I READ with a degree of frustration the article “First hybrid electric flights for Scotland” (Aug 13). I understand that Graeme Dey (below right), the latest in a long line of Scottish transport ministers, was actually in Orkney viewing this electric-powered aircraft. A great innovation and a small step for Scottish mankind (and womankind), you might initially think.

However, all is not as it seems. Only one of the twin engines in the tiny, six-seater Cessna Skymaster has been replaced with an electric motor. The plane was designed in the 1960s and this one was actually built in 1974. After initial test flights in Hawaii, it had to be shipped to Scotland for its first flight across open water between Orkney and Wick.

A huge battery pack attached to the underbelly helps keep the aircraft running for several hours in the right conditions. About 90 minutes of rapid charging apparently provides around an hour of flight. I wonder if the right conditions include a stormy winter’s night over the Pentland Firth.

READ MORE: First hybrid electric flights between Orkney and Wick

I can find no evidence that Mr Dey has, as yet, visited the other dual-fuelled, multimillion-pound financial and technical disasters which still sit in Fergusons shipyard in Port Glasgow.

The ferries, Glen Sannox and a still-to-be-named ship known as hull 802, are not expected to be completed, if ever, until mid to late 2022 and 2023, with the costs having roughly doubled. In a report in December 2020, MSPs on Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee said the procurement of the boats from the Ferguson yard in Port Glasgow was “a catastrophic failure”.

The inquiry found that the procurement process was not fit for purpose. The turnaround director appointed by the government insisted the losses were due to “accounting matters”. It has recently come to light that last year he was paid more than £790,000, including fees and expenses. His fees and salary amounted to £2565 per day to run the yard for the Scottish Government.

It seems that one of the most recent of many problems to delay this project is a lack of skilled labour. Given the proud history of shipbuilding on the Clyde, this is a sad reflection on decades of Scottish industrial decline.

The residents of Scotland’s islands deserve decent, affordable ferry services, not pie-in-the-sky projects with tiny, half-electric powered airplanes.

Glenda Burns

THE Union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England is of another day and another time. It is beyond peradventure that the Treaty of Union of 1707 between both was engineered by English bribery and corruption of Scotland’s then governing class of lords and barons, laid low by collapse of the Darian Scheme.

It is an anachronism that hasn’t stood the test of time for Scotland, with the loss of hundreds of billions of pounds worth of our God-given natural assets, hidden from our eyes for a generation by that same unscrupulous neighbour, while appropriating sums so vast that they didn’t even have to count it while they set about squandering fortunes on renewing London’s infrastructure and building England’s half of the Channel Tunnel.

What did Scotland get out of that? Not a penny, while our exploitative neighbours, though they may deny it, are still loading giant tankers from our offshore oil fields, and shipping it to foreign ports where it’s already been sold for billions.

They try to absolve themselves from these transactions by naming them as happening in unknown territory, knowing full well that it all comes from Scottish waters.

Why do so many Scottish voters still cling to the blatantly obvious spivs, criminals and liars that inhabit Westminster? Does honesty and decency have no part in their lives? Some of our pensioners may be wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice, but what about the vast majority? Which one of you, struggling to live on the meanest pension in the civilised world, would decline an increase to £300 per week as proposed for an independent Scotland?

The majority of you had the blessing of a sound Scottish education. Please use it, and start using your common sense because following a Yes majority in a new independence referendum there will be no English political parties to vote for in the Scottish Parliament, and England will have become a mere backwater to us, remote from Scotland, where they can continue to rob English folk and peddle their lies.

Bruce Moglia
Bridge of Weir

BAXTERS are obviously impressed by Ruth Davidson’s meteoric rise through the ranks to the Lords before inviting her to become a non-executive director.

Will her portrait in ermine be hung on the company’s boardroom wall and reproduced on their product labels as an example for all these people shopping in supermarkets of what a young person can achieve in such a short time?

John Jamieson
South Queensferry