LETTERS: RBS sell-off is driven by cruel political ideology

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The Chancellor’s sell-off of the first tranche of UK Government shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland could not have been more poorly timed (August 5).

The predicted £1 billion loss on the price paid for the stake when the bank was bailed out demonstrates that we, the taxpayers, have been ridiculously short-changed.

This is especially troubling given the fact that six months ago the shares traded at over 400p, whereas at their sale they were traded at 330p.

While the Chancellor aims to promote “financial stability” through this sale, it is difficult to see what sort of instability required it to be done so quickly, with the loss of £1 billion for a five per cent holding.

The Chancellor must also justify why, given his current austerity agenda, he is able to so easily write off such a huge amount of money, equivalent to a twelfth of his proposed welfare cuts.

With the sell-off set against a background of cuts driving hundreds of thousands of children into poverty, it is clear austerity is not being driven by necessity, but by a cruel and vindictive political philosophy.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

City needs a clean up, but the people are nice

I have to agree with most of Grace Migliaccio’s criticisms of our once great city (Letters, August 4).

A walk through most parts of town will reveal debris and litter lying untouched, perhaps caused by cutbacks in the cleansing budget but also due to thoughtless litter louts and out of control seagulls.

The council have taken their eye off the ball and have been guilty of believing their own press while at the same time steamrolling forward in unrelenting pursuit of each and every penny they can squeeze from the public, whether it be parking charges or parking fines.

The streets are a mess with potholes, road works, temporary traffic lights, no entries, no right turns and no left turns.

The attitude of the bank staff towards this tourist was regrettable, particularly, given their form over the past few years and they, if any, should be looking to improve their image.

One point of disagreement here is the lady’s experience of shopkeepers and restaurateurs whom I have personally found to be well mannered and courteous.

Is it not about time the council had a good look in the mirror?

George Fairgreive, Stapeley Avenue, Edinburgh

Scotland’s oil record misses the point

Michelle Smythe (Letters, August 5) seems obsessed by oil prices, but I don’t recall her commenting on the fact that over the past 30 years Scotland’s oil revenues have subsidised the rest of the UK and had we been independent we would have no national debt whatsoever and no austerity cuts.

Scotland would still be a rich nation without any oil revenues but it is volatile and that’s why the SNP proposed an oil fund, like Norway, to even out the price spikes. Without an oil fund Scotland would just borrow money to cover any income shortfall, just like every other country on the planet.

However, according to World Bank figures oil prices are set to double over the next ten years, which might explain the highest North Sea exploration licences since 1964 and North American asset management firm Sanford C Bernstein has forecast a 50 per cent rise in 2016 Brent crude prices.

Meanwhile, SNP MP pressure has already forced David Cameron to climb down on several measures, such as repealing the Human Rights Act, omitting it from the Queen’s Speech at the last minute.

It was followed by the late decision not to hold the European referendum on the same date as the Scottish Parliament elections, then Tory back tracking on relaxation of fox hunting ban and Evel would have been passed into the statute book by now.

In contrast, the majority of Labour MPs didn’t vote against increased Tory welfare cuts or the funding cuts to the Scottish renewables industry. As Labour is facing at least ten years out of power at Westminster, in the event of another independence referendum will the Labour Party in Scotland still prefer more Tory rule to home rule?

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Wind farm statistics are misleading public

I was astonished to see that WWF Scotland have issued a press release claiming that wind performed very well during July, in particular providing enough energy to power all of Scotland’s homes during eight days of that month.

I, too, have been monitoring wind energy and the truth is that the UK went through a period of very poor wind performance from June 6 to August 2. Anyone can see this on the home page of the Gridwatch website. On nine dates during July, UK wind energy output dropped to near-zero.

A big problem when this happens is that when wind farms aren’t generating, they often consume electricity from the grid and ironically most of that electricity comes from fossil fuel. This too can be confirmed, on the RWE npower website.

A wind farm called Novar2 near my home is often consuming enough energy to power 1000 homes. When a wind farm consumes electricity like this, observers will notice that, on calm days, wind turbine blades are mysteriously spinning.

We can never build enough wind farms to overcome this problem because if we build more we’ll just have more wind farms consuming energy on calm days.

Are WWF trying to mislead the public?

Geoff Moore, Braeface Park, Alness