Use of plastics protects vulnerable species - Readers letters

The ghoulish theatrics of Extinction Rebellion reflect their take on the future. Their appearance however is more befitting a grizzly past, before the arrival of plastics, when so many of our everyday products emerged from the slaughterhouse.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland campaigners blockade the road and demonstrate outside the Ineos oil refinery at Grangemouth.
Extinction Rebellion Scotland campaigners blockade the road and demonstrate outside the Ineos oil refinery at Grangemouth.

Need a keyboard for that piano? Bang! One of the 120,000 elephants shot every year in the 1880s would fall, to supply the US and UK market with ivory. Keen to keep that fringe in check? Hook! One of nine million hawksbill turtles would be fished out to make the comb. Need a bright reading light? Fire! And the harpoon would land in one of the million whales killed between 1904 and 1978.

The petrochemical industry has saved many of our planet’s most vulnerable species through sustainable product substitution, a point missed by SNP ministers when they cold-shoulder this vital Scottish industry.

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I can understand the frustration felt by the doomsday cults when our globe fails to play ball with their global warming prophecies. This Autumn has witnessed record cold temperatures across the northern hemisphere. The European ski season, which we were assured would melt away forever, kicked off in September for the first time in years.

Blocking the gates of INEOS Grangemouth (Scotsman, 24 October) won’t push the world’s thermometer in the direction of the climate alarmists. Working with petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies will continue to benefit the planet.

While the protests take place outside, inside INEOS is busy making the feedstock for the PPE which is helping the NHS combat the Corona virus. Once a vaccine is found a huge supply of squalene oil will be required to increase its effectiveness.

Currently the only supply of squalene is from shark livers and half a million sharks will be slaughtered to get it. Extinction Rebellion activists who want to save humanity could lend a hand with the fish cull. Or they could have a quiet word in the lug of Jim Ratcliffe and ask his enterprising company to create a synthetic alternative.

Calum Miller

Polwarth Terrace, Prestonpans, East Lothian

Quango autocrats

Once more, snake oil politicians and their Extinction Rebellion stormtroopers moot unelected quangos drawn by supposed random lot (yeah, sure!) as the cure to all ills.

Citizens’ Assemblies are the panacea for the modern liberal fascist whereupon pesky irritants such as the universal franchise can be circumvented in order that the "better" people get to implement what they know is "best" for the nation (that 99 per cent of it tends to be "best for themselves" is a minor detail).

They were first tried on a small scale by those two great circumventors of democracy – Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson – who used 'focus groups' (much loved by toxic corporations) in order to create illlusions of consensus: perverting Abraham Lincoln's famous dictum in that by fooling some of the people at one time you've just fooled all of the people for all time.

Both took their inspiration from Europe's totalitarian regimes who used such devices to disguise their repression to their own people: the baleful presence of party 'observers' to 'guide' them to the 'correct' decisions (and deter 'troublemakers') spoke volumes.

Browbeating a small room of people is far easier than an entire electorate - why else are today's wannabe tyrants so keen to promote it as the way to 'unlock the democratic log jam'? There is no democratic log jam – merely the vexation and terror of our "betters" since the Brexit vote they're no longer guaranteed to always get their own way.

Mark Boyle

Linn Park Gardens, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Labour’s silence

Where is the Scottish Labour Party? Is it missing in action?

Faced with a government in Holyrood that only has one coherent policy – one that will make the least-well off in Scotland poorer – Labour, with the honourable exception of Jackie Baillie, Ian Murray and a few others, apparently has little to say.

What has happened to the party? Has it forgotten what it is? It is the party of Keir Hardie; the party that sent 40 Scottish Labour MPs to build the welfare state with Attlee; the party which, under Tom Johnston, wrought power from the glens; the party which gave Scotland devolution.

Yet faced with an agenda that will make Scotland poorer and hit the vulnerable the hardest, Labour seems to have all but lost its voice. It is less the mouse that roared than the lion that squeaked.

It’s time for the lion to remember who it is – and to roar once again. We have never needed it more.

