AS a Green, I share the vision of all right-minded people that we need to change how we heat and insulate our homes if we are to meet our climate targets.

But I do wonder just how much Patrick Harvie’s ambitions are just that – ambitions, but lacking any credible substance as to how they might be achieved?

If we can’t at present even provide enough homes, of any standard, for everyone that needs them, far less have almost any built to the standards of insulation that were commonplace in Scandinavia even 30 years ago, how on earth are we going to do so now and also convert all homes to greener forms of insulation and heating by any foreseeable date, far less that set out in the Scottish Government’s proposals?

READ MORE: How can Scotland best heat its buildings? Let's look to Scandinavia

I’m tired of being told that we are a rich country. We are not. If we were, we wouldn’t be proposing to pay our care workers a mere £12 an hour, less than £1 more than the proposed new minimum wage. Poverty wages for people we say are doing important work. Like banging pots for NHS workers, it’s neither good enough nor the answer.

We have thousands of homes that are barely fit to live in, year on year we see public services being cut back and a total reluctance by both Scottish and UK governments to find the funding we need to address this through taxation. Only last week our Finance Secretary was wringing her hands and saying savings would need to be found as local government faced yet another year of cuts.

It’s time the Greens and the SNP got some proper economists on board, including some willing to tell them the truth about comparisons with Scandinavia, who know a thing or two about taxation. As Thatcher pointed out, there is no such thing as a free lunch; and there is certainly no such things as a free upgrade of old housing’s insulation and heating systems, legislate as one may. Fine words from Mr Harvie, but I’m minded of Hitler in his bunker moving imaginary armies to stop the Russian advance.

READ MORE: Scotland on 'by far most ambitious timeline' in UK for green heating

It’s time for Mr Harvie et al to wake up and smell the deficit. To think that you can just ask landlords and householders to simply bridge the gap is sheer fantasy. Perhaps a few MSPs should spend some time away from Holyrood, or even better, have their salaries pegged to national average earnings? Perhaps those amongst them who believe in the free market would settle for the national minimum wage – after all, it’s not as though the jobs would be hard to fill?

I’m free if Mr Harvie needs a special advisor – on a modest salary of course – who will spell out the unalloyed truth. I did so on oil and Norway for Thatcher. I’d like to think that the Greens would be more appreciative of some hard facts than was she. My report was quickly recycled. And they say Tories aren’t Green!

Michael Collie

AS we enter a cold snap in the weather, energy is something we all depend on, whether it is for heating or eating. This Thursday is not only St Andrew’s Day, it is also Fuel Poverty Awareness Day – incredible in energy-rich Scotland, the energy capital of Europe.

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Recently released figures indicate that almost 30% of households in Scotland are living in extreme fuel poverty, a massive increase from 12% in 2019, yet Scotland has no powers over energy, no powers to call in the energy suppliers. It is the UK Government who have powers over energy policy, they also have powers over the majority of welfare policy, yet last week’s Autumn Statement heard absolutely nothing from the Chancellor regarding fuel poverty, no assistance for the 30% who sit shivering and cannot cook themselves a hot meal, a shameful reflection on the UK Government. Once again it is the SNP in government who have stepped up with mitigating measures on this crucial and vital issue. Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf on taking office announced that the Fuel Insecurity Fund would triple next year from £10 million annually to £30m, making a huge difference to struggling households and also assisting in addressing household fuel poverty and poverty in general.

Catriona C Clark

RISHI Sunak has shown himself to be quite unbelievably petty over the Elgin Marbles fiasco. With some pleasure my partner pointed out that the National Museum of Scotland was the first to return an artefact (the Nisga’a nation’s totem pole) to its rightful owners in Canada. There is also, of course, the matter of Charles III feeling the need to sit above a symbol of Scotland, whilst being dribbled with oil blessed by the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Stone of Destiny was stolen from the Scots in 1296.

Tony Kime

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THE question from a reader on Tuesday in your National Conversation pages was “will Salmond now be blamed if SNP have a poor election result?” The answer – YES.

David Coll
Isle of Bute