Readers' Letters: Slay the beast of Covid with herd immunity

If the Omicron variant is mild, and we carry Covid antibodies from previous infection or from vaccination, then we could afford to let Omicron run, and so build herd immunity. Subsequent variants might also then affect us less. So continued vaccination – plus the huge benefit of herd immunity – could slay the beast for good.

Members of the public queue to receive a Covid-19 vaccine outside Hampden Park (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Members of the public queue to receive a Covid-19 vaccine outside Hampden Park (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

But the official objection is that more cases could mean more hospital admissions and harm the NHS.

Concern for the NHS seems to be the driver in all this, not concern for people.

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Malcolm Parkin, Kinross, Perth & Kinross

National import

Joyce McMillan (Perspective, 24 December) describes the UK Government as “fiercely nationalistic”. Just how, pray, would she describe the SNP Government at Holyrood?

William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

Soul traders

Grant Frazer talks of “the passion and soul of the Scottish people” as if only separatists possess such attributes (Letters, 22 December). When he comes down off the ceiling with his lofty rhetoric, perhaps he would care to provide “the Scottish people” with answers to some awkward but recurring questions? For instance, what are the energy security implications for a nuclear and fossil fuel-free Scotland? How, exactly, are already underfunded public services to be financed when the Westminster life support is switched off?

Where is the money coming from to pay for the SNP's promised post-independence benefits bonanza? And how about the far-reaching economic consequences of being outside both the UK and the EU? Mr Frazer's emotional language may appeal to other Wee Scotlanders, but most of “the Scottish people” know that passion and soul won't pay their wages or keep the lights on.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

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Chilled baloney

Mairiana Clyde makes several unfounded assertions about Scotland's financial position (Letters, 16 December). It is significant that she quotes no figures at all to back up her comments, even though assertions about Scotland's revenue, expenditure and deficit are worthless without them. However, the figures are easily obtained from the Scottish Government website and from the House of Commons library.Ms Clyde alleges that Scotland pays more into the UK coffers than it gets back in the block grant. The figures show the opposite. Spending by the Scottish Government (2020/21) totalled £99 billion. Revenues collected in Scotland totalled £63 billion. Adding in a share of North Sea oil and gas taxes, even on a geographical basis rather than population, only increases revenue by £0.7bn. So we have an annual deficit of some £35bn. It is chilling to think of the consequences if the separatists ever bluffed their way to complete severance from the UK and our economy sank by £35bn immediately.

The reality is that Scotland does very well out of the Union. We have 8.1 per cent of the population of the UK, we raise 7.9 per cent of UK taxes, but we enjoy 9.1 per cent of public spending. That is how we have a higher level of spending per head than people have in England and Wales. To say, as the separatists do, that we are losing out by being in the Union is patently false.

In the run-up to the 2014 referendum Alex Salmond tried to bamboozle the voters with phoney baloney about North Sea oil making every Scot rich. Luckily for us all, enough Scots saw through his blether and we voted to stay in the UK. Now the separatists are trying a different tactic with misinformation about Scotland's finances. It will be a grim outlook for us all if the new baloney succeeds where the old stuff failed.

Les Reid, Edinburgh

Caring society

The UK Government is considering raising the age for free prescriptions from 60 to 66. Meanwhile, Corporation Tax in the UK is only 18 per cent, the lowest it has ever been and one of the lowest in the world. So yet again Boris Johnson looks as if he is going to punish the sick, the poor and the old in favour of the wealthy.

In contrast, prescription charges in Scotland were abolished in 2011 as the Scottish Government sought to mitigate the worst of UK government policies. How fortunate we are to live in Scotland, in a society which cares for people rather than seeing them as a source of revenue.

David Howdle, Kirkton, Dumfries & Galloway

Revive stations

I hope others will see their way to supporting the Change.org petition mentioned in the Scotsman on Monday 20 December to revive the Edinburgh South Sub Railway. I live within sight of the railway which passes through the south of Edinburgh and which currently is used only on an occasional basis by freight trains. It has always seemed strange that the city has an established infrastructure with a number of old stations gradually crumbling away when the council is spending hundreds of millions building a largely unused tram line. Purely on environmental grounds, think of the thousands of car journeys that a train service would make unnecessary.

Surely the time is here for a service which will carry passengers around to other railway lines and also, potentially to link up with Haymarket and Waverley stations with only a small amount of investment?

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

Power to people

Despite Europe facing its worst energy crisis since the Second World War, climate activists such as Greta Thunberg are trying to prevent the EU from easing and encouraging the investment in desperately needed new nuclear power plants and infrastructure and natural gas. Our energy prices are rocketing because our natural gas prices are now ten times more expensive than in the US, where cheap and abundant shale gas is keeping prices low.

It’s clear the EU and the UK – to say nothing of Nicola Sturgeon’s Scotland – backed losers by prioritising and subsidising unreliable renewables over physically superior low-carbon energy from natural gas and nuclear power. We must give consumers relief by unwinding the extreme costs of our failing renewables fleets and start a programme of Combined Cycle Gas Turbine construction as well as a new generation of Small Modular Reactors.

(Dr) John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife

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