K. Wright

Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Alphabet scoop

Does the First Minister seriously think the majority of Scots will abide by her latest diktat about Christmas, especially after her appalling attempt to lighten the proceedings by referring to her current Clinical Director as the Grinch.

We now await the details of their London Telephone directory sized list of instructions as to how we should spend Christmas. Here is a precis for anyone that may be interested, with apologies in advance to Buddy Kaye . . .

Level 7 (yes it is coming).

C. Christmas is fully cancelled.

H. Happiness with all the family is banned.

R. Rudolph will not be able to guide Santa's sleigh due to social distancing rules as the forecast for Christmas eve is a pea souper of a fog with visibility reduced to half a metre.

I. Icing not allowed on any cakes in case of temptation to celebrate a birthday party that happens to fall on Christmas Day.

S. Anyone found hanging a stocking on the mantelpiece will be reported to the authorities.

T. Tinsel is totally banned and not allowed to be used at all to decorate anything which might engender a feeling of excitement.

M. Mistletoe shall not be hung anywhere to discourage osculation even if wearing a face mask. .

A. All angels have been stood down and will definitely not be making up any Christmas lists.

S. Santa will not be coming this year kids because he is only allowed to visit one household and it isn't yours!

As Mrs Claus was oft to remark on Christmas Eve: "It looks like rain dear!"

Bah humbug to the lot of them!

Archie Burleigh

Meigle, Skelmorlie. North Ayrshire

Indefensible truce

I see the Bishop of Paisley is calling for a one-day Christmas truce in the battle against the coronavirus, using the analogy of the 1914 truce on the Western Front. He asks that families can meet for that one day.

Unfortunately, unlike in 1914, the virus will not accept any truce and the truce will be on- sided.

To continue the Bishop’s analogy, it is like opening all our defences to a ruthless enemy and setting back our victory perhaps by months, for that one day.

James Duncan

Rattray Grove, Edinburgh

Diversion tactic

You have to hand it to Nicola Sturgeon –she is an expert at sleight of hand.

Instead of the country and press discussing the ongoing cost of the Sick Kids in Edinburgh which still isn’t open; the money spent on two ferries rusting in the docks on the Clyde, the mesh implants unkept promises, the costs of Prestwick airport which is barely used ; the lack of ‘green jobs’ connected to wind energy whilst we have thousands of wind turbines; the lack of testing at universities when students were due to start; the confusion caused by what is a cafe and what is a restaurant; the lack of data given which is used to close various sectors over others, the decision to allow family into care homes for unsupervised visits and placing burden on care homes to make sure this does not lead to a spike; and the debacle that is the Alex Salmond inquiry . . . we are discussing Christmas Day.

And what is the bet that a solution will be found nearer the time and the next discussion will be when the fall guy Jason Leitch mentions no New Year parties.

Elizabeth Hands

Etna Court, Armadale

Stormy outlook

Winter storms coming in from the Atlantic impact most strongly on the West coast of Scotland. How is it then that countries other than Scotland get to name these storms?

Is it because we are to wee or poor to name a storm? Will independence from the rest of the UK allow us to take our rightful place in the storm naming hierarchy?

A B Lewis

Parklands, Coylton

Super idea

I am greatly encouraged by the decision of the Welsh government to ban supermarkets from selling ‘non-essential’ items, not because this measure will do any good – it will not – but because it will lead more people to question the wisdom and effectiveness of the current approach to Covid-19.

Items that reportedly supermarkets in Wales should not sell include: clothing, electrical goods, telephones, homewares and bedding.

Many people might think that children’s clothing, a warm duvet for the autumn or an ADSL filter to keep your broadband working are essential items, but not apparently the Welsh government.

It is now known that the average age of death from a Covid-19 infection is around 80 years old (82 in England) and that most of those dying already suffer from serious medical conditions. For healthy children and working-age adults the risk of death from this disease is very modest indeed.

The Welsh ‘non-essentials’ ban is a sort of reductio ad absurdum measure taking the proposition that the whole nation is at serious risk of death from Covid-19 to its logical conclusion.

Fortunately, it is also a lead indicator that policy will soon change to take a much more realistic and economically less harmful view of this disease.

Otto Inglis

Ansonhill, Crossgates, Fife

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