I REFER to the recent two letters from my good friend Alex Leggatt. In his first (July 16) he correctly argued the primacy of policies to tackle our climate emergency.

In his second last week (July 23) he asked the question, were we courageous enough to take significant necessary action in time. Sadly, unless we take mass action to take power, I fear the answer is no.

While a majority may be ready to make these significant necessary changes, those in power are not. In Europe, coal is being considered as a substitute for Russian-withheld gas. In the Tory leadership race for our next prime minister, a very low priority is being given to climate change, with Sunak wanting to ban future onshore wind farms and Truss promoting fracking and nuclear power plants.

READ MORE: Power plant gets permission to use faeces as fuel despite smell concerns

The policy of our own Scottish Government is to agree with the UK in allowing multinationals to continue to extract oil and gas from under the North Sea so that “blue” hydrogen can be produced from methane rather than the “green” method of the electrolysis of water using renewable energy. Vested interests from those in power in governments and multinationals produce short-term policies to either retain power or for financial gain are prominent. Shell and Centrica reported half-year profits in the billions last week.

Individuals can write to newspapers or their elected representatives, groups such as the Common Weal can suggest a comprehensive and radical green new deal for Scotland (“Our Common Home”), but it is too easy for those in power to ignore alternatives. Greenpeace and the Greta Thunberg movement, through legal and direct action, cause a nuisance to those in power but they are only inconvenienced.

Mass action is required around the globe to save our planet. We can only start here in Scotland and hope it spreads. Mass refusal to pay the poll tax ended that policy, so maybe mass refusal to pay energy bills will have a similar effect on price rises. We have more than two months to organise before the next planned price rises in October. A commitment to stop paying energy bills if there is any increase would show solidarity with those who cannot afford to pay anyway. It would result in being cut off if only a few hundred took part, but not if the numbers were in the hundreds of thousands.

Do we have the courage?

Campbell Anderson

FOR the fourth or fifth time in recent weeks I heard on Monday on the BBC Home Counties news (otherwise known as Radio 4) that, due to the ongoing drought in southern England, “other parts of the United Kingdom with more water will be required to transfer it where it is needed.”

I fear we are being softened up for an asset grab for Scotland’s water. There are dryer, more arid areas of Europe that do not have England’s problems with water. The reason is simple: England’s privatised water companies have been too busy stiffing consumers and pocketing profits to invest adequately in infrastructure like reservoirs, and mending their chronically leaky pipes. Scotland, it seems, will have to pay for this failure.

READ MORE: Here are the drugs that are poisoning Scotland’s water

We should prepare for UK minsters to use their “Henry VIII” laws (ministerial edicts) to overrule the Scottish Government in this “emergency”, privatise Scottish Water, and order the construction of south-bound pipelines. We must resist any such asset-grab by politicians we do not elect.

Naturally, an independent Scotland should be prepared to assist our negligent southern neighbour by exporting any surplus publicly owned water on a fair commercial basis. Perhaps they might then invest properly in their infrastructure.

Dr John O’Dowd
Bothwell, Lanarkshire