THE January 5 edition of the The National sparked a feeding frenzy over “devo-max”, but my attention was caught by two other articles and a very powerful letter.

Firstly, on page nine Kirsteen Paterson welcomed the announcement that Scotland is now producing 20% of all UK renewable energy. She might have added that Scotland’s maximum generating capacity is about 12,500 MW, of which some 7000 MW comes from wind turbines. These turbines are worthless when there is no wind, and solar panels are worthless when there is no sun. We have some 2400 MW nuclear capacity and 1500 MW gas capacity. While we export electricity to England when the wind is blowing, we rely on vital English support during these frosty, calm, dark days of mid-winter. Kirsteen never thinks to tell us that renewable power is massively subsidised, and can only exist through fossil fuel back-up. So much for the “green gain”!

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Secondly, on page 14 we have an exclusive by Greg Russell quoting Stirling University Professor Andrew Watterson, who asked whether professionals involved in fracking can in “any way ethically justify their actions.” Speaking as an energy professional who has been involved (and will continue to be involved) in fracking, I can assure the good professor that it is quite simple to justify our ethical position. The oil industry powers the world, clothes the world, lights the world and feeds the world (the latter through gas derived nitrate fertilisers). Does Prof Watterson feel "ethically challenged" when he switches his lights on?

Lastly, and very sadly, we have the long letter by Mr Charlie Kerr from Glenrothes, who details how energy costs are eroding his all-too-meagre state pension. His detailed arithmetic is very moving, and far worse lies ahead. On April 1 this year the energy cap will be revised, and very high gas prices are here to stay. Additionally, he may be asked in the next few years to fork out around £10,000 for a heat pump. Electricity demand is sure to massively increase when electric cars are made mandatory starting in 2030 for new sales.

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Mr Kerr wants Mike Russell to nationalise utility providers but this is the wrong target. It would require huge upfront capital investment, while the reality is that the utilities are surviving on very narrow profit margins (because of the green subsidies and the rocketing costs of gas) or are not surviving at all (how many have gone bankrupt in the last wee while?).

Can I propose a different solution? Scrap the green subsidies and start fracking for the plentiful sources of gas and condensate which lie under the Scottish Central Belt and the English Bowland shale. And could we not simply produce our offshore gas, such as in the now-in-limbo Jackdaw Field? Sadly, both SNP in Edinburgh and Conservatives in London have bought into the same green fantasy world.

Meanwhile our pensioners and our poor are freezing in the dark. All for the goal of reducing Scotland’s 0.1% contribution to the world’s CO2 emissions, in a world where India “may” phase out coal by 2070 and China is obviously not interested. You couldn’t make it up!

Willliam Ross

AS a Celtic supporter I must take issue with the comments of Jim Taylor of Edinburgh with regard to the worth of the Celtic academy and youth system.

Over the last ten years or so Celtic have produced and played many players who have come through the academy or youth system. Even if they didn’t make the Celtic first team they have gone on to success with other clubs. The evidence?

Kieran Tierney, Calum MacGregor, James Forest, Andy Robertson, Anthony Ralston, Stephen Welsh, Adam Montgomery, Mikey Johnston, Owen Moffat, Liam Henderson, Ewan Henderson, David Marshall. Eight of these players have played for the first team this season. This list is not exhaustive.

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The club and hence the fans fund the considerable costs of running such a successful enterprise to the benefit of Scottish football. The big problem in Scottish football is the lack of good competitive games at youth level, with the loss of reserve leagues many years ago. Hence now the B teams in the lower league. In the last couple of years we have had two 15-year-old players poached by German clubs, which may have been related to this lack of competition.

Football apart, the Celtic Foundation through its football for good fund has raised and distributed about £2 million since March 2020 to help people through the pandemic. The fund is distributed through many local charities to alleviate poverty. This is money contributed by Celtic fans. Celtic and their fans make a large and generous contribution to Scottish football and Scottish society.

Jim, you are just plain wrong.

Robert Harvie
via email

MORRISONS supermarket has just announced that they will remove the use-by date on milk and rely on the judgement of customers using a “sniff test”.

Funny time to do this, with Covid raging and a main symptom being lack of smell. As Theresa May would say, “now is not the time.”

Winifred McCartney