CHINA’S steel production and pricing on the world market is not something the UK Government can tackle on its own, given that “dumping” has a technical definition in world trade terminology, and can only be dealt with at World Trade Organisation level. However, Chinese steel imports are only part of the reason for the threat to our steel industry.

Although I am not surprised that politicians, want us to concentrate on China rather than their own role in this mess. Tata has given “cripplingly high” energy costs for its decision to shed jobs at Scunthorpe, and others in the industry who have made the same declaration are finding their views relegated to the business sections of the newspapers, and glided over by the superficial reporting that has become the norm in television. The UK, which is closing coal-fired power stations charges steel and other companies £49.90 per megawatt hour, whereas in Germany, which is building two new coal-fired stations, the charge is £21.45. In France, it’s £27.14. The reason for this glaring and crippling disparity is that green taxes on business in the UK are among the highest in the world. Something like one-third of industrial electricity cost is due to these taxes. China, India and many others have continued to pour out

CO2 over the years, rendering the claim of more CO2 equals higher global temperatures a nonsense, because there has been no increase in global temperatures for the past nineteen years. Yet, the politicians, captured by the green lobby and bogus science, have not let up on the energy costs they burden industry with. Perhaps, even at this late stage, our politicians at Holyrood and Westminster will reconsider their position by reading and learning from the recent resignation letter from the American Physics Society of Emeritus

Professor Hal Lewis of University of California at Santa Barbara, citing among his reasons: “It is, of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists. It is the greatest pseudo-scientific fraud I have ever seen in my life.” It is not only steel production that is at stake, but also the many companies and jobs that are in its supply chain, and those that use it. Try maintaining or restoring manufacturing if its source of steel has to be imported. The factor of extreme energy costs can be tackled now by our political masters.

They only need to ditch the pseudo-science to see the way to act. Scotland is now in the competitive global economy where, particularly in Asia, political and social systems, poverty and the impact of these factors on production costs, will make it hard for our manufacturing industries to survive. To survive energy costs will be one of the decisive matters, and I hope there will be a reconsideration of our energy policy, which is a political delusion, but a grave handicap in the real economy; and that when fracking (a potential source of vast amounts of cheap energy) is considered, it will be the scientific facts and not the green vocabulary of scaremongering that will determine policy.

Jim Sillars
Former Deputy Leader of the SNP


Winter deaths is a complex issue to solve

YOUR article on the increase in winter deaths (Government urged to insulate homes after deaths surge, The National, October 21) may give the impression that this problem had a simple solution – insulate cold and draughty homes. Sadly this is not the case. The Scottish Government has for several years offered subsidies of up to 100 per cent for loft or cavity wall insulation. I was involved in a campaign a few years ago in which 90 per cent of householders in Bute were contacted. Not only were the government’s insulation offers made clear in simple language, but other energy-saving measures were also explained. Many of those contacted took up the insulation offer.

The problem is unfortunately more complex than that. Many properties are simply not suitable for cavity-wall or loft insulation: for instance flats (but not on the top floor), or properties with solid walls. With rented properties, which are also covered by the scheme, the problem is often with landlords who are unwilling to provide basic information about themselves. Yes, there is undoubtedly a problem with historic housing stock, and with more recent stock built to inadequate standards. However, the major factor in the increase in winter deaths is more likely to be the price of energy. Until energy provision is taken out of the hands of profit-oriented corporations and placed fully in state control, we can expect the increase of the deaths of the poor and the cold to continue.

Allan Martin
Isle of Bute

I WAS interested to read the feature by Martin Hannan which highlighted that renewable industry representatives have called for consumers to be given “the full picture” on subsidies as part of the UK Government’s consultation on ending the feed-in tariff for wind and solar power (Report finds wind and solar power is cutting wholesale cost of energy, The National, October 21) I fully support the continuation of a move to renewables and hope, like many of your readers, that

Scotland will continue to develop wind, solar and tidal resources for the benefit of the consumer, and the planet, irrespective of what the UK Government finally decides. In my own work I come into contact with many visitors from overseas and I gain an insight into how other economies are adapting to the need for developing renewables. One of the more interesting revelations, in terms of land-based wind farms, and one that I would recommend the Scottish

Government consider is that in certain states of North America, land suitable for large scale wind farm developments is identified by government officials and, where deemed suitable, that land is then acquired for the state through a process of compulsory purchase. It is then the state that finances the erection of wind turbines with the subsequent revenues being accrued for the benefit of the tax payer. There is therefore no need for a “subsidy” as it is self-financing and of course the revenues created benefits all within the state, not just a limited number of landowners. I would suggest this could be a suitable model for the Scottish Government to consider. Hopefully it will have sufficient powers, post-Smith, to raise the required finance to support such a development model and without any need to rely on the UK Government.
Ian Stewart
Isle of Skye

THE article in Wednesday’s edition on the agreement between the Scottish Government and Chinese and Portuguese firms is continuing good news for the renewables sector (Chinese and Portuguese firms join forces to build wind farm capable of supplying power to 700,00 homes, The National, October 21). However,

I fear a huge opportunity is being lost here. Ships arrive here regularly from Spain, Portugal, Denmark and Germany loaded with the component parts for these turbines. It seems very little is manufactured here. All of the parts for these constructions require to be replaced at regular intervals (except the Towers, some of which are made in Macrahanish). Turbines, blades, gearboxes and all the spare parts required should be made in this country creating jobs. Can the government not insist before handing out contracts that more should be done to bring the jobs here. We are losing out in the rush to meet renewable targets.
B Winton

I WAS dismayed to see Kevin McKenna characterise those who are opposed to a restriction of women’s rights in a modern Scotland as intolerant, hostile and tribal (Why are traditional Christian views on abortion met with intolerance and hostility? October 19, 2015) . Those of us who support abortion rights are pro-choice. This means we accept others may believe, often for deeply held religious reasons, that life begins at the moment of conception and therefore abortion is always wrong. What we don’t accept are attempts to force this view on others. It is a pity that Mr McKenna refuses to see that we too are standing up for what we believe in.
Eva Stalker

I WATCHED our new Chinese economic overlord at his recent press conference, where he said: “China combines the ‘universal value’ of human rights with China’s reality”. What part of “universal” does President Xi not understand? If something is universal it is not qualified by national distinctions or definitions. It would appear that his definition of human rights is akin to China’s definition of its apparently

Marxist ideology – socialism with Chinese characteristics. President Xi seems to live in a Humpty Dumpty Polity. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
John McArthur