A couple of newspaper reports caught my eye this morning regarding goings-on in Scotland. The firsti was in the Scottish edition of the Daily Telegraph:

Nicola Sturgeon ‘better off moving out of government HQ’ than making it go green – Report reveals that her policy of replacing gas boilers at St Andrew’s House with eco-friendly ones would not provide value for money

In a delicious irony, making a mockery of the Scottish government’s “green” plans, it turns out (according to the Daily Telegraph) that St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, currently heated by gas central heating, cannot efficiently be converted to a low emissions system of the type that the Scottish government demands be put in place by home owners and in offices by 2030. Instead, the government has been advised to consider selling the property and moving out, given the difficulties of justifying a spend of almost £5.8 million for the conversion.

The Telegraph article is based on a report commissioned by the Scottish government and obtained under a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request. That report apparently says that “direct electrical heating will incur hugely disproportionate running costs” compared to gas, thanks to the building’s size.

This all begs the question, of course, of who would be rich enough (or stupid enough) to buy St Andrew’s House, should the Scottish government take on board the advice, and put the building up for sale. Presumably any purchaser would have to incur the “disproportionate running costs” from no later than 2030.

Further, the article reminds us that:

More than a million homes must be converted to “zero emissions heat” by the end of the decade to meet the country’s greenhouse gas targets, under the Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings strategy.

Legislation is to be introduced requiring the “installation of zero or very near zero emissions heating systems”, with the new standard to be phased in for off-gas grid areas from 2025 and on-gas grid areas from 2030.

All buildings are to be converted to “zero emissions” by 2045 at a total cost of £33 billion. However, the SNP-Green coalition has so far announced only £1.8 billion of support, raising fears that homeowners and businesses will have to meet the vast bulk of the cost.

Good luck with that.

SNP minister’s A9 upgrade visit kept quiet during ‘climate week’

The second articleii appeared in The Courier, under the above headline. Again, this story appears as a result of a FOI request. SNP ministers are not normally known to be shrinking violets when it comes to headlines and limelight, but when the road contractors responsible for major upgrade works on one of Scotland’s main north-south road links sought some publicity on completion of the project, for once they found the SNP government less than co-operative. And why should that be? Because it conflicted with all the “green” publicity they were busily drumming up around COP 26.

According to the Courier:

Documents released under freedom of information laws reveal officials feared “negative comment” and a perception of “conflicting priorities” if they publicised the event. ..

…A series of events were planned by contractors in September to underline the community benefits from the completion and opening of the £96 million upgrade of the A9 section between the Inveralmond roundabout in Perth and the Pass of Birnam.

Transport Minister Graeme Dey was invited to attend, but memos show officials were concerned about the timing, and said the press should be kept away.

In a briefing prepared for the minister, they said: “We are aware that the Scottish Government Climate Week 2021 is being held 13-19 September and there are plans for the Cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport to deliver a parliamentary update during the same week that sets out the scale of the challenge and an indicative pathway to reducing transport emissions by 75% to 2030.

We recommend therefore that the event is undertaken as a closed call to minimise the risk of attracting negative comment given the potential perception of conflicting priorities between promoting the benefits of a new road project in the same week as the focus on sustainability/climate change.”

The note added: “The footage/images captured during the event will be used for a subsequent press release and social media updates to promote the success of the community benefits delivered by the project which will be released at an appropriate time following the visit.”

This all strikes me as rather Machiavellian and sinister. The press are to be kept away, because the timing is bad. But when the timing is better, it is to be milked for all it’s worth. And who is making this call? Supposedly non-political civil servants.

Homeless charity feeds 55,000 this year in Glasgow as fuel poverty brings more hungry kids to service

Meanwhile, it was reportediii (under the above headline) just three days ago that:

A homeless charity has handed 55,000 hot meals to the needy in Scotland’s biggest city in the last year…

…bitter temperatures and rising energy bills have also brought more children to the service in recent months, with a spike in parents struggling with fuel poverty…

…“Right now we have lots of children coming with their families and we’re seeing parents who are choosing whether to heat their house or feed their kids…

In some respects, of course, England is no better, but the Scottish government for some time has seemed hell-bent on pursuing a “green” agenda that is anything but, and which is having a disastrous impact on so many aspects of life in Scotland. Whatever madness English politicians and climate zealots seek to introduce, Scotland, it seems, must always trump them, running harder and faster to leap off the cliff. And with a new SNP/Green coalition, things can only get worse, I’m sure.

