YOUR report on the protest at the Tunnock’s Teacake factory (Activists face off against Unionists at Tunnock’s protest, The National, July 28) contained the following explanation as to why the company is adding a Union Flag to its export logo: “They claim it’s a business decision, designed to appeal to Japanese markets who have little conception of Scotland.”

When I arrived to settle in Japan in 2001, I met people who used the word “English” to describe anyone or anything that came from the UK. At that time, Tunnock’s would have been wise to market themselves as British, but things have changed a lot. There has been a huge enlightenment among the Japanese as to the difference between English and Scottish.

Factors in this included a TV series that was followed by millions here, about Masataka Taketsuru and his Scottish wife, Jessie Roberta Cowan from Kirkintilloch, and the founding of the Nikka Whisky Distillery.

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However, the Japanese have also been enlightened on this national confusion by the campaign for Scottish independence. It was well covered on the news channels and followed up by many Japanese-produced documentaries on the independence movement, in addition to a steady stream of travel and historical documentaries that still continue to be produced and aired.

Not only is Walker’s shortbread (made in Scotland) a big seller all over Japan, in Kumamoto, there is a bakery called Tomi’s Shortbread House selling home-made Scottish shortbread. You can find jams and marmalades that bear the “Made in Scotland” label. And, of course, there are large numbers of Japanese who wish they could visit Scotland and play the Old Course at St Andrews.

Also, as mentioned by another contributor, there is the importance played by Thomas Blake Glover in the Meiji revolution and the role he played in the founding of Mitsubishi Steel and the Kirin Brewery. There was also his son’s role in introducing the first Tarmacadam to Japan. The list is long. Today, most Japanese will recognise the difference between British, English and Scottish.

Tunnock’s are doing themselves a disservice. The suggestion that Japanese markets have little conception of Scotland may have been true in the past, but is far from the truth today.

What on Earth will they do when Scotland is once again independent? Redesign the packaging again?
Douglas R Bruce
Address supplied


HUGH Walker makes an interesting point in the debate about electric cars (How will we power these electric vehicles? Letters, The National, July 28). However, surely this is only one point in a vastly bigger picture which, by and large, I fear the politicians and pressure groups have not thought through, any more than was done before the Brexit vote.

Lots of areas require to be considered. If we go back in time to the start of the car in everyday life, it became available, if you could afford it, early last century. It took nearly 60 years for ordinary people to start to be able to afford to become car owners. Until then the humble horse still had a place in society.

Changing from fossil fuels to electric motion is bound to follow a not dissimilar timescale, perhaps not that long, but still considerable. While I would accept that prices will fall, the present-day price of an electric vehicle is way beyond the means of a large percentage of Scots.

Would it not be better to start tackling the problem by targeting the huge number of delivery vans, buses, coaches and lorries operating within the boundaries of our largest centres of population. That would appear to be the place where the biggest problem is and also where the largest savings on pollutants could be made.

Then there are other things using power and fuel unnecessarily, like, for example, leaf blowers! Thousands of these are operated by councils, and they are either electric, which must require recharging, or running on petrol. What is wrong with a bloke with a besom?

We also see lots of stationary vehicles with the engines running – police cars, traffic control vehicles, council lorries and machines, all seen every day with the crew sitting inside and exhaust happily emitting from the rear. I even saw an ambulance the other day which had gone to a call-out, and while the medics were in someone’s house, the vehicle sat outside with all doors open and the engine running for at least half an hour.

To get back to Mr Walker’s well-made points about the amount of electricity required, there will be the added cost in financial and pollution terms of making the batteries. They will have to be made somewhere, and then have to be delivered around the country. What also of the charging points and where are they provided and who pays for them?

Then there is the question of conventional filling stations. As electricity takes over, the profitability of filling stations will fall, and in the normal way of things, close down. What then for those of us who are still dependent on our older existing petrol and diesel vehicles. I live in the central belt and, as it is, I have a round trip of 15 miles just to refuel. There is much to think about in all of this and it is essential that it is properly thought through and no hasty long-term decision be taken.

Clamping down on some of the wasteful habits mentioned above would be a start. A lot of livelihoods will be affected by all of this, and in a country as diverse and spread out as Scotland it is absolutely vital that we get it right.
George M Mitchell
Sheriffmuir, Dunblane

USING my electric toothbrush this morning, I felt a sense of guilt. What would happen if everyone had such a device? Where would the electricity to charge them come from?

Then I learned that by 2040 all cars must be electric. Where on Earth would the electricity to charge them come from? I was beginning to panic.

But of course I realised that if electric cars are to be compulsory, the government must be on top of the situation, and many new power stations will be being built to cope. What a relief!
Malcolm Parkin
Address supplied


DOES Rowdy Yates betray the real reason why we are to be subjected to minimum pricing of alcohol rather than the more equitable solution of taxation (Scottish Government has shown resolve on minimum pricing, Letters, The National, July 28)?

When he talks about the demise of pubs and people pre-loading at home, what part of the reason for this being the inordinate cost of alcohol in licensed premises does he not understand?

The single biggest reason for pubs closing, particularly the traditional Scottish “tenement” pubs, has to be the smoking ban which decimated them.

It’s clear that increased taxation would have the effect desired, with the revenue going to the Government where it could be put to good use to ameliorate the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, or even invested in areas to remove the poverty and conditions stimulating any desire for alcohol as a palliative.

But now we know the real driving force for minimum pricing is from the lobby of licensed premises who don’t want taxation across the board impinging on their business – just a price hike for off-sales, many of whose customers have little desire to partake of their alcohol in expensive licensed premises.

Clearly, the reason why the Scottish Government is having so much difficulty getting agreement from the courts for minimum pricing is the fact it breaches every tenet of the free market; it would be to favour one market sector against another which would have serious ramifications for every other sector of the economy. The free market would no longer exist.

Most other nations have cheaper alcohol, without the social problems we have. Isn’t it time for government to recognise the real problems and craft the policies to remove them, rather than tinkering at the edges so they can just tick another policy box?  The problem here may be excessive alcohol consumption by some, but isn’t the “solution” being offered really just licensed trade protectionism?
Jim Taylor