WHEN I hear thon couf that’s ca’d Laird Mandelson spouting his threats about what will happen to too poor, too wee and too stupid Scotland if kind and generous England stop trading on Scottish independence, I am amazed no-one asks him just where Brexit England is going to make up the shortfall from in terms of energy, food and beverages that will be created by England going off in this sort of a huff (MPs join rally to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, The National, February 20).

How about the £5 billion-plus, per annum, in energy imports from Scotland – how will that be replaced?

No Scottish topping up of the English gas grid, power grid and an end to cheap fuel and petrochemical imports such a ban will bring about – how is that going to work, Lord Mandelson?

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The National Grid is already warning that domestic consumers in the south of England are facing power outages (cuts) within the next five years to maintain key users' supply without massive investment in the grid infrastructure in the south of England and increased supply-side capacity (power generation/high-voltage, direct current links around the UK/energy imports from the EU).

What happens when you take out the £5bn-plus of energy imports, from Scotland, to this supply-side assessment of the perilous state the southern England energy supply already finds itself in?

Where will the shortfall in electricity, alone, be made up from given Brexit England will be outside the EU and with current North Sea high-voltage, direct current links to England are at capacity?

Will EDF, a nationalised French Electrical Generator, still be willing to trade with a non-EU England or continue with the much delayed, new reactor build at Hinkley Point considering France’s politically increasing ennui with Westminster?

Given the Chinese financial backers of the project are having increasing jitters over the state of sterling and the bitter strain of English nationalism, as Brexit looms, coupled with the ever closer links to Trumpton USA being forged by May’s Tories, will China pull the plug?

If nothing happens and the new Hinkley Point power plant goes ahead, the English National Grid is unlikely to see a single watt generated by this plant this side of 2030.

Now consider the current reliance, south of the Border, on Natural Gas (NG) for electrical power generation. Having cut itself off from one of its main suppliers of NG, Scotland, how will it secure future supplies, without a shortfall on the domestic supply side?

England, by cutting off its nose to spite its face, would be increasingly reliant on Russia and the US to secure its NG supply and be at either party’s beck and call. The choice would be NG via a pipeline from Russia or via the Atlantic from the US by ship.

Hobson’s choice and no mistake. This makes fracking for NG across England imperative in the face of this clear lack of security of NG supply from imports. No wonder the Tories are trying every deceit they can to get fracking going on England’s green and pleasant land in the face of mass public opposition.

All this before we begin to touch on replacing the low- cost food and beverage imports from Scotland which England needs to keep its people happy and fed.

Maybe someone should ask that couf Laird Mandelson or his crony “Fluffy” Mundell just how much of a hole England will be in, if it does not import essential goods and core energy supplies from an independent Scotland.

I suggest it will be a very big one.

Peter Thomson, Address supplied


THE dismal saga of the Scottish Six sadly reminded me of the play La Casa de Bernarda Alba by García Lorca (Question Time for BBC boss, The National, February 20). If anyone has not seen the play or read it I would not want to spoil the plot, but the themes are very similar to the situation in our Casa Alba (Scotland). I saw a performance live for the first time last year at the Edinburgh Fringe. If it is on again I would certainly recommend it.

The principal theme is one of oppression (in the case of the play, of women) and is underscored by the insistence to follow tradition and demand respect. The monotonous, doom-laden bell sounding at the start of the piece could well be the chimes of Big Ben, booming out their authoritarian exactions and dampening down any form of life or spirit. So with the cancelling of the Scottish Six: a deliberate attempt to strangle the life out of an exciting, vibrant Scotland still emerging from its painful but life-affirming birth during the referendum.

The old matriarch of the play desperately clings to traditions, afraid of the outside world and of losing the demanded for, but miserable and grudgingly given, respect of the villagers. The house is to become a place of mourning, closed off from the surrounding sights, sounds, tastes, smells and even the touch of a tempting and sensational world. For the sake of tradition the house will become a dead, sterile place where youth, love, ambition and soaring dreams are to be suppressed and held down; extinguished.

The play, of course, follows a script. There is a beginning, a middle and an end. The script never changes. The final scene is always the same. Our story, our Casa Alba does not have a script that needs to be adhered to. Our doors can be kicked opened and the windows finally unlocked. The insistence on control can be ignored, the requirements for outdated, toadying tradition laughed at and ignored. The submissive, sycophantic servants can be let go, and those that were previously turned away and shunned can be welcomed and embraced with heartfelt joy.

The old matriarch may look on stoney faced, brimming with hate and anger, but we must never be cut off from the world as she desires. It’s time to make our own story, it’s time to make our own news and free a young, energetic and desirous Scotland into the world.

Ian Greenhalgh, Edinburgh


PAUL Nuttall’s lies at the hustings prior to the election of a new MP at Stoke on Trent are an addition to the lies told by Ukip members during the June 2016 referendum. For example, “the UK pays £350 million each week to the EU”.

Although £350m is the headline number, tThe actual figure for 2015-2016 was around £167m because of the UK’s automatic rebate (ie 66 per cent of the difference between the headline number and the amount invested by the EU in the UK). This amount is probably less than the payment required to keep the UK in the single market with a new deal and even less than working to WTO rules, not counting the cost burden on business of the additional administration.

The puzzling thing is: why are Remain campaigners and politicians not challenging effectively the damaging alternative facts promulgated by Ukip and the Brexit Tories? The press is generally not supportive of Remain campaigners so why not do a Trump and bypass them using social media? Hoping that the BBC will be even-handed is a lost cause.

Mike Underwood, Linlithgow


IN response to Ian Heggie’s letter re: The Monarch of the Glen (Letters, The National, February 20), I’m totally with you.

This is the worst, tacky, kitschness of Queen Victoria’s idealised Scotland. Let’s not forget that as this was painted in 1851, the Highlands and Islands were in the grip of the Clearances, with human devastation and misery. The next year 1852, two boats full of people were cleared from Raasay to Australia.

In 1853 a ship sunk off Vatersay with the loss of life of 350 people cleared off the land; all more loss of our people, culture and language, to be replaced by this kitschness.

Let’s not glorify this picture but see it as a vile representation of what it represents, the destruction and despoliation of our country and reaping profit from our people’s misery, which as Ian Heggie’s says, has been continued by Diageo. I wouldn’t hang it on my wall!

Crìsdean Mac Fhearghais, Dùn Eideann