Readers' Letters: Sturgeon strangely silent after Covid surge

Am I alone wondering why we have heard so little from the First Minister in recent weeks?

The First Minister seems to have less to say on Covid of late, reckons reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The First Minister seems to have less to say on Covid of late, reckons reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Before the Scottish Election, the First Minister pretty much had her own TV channel, courtesy of the subservient BBC, but now we seem rarely to hear from her!

It has become abundantly clear what a shocking decision it was to allow thousands of football supporters (many without tickets) to travel to London and back with non-existent social distancing and to allow so many to gather in Glasgow in supposed “fan zones”.

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Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, advises the Delta variant “seeded” in Glasgow, Scotland’s most populated city – who would have guessed? – We are now advised that two of our areas, Lothian and Tayside, are at the top of the World Health Organisation table, with infection rates well above 1000 per 100,000 of the population.

The Scottish public have been force-fed the fantasy story that the First Minister has “managed” this pandemic in a controlled and informative manner, differing regularly from England in a positive way. Indeed, last summer she advised that Covid was close to “elimination” in Scotland.

Whilst she remains quiet at this time, it is now pressing that a full Public Inquiry as to the handling of these events by the First Minister and her Government is held immediately.

As with her failures in domestic policy, it will be seriously uncomfortable for her and her administration and it is time for the truth to be revealed.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Monkey around

Covid-19 is governed by chance. The cellular mechanisms (organelles) that copy Covid make mistakes all the time. Some of these mistakes happen to be a more virulent virus which becomes dominant.

One monkey at a typewriter would take millions of years to write a Shakespeare play. A million monkeys sitting at typewriters will deliver it tomorrow. Covid variants are Darwinian evolution working in real time.

Millions of people have Covid. If those people wear open weave cloth masks chance will allow only the virus variants which spread in fine droplets to propagate. If millions of people gather inside buildings, each two meters apart, only the variants which can hang in still air for hours will propagate. If a vaccine targets one particular form of protein spike then variants of a different form, yet still effective, will propagate.

To get out of this situation we need to drastically reduce the number of monkeys, that is the number of infective persons and hence the number of random copies of the virus.

We must not abandon restrictions; rather, we need to cut the main routes of virus transmission by only meeting in very well-ventilated indoor space, wearing effective masks not pretty pieces of cloth and constantly updating the vaccines.

Possibly the most effective move would be to let the population know which circumstances are to be avoided and make sure they are avoided. For example, the transmission of Ebola was stopped in Sierra Leone by ending the practice of washing the dead.

Allowing people to do as they want will turn the present epidemic into a catastrophe. Don’t let bemused politicians avoid responsibility and wash their hands – that didn’t work before and it won’t work now.

Ken Carew, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire

New normal

It is good that people now infected with Covid have a low rate of hospitalisation and death. This means we are creating a pool of natural immunity, as well as that created from vaccination, so that we will eventually have a universally low rate of infection, and Covid regulations can be scrapped and replaced by individual common sense. An entirely acceptable new normal, in fact.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross

Illegal e-riding

Roz Boynton of Cycle Law Scotland pursues claims against drivers, and their insurers, where cyclists have been injured (Friends of The Scotsman, 5 July).

However, she says "more people will choose to cycle, walk or use e-scooters over the next decade." E-scooters? Trials have been going on with hired e-scooters in 30 towns in England but no decision has been reached as to whether e-scooters will be legally allowed on the roads in the UK.

Six e-scooter riders have died since the e-scooter trial was started. Many others have been injured, some seriously. The riders of hired e-scooters regularly break the law by riding on pavements or shopping malls and injuring pedestrians. The owners of private e-scooters should only be riding them on private land with the owner's permission, not on public roads and pavements.

The green lobby said e-scooters would save emissions but their emissions fixation has led to loss of lives and serious injuries. The trial must be stopped immediately and e-scooters banned from our roads and pavements.

E-scooter riders must never become part of Cycle Law Scotland's client base.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Fly the flags

Many Scottish Nationalists have complained about the Prime Minister posing with a giant English flag, asking the question: “Would he have done this for Scotland? Yes, he would have, as he is the Prime Minister of the entire UK.

And besides, given that every train in Scotland bears an elongated Saltire, and Nicola Sturgeon won't even fly the Union flag when meeting the British Prime minister, Perhaps anyone complaining should also look at the Scottish Government.

David Bone, Girvan, South Ayrshire

Boris was right

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's reported judgement is correct that Scottish devolution is disastrous or that the way it was handled by the SNP has become so.

Alex Salmond's unfulfilled belief that oil money would “save” Scotland is unrealised. He and Nicola Sturgeon have presided over continuous declines in Scots education, health and business.

Surely a separatist party must demonstrate their abilities to improve a nation generally so as to justify secession? Their performance, stuck in one track, has not been up to that, despite the largesse of the Barnett formula.

So Boris was right, both about devolution and the SNP regime's management. Most unfortunately for Scotland, devolution will not be nullified. Our future is now murky.

Charles Wardrop, Perth, Perth & Kinross

Love all

We may or may not sympathise with James Watson’s slightly apocalyptic letter (6 July) but he wrongly suggests that Secularism “masks the true message of Christianity” which includes love and respect for others.

Mr Watson should know that we absolutely support those values and commend any world view which endorses them.

Secularism makes no judgement of Christian values unless they violate equality legislation or are assumed to be good for all.

We do not campaign for a restriction of Christian viewpoints unless they enjoy a privileged platform such as religious appointees in our legislature.

As far as respect and love are concerned, I am happy to give my Christian neighbours a friendly wave on their way to church on Sunday: less so if they want to bring their church to school on Monday.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society

PPE shortages

Gill Turner (Letters, 2 July) objects to Scotsman journalist Gina Davidson's statement quoted in my letter referring to shortages of PPE. Ms Davidson is basing her statement on evidence and not wishful thinking.

If Ms Turner would take the time to read the Audit Scotland report she will find that the word "shortages" is there for all to see – not “reinstated unilaterally” by me.

I did not say the word had been removed but that Audit Scotland had resisted SNP pressure to remove it.

The report quotes evidence from medical workers responding to surveys by the Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association. Of the Scottish respondents 47 per cent reported being asked to reuse single use PPE and 29 per cent reported "shortages" of full-face visors. These are examples of evidence which is indisputable.

Ms Turner has now changed her tune to the SNP mantra that the "country" never “ran out” of PPE, which is not the point and not what I claimed.

If there were sufficient supplies in institutions elsewhere in the country it would have been of little comfort to the unfortunate medical staff referred to above who were working heroically on a daily basis with shortages of equipment.

Would Ms Turner agree that the best way to determine if it is a "myth" that there were shortages is to rely on the evidence from the frontline workers and not a version of it from the SNP spin machine?

And the best way to do that is via an independent judge-led public inquiry.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Fix education

To many observers the discussion about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the awfulness or not of its incorporation into Scottish law may appear circular and arcane (Letters, 5 July).

What is most certainly obscured by all this are the devastating findings of the long delayed PISA study and the ever-widening attainment gap in Scottish schools, short-changing our children and society.

To fix this, we need energetic, and very prompt educational and highly focused social interventions. Not just fine speeches and well-intentioned sentiments.

Harald Tobermann, Edinburgh

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