Readers' Letters: Scottish Government winning its own Euros

As we returned yesterday from two weeks in Yorkshire on holiday, approaching the bridge at Coldstream, my chest swelled with pride. I was coming home, to the home of the European champions.
Nicola Sturgeon, pictured in 2017, likes a bit of sporting competition (Picture: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)Nicola Sturgeon, pictured in 2017, likes a bit of sporting competition (Picture: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon, pictured in 2017, likes a bit of sporting competition (Picture: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

No, not the footballing euros, the Covid euros.

My first task on returning was to buy my first copy of the Scotsman in two weeks; with only snippets of Nationalist jingoism, I was in need of confirmation that it was alive and kicking – thank you Mary Thomas (Letters, 12 July) for reminding me of what I was missing.

In footballing parlance, the great managers always look forward, not back, to the next game. In order to do so one needs to eradicate all the mistakes from the mind and go full on with positivity. This is where super manager Nicola Sturgeon, and her followers are indeed euro chumps.

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Covid capital of Europe – ignore. Ferries rotting in dry dock – ignore. Children’s hospital debacle – ignore etc. No – forget the disasters and keep going until you win – no rear view mirrors on the bus, no thinking what state we would be in if we had stuck with the EU vaccination approach – no. Chuck in a bit of the blame game – borders not shut, hindsight regurgitated time and time again.

What SNP zealots are able to do, and this is the real skill in the coaching team – after a bad result, last summer we are almost Covid free, now the capital of Europe, blame the UK government on the Indian variant spread. All they see is their version of the positive game, the trophy on the pedestal – Indyref2. The sheer brass neck of this party and its followers to eradicate, in their view with impunity, the shambles they have presided over is nothing short of incredible.

Heaven help us when the drivers of the bus with no wing mirrors have to reverse – the collision will be calamitous.

David Millar, Lauder, Scottish Borders

Virus irony

In his Perspective column of 10 July, “How did we end up as Europe’s Covid-19 capital?”, Brian Wilson offers some uncomfortable truths. Where politics prevails over the science we get negative outcomes lamenting the UK government’s failure to adopt Scotland’s quarantine laws, with holidaymakers circumventing these through English airports.

Given that last week Scottish regions accounted for six of the top ten for Covid cases in Europe we have to ask ourselves what else is happening? Mr Wilson’s suggestion to open up further amidst a rise in hospitalisations goes against public health advice in Scotland. Most experts argued for a pause in moving to level 0 with some justification.A key test for opening up has until recently been continued virus suppression, something that was largely achieved this time last year before the government opened up foreign travel, eventually bringing in the delta variant. This caused the most recent spike in cases among younger men. The decision to allow the Euro fan-zone in Glasgow signalled that mixing was fine despite the government knowing that the variant was more transmissible when less than half were fully vaccinated.The irony is that economies in East Asia and Oceania have largely been open for a year now, never needing the draconian measures that caused our economy to be the worst hit in the G7. All this was achieved by a combination of effective track and trace, sanctioned quarantine and restricted international travel. If the UK governments had learned from these countries we would have been out of lockdown months ago.

Instead we have the prospect of importation of new variants, potentially moving us back into lockdown. As Brian Wilson states, all the good work comes undone particularly when politics prevails over science.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Draft professor

A question puzzles me. Why is Professor Hugh Pennington (Letters, 13 July), with his expertise, knowledge and experience, not one of the group of scientists from whom the Scottish Government take advice on its pandemic control policies? His occasional letters to the newspapers have assisted the public understanding of what we face with the virus, but I am sure he could be more effective within the scientific group of advisers.

Jim Sillars, Edinburgh

No excuses

The behaviour of some England fans in London on Sunday was absolutely appalling. What has almost saddened me more, though, is hearing people making excuses for this kind of despicable conduct by saying things like, “but these people have been locked in for 18 months” – as though that justifies bad behaviour.Nobody was truly locked in, and even if they endured shielding or living with restrictions over the last year and a half, that is no excuse for the kind of unacceptable behaviour we witnessed.

