Sir: James Forsyth’s interview with Amber Rudd (‘The Amber Express’, 19 March) was very revealing, but also slightly disappointing. She is right about the succession of ‘zealots’ who preceded her in setting British energy policy, but after the billions wasted on wind and solar, paid for by stealth taxes added to our electricity bills, and now providing around 2 per cent of capacity, does she still support the drive towards ‘renewable energy’? Britain now has the most expensive electricity in Europe, hardly an encouragement for business investment.
After years of negotiations, escalating costs and serious questions about EDF’s technology and financing problems, the minister had a very strong case to cancel the proposed nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, if politics had not intervened. Far more promising than Hinkley is Rolls-Royce’s work to develop a fleet of smaller reactors. With a green light, the first one could be operational within ten years at a cost of £1.25 billion.
The world energy market has been changed dramatically by the development of shale gas, the reappraisal of fossil fuel reserves and the falling price of oil. There is still a serious risk that the lights could go out next winter, and still the minister seems to have no answers or viable long-term plan for Britain’s energy security at a cost that provides value for consumers and a competitive edge for industry… and I don’t believe that her EU ‘energy union’ will take us down the right road.
Bembridge, Isle of Wight
Why visitors need visas
Sir: Sir Timothy Sainsbury is somewhat disingenuous when he dismisses visa requirements for Turkish visitors (Letters, 26 March). Visa requirements allow the issuing officer to check information such as employment position, available finances, family circumstances and so on thoroughly, rather than trying to do all this at passport control with impatient queues building up.
As Sir Timothy realises, once in the United Kingdom, our Turk can join the hundreds of thousands of people from all nations working illegally, often with genuine National Insurance numbers, whatever is ‘allowed’ by the endorsement in his passport, and with a close to zero chance of being found out.
While Sir Timothy was being responsible for consular affairs all those years ago, I was merely trying to decide whether to stamp a Turk’s passport or put him back on the plane before he made a spurious claim for political asylum — so what would I know?
When to eat hot cross buns
Sir: I’m pleased I’m not the only person who wonders about when to eat hot cross buns (The Spectator’s Notes, 26 March). Like Charles Moore, I don’t want a treat, even a low-level treat, on Good Friday. Some years ago I started a tradition of hot cross buns for Holy Saturday breakfast.
If it weren’t for the seasonal aspect, I probably wouldn’t eat a hot cross bun from one year to the next; as it is I look forward to them. The family have asked for more, so I will probably have an Easter morning breakfast of hot cross buns and bacon to go with my traditional Easter breakfast champagne. Having given up sweets, chocolate, alcohol and meat for Lent, I will probably make myself ill. But if you can’t celebrate the Resurrection, then what can you celebrate?
Respect low-paid workers
Sir: In his article (‘Why we need migrants’, 26 March) Theodore Dalrymple touches on an important point, namely, the stigma we in the UK attach to those in low-skilled jobs such as checkout cashiers. I travel abroad regularly and don’t see the same cultural hang-ups about those in low-paid positions in Italy or France. It’s no surprise that British young people are averse to these jobs. Who else can fill them but migrants from countries where work of any nature is held in high regard? Perhaps paying due respect toward these workers would help curb migration to the UK.
Nothing illegal about them
Sir: In his article ‘Bordering on insanity’, (12 March), Rod Liddle uses the term ‘illegal asylum seekers’. There is no such thing. Asylum seekers flee to seek refuge; they are not doing anything illegal. To say otherwise confuses asylum seekers with criminals — which is incorrect, inhumane, and potentially dangerous for these vulnerable individuals.
Shoaib M. Khan
Sir: I refer to Jenny McCartney’s piece on public toilets (12 March). We are pleased Jenny appreciates the Pond Square toilets, as many of us in Highgate do. The square, incidentally, takes its name from two ponds which existed until the Victorians filled them in for sanitation reasons: it was said that drains and privies ‘had been made to discharge their contents’ into the ponds. Closing public toilets is always a step backwards.
On a more positive note, we have been collaborating with Camden council to find a long-term solution for public toilet provision across the borough. This is an urgent issue everywhere. Budgets shrink, but intelligent solutions have to be found.
The Highgate Society, London N6
A reason to ski
Sir: David Snow (Letters, 19 March) says that thanks to cross-European pensioner benefits, he was able to get a free ski-lift pass in Les Arcs. We in Wales can’t even use our free bus passes in London; perhaps we should holiday in France instead.
Gwyn and Virginia Price Evans
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