Readers' Letters: Leaders should ignore public and lock down

It saddens me greatly that after so many people have died/been severely affected by the original variants of Covid-19, we have another variant in Omicron. And that the powers that be are essentially twiddling their thumbs until they know the full effects of it!

Nicola Sturgeon sets an example by getting her Covid booster, but should she be doing more? (Picture: Russell Cheyne/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Are the supposedly intelligent and well-educated leaders of our country going to keep endangering us by continuing to allow events that draw huge crowds, little monitoring of mask wearing and just keep pretending that we are back to normal and there is little or no danger out there?

I’m sure most people would rather they and their families were safe and well rather than see further huge unchecked virus breakouts happening because the powers that be don’t seem to care anymore! Yes, of course we all want “normal” and Christmas, again but we have to be realistic about how much danger we are in and take steps to prevent the horrors of the past year or so.

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There is an old saying: "Prevention is better than cure!” and we need Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon and other leaders to get a grip and do something, instead of wittering on about it not really being much of a threat.

Here in Scotland several cases of the new strain are linked to a Steps concert in Glasgow but it appears things are carrying on as normal, with only those in direct contact with people with the variant being expected to get tested, and possibly isolate. Viruses are not selective, they kill anyone, so let’s stop pandering to the public and do what is needed to prevent another year or more of hideousness and pain.

Then again, how are we meant to have faith in Boris Johnson when he is busy breaking rules he implemented: “You should wear masks but I won’t.” “You can’t have Christmas parties but I can.”

I am quite happy to have lockdown again if it gets Covid and Omicron under control once and for all.

Wake up politicians, and do the right thing, rather than keeping the public happy by doing little or nothing!

Bronwyn Matthew, Prestonpans, East Lothian

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Beyond belief

Is it never going to end? As if all the allegations of corruption and duplicity by Boris Johnson’s Tory cabal in Westminster were not bad enough, we now hear that, in flagrant disregard of the rules in force at the time, drinks parties were being held in Downing Street last Christmas. The country was in lockdown, but apparently rules designed to keep the public safe did not, by whatever magic, apply in that special place!

And yet, as we see from the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election result, people are still, contrary to all common sense, prepared to vote Tory. Can anyone still really believe that we are better together with this lot?

David Howdle, Kirkton, Dumfries

Brush with Boris

A clown, a buffoon and a liar! I never thought I would agree with the French in their outspoken criticism of a British Prime Minister! What more does the man have to do in order to forfeit the support of so many well-whipped decent MPs? I hope they will at least club together and buy him a hairbrush for Christmas

Colin Evans, Edinburgh

Bending truth

So Nicola Sturgeon posts details on social media of the latest Scottish independence opinion poll, showing a majority in favour of independence.

She knows full well that it's always polling trends that matter, not one-offs – and 12 out of 14 polls since her victory in the May Holyrood election show a majority opposed to Sturgeon's UK break-up plans.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

New Blair needed

Over the years Tony Blair has been adopted as a hate figure by those on the far left and nationalist side of politics. It is forgotten that his governments – put in by successive landslide majorities – brought an end to The Troubles in Ireland; provided the cash for the NHS to hire tens of thousands more doctors and nurses; established a minimum wage; and much more. His only real major error was believing flawed intelligence he wanted to believe and subsequent involvement in the Iraq War as a junior partner. He was hated by the other parties because of his success; he made the SNP look foolish and amateurish and regularly humiliated their leaders; he was hated by the far left in his own party mainly because he insisted that Israel deserved the right to exist and was even-handed in the Palestinian dispute.

If ever Labour needed another Tony Blair it is right now. Even with Boris Johnson’s bumbling seemingly worsening by the week, Labour struggle to establish the kind of lead they should have in these circumstances.

As well, here in Scotland, a strong and uncompromising leader like Blair would have put the nationalist threat back in its box with ease.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Storage issue

Dr Francis Roberts' energy storage system is, as they say, as old as the hills – or at least as the grandfather clock mentioned (Letters, 4 December). The output of 250kW looks good but confuses energy with power, the rate of energy production. How about a research laser system such as the Orion at Aldermaston? This produces power in the petawatt range (about 10,000 times that of the peak rating of all UK electricity generation) but lasts for such a short time that its energy production would keep a one-bar electric fire going for all of one second. The problem with all non-chemical, non-nuclear storage systems is just how little they do actually store in relation to demand, size and cost.

(Dr) A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries and Galloway

Off the grid

Francis Roberts thinks storage of electricity from renewable sources should make the National Grid (NG) redundant (Letters, 4 December).

The UK's integrated electricity network is one of the world's largest high-voltage electric power transmission networks, ensuring that electricity generated anywhere can be used to satisfy demand elsewhere. It was created in 1926 from a fragmented supply system and has worked well for nearly 100 years. Without it, consumers are at the mercy of local breakdowns as happened in Texas last winter (Texas is not connected to the US network).No amount of local electricity storage will obviate the need to ensure the security of supply that NG provides and it would be irresponsible to abandon an integrated network.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

People power

I phoned SP Energy Networks on Thursday to enquire how to claim compensation for two days without electricity. A recorded message told me the office was closed until Friday.

When I phoned on Friday a recorded message said the office was again closed, with no time of reopening given. Given that Scottish Power made an operating profit of £991.1 million last year, of which SP Energy Networks contributed £582.9m, perhaps they could spend some of it in staffing their offices?

William Loneskie, Lauder, Berwickshire

Greens, no green

Scotland’s oil has been disowned at the behest of the Greens. Let us hope they are equally happy to see a diminution in Scotland’s pensions, which – public or private – are substantially financed by dividends from the oil industry.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross

Get connected

AsAlastair Dalton's Inside Transport column says, the Union Connectivity Review recognises the need for improving transport in the south-west and calls for the upgrading of the A75 (Perspective, 3 December). However, why no mention at all of restoring the railway between Dumfries and Stranraer, which, with an extension to Cairnryan (contrary to what the maps in the report show, Cairnryan is not on the railway!) could convey freight at the expense of emitting far less greenhouse gases than more lorries thundering along Tarmac, to say nothing of the extra car journeys that all road improvements generate?

The nearest railway station to Cairnryan is actually six miles away at Stranraer. Compare this with the mere two miles between Cardiff Airport and its nearest station, complete with shuttle-bus which the report authors consider “poor public transport access”. It certainly suggests the connections between the former and current Loch Ryan ports are grossly inadequate.

The report also says: “Communities in the Scottish Borders region are enthusiastic about the economic and social benefits they see resulting from an extension of the Borders Railway south, across the border, to Carlisle” and welcomes “the £5 million in funding that the UK Government has made available for the development of a possible extension to the Borders Railway”. That's fine as far as it goes, although £5m won't go very far, not even as far as Hawick, but “possible extension” is hardly a ringing endorsement.

Add that to the UK government subsidising, wholeheartedly supported by the Scottish Government or at last the SNP component thereof, another two years of unnecessary domestic flights between Dundee and London, a journey easily undertaken by a regular rail service on the East Coast Main Line, and it's as though COP26 had never happened.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews, Fife

Fore sure

I welcome the news that green-reading books may be banned in certain golf competitions. What would speed up play considerably would be if caddies were banned from standing on greens and giving advice on the line and speed of a putt. Any golfer, whether amateur or professional, who needs such advice should not be playing the game.

Colin McAllister, St Andrews, Fife

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