A view from the Bridge

WE are set to be treated to a parliamentary performance from Mr Trump this week, as he addresses Holyrood on the matter of turbines.

I, like everyone else, have mixed emotions about excessive development of turbines in the countryside, and I also have nagging doubts over whether the market value of energy will ever render the machines viable without subsidies. I’ve a sneaking suspicion that, in future, energy is going to be dearer, period, however we source it.

At the same time, we need to start considering ways to move forward in terms of energy generation: human societies will only ever consume more electricity, and providing secure, reliable sources is going to be critical if we don’t want to be dependent on energy rich despotisms such as Iran or Saudi Arabia for keeping our lights on.

The European Offshore Wind Deployment centre is a part of establishing that security: it’s a test facility, which will help engineering companies perfect offshore wind power. It’s a huge, critical investment that the north-east needs, if we’re to retain our place as a European energy hub.

Scotland has impressive hydrocarbon reserves - but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be looking forward to a future where oil is scarce. Wind is part of what will eventually keep our TVs and lights on. I sincerely hope that Mr Trump’s opinions - and they are just that, opinions - don’t scupper the kind of investment this area needs. It’s nice having a green and pleasant land with pretty sea views, but keeping Scotland as some sort of idyllic Victorian museum piece simply isn’t an option: we need this test centre.

FOLLOWING on from the manufactured outrage concerning the Economist’s now notorious front page, the world can now look forward to manufactured outrage over the First Minister’s ‘relationship’ with Rupert Murdoch.

The ‘discovery’ that Alex Salmond has been on good terms with the owner of one of Scotland’s most powerful newspapers (and, for that matter, a major Scottish employer and ex-pat of Scots extraction) rates alongside other notable discoveries such as water being wet and fire hurting when you stick your hand in it. Politicians of all parties have always craved the backing of the country’s biggest papers. Listening to Johan Lamont’s self-righteous pontification on the matter might be worth doing if Labour didn’t have its own major media cheerleaders. Sadly, it still does, and the word ‘hypocrisy’ springs to mind.