RIP Scotland. It was nice knowing you.

Endnotes

i https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2021/12/27/nicola-sturgeon-better-moving-government-hq-making-go-green/

ii https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/politics/scottish-politics/2848890/snp-ministers-a9-upgrade-kept-quiet-during-climate-week/

iiihttps://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/homeless-charity-feeds-55000-this-year-in-glasgow-as-fuel-poverty-brings-more-hungry-kids-to-service/ar-AAS89Ld

13 Comments

  1. It sounds like the people of Scotland are beginning to experience the logical outcome of believing in something as illogical as the “climate crisis”.

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  2. I especially liked the bit that coyly referred to ‘perception of conflicting priorities’. The conflict is not a perception but a reality, and what is needed is management of reality rather than management of perception.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. John, thank you for drawing that point out. It occurred to me as I was writing, and I meant to return to it. No harm done, though, thanks to you. 😊

    Like

  4. Quote: “In some respects, of course, England is no better,…”

    Of course. The problem of converting many more homes, for both heating and cooking, has simply not been addressed, still less honestly & openly discussed with those whom it will affect, i.e. the public (because the elite in charge will always manage to take care they don’t suffer from whatever foolishness they impose on the rest of us).

    When the penny finally drops all round, there will be hell to pay as well as weeping and gnashing of teeth (can I squeeze any more metaphors into the mix?) Not to mention having all their internal combustion vehicles taken off them (or left to rot) and forced to buy incredibly expensive,exotic-resource-consuming EV’s with a poor range, or potentially explosive hydrogen vehicles, or more likely, just priced out of the private vehicle market altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And today’s Daily Telegraph, Scottish edition, has another similar story, this time about Bute House (The First Minister’s official residence). Even though it’s leased by the Scottish government from the National Trust, the taxpayer is to foot the £800,000+ bill for converting it from gas to electric heating, it appears.

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  6. “Thousands of Scots already struggling to afford energy bills ahead of price hike
    More than a third of Scots are already struggling to pay heating bills ahead of a price cap rise in April.”

    https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/thousands-scots-already-struggling-afford-26026556

    “One in three Scots are already finding their energy bills unaffordable, a poll has found just weeks ahead of an announcement which could see rates soar.

    Some 36% of people say their energy bills are unaffordable, a survey for Citizens Advice Scotland (Cas) by YouGov found.

    Kate Morrison, the charity’s fair markets spokeswoman, said: “With one in three people finding their energy bills unaffordable, lots of us are struggling with soaring bills.

    “But it’s significant that hundreds of thousands of people would identify their home being hard to heat as a reason why they are finding bills unaffordable.”

    Rate payers across the country are facing soaring bills, with the energy price cap expected to rise in April. An announcement on the new level of the cap is expected early next month, with fears bills could go up by as much as 50%.”

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  7. Under the SNP, I fear that Scotland has turned into a banana republic:

    “Humza Yousaf denies ferries contract was awarded for political purposes”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-60886637

    “A Scottish government minister has denied claims a £97m contract to build two ferries was awarded for “political purposes”.

    Humza Yousaf said he did not agree with the assessment of Jim McColl, who owned the yard which won the contract.

    The ferries will be five years late and could cost more than £250m – the additional costs will have to be picked up by the taxpayer.

    It follows the publication of a damning report by Audit Scotland into the saga.

    The watchdog was unable to establish why the order was given to the Ferguson shipyard without normal financial safeguards.

    Official documents show several former and current ministers were involved in the decision to award the contract.”

    Here’s the Audit Scotland report:

    https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/news/multiple-failings-have-led-to-delays-and-cost-overruns-which-continue-to-obstruct-delivery-of

    “Major problems remain unresolved at the shipyard constructing two lifeline ferries for Scottish islands. More than two years after the Scottish Government took over control of the shipyard, significant operational failures still need to be fully resolved and further remedial work on the vessels continues to be uncovered.

