As someone who is opposed to independence, I can only say I have huge respect for Mr Sillars. I have always admired his intellect and his being a fair and reasonable politician, our differences accepted. His words about the party he has dedicated his life to should be a wake-up call to all those backing the SNP at this moment.
What Mr Sillars outlines is the drift to a position where a government thinks it can get away with anything, control the civil service, legal process and indeed, use legal process against those who disagree with it. This is a perilous place to be. Indeed, if this was happening in any other country, I’m sure we would all be up in arms. This is what happens when a government or party has enjoyed power for too long, and has been allowed, due to the lack of a decent opposition, to become almost totalitarian in that it believes it does not need to answer to anyone. If anyone needs confirmation regarding the morals of the SNP they need look no further than yesterday’s article by Brian Monteith “Sturgeon’s silence on EU border gaffe speaks volumes”).
This is an administration which relegates the needs of its own people to further an agenda of division and one-route politics. I voted Remain but the farcical non-management of the vaccine by the EU shows me that I was wrong, and I am therefore glad my vote did not win.
It is often said that “silence is golden”, but the Scottish Government’s refusal to speak up regarding the Irish border issue and the potential risk to our receiving vaccines really is toxic. There are times in life when we are proved wrong, and it takes a lot to accept we are wrong. I am proud to admit now that my vote in 2016 was irrefutably wrong.
David Millar, West High Street, Lauder
Under the bus
Twenty eight days. That's all it took for Ireland to discover the hard way that some are less equal than others in an EU emergency – thrown under the bus for Covid-19 vaccines by its “friends” who expect Britain to make up the shortfall without a hint of irony – ergo Britain will be "to blame" if it doesn't happen.To those of an older generation who wondered why Éamon de Valera of all people helped Britain with numerous sleights of hand during "The Emergency" against Hitler's Europe, now you know why. We may not be the best of neighbours at times here in the Atlantic archipelago, but it still makes for a better neighbourhood to be in than those outside of it…
Mark Boyle, Linn Park Gardens, Johnstone
The EU's dictatorial mandarins invoked emergency powers to block Covid vaccine exports from Europe into the UK. Following an outcry from Britain and Ireland this diktat was dropped. These EU dictators tried to bully AstraZeneca into diverting millions of doses of the Oxford vaccine made in Britain to Europe to make up for the shortfall caused by the firm's production issues in Belgium. AstraZeneca's lawyers confirmed that there was no legal basis to enforce this. This action would have deprived Scotland of a million doses of the vaccine. Will Ms Sturgeon immediately condemn these EU bullies?
Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow
Help all sick
The British Heart Foundation is right to call for better standardisation and more government support for the diagnosis, treatment and care of heart patients in Scotland.
At the start of the pandemic I was unfortunate enough to need urgent heart surgery but fortunate to receive excellent care from doctors in my health board area and brilliant treatment from the surgeon and staff at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Many other people with heart problems are obviously not so lucky and, along with cancer patients etc, have been largely neglected during the pandemic.
As the Covid crisis eases, the Scottish Government should concentrate on remedying some of the shortfalls in the treatment of the serious illnesses which exist and put the contentious Indyref2 on the back burner. Saving lives is more important at this time.
Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Kippen
I arrived home after a shopping trip to find an NHS brown envelope which I hoped was my call for my over-70's Covid-19 vaccine. Not at all – it was an information booklet on Changes in Law on Organ and Tissue Donation.
What is this Scottish Government playing at sending to every household this type of information when we are in a Covid-19 pandemic and only want to know when we are going to get the vaccine.
Michael Baird, Dornoch Road, Bonar Bridge
My 95-year-old mother, who has dementia and is housebound, has not yet received her covid vaccine. There has been no communication from the NHS/GP on the subject at all! She has carer visits three times per day. Carers were only vaccinated last week, exposing her indirectly to many other households. Should she contract Covid she has a higher than 90 per cent chance of dying. How can the Scottish system ignore someone who is a the very pinnacle of vulnerability to this disease as per the WHO and other scientific bodies… and she is not alone! The SNP are so focused on care homes, due to the failure in Phase 1, that it appears those in the community are the potential sacrificial lambs in Phase 2. Both should have been dealt with equally and, more importantly, communicated with in terms of vaccine expectation!
Ken Wood, Longniddry, East Lothian
Step up jags
Please could someone ask our First Minister why we have vaccinated 515,000 by Friday yet England managed 600,000 on Saturday alone? Why do our health workers have to jump through hoops to receive the vaccine where in England they can order it directly? Incompetence?
Jane Drysdale, Murrayfield Gardens, Edinburgh
Initially the First Minister advised us that the reason the number of over-80s vaccinated was lower in Scotland than England was because the Scottish Government had decided to vaccinate care home residents and their carers first – fair enough. Now we learn that the rest of the UK has completed their care home vaccination programme on time while the Scottish Government hopes to complete this by the end of this week. At the same time Scotland lags well behind the other UK regions in the number of over-80s vaccinated. On top of this we learn of the huge number of vaccine doses languishing in cold storage rather than being injected into people's arms.
The only explanation forthcoming from the Scottish Government is that they are on track and that "we have already vaccinated a higher percentage of our population than most other countries worldwide". Yes, well, other countries don't have the same supply as the UK.
The Scottish Government controls all the levers of power in this area and so far has done a poor job. Possibly the reason is that their focus is elsewhere, as apparently the deputy First Minister believes the way out of the pandemic is by way of an independence referendum.
If it wasn't so serious it would be laughable..
AP Godfrey, St Mary's Drive, Dunblane
Neil Barber (Letters, January 30) persists in his belief that, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, human nature plus reason is all that is necessary to happiness. While it is true that the present pandemic has called forth an enormous amount of “decent” behaviour, self-sacrifice, caring etc, it has also evoked quite a lot of very “un-decent” behaviour. One in three police officers in the UK, for instance, have reported being threatened by people coughing in their faces (and very often laughing), then there is the selfish minority who persistently flout the rules intended for their own benefit. No, the paradox of human nature is that, left to itself, it will inevitably, sooner or later, encompass its own harm and destruction. A remedy for that, Mr Barber, if you please.Then, heigh-ho, we come to the churches, Mr Barber’s favourite target. The re-opening of churches, in fact, as proved recently before a tighter lock-down, in no way affected the community at large (meaning “the non-religious majority”?); the churches have always followed the strictest rules to regulate themselves and would continue to do the same.
MD Taylor, Viewfield Park, Selkirk
I never realised the FM was a closet Anglophile until I watched FMQs last week. Only one of the first nine questions mentioned England but all her answers did. How would she manage without them?
Andrew Kemp, Mossbank, Rosyth
Michael Russell, President of the SNP and outgoing Minister for the Constitution believes that an independence referendum could be held before the end of 2021. Looking at his timescales, this would hint at asking the Scottish electorate to vote in December on whether it wants to leave the UK. I guess it would be a good time to ask turkeys if they want to vote for Christmas, as choosing to separate from the rest of the UK would make Scotland a poorer place economically and culturally. If the last year has shown us anything it is that we are better together. The UK Government has invested heavily in the development and purchase of vaccines, with the furlough scheme and the borrowing on a scale not seen in peacetime, something that has only been achieved by being part of something as big and robust as the UK.
Jane Lax, Craigellachie, Aberlour
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