My son and his family live and work in Abu Dhabi; because of the pandemic we have not seen them for more than 18 months. They have planned to come and see the family in July, but the United Arab Emirates is currently a “red light” country. My son and his wife are both double vaccinated and their oldest child is six; The Emirates have a national level of vaccination equal to ours and infection rates are lower.
If the governments followed their own mantra, then the Emirates should be “green”; however, “amber” would be acceptable because our family could isolate in our house and large garden, but they cannot afford either the time or money to pass a valuable holiday wasting ten days in a hotel. Our MSP, Oliver Mundell took up our case but received an anodyne reply from the Cabinet Secretary.
It is time for the people to demand that governments stick to the rules they have laid down – at the very least, double vaccinated people should be considered immune.
Roger S Windsor, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire
Daily Covid case figures in Edinburgh have climbed from virtually zero six weeks ago to the current high level. The spread correlates with an outbreak of the Indian variant in South Glasgow, spread thanks to a justified demonstration against enforced deportations and a Rangers–Celtic match.
At the time Glasgow was in Level 3 with no indoor drinking in pubs. What a pity Nicola didn’t keep the Weegies in Glasgow and stop them using Level 2 Edinburgh pubs, so spreading the infection. Why couldn’t she impose a travel ban on the crowds pouring into London last weekend? How does she think she can stop travel to Manchester and not consider that travel from and within Scotland can also constitute a problem?
Marina Donald, Edinburgh
On Tuesday, at the height of summer, Scotland's Covid cases rise by 40 per cent in one week. The accompanying pressure on the NHS, deaths, and long Covid cases will be shocking. Yet the First Minister announces that the end of lockdown is coming. This time last year Scottish Government Covid adviser Devi Sridhar told us Scotland was trying to eliminate the virus. What a sick joke.
David Watson, Edinburgh
Alex Orr (Letters, 23 June) suggests that the franchise for any future referendum on Scotland seceding from the UK should be the electoral register, as it was in the 2014 referendum. That franchise was less than perfect. I was born and educated in Scotland and I have lived in Scotland for 52 years of my life. Between 2013 and 2019 I lived and worked in Africa. Throughout this period I continued to pay Council Tax on my property in Scotland, and to pay Income Tax. I was registered on the electoral register and was able to vote in the EU referendum in 2016. However, as an overseas voter, I was denied a vote in the 2014 independence referendum. In contrast, I was astonished to discover, a friend of my son, from Singapore and living in Scotland in order to attend university, was entitled to vote.
I suggest that the 2014 definition of the franchise (including the extension of the vote to 16 and 17 year olds) deliberately increased the representation of impressionable young people while reducing that of people with wider life experience who may be harder to persuade of the benefits of separation. Is this not “gerrymandering”?
Should any future referendum take place, the arrangements relating to the franchise and to the question on the ballot paper should achieve as wide a consensus as possible. It is not for Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP acolytes to set the rules or to stifle the debate.
George Rennie, Inverness
Tens of thousands of Scots have opted to seek better jobs beyond Scotland, mainly in other parts of the UK, which of course has meant moving permanently to that location. A fair fraction of these have always had the intention of returning to Scotland on retirement. These returning pensioners, first of all, spend a lot of capital in house purchases and thereafter spend most of their retirement income here.
There surely is, therefore, a good argument for such people during their working lives elsewhere in the UK to have some say in whether their land of birth and intended retirement and death remains part of the union it sought and obtained over 300 years ago, and from which it has benefited to an incredible degree.
(Dr) A McCormick, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire
New SNP Treasurer Colin Beattie admitted that the SNP Independence Fund of £666,000 had been used for other things. These funds had been collected from poor misled SNP followers for independence activity only. Beattie wasn't specific about where the members' money had gone but, he said, it doesn't matter because every penny spent is for independence. Why was it necessary to specifically ask for funds for that single purpose and then spend it on the day-to-day running of the party, such as Peter Murrell's £100,000+ salary plus expenses?
Beattie says that another fundraising exercise will be required to pay for the independence money that has already been spent. Sounds a bit like Groundhog Day for the poor souls who will have their pockets picked again. The trouble is that unlike the film they'll remember the first pickpocket and may, just may, send them hame tae think again!
Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire
Off the rails
As a passionate Remainer, I found myself wholeheartedly agreeing with Douglas Cowe’s articulate letter in the Scotsman today (23 June). In pursuit of my hobby of railway landscape photography, I am presently a frequent visitor to the famous Settle to Carlisle railway in the north of England. Long hillside waits for approaching steam trains brings me into contact with likeminded English people and the conversation often turns to domestic UK politics, in particular the sad situation north of the Border.
Regrettably, I am no longer surprised to hear my perplexed fellow enthusiasts wondering why “people in Scotland hate us so much”. I find myself repeatedly explaining that this is not the case, although it is clearly the impression the First Minister and her allies present.
At least we can always rely on the hapless footballers to put a dampener on nationalist fervour.
David Edgar, Biggar, South Lanarkshire
Contrary to Douglas Cowe's views, the only things ever ruined by nationalism seem to have been the obsessive aims of empire builders. The Romans, the Hapsburgs, Napoleon, the East India Company and Stalin were all infuriated by the obstinate aspirations of the nations they tried to dominate.
Perhaps he should consult Finland and the Baltic States about whether they regard their independence from Russia as ruination. He could then ask France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Greece and Poland whether the people are disappointed not to be parts of the Third Reich.After the nationalists of Norway obtained independence from Sweden, it is hard to see it as a disaster for Norway and I don't think that Americans regard the Fourth of July as a day of national mourning.
Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh
A key measure of our educational system’s success in levelling the playing field is the percentage of children on free school meals who make their way to university. Around 15 per cent of white British pupils do so compared to 60 per cent of black African pupils, 60 per cent of Bangladeshi pupils and 35 per cent of black Caribbean pupils. It’s shocking so little has been done to address this gap and that the vile phrase “white privilege” has been allowed to do such damage to the white working class state of mind. The education select committee report is a welcome exposé of this disturbing situation. Stereotypical attitudes towards white working-class pupils are hard to counter with the “bien pensant” insistence that there is inherent white privilege even in this seriously deprived group – leaving other groups “owning” all the arguments of disadvantage.
The “deficit model” – blaming the victim for lack of success – is now reserved solely for the white working class and surely breaches the Equality Act.
(Dr) John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife
It comes as no surprise that surveys suggest most of us regret Brexit. But such sentiments are as pointless as digging up seeds to check progress even though the growing conditions have been terrible. The EU and the UK are still deep in the Covid mire and economic progress in both areas has been severely checked. When I read of the shambles in the EU my view is that the UK would be even worse if we'd remained. But I do wish that we had a more competent hand on the tillers in the UK as well as here in Scotland. Neither government appears to have much of clue about very much
Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian
Who will the SNP establishment at Holyrood now support in the Euros? The country with which Scotland has a land border, 300 years plus of shared culture and where nearly a million Scots live? Or some other country, selected because it's not England?
Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire
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