi is from, even if her description of the current situation as “blatant racism” is difficult to sustain when people have similar privileged systems to those in Ukraine from Hong Kong and Afghanistan. So discrimination is possible, but not racism. Exaggeration will not win sympathy or arguments.

However, no one can deny that the UK is not doing well in the current immigration crisis and that there are issues that require urgent action. The most obvious is to expedite the assessment process so that refugee status is granted (or denied) as quickly as possible. This will minimize the need for shelter for people in this situation. The second is to recognize that trying to stop the small boats before opening new and comprehensive safe and legal routes is a wrong practice – the way to put people smugglers out of business is to capture the demand for to dry up their services. Finally, there are many good reasons that asylum seekers should be allowed to work for a living if they are able and willing to do so.

However, these are short- and medium-term measures for a problem that will keep recurring until some larger problems are addressed. These are the facts that the war on free movement is lost, like the war on drugs, and that the UK needs a larger working population to support an aging population.

Historically, these Huguenots and other Protestant refugees brought with them technologies and know-how that contributed massively to the economy of England and then Britain, and their successors have improved our lives tremendously in every wave of migration. There is no reason to fear that the strangers arriving in the UK in our time will make a lesser contribution, and it should be a source of pride if they wish to come to the UK rather than stay in intermediate countries, when they arrive in Europe.

Our longer-term debate should be about investing in welcoming and retaining refugees and other valuable immigrants, not in doomed attempts to keep them out.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

Grace Reader

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