NOTHING better illustrates the Scottish Government's lack of understanding of how to run a modern country, to the benefit of the citizens, than the statement "no fracking in Scotland" (“Ineos fury as fracking is banned”, The Herald, October 4). It should not be necessary to repeat the basics of economics:

1. When a currency fails to find favour in international markets then imports become more expensive.

2. When the value of imports exceed the value of exports than we have a trade deficit; as Britain has now. If no effort is made to reduce imports and increase exports, the currency falls further, the cost of borrowing rises and the deficit expands. So the circle is repeated until imports and exports balance.

3. As a consequence of Britain's massive trade deficit – and Scotland's share is substantial – the Chancellor is obliged to curb spending by government departments, including a reduction in the funds available for distribution under the Barnet Formula. Labour and the SNP call the Chancellor's prudent policy "imposing austerity" and wish it to cease.

4. With less money coming to central government, there is less money available to distribute to local government. All this is perfectly obvious to those of us who witness local services cut and council tax bills increased. In fact so desperate is the situation that the SNP obliged non-tax-paying pensioners to cough up extra to fill the holes in local authority budgets.

Fracking is a remedy presented on a plate: gas produced in Scotland which could be used to heat Scottish homes – thus reducing the nation's import bill – and the surplus exported to earn foreign currency.

Yet, clinging to the untruth that what really matters is that Scotland must lead the way on environmental issues and can escape the basic laws of economics, Labour, Greens and SNP continue to believe in the fairy at the bottom of the garden. But the citizens in the rest of the UK might not wish to play that part.

Ian HC Stein,

8 Ochlochy Park, Dunblane.

THE decision by the SNP Government to ban fracking came as no real surprise but the motives for the decision are not what they appear. Furthermore, there is a clear element of hypocrisy from the Scottish Government that falls over itself to support the offshore oil and gas industry but not one onshore.

The capital-intensive nature of an onshore fracking industry would be unlikely to create many jobs but could well result in considerable and sustained much-needed tax revenues once established. But as a reserved matter the tax regime for the onshore oil and gas industry and the tax revenues generated would be beyond the control of the Scottish Government and simply disappear into the Treasury’s coffers like those from the offshore industry before it. If the Westminster Government wanted to encourage the shale gas industry it should have devolved control of the fiscal regime and hypothecated its tax revenues to Scotland, though it would be very fearful of the precedent so created.

This would have almost certainly resulted in a very different decision. The clear thinking from the SNP Government is to leave the resource in the ground until Scotland is independent.

Ray Hall,

The Firs,

Gartness Road, Killearn.

SO the Scottish Government is backing a ban on fracking. This is an odd policy float given that Ineos will still use fracking gas from the United States via its expensive Dragon ships. So fracking for gas won’t be banned, just collection of the cheap local stuff under the Grangemouth petrochemical plant.

Imagine if the same contorted logic were applied to Scotch whisky and the Scottish Government banned local distillation but continued to welcome imports from America (a country, incidentally, that SNP Alyn Smith MEP recently called a “regime”): stark raving mad would be the only conclusion.

Calum Miller,

24 Polwarth Terrance, Prestonpans.

IT is a bit late now for all the outrage against fracking. Industry leaders – especially the North Sea operators and supply chain, politicians, business owners, large sections of the media and quangos – who for years have seen the benefits of fracking but were either too cowed by SNP patronage, funding and threat, or unable to find a compelling message and medium, have now suddenly found their voice.

To say that public opinion has to be recognised is outrageous: there is only one strand of public opinion, a genuine concern for the planet held by us all, but fuelled by, to put it mildly, lack of evidence and wilful withholding of objective UK and Scottish Government reports on the potential, safety and environmental regulations.

But the big driver for Nicola Sturgeon's virtue signalling is not what is best for the Scottish people and economy, it is her desperation to retain the votes of six Green MSPs who between them at the last Holyrood elections won 13,172 first preference votes. Independence, your see, transcends everything: Brexit, oil and the economy. And with no Green-supported SNP Government there can be no independence.

Allan Sutherland,

1 Willow Row, Stonehaven.

A BIG hurrah for the Scottish Government's brave decision to ban fracking amid mounting pressure from the industry. Countries such the United States have the space where fracking will not necessarily affect the population. Scotland is an entirely different situation, especially as it would be in the central belt where the majority of the population resides.

The whole issue of fracking is fraught with dangerous unknowns in populated areas and Scotland should be distancing itself from any form of land-based fossil fuel exploitation. There is still potential for more North Sea exploration, where we already have the expertise, with the risks well known and legislated for. It could even be argued that the investment should be in green energy, where Scotland is already ahead of the game.

Ian Smith,

111 Dutch House, Kilmarnock Road, Monkton.

ACROSS the globe it seems as if the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

But, despite the US and UK governments repeatedly failing to give environmental protection the priority it desperately needs, one decision proves that commonsense can break out when you least expect it.

Waking to hear that the Scottish Government has taken the decision to ban fracking actually made me cry.

Amanda Baker,

65/1 Saughton Gardens, Edinburgh.