WHEN discussing the huge UK energy price increases and all its consequences – including hyperinflation projected to be about 15% and strikes due to wage demands to meet these increased prices – what never seems to be mentioned is the real reason why the UK is in this situation. As Wee Ginger Dug mentions in his Saturday article, “the responsibility for this disaster lies squarely at the door of the Conservative government” (A ‘Union benefit’ the Tories don’t want the credit for..., Aug 27). However, not just with this Conservative government but principally with previous ones.

It was their political decision to sell off all our oil and gas resources to private industry with the British National Oil Corporation – a publicly owned body – sold off under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government between 1982 and 1988, followed by British Gas sold off in 1986.

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As a result, instead of secure, publicly owned energy resource there is no obligation for these private companies to sell to the UK at favourable rates. So instead of us just having to pay principally for the cost of production, which hasn’t recently increased significantly, the UK has to compete for this oil and gas with other nations on the world energy market, having to pay high prices to gain supplies, even although these resources are available from within our territory boundaries.

Being able to demand highly inflated prices – mainly because of increased world demands due to Covid recovery and the effects on Russian supplies due to the war in Ukraine – these private companies are able to make obscene profits and our purchase price for the oil and gas has increased dramatically.

So the severe effects of these huge energy price increases – with many households unable to afford increased energy and the basic necessities of life, with businesses failing, with very high inflation, with disruption due to workers resorting to strike action for wage increases to be able to survive the resultant price increases – are all the result of the privatisation policies of these historic and current UK Conservative governments, none of which Scotland voted for.

It is urgent that we gain real democratic power with independence, and use the financial levers then available to take back control of our power-producing energy resources. Let’s TAKE BACK THE POWER – twice.

Jim Stamper

THE Sunday Times put out an article this weekend which roughly stated “How the Tories lost a decade in energy supplies”. I’m afraid it seriously underestimated the lost timescale of a decade – more like three decades.

In the 1980s and early 90s the government (at that time Tory) had emasculated the coal industry (after the miners’ strike) and embarked on the “dash for gas” as it was very much cheaper (at that time). They had been warned from the early 80s that there was something called global warming developing, but they paid no heed. The following Blair government (Labour) in 1997 followed the very same tactic (until 2010) , and failed to heed any warnings regarding an over-reliance on gas and oil to meet Britain’s energy needs. They were probably too busy trying to join the USA in an illegal war to concern themselves with energy supplies.

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In 2010 the Tories took power again, with the help of the Liberals, and amongst their first actions was to stop subsidies and progress on a gas storage facility in England and withdraw investment in CO2 storage facilities in abandoned oil wells in the North Sea. (That this project was based at Peterhead likely influenced their decision). In the following years they ceased home insulation projects, promoted gas boiler installations, cut the Green Homes project and generally reduced all spending on “green projects” to meet Cameron’s words of “cut the green crap.”

Had the British governments persisted with even half the green projects that they started, Britain would be better prepared for the present energy crisis, and would be well on the way to net zero by 2050. As it is, it looks most unlikely they will ever meet that target, with the resulting problems for the world. But hey, London can always add height to the Thames Barrier so long as Scotland is there to foot the bill.

Paul Gillon

YOUR sister paper the Sunday National quite rightly blamed the “catastrophic failure” of this Tory shambles of a government for this major crisis in the cost of living. However Labour, while failing to support the unions, is busy supporting Unionism here in Lanarkshire.

Meanwhile we need to hear from the Scottish Government on its plans for mediating the hurt being felt by so many. The public response is, as yet, quite muted but this catastrophe facing the poor, pensioners, working people and the small business sector could create a poll tax type of response.

There is anger and disquiet across the classes led not by politicians but the unions. Politics can turn into desperate measures unless hope is offered and solutions provided.

Thom Cross

NO-ONE needs help with rising fuel prices. What we all need is for the government in London to systematically address the causes of the “cost-of-living crisis” and structural inequalities of its impact rather than continuing to pursue their libertarian agenda of freeing the rich and powerful from constraints on their ability to amass greater wealth and power at the expense of anyone who has less.

We need to get Scotland out of this toxic Union with its corrupted system of government so that we can strive toward better social justice than we can ever hope to have if we remain where we are.

Ni Holmes
St Andrews