Readers' Letters: Please Nicola, bring on Christmas restrictions

While shopping in M&S yesterday I had a look at the newspaper stand and there were the usual suspects with their banner headlines condemning the extension of Covid restrictions, which they claimed would interfere with our civil liberties. There, prominently, was The Scotsman, with a large front page picture of rioters in The Netherlands supporting their civil liberties.

Remembrance of Christmas past (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP)

My wife and I were at a local restaurant for lunch recently. Two ladies at a nearby table were obviously waiting for friends. When they arrived, masks off, they kissed and embraced, talking excitedly into each others faces.I then went to a local supermarket. While sanitising my hands and basket many people entered, ignoring the sanitising provisions.Entering the store I took my usual steps to avoid crowded aisles, when striding towards me came a 15-16 year-old, chewing gum, no mask, with a defiant expression.There you are, three incidents in an hour within a mile which I consider infringed my civil liberties.I hope to go out for Christmas lunch with my recently acquired Covid Passport in my pocket, hoping I can avoid the rioters encouraged by the provocative headlines in some newspapers.Please Nicola, let’s have as many restrictions as necessary to curb the number of cases and deaths this virus is causing.

W N Anderson, Edinburgh

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I have a lot of sympathy with those businesses that are questioning the worth of vaccine passports, given that folk who have had two vaccines can still get and pass on Covid. Unless folk can understand the reasoning for a restriction, they will not only be unlikely to comply with it but will extend their reluctance to other, more valid, restrictions.

My own argument is with the Museum for Scotland, which has closed those push-button galleries that are particularly appealing to children. The closure notices say that because the exhibits are touched a lot, the Museum has decided to close them. My question is: “why? What is the scientific justification?”

When Covid first arrived, there was a lot of uncertainty about how it was transmitted from person to person. The virus’ shelf life on different surfaces was discussed and some folk quarantined their shopping, and even their post. However, it has now been established that the virus is airborne and cannot be picked up by someone touching an inanimate object which someone else has touched. This means that masks, good ventilation and distancing are important but washing everything down with buckets of disinfectant is not – indeed, I do wonder if all the spray sanitiser that is used in great abundance isn’t itself causing a lot of respiratory problems. However, I digress.

I wrote to the Museum asking for the science behind their decision to close those galleries where the exhibits are touched a lot. Now, the Museum, according to its e-mail address, is an academic institution so I expected a proper academic answer. Instead, all I got was that it is following Government Guidelines. How pathetic is that!

Judith Gillespie, Edinburgh

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I am not a Unionist, nor am I a Conservative, “loyalist” or “Yoon,” whatever that means, nor for that matter am I a LibDem or a Labour man (any more). But without any label at all I am passionately in favour of keeping the UK intact and in Scotland remaining an integral part. I feel this way not only because of my experience of life, but also because I have leaned to dislike nationalism intensely – Scottish, British, German or any version of the past or present. These traits were inherited from extensive reading and admiration of the works of George Orwell when I was a young man.

But I remain pro-UK because I believe that Scotland remaining a partner in this most successful of all this planet’s unions is best for me and what is left of my life and, most of all, for the lives of my children and grandchildren.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Vanity insanity

Thank you for reminding us of the disgraceful delay in the completion of Lord Hardie's report on the trams fiasco (your report, 22 November).

How long does the eminent Lord need to consider the following: The £1,000,000,000 (at least) the Council is devoting to the largely redundant trams, which benefit only a small minority of regular out-of-town commuters. A couple of times a year, a few more who choose air travel can also get to and from Edinburgh Airport slightly more conveniently.

Alternatively, with a £10,000 grant to each one, the Council could have invested in insulating 100,000 homes, starting with those in the lowest Council Tax bands. This would have improved the lives – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – of around 220,000 people who are most likely to have children and can least afford the necessary investment for saving energy.

Apart from the gigantic improvement in social wellbeing for so many, the positive environmental impact would dwarf the extremely dubious eco-claims made by Cllr Lesley Macinnes and co for their shiny tourist-friendly bauble of the trams.