Judi Martin, Maryculter, Aberdeenshire

Notional pride?

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Why are Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England now referred to as "nations" and the UK as "the four nations"? As far as I'm concerned Scotland is a country, my country, and the UK is also my country. Footballers play for their country, in the national team. politicians go to the country, in a national election, and people drive across the country.

The whole thing seems to be driven by the same thinking that rebadged the Scottish Executive as “the Scottish Government”, this time in a subliminal attempt to weaken the concept of the UK .

And pro-UK politicians and the media are for some reason going along with it.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Sunny shakedown

Call Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry's demand for £7.6 billion in compensation for slavery from the UK for what it is – a shakedown.Jamaica has no more right to compensation for slavery than we do from Algeria, Denmark, Ireland, Libya, Norway, Sweden and Tunisia for the slaving of the Vikings and Barbary Corsairs – and unlike the aforementioned, Britain more than paid any moral debts from slavery via the West Africa Squadron.As “the fifth most corrupt nation in the Caribbean” (source: The Jamaican Gleaner newspaper Thursday, 28 January, 2021), any such grandiose largesse would certainly not go to improving the quality of life of its citizens. Britain has enough problems without making morally dubious handouts to failed statelets.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Barmy boilers

In an area of business activities where customer and nation lose out but great profits can be made, decarbonisation has spawned some barmy ideas, few worse than a switch to burning hydrogen for heating homes, as proposed by Alan Brown, MP (Perspective, 13 July).

The considerable dangers and extra costs of burning hydrogen for energy are obvious but what, if any, benefit could be realised?

Despite the UK's ambitious, hugely costly "targets", UK decarbonisation is futile, since our share of man-made carbon dioxide, as a proportion of the total released from planet earth, is already negligible at 0.0000065% (calculation based on the IPCC's own data).

Our nation already has vast debts which may come to bankrupt us. "Green tokenism" carries much too high a price.

Charles Wardrop, Perth, Perth & Kinross

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Where’s Gordon?

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On Sunday, a Scottish Paralympic gold medallist, Gordon Reid, competed impressively in the finals of his sport at Wimbledon.

The previous day, he and his doubles partner, Alfie Hewett, played a superb match and won their championship.

It was disappointing to find no reference to either match in your Saturday print edition, and today I can see no report on your website's “Other Sport” page.

I had expected that our national newspaper would recognise wheelchair tennis as the excellent and exciting event it is, and would celebrate the achievements of our highly talented Scottish athlete and good sportsman, Gordon Reid.

Emily O'Brien, Edinburgh

Giant problem

The Scotsman editorial (10 July 2021) clearly supports Scotland’s renewable revolution based on wind. But how many Edinburgh citizens are aware of a proposal for 12 490ft turbines to be built in their backyard, along their southern skyline, barely 12 miles from the Bypass? French energy giant EDF has applied to build the Cloich 2 wind farm, to sit astride the Southern Upland Fault.

If approved, it will not be the last to appear on this unique geological landscape.

Jim Pratt, West Linton, Scottish Borders

Scaling up

I could not agree more with Alistair Carmichael’s analysis of the plight facing the Scottish fishing industry (Perspective, 13 July). It is going through a massive period of uncertainty and the implications for our coastal and island communities are immense. Very few politicians in the Westminster bubble are aware of the knock-on affect which will affect households in the Highlands and Islands and one can only hope Mr Carmichael and his Scottish Parliament counterpart, Beatrice Wishart, will be listened to. Both have experience and an understanding of the industry and what it means to their constituents.

D G McIntyre, Edinburgh

Bowled over

The discussion about being left-handed brought back an interesting family memory. When our middle daughter was bowling cricket balls at her father, she used to bamboozle him by being able to bowl with either arm. Not sure if the rules of cricket allow it, but it worked well for her.

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

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