Readers' Letters: Fans aren’t to blame for Covid coming home

The UK currently has more Covid cases than the whole of the EU put together. Therefore it is hardly surprising that the most populous cities in Scotland have very high rates of infection, although those fell on each of 2, 3 and 4 July. As Scotland has no control of our borders, the spike in cases is due to Boris Johnson’s flawed decision to delay putting India on the red travel list thus allowing the more virulent Delta variant to run riot.

Scotland fans are not primarily to blame for rising Covid cases. (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Scotland fans are not primarily to blame for rising Covid cases. (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Scottish football fans, who were clearly advised not to travel to London unless they had a ticket, are not primarily to blame as attending games, fanzones, pubs or watching in groups at home only accounted for six per cent of positive cases. On BBC Radio Scotland National Clinical Director Jason Leitch expertly countered Labour’s claims (your report, 5 July) on vaccination levels (which are higher than in England), unused jags and shortening the period between jags.

Without border controls, Scotland is still at the mercy of the likes of Sajid Javid, who thinks Covid is just like flu and wants to stop the wearing of masks, while Nicola Sturgeon is attacked every time she proposes a more sensible approach.

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Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Ask questions

It is not only worrying to see such high Covid levels in Scotland, but equally worrying that the Scottish Government is not willing to accept that there is a problem. When such difficulties arise in any walk of life one of the first steps to resolving an issue is to identify that problem and the cause of failure. That is one thing that is not allowed to happen here in Scotland. One obvious question: why is England doing so much better than us? However, I can’t see that being raised in the inner circles of the SNP. I suspect this will all have set back the as yet undisclosed plans of John Swinney as he rises to the challenge of his new post as Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery.

Ken Currie, Edinburgh

Covid compare

Every day we are shown the number of people who died within 28 days of a positive Covid test that day on our TVs. Can we also be shown the number of deaths from all other causes? For example, for 28 May, the latest date at which government data is available, the figures would have been eight Covid deaths and 1,516 from other causes.

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

Scottish enough?

So, that wrong kind of Scot, the anti-everything Scottish Brian Wilson, is again castigated for having the temerity to question the motives and competence of the Scottish Government, but surely those peeved correspondents should really be directing their ire at the UK Supreme Court? After all the President of that august body, who more or less dismissed Scottish Government arguments before him as utter piffle, is another Scot – but obviously not Scottish enough!

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

Money and mouth

For Leah Gunn Barrett (Letters, 3 July) to condemn another contributor's views as "a fact-free rant" is ironic, considering that she herself has some reputation as an expert in the art of groundless diatribe. Ms Gunn-Barrett lambasts the wicked Thatcher for having "deliberately destroyed UK heavy industry and manufacturing… favouring instead a rapacious and non-productive financial sector". No western government was able to prop up indefinitely (with taxpayers' money) loss-making industries made uncompetitive by the cheaper labour and production costs of far-eastern competitors; we now operate in a global economy, not the protectionist 1970s time-warp of Gunn Barrett's imagination. Is she unaware that over 200,000 people (eight per cent of Scotland's workforce) are employees of this "rapacious and non-productive financial sector"?

Perhaps we should just put all these non-productive parasites back to work down the mines and in the shipyards and steelworks?

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Re: Jenners-ation

I was saddened to hear that Edinburgh’s iconic Jenners department store has recently closed down. In this terrible time of Covid and the tumult it has caused so many, it crossed my mind that a possible way to start a regeneration both of Jenners and the rest of Princes Street would be to make the building a community hub for Edinburgh and the Lothians. It could provide business space for people to get a leg up, especially artists and craftspeople. Instead of the clothes concessions their creations could be sold.

There are already cafes and restaurants in the building so they could be brought alive as community areas, both as places to gather and for chefs/cooks to train. Free or much-reduced healthy food could be available for homeless or needy families or individuals. There is also a hairdressers where people could train, and free or cheap haircuts could be offered to those who need them.

There is so much potential to make a huge difference to our community and to help us find our way through the continuing pandemic.

I worked in Jenners when I left school many moons ago and I’d hate such a beautiful and historic part of Edinburgh to be ruined by thoughtless re-development. Lets stand up for our history and make it work for us, and not lose it to money and greed.

Bronwyn Matthew, Prestonpans, East Lothian

Life lessons

Many will be appalled at the destructive actions of visitors to part of the Cairngorms National Park (your report, 3 July). These mirror those of many young people who recently left huge amounts of rubbish on Troon Beach. Such actions are far more common in Scotland than in many other countries.

There is much debate on the state of Scottish education but the focus is usually on "standards" in schools. These are decided by results in national (mainly written) examinations. Pupils are continually assessed with regard to their competence in the subjects covered by these. Seldom considered are attitudes more relevant to future lives and societal cohesion than academic qualifications.

Some pupils lack empathy and respect for others. Racist, homophobic and sexist attitudes abound. Bullying, mainly by posts on social media, is rife. Teachers can do little about it.

Some men, even ones with good academic qualifications, abuse and threaten those with whose opinions they disagree. Often their victims are well-educated women in responsible positions. Some victims have withdrawn from public life as a result. In universities women students are subject to harassment by male counterparts. Seeking to improve matters without addressing the above behaviours is pointless.

Equating education with schooling is akin to confusing health with medical services. Schools cannot solve many educational problems which originate beyond them. This is one of them.

John Munro, Glasgow

Wake up

As an older reader who benefited from the simplicity, neighbourliness and inherent goodness of the past – despite issues of poverty and the scarcity of resources – I worry about the surge of “wokeism” in our world today. We are writing each other off and out of our lives.

The damage and the consequence of that chasm is awful, and indeed, frightening. The consequences are so significant, with less cooperation, less compromise, and more negativity.

The Enlightenment has proved to be less than enlightening for human relationships, and secularism has masked the true message of Christianity behind spurious “theological” arguments that are distinct from the central message of “kingdom, consequence and love”. The simple life involving respect for others and the ability to distinguish reality from the “Game Screen” still has much to commend it.

I feel that, at times, we are like lemmings racing towards self-destruction.

James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

Last hurrah

The cheering of journalists in the popular press seems unrelenting. England, liberated from EU restrictions will win the Euros. Nissan, basking in the same feelgood factor, has announced a commitment to British-made electric cars. Free Britain is a land of vaccinated and renewed entrepreneurs.

But is it Brexit's last hurrah, I wonder? The Nissan announcement came on the same day the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the talks with the EU on financial equivalence have broken down. So we undoubtedly will continue losing many more financial jobs and tax receipts than any tax returns we can get from car industries.

So, I protest, what about money trees, indebtedness and supporting one’s roof. Didn't these concepts once mean something to us? If we get even more in the red in the UK balance of payments, how can we decrease indebtedness? Red and blue walls don't, of course, always listen to such niceties.

But I hear the ever louder murmurings of those who say we will soon have a summer of discontent due to food shortages in our supermarkets. There is no easy way, apparently, to wean us off our dependence on EU lorry drivers. Supermarkets don't self-stock. Ah yes, the phrase I used shows I am recalling the famous winter of discontent when revulsion developed against too-powerful trade unionists.

Perhaps this time the discontent will be against too-powerful financiers – the kind who promoted Brexit, promoted Neo-liberalism in US and UK, and have weakened the world's commitment to dealing with climate change.

So have your last hurrah, and then we can get back to developing the Radicalisms these times call for.

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh

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