Studies have shown that energy efficiency measures (mainly increased thermal insulation) do not lead to lower demand for electricity or gas. Recipients of increased insulation see the improvement as increased comfort, not lower fuel bills. Either way, too many homes in the UK have inadequate insulation, so upgrading it will take a long time. Meanwhile, the increase in efficiency is theoretical rather than practical. Renewable methods of generating electricity suffer from intermittency and are therefore unreliable. The national grid needs reliability, which nuclear power can provide.
Dr. Dixon points to defects in the Torness reactors, but this has nothing to do with the replacement stations which do not have the same configuration. Since the 1980s, AGR power plants have been supplying much needed electricity. He also points to “the toxic legacy of radioactive waste to worry about for thousands of years”. These wastes are not toxic, but they can be dangerous, depending on their particle size. Only 1% of waste is hazardous and must be handled and stored with care. Dr. Dixon may not realize that the longer the half-life of a radioactive element, the less dangerous it is. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of about 24,000 years but is safe to handle.
As for the costs, they would not be so high if the “linear without threshold” model of radiation protection were not applied. This discredited model is responsible for much of the unnecessary protection built into modern nuclear power plants. Low intensity radiation is not harmful. We live in a naturally radioactive environment. Either way, if we want a reliable electricity supply, the production of which does not cause greenhouse gas emissions, we have to pay for it. Avoiding nuclear energy is a form of national self-harm.
Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh
Thus, the Tories lost a vital by-election and Sir Oliver Dowden resigned as Speaker. Tory MPs have shown some sympathy for their former president, calling him an honorable man.
But Conservative MPs must now face reality. The thing is, the electorate is focused on honor right now. So those who supported Boris Johnson for as long as they could can no longer be considered honourable. This bird has flown away.
Tory MPs need to realign themselves with decent Tory voters who have repeatedly sent the message that the party needs a full reset.
This moment bears some similarity to how voters were let down by Tony Blair and his dodgy record. A rejection of dodgy leaders has left Labor with more than a decade of soul-searching.
The message is that when you’re feeling sick, it’s often best to vomit. The longer it takes to learn the lessons, the longer the introspection will last. Honest arguments, honest assessment, honest behavior and honest record are needed now. I want an honest conservative party to rise by the next election. But there must be new faces taking the leadership of the Tories. If I see Prime Minister Gove or Rabb campaigning in the next election, I’ll vomit.
By-election results: why Boris Johnson is no longer a winner and it’s either…
Losing two by-elections in a single day was a blow – albeit hardly unexpected – for the Conservative Party. The moans and gnashing of teeth will be even greater in the ranks of the SNP, however.
Another bell in the death knell of Boris Johnson is good for the country but not for the SNP. As their campaign in recent local elections has shown, he is certainly their best, if not their only, weapon in their crusade for separation. Whoever succeeds him will of course become the new pet peeve, but none of the likely candidates will create as much stigma as Boris Johnson.
The SNP will not welcome the resurgence of the Labor and Liberal Democrat parties either. Indeed, the return of a Labor government at the next UK election – or even a Labor/Lib Den coalition – would make the SNP very reluctant to demand a referendum and end any hope of independence for, well, maybe – to be a generation.
Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh
The anti-independence voices are getting louder every day and seem to belong mainly to two camps: (a) the misinformed; and (b) the pure delusions, including regular North British politicians like Ian Murray (Labour) and Murdo Fraser (Conservative).
To be fair to the first group, it’s hard not to be misinformed, given that the mainstream media’s default pro-Union stance also doesn’t reflect (a) the sustained support for independence of the half of Scottish voters over the past six years, or (b) the extreme danger to Scotland’s economic well-being posed by its status as a British region in the post-Brexit economic future ahead of us, linked to the struggling British economy. The OECD and IMF recently predicted zero growth for the UK economy over the next year (the weakest of any developed country) and the highest inflation.
By contrast, the strong economic performance of Scotland’s equivalent-sized neighbours, for example Denmark and Ireland (both have GDP per capita at least 30% higher than the UK), demonstrates the resilience of medium-sized economies connecting, adapting and growing within the large EU single market. Scotland is (potentially) an energy powerhouse and our wider wealth and resources at least match those of our equally sized and prosperous neighbours. But above all, without independence and without our place alongside our peers in our regional single market, we do not have the means to manage them for our economic security.
The post-Brexit UK economy is in long-term decline; no US trade deal is in sight to save it. Scotland is neither small nor poor; but trapped inside the UK economy, we are isolated and in long-term economic danger, in stark contrast to our close neighbors across the North Seas and Ireland. The only path to a prosperous and prosperous Scotland that is able to realize the benefits of its own considerable wealth is independence and membership in our single regional/European market.
D Jamieson, Dunbar, East Lothian
Les Mackay (Letters, 23 June) writes that Westminster says Scotland is “too small, too poor and too stupid” to be independent.
Was this really said by the British government? It is often quoted but I fear it is being stated more by those vying for independence, probably in an attempt to incite division but perhaps also a reflection of the reality of the SNP – who are too small , too poor and certainly too stupid to be in charge of a country.
I feel quite justified in saying this as they have amassed a very real and far from impressive record of failure, inaction and sheer incompetence. Meanwhile, I’m off to re-read my childhood copies of the Oor Wullie Annuals to refresh my Scottish.
Crawford Mackie questioning the existence of a verifiable Scots language (Letters, June 23) recalls a scene from the film The Road to Bali in which Bob Hope and Bing Crosby (in kilts) sing: “Hoots, mon, whaur ur y ‘Gaun who do you think you are…r…r”. Etc.
It was in a major production for worldwide distribution, so the hard-headed bean counters at Paramount Pictures must have thought there was some sort of Scots language that would have been widely recognized at that time.
Maybe Mr. Mackie had a little heedrum-hodrum attack.
With a 30% increase in infections and a 15% increase in hospitalizations over the past week, should we be worried about the new Covid wave?
Health experts like Linda Bauld aren’t too worried given that Covid deaths are happening around 40 a week and the over 75s and clinically vulnerable people have some degree of protection with the second booster. . This, however, masks the long-term risk of Covid, which currently affects 150,000 in Scotland, a very serious disease. Additionally, experts have expressed concern about potential new variants and called for a vaccination program for the over-50s in the fall, which is welcome given that the majority of the population no longer appears to be taking precautions.
The Scottish Government could point out that the majority of cases are in women between the ages of 20 and 64. Her own data shows that since February, women in this age group are up to twice as likely to contract Covid as men and up to three times more likely to contract Covid. be reinfected than men. In the week beginning June 13, for example, cases for women in this age group were 82% higher than for men of the same age and in the previous two weeks, 74% higher.
The Scottish Government was warned of a potentially higher infection rate among women in its Omicron report published in January. With this now realized, it is important that young and middle-aged women are aware that they are potentially much more susceptible to infection with Omicron. The government must be clear and communicate all the facts about Covid.
In the Patrick Grady MP case (Scotsman, June 24), a taped SNP meeting shows another group of British politicians who don’t think rules and conventions apply to them. However, this same SNP frequently points the finger at other representatives!
William Ballantine, Bo’ness, West Lothian
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