Readers' Letters: Why should sensible suffer for unvaccinated?
I am triple vaccinated, always wear a mask and if this happens I will have to postpone my 50th birthday party. Surely the people who have chosen not to have the vaccine should suffer the consequences of their own folly and be barred from hospitality, while responsible vaccinated people are allowed to enjoy socialising. Why should the majority be punished for the minority?
Gordon Kennedy, Perth
I’ve just heard Sajid Javid saying that while the severity of Omicron may be less than with previous variants, the actual number of severe cases and impact on the NHS may be higher. He also said nine out of ten of the most serious Covid cases in hospitals are unvaccinated people.
Surely the answer is not to imperil the economy, jobs and normal life by limiting the freedom of the vast majority of responsible citizens who are vaccinated, but to focus on preventing those who choose not to get vaccinated from endangering themselves and others.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
No to Nanny
Even as the First Minister appears yet again as the BBC Scotland’s voice of doom, proclaiming the approach of an Omicron “tsunami”, I sense the public is sick of restrictions and its attitude to the pandemic is becoming more defiant. Nicola Sturgeon loves the limelight and the tsunami soundbite was too good to miss but will the reality be a tidal wave or just a ripple?
South of the Border, Oxford and Imperial’s “experts” continue their turf war but their advice is coming under intense scrutiny. Rishi Sunak is one of at least ten Cabinet ministers resisting demands for the introduction of more pre-Christmas Covid restrictions. As with the climate farrago, questions are at last being asked about the accuracy of official modelling.
The fact is we’re fed up with “nanny state” rules. We can read the statistics and see Omicron spreading but are unconvinced it is as serious. We get booster vaccines, use masks routinely, and take lateral flow tests but we’re more inclined to decide for ourselves what precautions to take. The FM should be wary of issuing warnings without solid evidence.
(Dr) John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife
So following days of Nicola Sturgeon demanding more UK taxpayer cash, the UK government hands the SNP administration a further £220 million to tackle the pandemic in Scotland. If Covid wasn't so serious, you'd have to laugh at Nicola Sturgeon's long, complaining tweets in response, the Reader's Digest version being: whatever Westminster provides, I'll moan about it.
Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire
More money from the Treasury for Scotland to bail out Nicola Sturgeon, who acts first then needs back-up second? Oh yes there is, says Westminster. Oh no there isn't, says Holyrood. It might be pantomime season but this constant moaning by the SNP over the provision of extra funding is not funny. It will simply harden the attitude of Westminster whereby whatever it does is criticised.
There is another aspect, too. What will the European Union make of a country that wants to join its ranks yet kicks up a huge fuss if money is not available on demand? Is this the type of country you would desire as a member? Right now there are 27 EU member states to share whatever funding is available. In the UK there are only four, hence your request is far more likely to be met. The SNP needs to be very careful what it wishes for.
Gerald Edwards, Glasgow
The great escape?
I fully understand the desire of some Scottish Tories to escape from the toxic association with Westminster – at least half of Scotland feels the same. But John McLellan (Perspective, 18 December) left many questions unanswered.
Is there something about Scotland’s distinct and separate place in the Union which justifies this? Or does the Conservative party regard its Scottish section as just another region, such as Yorkshire? Or is it “North Britain”?
Mr McLellan also did not set out the decision-making process. Is it for Douglas Ross to decide as leader, or is it the MPs and MSPs? Do party members get a vote and, if so, does London tell them when they can have it? Must there first be polling evidence over a year of 60 per cent support? Will a simple majority suffice or does it need two-thirds support? Will it be 44 years before they get another chance, or 25, or whatever crosses Alister Jack’s mind of a morning?
I look forward to the answers.
Robert Farquharson, Edinburgh
To move from the position of “It’s Scotland’s Oil” to one of not needing Scotland’s oil is an economic impossibility. Yet nobody says anything as the 998-page pre-referendum document Scotland’s Future, which cites oil as the vital economic cornerstone of independence, is scrapped. It must be “Scotland’s Wind” now, I suppose?
Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross
Jane Ann Liston (Letters, 20 December) is justifiably puzzled by the circumstances traditionally associated with Jesus' birth. In fact, the whole Birth narrative was created by Matthew and Luke to give Jesus a background commensurate with his deification. To do so they borrowed from contemporary myths concerning other gods. The story of Jesus’s birth in a manger or crib (Luke 2:7) may have been borrowed from that attributed to the pastoral god Hermes, who was cradled in a basket and surrounded by oxen. And/or it is borrowed from Isaiah 1:3, which mentions an ox, an ass and a crib.Ms Liston's ingenious explanation seems unlikely.
Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh
Jane Ann Liston puts forward a theory that the traditional Christmas ass and ox are used to represent Jesus as the “alpha to omega” for mankind. She tells us that “aleph” meant “ox” in ancient Phoenician and that the Greek for “ass” is “onos”. She should be aware that there are two “Os" in Greek – the short O, omicron and the long O, omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet. The Greek word for ass begins with the former, omicron. So, is she really telling us that Jesus is the alpha to omicron for mankind?
Or, given the current Covid situation, could it be that someone 2,000 years ago was trying to warn us about something?
D Mason, Penicuik, Midlothian
Meat your maker
I refer to the letter from Jane Ann Liston regarding the birth of Jesus. The name Bethlehem is our version of its name in Arabic which is “Bait le ham”. This translates as “House of Meat” and could refer to a slaughterhouse in a hamlet, in which case it could have a small “cattle shed”. Mary would probably be accompanied by an ass and other animals could be there also.
Charles Moodie, Newport on Tay, Fife
The letter from R J Ardern about the Highland Main Line (HML) is to the point (17 December). For a strategic “spine” route through hilly country it has been a conspicuous poor relation compared with main road investment. This began in the 1970s with a major realignment of the A9 and now dualling of lengthy stretches is proceeding at a cost of £8 billion.
When is the HML going to get some serious investment in these “carbon neutral” days? Good connectivity between Scotland’s cities depends on faster times, and this could be attained with the use of dynamic loops. However, it is worth noting that when the Highland Railway Company constructed the “Aviemore Deviation” in the 1890s – this would take the new line over Slochd Summit to Inverness – all the structures on it were designed and constructed with a view to the eventual doubling of the track. Those who travel the route continue to wait for this to happen.
Will electrification solve the problems and tie in with Net Zero? Some hope, when neither solar (mist and short day) nor wind is generating any power of consequence during the high pressure presence on 19-20 December.
(Dr) I A Glen, Airdrie
Of some interest
Leah Gunn Barrett doesn’t seem to understand economics (Letters, 20 December). The Bank of England (BoE) raising the interest rate is not to help the wealthy make more money. That is absurd. If that were the case, why has the BoE not raised it for more than three years?
If the Bank of England does not get a grip on inflation, this small increase from 0.1 per cent to 0.25 per cent will be a drop in the ocean. Many of us remember the days of interest rates of 17 per cent in the late 1970s. This was to counter the inflation seen due to higher oil prices and rising wages.
Without this intervention now, prices could continue to rise. Increasing the interest rate may stall people from making non-essential purchases and therefore keep prices more stable. Not using this mechanism would actually mean more hardship for those on low incomes as the cost of goods would continue to rise unabated, leaving them worse off.
And as for Rishi Sunak being on holiday, Ms Barrett yet again is wrong. He had gone to the US for business meetings and had then intended to spend Christmas there. He cut his trip short and returned to the UK after three days due to the Omicron situation.
Jane Lax, Aberlour
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