Readers' Letters: Hotel owners exploit demand for staycations

Recently I have been trying to find somewhere to have a short break with my partner. Like thousands of others who feel more comfortable staying at home to holiday, I have found that the prices to go anywhere are ridiculous.

Are B&B and hotel owners exploiting the demand for staycations. (Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty)
Are B&B and hotel owners exploiting the demand for staycations. (Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty)

Who is going to pay more than £500 for three nights’ holiday when in normal circumstances you could get a much longer holiday for much less?

While I do understand how hard it has been for everyone since the pandemic began, and that businesses are desperate to recoup their losses, exploiting those who are desperate for a change of scene now holidays are possible by charging them ridiculous amounts is very wrong.

Even so called "budget" hotel chains are charging extortionate amounts, knowing people will pay them because they so desperately need a holiday.

And what of overworked frontline workers who have ri sked their lives to save ours? Are they going to have to resort to sunbathing in their back gardens because they can’t afford a much-needed break!

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Get a grip, hotel owners, and give us the chance of a well-earned break at reasonable and realistic prices instead of highly inflated prices just to try and rake some extra cash in. It’s not much to ask after all the sacrifices we have made and losses we have sustained since Covid began. We are not millionaires, we are ordinary people, many of whom live on or near the breadline. Think about us when you are enjoying your expensive holidays while we languish at home staring at the walls we have been staring at for 18 months or more!

Bronwyn Matthew, Prestonpans, East Lothian

Club rules

I see from BBC Reporting Scotland that as of today, in night clubs there will be no need to wear face masks on the dance floor and physical distancing rules have been removed. Young people, a large proportion of them unvaccinated, can happily pant over each other face to face until the wee hours, but when they go to work the next day, like everyone else, will need to wear a mask on the bus, while they are shopping and at work. Reporter Lindsay Bews used the much-uttered phrase “there were no media answers from government ministers”.

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Other than that, the new guidelines seemed to be presented as a good idea. Am I the only one who finds the lack of scrutiny of decisions like this in the media concerning?

Donna McBeath Smith, Edinburgh

Empty words

So yet again Nicola Sturgeon is promising another independence referendum… has anyone actually counted how many times she has promised this? Are we now all so used to SNP broken promises that we have stopped even noticing?

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Broken promises, empty words, unfulfilled pledges by the SNP Government are not unusual – in fact, they are to be expected.

Pauline Eggemont, Inverness

Last chants?

May I thank Celtic fan David Millar (Letters, 7 August) for confirming that the terracing chants of Rangers supporters are, in fact, political and therefore unwelcome in Scottish football.

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D Mitchell, Edinburgh

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Assisted dying risks sending a message that some lives are no longer worth livin...

For peat’s sake

“Peat is the best ingredient for growing young plants”, according to Ken Cox, owner of Glendoick Garden Centre (Scotsman Magazine, 7 August). There is overwhelming evidence (including multiple articles published in The Scotsman over the last few months) about how peat needs to be protected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Uttering such a foolish statement days before the release of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demonstrates a shocking inability to read the room or consider the wider picture.

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As a soil scientist, my colleagues and I are supposed to remain impartial and bloodlessly unemotional, interested only in the gathering and presentation of evidence. Well, here’s some evidence for peat fans: if you’ve been given proof that your actions are causing harm, and you continue with those actions, then you can be considered criminally liable for the damage done.

This may seem like strong language, but make no mistake: scientists are increasingly fed up of soft-pedalling and pandering to those of you who ignore or deny the harm you are doing, and we’re coming for you. Having reached the stage in society where speaking the truth is considered a political act, scientists have been forced out of their apolitical stance – you’ll make activists of us all, eventually. We’ve started with the oil companies and we’re working our way down. Don’t expect ignorance to work as an excuse.

(Dr) Matt Aitkenhead, Aberdeen

Wanting out

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It is clear what the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong don’t want: they don’t want rule from Beijing (your report, 7 August). Their long-term objectives are less clear, but the logic of their claims is secession from the Peoples Republic, unilaterally if necessary. Their reaction, some time ago, to a proposed extradition treaty with China suggests that this is the case. This, Beijing will not allow, nor will unilateral secession be acknowledged by international agencies: the precedents of Catalonia, Crimea, Donbas Somaliland and Taiwan are against them. If they were to succeed, China could simply cut off supplies of food and water, and blockade the port and flight paths, and there would be nothing the West could do about it except huff and puff.

A programmed convergence of systems seems inevitable. The Scotsman might have words of wisdom as to how this might be achieved

Roger West, Edinburgh

Power play

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How can electrical battery-driven vehicles and other massive battery-based installations be considered as major components of our future sustainable energy strategy when the materials used for these batteries have a finite and rapidly diminishing supply?

GM Lindsay, Kinross, Perth and Kinross

MAD for it

I refer to DW Lowden’s letter of 6 August suggesting the use of nuclear weapons is to be avoided at all costs. Who would disagree with that? There is no prospect of a nuclear disarmament agreement being signed by the holders of nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future. The use of the two nuclear bombs in August 1945 assuredly brought an end to the Second World War.

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The concept of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) evolved as the USSR and China also acquired nuclear weapons. Whatever one’s views are on the weapon, there can be no doubt that the concept ensured peace in Europe, and confrontations between Nato and USSR were fought in a limited way only, through proxies.

Another “benefit” has been skirmishes only between India and Pakistan since they both acquired nuclear weapons.

Having been a Nato soldier during the Cuban crisis and other flashpoints, I am certain that the possession of nuclear weapons on both sides has prevented global conflicts and no nuclear state would use their weapons against a state with an effective response weapon such as Trident or its successor.

That is the whole point, to prevent a devastating war, and so far it has done exactly that and long may it continue.

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John Peter, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire

Mining history

Prime Minister Boris Johnston’s recent comments with respect to his predecessor Margaret Thatcher closing coal mines with a highly tenuous link to his green agenda was both insensitive and wide of the mark.

In fact, many more deep mines were closed in the 1960s and 1970s – in particular during Harold Wilson’s premiership – than under Thatcher, with serious effects on their communities in the Lothians, Fife and Ayrshire. In fact Thatcher “closed” relatively few Scottish pits.Her fight with miners’ leader Arthur Scargill is well remembered by the left and Nicola Sturgeon, but the facts on closures do need to be recognised.

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Mike Salte r, Aberdeen

No consensus

Michael Veitch, for the pressure group Christian Action, Research and Education, warna against changing the law to allow assisted dying in Scotland (Friends of The Scotsman, 5 August). He says much that we might all agree with, including proponents of that change. Who is going to deny that we should consider this issue with “an abundance of compassion and an absence of hyperbole”, and seek to “uphold the inherent worth and dignity of every human life”?

The question is what upholding human dignity requires. Mr Veitch understands his Christian beliefs to imply that an assisted death is wrong. He has the right to make this decision for himself, but it's worth noting that not all Christians agree. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey is an advocate for assisted dying, for example. In any case, not all Scots are Christians. Many, like me, firmly believe that upholding human dignity means respecting individuals' autonomy, including (especially!) on these difficult end-of-life questions.

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In the face of such deep and conscientious disagreement, our laws should seek to be fair and neutral, and trust individual citizens to decide these difficult ethical questions for themselves. In the present case, that means removing the legal prohibition against assisted dying, so that each of us can decide whether our lives are worth living or not, and act on that decision if we judge that it’s right for us.

Those who share Mr Veitch’s understanding of his Christian faith will presumably not choose an assisted death themselves, but they shouldn’t be able to deny that right to those of us who see things differently.

(Prof) Ben Colburn, University of Glasgow

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