Let us hope Lord Hardie's delay is caused only by assessing just how many charges of negligence, incompetence and wilful ignorance the responsible councillors and council officers should face.

John Jones, Edinburgh

Sturgeon 2.0?

Douglas Cowe shouldn't shoot the messenger, Dr Azeem Ibrahim (Letters, 22 November). He has acknowledged that British civil servants did all the COP26 heavy lifting, that Scotland is in a mess – much of it due the SNP mis-government – and the Scexit case is bust.

But his point is brutally true: despite all that, a weekend poll of voters from all parties said 62 per cent of Scots want Nicola to stay in power until 2026. and no other SNP contender polled more than seven per cent; if we're to have them for another five years it might as well be the devil we know –Nicola Sturgeon – at the helm. This paradox – the worse things get, the more popular she is – is only partly explained by the SNP's fantastic media machine. Just as the failed 2014 campaign roadtested the subsequent Brexit and Trump campaign methods that left their unsuspecting rivals stunned and sprawling, SNP 2021 is an emerging model for controlling a country without descending to Putin or Xi methods.

Faced with this, our people, politicians and broadcast media are like indigenous American natives who had no antibodies to the diseases brought by European colonists. And as long as Douglas Ross feels driven to criticise Boris Johnson, can't brush off a £43 train ticket and can't "whataboot" Ian Blackford’s £270,000 second job earnings, I'm afraid we will have at least five more years of this.

And if the SNP machine creates Sturgeon 2.0 – Kate Forbes – that's the ba' well and truly burst. Poor old Scotland.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven

Work of friction

I tried to order a couple of prints from the National Gallery of Ireland as a Christmas present for my wife. When I came to put in my address, I found that none of the UK, Great Britain, Britain or the constituent nations were in the list of countries so I rang the gallery. I was told that they are not delivering to the UK just now. I asked the person why and was told “Problems with Brexit”. I was completely shocked and so saddened..

Is this what Boris Johnson calls “frictionless trade”? I suppose if there is no trade there can be no friction, but then there is also no deal!

Boris Johnson was partially responsible for making the UK the envy of the world after the 2012 Olympic Games. His appalling Brexit has made us a pariah state less than ten years later.

Who is going to recover our reputation and how?

David Cole-Hamilton, St Andrews, Fife

Foul play

I am a long time supporter of Scottish rugby and have been attending Murrayfield for more than 50 years. I find the current situation re: the lack of running water in the stadium for washing hands and flushing toilets during all four autumn internationals to be totally unacceptable. I have used the facilities in the North stand and on each occasion the toilets would not flush and there was barely a dribble of water in the washbasins, certainly not enough to wash your hand as per Covid guidance.

It would be a poor show at any time but during the current pandemic its beyond comprehension that the SRU would put rugby fans’ health at risk by the lack of adequate sanitation in the national stadium. I hope this situation will be rectified before the home internationals in two months’ time.

Alex Sneddon, Dunblane, Stirling & Falkirk

Cold truths

Gordon Cochrane (Letters, 22 November) seems to think that both Earth's ice caps are on oceans, in which case his conclusion would be correct. But this is only true of the Northern ice (the Arctic Ocean). Elsewhere, huge volumes of ice sit on solid ground in Antarctica and Greenland. As this ice reaches the oceans it is bound to raise sea level (it already has), even if it did not melt. Sea level is also rising because higher temperatures are causing the oceans to expand.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Rising worries

Gordon Cochrane tells us not to worry about polar icecaps melting because, he claims, they won't contribute to rising sea levels because 7/8ths of them are underwater. Unfortunately, this is not true of the Greenland icecap, which is almost entirely sitting on land. There is enough ice in it to raise global sea levels by about six metres (20 feet) and its rate of melting has been increasing in recent years.

Malcolm Ogilvie, Bruichladdich, Isle of Islay

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