    The project to deliver Vessels 801 and 802 for the Clyde and Hebrides has been beset with delays and spiralling costs. The ferries are now almost four years late, with no certainty on when they will be complete. The total cost of the project is currently estimated to be at least £240 million, around two and a half times the original contract price. These issues have frustrated island communities and weakened resilience across Scotland’s ferry network.

    Scottish ministers approved the contract award to Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) in October 2015, despite significant risks caused by FMEL’s inability to provide mandatory refund guarantees and the severe misgivings of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). There is insufficient evidence to explain why Scottish ministers made this decision.

    As the project progressed, delays, costs, and a contract dispute between CMAL and FMEL, escalated. Despite CMAL and the Scottish Government intervening to support the project, FMEL entered administration in August 2019, with the Scottish Government bringing the shipyard into public ownership.

    Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland, said:

    The failure to deliver these two ferries, on time and on budget, exposes a multitude of failings. A lack of transparent decision-making, a lack of project oversight, and no clear understanding of what significant sums of public money have achieved. And crucially, communities still don’t have the lifeline ferries they were promised years ago.

    The focus now must be on overcoming significant challenges at the shipyard and completing the vessels as quickly as possible. Thoughts must then turn to learning lessons to prevent a repeat of problems on future new vessel projects and other public sector infrastructure projects.”

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  8. I think this shows that the SNP windbags are finding out that actual government is harder than it looks, i.e. when real things have to be done, like building ships. Bit more difficult than expending hot air on how wicked the English government is (although they are experts at that, I’ll give them that).

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  9. “Sturgeon lobbying London firms over ‘willingness’ to fund net zero policies”

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/20090521.nicola-sturgeon-lobbying-london-firms-willingness-fund-net-zero-policies/

    “NICOLA Sturgeon has lobbied London financial heavyweights to help plug a £31 billion funding gap to decarbonise Scotland’s buildings in just eight years’ time.

    The First Minister has admitted she would back her Government and UK ministers jointly drawing up “green new deals” potentially worth billions of pounds to help Scotland’s biggest cities clean up how buildings are heated by 2030.”

    Unfortunately the rest is behind a paywall, but those 2 paragraphs are enough to see what a mess the policy is. Comments are totally hostile to the SNP and their policies. This offers a flavour of them:

    “Why do these scientifically illiterate clowns persist with this net zero rubbish. Attempting to achieve it will be financially ruinous and will leave people with a much lower quality of life. Perhaps Harvie and has gang of eco crazies think a modern economy can run on sunbeams and puffs of wind, but China, India and the rest of Asia do not. They are building hundreds of new coal fired power stations to supply cheap secure electricity.”

    Like

  10. “Use £700million windfall to protect Scotland from ‘green lairds’, says ex government minister
    A former government minister has called on the SNP to use a recent £700 million windfall to buy-up land across Scotland to protect it from the new “green lairds”.”

    https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/politics/scottish-politics/4205300/use-700million-windfall-to-protect-scotland-from-green-lairds-says-ex-government-minister/

    “Peter Peacock also wants a Holyrood inquiry amid claims the super-rich are being handed a “licence to print money” through tax breaks and subsidies on offer to cut carbon emissions.

    He fears these incentives are supporting a “dark market” of secret land deals at eye-watering prices, as businesses seek to greenwash their operations.

    The former Labour education minister said the Scottish Government could ensure communities benefit from their local land by using the £700 million windfall raised during the recent ScotWind seabed sell-off to purchase estates across the nation.

    The move would establish a “sovereign wealth fund” of land.”

    That would be the sell-off at giveaway prices – much lower prices than south of the border.

    Like

  11. “Failure on climate change would be catastrophic, says Sturgeon”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-61457983

    “First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will issue a warning over climate change targets during a trip to the United States later.

    She will warn that failure to meet targets agreed at the COP26 summit in Glasgow would be “catastrophic” for the planet.

    The first minister will also say the world “looks very different” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    And she will predict it may result in a Europe-wide rethink on energy policy.”

    This looks like two bites of the cherry reporting from the BBC. Sturgeon “will say” this, Sturgeon “will say” that. No doubt there’ll be another report in more or less the same terms, once she’s said it. Still, look on the bright side, if she’s in the US and not Scotland, then given the SNP’s appalling track record in government, the damage might be minimised while she’s away.

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