CLARK Cross’s claim that “Scotland regularly imports ‘tainted’ English electricity” (Letters, August 1) reminded me of a similar statement on  Radio Scotland in February 2015, that: “Scotland doesn’t have enough energy to cover its needs and is importing power from the rest of the UK one day in every four.”

As an independence campaigner I was well aware of the BBC’s record on veracity in connection with most things Scottish so I decided to check it out. I went on to the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) website and found  and article entitled Energy Trends December 2015 – Electricity Generated in Scotland”.

The percentages for electricity generation were nuclear 33.3 per cent,  renewables 38 per cent, coal 20.3 per cent, gas/oil 8.4 per cent. In addition, the DECC says: “Scotland required only 76.3 per cent of the electricity generated there and exported 23.7 per cent to consumers in the rest of the UK.”

So even if we factor in the loss of Longannet’s 20.3 pert cent coal contribution following its closure, Scotland still produces more electricity than it needs. The DECC also stated: “England is a net importer of electricity from Scotland and from continental Europe. Net imports from France were a record high 15.0 TWh (terawatt hours), while net imports from The Netherlands were 7.9TWh, also a record high.”

Accessing the web page Energy in Scotland 2016 – Key Facts, I found that the Total gas field that came onstream in February 2016 can supply 100 per cent of Scotland’s gas needs while existing gas fields currently over-supply our gas needs by more than 400 per cent. Also in 2015, Scotland produced 18,700 tonnes (oil equivalent) of offshore gas of which 4,600 tonnes were used here with 14,100 tonnes being exported to England.

These energy exporting statistics seem pretty impressive for a country that “doesn’t have enough energy to cover its needs”.  Interestingly, 40 per cent of rUK gas need comes from the Norwegian Sleipner field via the largest undersea pipeline in the world which Scottish taxpayers are paying for pro rata although we use/need none of this gas. No doubt this is classed as Scottish expenditure in the GERS data.

Mr Cross claims “Scotland’s energy policy of wind turbines has failed” Wind turbine generation plays a key role in the renewables sector which produced 57.7 per cent of Scotland’s electricity in 2015 and employs 21,000 people in in this country. Some failure.

Bill Bennett, Denny

THE usual moans from the usual greeters on the issue of a Scottish Six. No need for it, they chant. What is striking is the knee-jerk cry that any news with a Scottish focus is per se parochial. By the same token, English news must be parochial, too. The greeters counter that the BBC News at Six goes beyond England and Britain. Yet, the bulk of it focuses on England, especially the sport.

Even more disturbing are the breakfast programmes. We are subjected to a torrent of nearly always trite, mostly England-based items delivered by excruciating accents from down south with a squeezed in slot for a wee word about Scotland.

If some feel uneasy about a Scottish Six, maybe that has to do with the quality of some of the existing presenters. The many criticisms levelled against them, the outcry against “distorted” verbal and visual images coming to our screens from Pacific Quay in Glasgow when referring to Scotland, and the often folksy trivialisation of issues and topics, indicate the need not only for a change of title and programme length, but also change of personnel both on the screen and behind the scenes.

John Edgar, Blackford

PAT Mackenzie refers to my letter regarding the term “welfare” etc as “pretty words”. (Terminology is well down list of benefit issues, Letters, The National, August 3).

I agree that we won’t change a culture with “semantics”, but we also won’t change it without addressing the deliberate changes in terminology that have gone hand in hand with the establishment of an increasingly punitive and demonising social security system. Indeed, they are part and parcel of it.

As one of the many people for whom life has become a living hell the last few years due to the benefits system, I am all too painfully aware of the desperate need for substantive changes to assessments and so on, and have argued against benefit changes and cuts in many other letters to The National.

However, I also recognise how crucial the language has been and is around benefits. I was an advice worker for about 10 years, a time during which unemployment benefit became Jobseeker’s Allowance. During subsequent years, incapacity benefit became Employment and Support Allowance, sick notes became fit notes, Disability Living Allowance has become Personal Independence Payment, etc.

This gradual removal of the language of unemployment, illness and disability from the benefits system is no coincidence. It’s been documented elsewhere that ministers from both the New Labour and coalition governments consulted so-called welfare gurus in the US in order to get some pointers as to how to make our benefits system more akin to theirs – ie more difficult.

The terminology was part of this, as it was and continues to be in the US, where single parents reliant on benefits have been referred to as “welfare queens” and “welfare” generally is a dirty word.

Pat states “language can be empty”, and I agree – the hogwash spouted by Cameron, May et al to pretend they care about poor people is a perfect example. But language, not least the term “welfare”, can also be loaded, deliberately weaponised to influence and reinforce attitudes, to pander to prejudice and encourage support for systematic state-sanctioned cruelty. Far from being well down the list of benefit issue, terminology is crucial.

Mo Maclean, Glasgow

IT was interesting, and not without irony, to read about the appointment of “ambassadors” – yet more marketspeak – in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh to help visitors have a great “experience” (Grassmarket offers a special welcome, The National, August 3). This at the same time as the city council’s planning committee is doing its best to destroy the real historical legacy of the Old Town with the creation of more and more hotels at the cost of the day-to-day “experience” of the people who live and work there. Why not just pull the place down and build a Disney-type parody, open only to paying customers? Are the “ambassadors” required to wear period costume?

Mike Nolan, Edinburgh

I’M in complete agreement with Rab Wilson (Rab Wilson: Lack of protection o the people must be sortit oot, The National, July 21), that there is evidence that maist o the daiths he refers to “cuid an shuid hae been preventit gin the law hud been complied wi in Scotland”.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) hae campaigned fur the lest 100 years tae sae li’es an’ reduce injuries.

Accident prevention shuid be Scotland’s tap priority. Accidents cost society mair than £12.4 billion per annum, of which A&E attendances cost the NHS £1.48bn. If we tak’ a mair strategic approach we cuid together reduce Scotland’s principal cause ay death fur fowk up tae th’ age ay 44 an’ tackle Scotland’s leadin’ cause ay premature preventable death.

The case is outlined in Scotland’s Big Book of Accident Prevention, available at

Dr Karen McDonnell, Head of RoSPA Scotland

IN reply to James Cassidy (Letters, August 3): James, it’s not me that’s stating it, nor is it my logic, as you suggest. Highway Code rule 64 for cyclists states: “You must not cycle on a pavement.”

G Foulis, Edinburgh