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Saturday, November 27, 2010


I am more than a little annoyed at the Herald for refusing to publish a reply to 3 letters on Tuesday replying to mine on Monday. 2 of them singled mine out & 1 accused me, correctly as it turned out, of an error. When anybody is accused of being wrong & makes no attempt to explain the assumption must, as with the BBC, that one has no answer. By censoring my reply the Herald have deliberately & falsely given that wrong impression. They have not answered my email, for example asking for a shorter letter. This is not the first time they have done so & I must take it further.

Here is the correct most recent (as far as I know) figures Ben had referred to.

As sent to the Herald ----- I see that once again my letter in reply to criticism has gone unpublished & I again repost it, marginally tweaked. The editorial duty to allow such replies has been accepted by the PCC. I quote

"The newspaper published reader's letters which named the complainant and challenged him to reply to questions. The second letter was headlined "Answers, please" and there is no doubt that the editor was under an obligation to publish the complainant's answers. The complaint against the Derby Evening Telegraph is upheld. T9605-1983"

No doubt there are several more recent acknowledgements of the duty but 1 suffices.

I find it strange that when unconnected opposing writers single my contribution out & previously a prospective MP has done so as being particularly well informed, you do not welcome my reply, on purely commercial grounds.

Unless you intend to publish in Friday's edition I must insist on a response.
Firstly I must acknowledge that Dan Hansen is correct - that I had not realised the figures I had extrapolated were out of date & I apologise. His source (Scottish Government - Staristics/Browse/Business/Trend/Data ) does indeed show wind & other "alternatives" up to 8.6% of our electricity (still less than the 11% previously said) which is still a very small return for £1 bn a year subsidy. In another way the current figures are worse than I thought. I had said that Holyrood's unanimous & in my opinion insane, decision to cut half our CO2 producing power over the next 10 years, to ameliorate the "catastrophic global warming they allege we are experiencing today. Including all our nuclear I thought that would mean losing "only" 50% in total. However by the figures Dan provided it is actually 58% (nuclear now being 31% & pumped storage in practice being powered by off peak nuclear) of our electric capacity that will be destroyed. If a decade of subsidising windmills can raise it to only 8.6% it is unwise in the extreme to hope that the next decade will produce another 58%.

By comparison with the unending windmill subsidies, since nuclear plants are available worldwide for £1 billion a shot, they need zero public subsidy to achieve what windmills promise but cannot achieve for so many billions.

There is also the letter from Scottish Renewables, nominally the "renewable industry" lobby organisation, but because so many government quangos & organisations appear on its list of funders, effectively a government propaganda organisation itself. The lady says that more that 1/5th of our electricity comes from renewables (the figures given above say 18%) which is within hailing distance of the "nearly a quarter" she claimed in a letter here in March. I can assure her I represent none of the "vested interests" she says are promoting "myths" unless it is the common interest of us all that we have power which is not only competitively priced but, even more importantly will, fail when we have a completely windless fortnight as happened in February 2009. Her claim that windpower, which is far more expensive than coal, gas or nuclear can have any significant role in an "optimum" power supply is clearly itself a myth presented by the "vested interest" that employs he since "most expensive & unreliable" is not optimum.

I cannot add to the letter from Brian Samuel. It is unfortunate that people like him, who represent the best engineering traditions of Scotland & who have kept our lights on for decades do not receive the public respect that seems to be given by the media to hired lobbyists, anti-technology activists & even MSPs.

I apologise to readers for the numerous & confusing figures (even I find them confusing). Unfortunately power policy depends on figures rather than wishes & the results of pretending otherwise will be catastrophic.

Neil Craig

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Hi Neil - yes it is frustrating when your carefully researched and worded rebuttal of what amounts to a reiteration of popular prejudice is not published. I suppose that on any particular day the Herald receives many more letters than they have space allocated to print. How they then ration what is printed is never going to please all of the people all of the time and they may feel that as you have already expressed an opinion, the letters column is not the place for a protracted debate. It used to be relatively easy to comment on line on the Herald website and some abused the facility by descending into tit for tat abuse. No doubt the bean counters deemed it a waste of resources having staff police these threads. regards Sandy
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