THE quiet town of Williston, North Dakota, USA, had a population of around 10,000; then fracking arrived and the population increased to 35,000: then the oil price plummeted to a record low and the population of Williston plummeted with it.

The Salvation Army in Williston went from dealing with 25 homeless cases per month to 25 per day. The barracks built to accommodate the oil workers lay empty and the money spent by oil workers in the shops dried up. The fracking dream had exploded spectacularly.

I ask this question of fellow Scots: given the experience of Williston and many other fracking towns in the US, why is Scotland even considering fracking? The environmental damage alone should be enough for a ban.

We ignore the experience of towns like Williston at our peril. They have ended up with environmental damage and little to show for it.

The pro-fracking lobby wants to ignore the plight of Williston so that they can sell a false prospectus to Scotland. Beware Unionists and others bearing fracking gifts. They are tainted goods.
William C McLaughlin

I feel as welcome in Scotland as ever after EU vote

YESTERDAY, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and ministers discussed Brexit with concerned EU nationals at a specially hosted event in Edinburgh. I am one of around 173,000 people from other EU countries who live in Scotland and whose status may be affected by the Brexit vote. Do I still feel welcome in Scotland? Absolutely! My daily experience hasn’t changed at all and I feel as much part of my community as ever. To the people around me, I am still a neighbour, friend or fellow citizen irrespective of my nationality – and I deeply appreciate the way I have been made to feel welcome from the first day of my arrival.

Do I feel relaxed about my future status post-Brexit? Not really. In the political language, I have mutated from “fellow citizen” to “EU national living in the UK”. Will my current status be retained or will I have to prove my right to stay – retrospectively, after 16 years of living in the UK, married to a British man and doing my best to be a good citizen? Nicola Sturgeon did the right thing when she emphasised in her speech on the morning after the referendum that EU nationals are valued in Scotland. Beyond that, there is precious little she can do about our situation apart from calling on the UK Government to end any uncertainty. And while some EU immigrants may now see Scottish independence as an effective remedy I, personally, don’t want my situation being drawn into the constitutional debate.
Regina Erich

IT may be that the IMF source relating to Scotland’s GDP I quoted is open to question, as stated by Allan Sutherland (Letters, August 18). I concede this – just as Mr Sutherland has accepted that the figure he quoted for Trident’s cost of £100 billion is around 50 per cent of the actual cost.

What I will not concede is the accuracy of the GERS figures with its totally distorted misrepresentations, including the mythical £15bn deficit which has become a mantra for Unionist.
Douglas Turner

THIS sharp-eyed reader notes that Allan Sutherland used the pre-Brexit exchange rate of £1=$1.50. The actual exchange rate since June’s referendum has been £1=$1.30 so the $258 billion he mentions more correctly translates as £198.46bn. That’s more than ~ a spit away from £150bn.
Neil Caple

IT is encouraging to see so much debate about the currency arrangements that would best suit a newly independent Scotland. In the 2014 referendum the proposal of a currency union with England was crudely rebuffed and there seems no reason to renew that offer, however sensible in the short-term.

However, a senior specialist in risk management in one of the largest UK banks said to me when I expressed surprise that he had voted Yes in 2014, that “a period of instability is worth paying to gain long-term control of our assets”. A cold analysis perhaps, but an encouraging one for Scotland. Our currency options are obvious. For a period of, say, five years we can use sterling without a “bank of last resort” but with tighter regulation. If any banks don’t like that, let them go elsewhere to a regime more tolerant of their risky approach. Alternatively, we can go for a Scots pound pegged to sterling. This is what, for example, Singapore does vis-a-vis the US dollar but suffers from the same disadvantage, as sterling continues to decline.

Or we can kiss sterling goodbye and establish our own currency and central bank, allowing the market to determine its value. That way, if necessary, we must ride out a “period of instability in order to gain long-term control of our assets”.
Peter Craigie

SURELY the letter saying that non-Jews were welcome with the creation of Israel in 1948 is a spoof or is it an example of Mickey Mouse history?

The hundreds of thousands languishing in refugee camps since 1948, unable to return to their towns and villages for the last 68 years, plus the refugees created by Israel’s invasions since, is precisely because they DON’T have a RIGHT TO RETURN. In fact the Right to Return is part of the peace negotiations.

Please let’s have no more historical nonsense on such a tragic topic.
B McKenna

IN Hamish MacPherson’s article (Engineering a relationship, The National, August 17) appears the oft-repeated error that Thomas Blake Glover was the “first non-Japanese” to be honoured with the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun. He wasn’t by a long chalk overall or in the particular (second) class in which he held the Order. Neither was he the first Brit, nor indeed the first Scot, to be so honoured. That latter distinction went in 1891 to Professor Cargill Gilston Knott, the distinguished mathematician and physicist. Glover’s award wasn’t until 1908.
Geoff Goolnik

I DON’T know if its just me, but I am becoming more and more annoyed by the BBC’s hysterical coverage of the Olympics. My licence fee appears to be funding a gigantic beano of rampant nationalism.

The medal leaderboard now appears to be the most important factor, with athletes draped in Union Flags depersonalised to mere medal statistics.
Terry Keegans