IT’S absurd that an energy-rich nation should be facing fuel shortages and skyrocketing fuel prices. There may be some truth in the driver shortage but most is down to Tory dogma, Johnson’s hard Brexit and Thatcher’s privatisation causing the debacle now facing us.

Scotland has abundant energy off its shores, whether in oil and gas or the new bounty of offshore wind. Rather than most facing shortages and many suffering fuel poverty this winter, we should have access to it and at affordable prices.

Scotland is self-sufficient in gas and our people, especially the most vulnerable, should be able to benefit from that natural bounty. We cannot continue to see our natural resources taken by Johnson’s kleptocracy, where a few are getting enriched as never before and the rest impoverished.

The debate shouldn’t be whether people access fuel or can afford it but how much more oil and gas should be extracted from the North Sea. Climate change makes moving away from fossil fuels essential. But the transition requires to be at a pace that our economy and society can cope with.

That said, we can no more take the last drop of oil and gas from the North Sea than the Easter Islanders could cut down the last tree. Disaster befell them, as it would us. Equally, the new bounty of offshore wind must provide benefit for us and not simply be cabled south.

Meanwhile, the respite for rail services from Dunbar is welcome but challenges still face the railways, which is why I supported the rail unions’ demonstration last week. Services cannot be cut, or prices increased. Covid has been challenging but our network and services must be preserved and people able to afford to travel.

Services from the county need protected but prices kept manageable for all, not just the wealthy. Likewise, transport staff deserve a pay rise. Health staff have rightly been rewarded but so must others, including railways workers who kept the network going whilst facing risks themselves.