Letter of the Day – PM was too slow to act on virus

In his article “In this national crisis, both Scotland and the UK must deliver clear messages” (Perspective, 1 April), Murdo Fraser displays some cracks in the facade of political unity in dealing with the coronavirus, making some sly digs at the slightly different approach of the Scottish Government.
Boris Johnson suffered a dose of coronavirus - was it partly his own fault? (Picture: PA)Boris Johnson suffered a dose of coronavirus - was it partly his own fault? (Picture: PA)
Boris Johnson suffered a dose of coronavirus - was it partly his own fault? (Picture: PA)

As a conservative, he can’t mention that the World Health Organisation castigated Boris Johnson as far back as January over his lack of action. Of course, at the time the Prime Minister was preoccupied with the “Bongs for Big Ben” campaign and the need for a ten-day holiday.

Similarly, Mr Fraser draws a veil over the obfuscation and lies over the procurement of ventilators from the EU and reagents for coronavirus tests and turns to differing advice given, between Scotland and England, over the operation of building sites. He quotes Douglas Ross MP, who in contrast to the relevant unions and just about anyone who has worked on a building site, says social distancing in that environment is possible.

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Mr Fraser then turns his attention to the Alex Salmond situation and ingenuously implies that Mr Salmond’s QC considers him a “sex pest”. He says this even though he knows Gordon Jackson has vigorously refuted that allegation. Mr Fraser then goes on to say: “We still have nine women, who claim that they were victims of his behaviour, who feel badly let down by the system, and who all deserve our sympathy.” Reading this, you could be forgiven for thinking the trial was still to conclude. Clearly, Murdo Fraser is bitterly disappointed by the verdict and it must have clouded what is generally perceived not to be the shrewdest judgment in the Scottish parliament. How else can it be explained that a senior Conservative politician has chosen to impugn the integrity of the judge, jury and the entire Scottish judicial system?

Gill Turner

Derby Street, Edinburgh

Where the onus lies

Colin Hamilton (Letters, 3 April) claims it was Gordon Jackson QC’s “duty to prove his case” in the recent trial of Alex Salmond.

Sorry, but it wasn’t. The onus is on the prosecution to prove its case. The defence has no such onus.

All it has to do is create a reasonable doubt.

Ben McCabe

Glenfield Road West, Galashiels

Help small firms

It’s clear that many small, particularly rural, businesses are struggling both from a staying solvent perspective and with cash flow difficulties.

Those loyal customers who can afford to, and who benefit from the goods and services they provide, might decide to pay up front for the next few months.

There are many of us out there who are unable to contribute practically, for whatever reason, to the ongoing stoic efforts of others at this time. Dipping a hand into our pocketc, keeping these businesses going, and risking losing a few quid might be the next best alternative.

Ian Gray

Moray Place, Edinburgh

Name that virus

There has been much discussion about how we should refer to the novel coronavirus. I suggest calling it the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Why? CCP officials knew about the virus in Wuhan, China, in early December. Instead of acting responsibly, they spent weeks censoring information, arresting citizen journalists, and punishing and silencing doctors who tried to raise the issue.

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Naming it the “CCP virus” avoids linking it to the 
Chinese people who themselves are victims of the CCP’s ruthless authoritarian actions.

Knowing the severity of the virus, the Wuhan city government even hosted a Chinese New Year’s celebration attended by 40,000 families on 18 January.

A new study conducted by the University of Southampton concluded that if non-pharmaceutical interventions such as travel restrictions and social distancing had been enacted three weeks earlier, the virus infection rate in China could have been reduced by 95 per cent.

On 12 March, the deputy director of China’s foreign ministry information department, Zhao Lijian, made the shocking suggestion that the US Army may have brought the virus to Wuhan.

On 19 March, CCP mouthpiece Xinhua News reported that there were no new cases of the virus in Wuhan, in spite of evidence suggesting otherwise.

I hope that by using the name “CCP virus,” more people would realise that the Chinese Communist Party put the lives and economic security of the Chinese people and the world at risk.

All to protect its image.

Rosemary Byfield

Langton Road, Edinburgh

Travel madness

There were 119 international arrivals scheduled to land at Heathrow on 3 April, plus others arriving at Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, etc. Plus Eurostar, ferries and so on. Four flights from Rome, four from Madrid, five from Moscow, three from New York, four from Los Angeles. Crazy, crazy, crazy stuff.

Why? And we are hardly allowed outside.

Mary Brown

Taynuilt, Argyll

Fitting tribute

In the midst of all the current difficulties, it’s heartening to read in Alison Campsie’s Heritage article (Perspective, 2 April) that the temporary Glasgow hospital is to be named after Sister Louisa Jordan.She and the many others who joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH), spearheaded by Dr Elsie Inglis, along with many women doctors, are often forgotten here. They are still very much respected and honoured in Serbia.

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In May, a group of 12 supporters of Elsie Inglis and SWH was due to travel to Serbia to visit Kragujevac, Serbian hospital sites and monuments. Sadly, this visit has been postponed until next year; but we fully intend to pay our respects to these pioneering and brave women. If alive today, I’m sure they would all be serving on the NHS frontline.

Fiona Garwood

Ormidale Terrace, Edinburgh

It’s not unusual

“Furlough”: my old school dictionary indicates, is a noun meaning “leave of absence” from the Dutch “verlof”.

As a young child growing up in the West Highlands in the 1940s, I remember well the excitement when our primary school teacher announced that a missionary – usually a woman – home on furlough, would be coming to tell us about their work in Africa or India.

Faraway places with strange sounding names, but what wonderful stories.

I would suggest that for Scottish people of my generation, the elderly and vulnerable; this word is not that unusual.

Margaret Campbell

Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

God help them

While sensible religious people are following their governments’ guidance on worship gatherings during this coronavirus pandemic, there are many who are not, preferring to believe that God will protect them.

Sadly, even in Scotland, SNP politician John Mason suggested that people should, “take risks, and trust in Jesus”. Rightly, he was told by health secretary Jeane Freeman that he was, “neither an exception nor exceptional”.

We don’t criticise personal religious behaviour so long as it doesn’t violate the rights of others, but this naive and selfish activity clearly does.

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Even the Pope has said that sinners can now confess directly to God and not necessarily to a priest.

It is strange that it has taken a worldwide pandemic to ask that faith be private, requiring neither public display nor preaching to others.

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society
Saughtonhall Drive

Walk of shame

Since the lockdown was announced, giving us clear instructions on how to help reduce the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have watched the majority of people trying to do the right thing, but when it comes to exercise they seem to forget what to do.

Living within walking distance of Edinburgh’s Silverknowes Promenade I could walk there and enjoy a stroll with my dog. However, recent weeks, not just weekends, have seen an increase of people “taking their car a walk” – parking up and walking along the prom to Cramond.

Under normal circumstances this would be great. But these are not normal circumstances! These areas of Silverknowes and Cramond are at times now so busy that social distancing is very difficult. I have stopped trying to walk there, as have friends living at Cramond.

I am not saying people should not walk there, of course not.

I am saying, for the sake of everyone’s health, please, don’t take your car for a walk, exercise from your own home.

B Wilson

Silverknowes Drive, Edinburgh

Hair today

As the coronavirus story unfolds and the general population’s hair grows longer and colour treatments begin to fade, will the politicians, TV presenters and reporters reveal a similar trend? Or, will we find that some of them conveniently have family households that boast a hairdresser in their midst able to safely keep their locks in check?

Richard Perry

Kirkbank Road, Burntisland

Yes, but...

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We are told by UK government ministers that “the one thing that is worse than no test is a bad test”; and also that “we must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good”.

Are these statements not contradictory?

John Birkett

Horseleys Park, St Andrews

Fools rush in?

On Wednesday, April Fools’ Day, it was announced that the Glasgow COP26 climate conference has been postponed. I vote that it be deferred until 2050 so delegates can compare their predictions to real data.

Geoff Moore

Alness, Highland

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