Scotland needs UK to beat coronavirus – Letters

The nations had to come together to face Covid-19, a Scotsman reader writes

Nicola Sturgeon at a Covid-19 media briefing
Nicola Sturgeon at a Covid-19 media briefing

It could well be the case that the threat imposed on the UK by the global spread of ­coronavirus has shown how much sense there is in the parts of the UK staying together. Scottish independence would have been disastrous under the problems posed by the current conditions.

No one is questioning in any way the devotion of First ­Minister Nicola Sturgeon to her ongoing quest to find answers to the problems faced by Scotland as a result of the virus outbreak. But it has to be stressed that it is the UK Treasury which is providing the extra funding necessary to combat this period of extreme emergency across the whole of the UK. I shudder to think what conditions in Scotland would have been like if the SNP had won a majority in the 2014 referendum.

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Without a central bank, a strong currency and international acceptance as a key nation in the western alliance, Scotland would have been unacceptably at risk in a ­period of such global ­uncertainty.

In my view the electorate of Scotland should bear all of these points in mind when the SNP re-presents its case at some future date for Scotland becoming independent.

The truth is that Scotland would struggle to cope without the support of the UK Treasury, which is providing the extra funding required to combat this period of ­emergency.

Robert IG Scott

Northfield, Ceres, Fife

Dump Trident

Crawford Mackie (Letters, 21 April) should know that the Scottish Government is co-operating with Westminster over tackling this global virus.

No doubt Nicola Sturgeon has had to bite her tongue on many occasions, but that is very ­different from Scotland’s NHS being controlled from Westminster by a government that has run down the NHS in England while Scotland, with more beds, doctors and nurses per head of population, has much better outcomes in ­tackling Covid-19.

Rather than paying for NHS services, as suggested by Ian Gray (Letters, same day), we should not be giving government handouts to tax exiles.

The real waste of Scotland’s taxes is the UK spending £200 billion on the renewal of ­Trident nuclear weapons. This money would be far ­better spent on the NHS and alleviating the economic impact of coronavirus.

Also, any government in their right mind would immediately suspend Brexit negotiations for at least a couple of years as the UK can’t afford this additional damage to the economy.

Fraser Grant

Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Trump triumph?

Andrew Hamilton’s rather curious letter (Letters 20 April) began quite reasonably with a point about how UK political parties should be working together in this crisis. But within a couple of paragraphs it was accusing the UK media of a conspiracy to denigrate Donald Trump, concluding in a not particularly veiled statement of ­support for him.

On the way to this conclusion he made a few startling claims. Firstly, Mr Hamilton states that our media, when reporting on Trump, has a “completely different perspective compared to other regions around the world”.

Has he looked at how such world-renowned newspapers as L’Equipe, Liberation, La Stampa, De Zeit, or even ­further afield, the Sydney Morning Herald, report on Trump and the US? Should he do so he would find that the UK is not alone in reporting on the US in an objective and ­analytical way.

He also claims that the US has “...a death rate that is currently a fraction of many western European countries”. Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers watching mass graves being dug on TV and I’m sure it will make them feel much better.

Despite Mr Hamilton’s wild claims of media conspiracy and his cavalier analysis of death rates I will agree with him on one thing. Like many other people, I will not be “scratching my head in bewilderment” when Trump is ­re-elected in November. As long as there are gun-toting, anti-immigration, ultra ­‘patriots’ in the US, Trump will be returned.

What is bewildering is how seemingly intelligent people are taken in by this president’s bizarre quixotic posturing.

D Mitchell

Coates Place, Edinburgh

Bad advice

SNP MP Joanna Cherry’s ­suggestion that coronavirus testing should be introduced at airports is a huge ask yet worthy of consideration (your report, 20 April).

However, I’m confused by Ms Cherry’s stance on transmission of the virus. Only last week her office said if members of the public “just turn your back” when meeting someone in public, that would be sufficient social distancing. What? Governmental advice across much of the globe insists we stay two metres from one another.

Fortunately for those who routinely consider her opinions worthwhile, following widespread consternation an unapologetic Ms Cherry has now amended her view to acknowledge the prescribed two metres. While we must be thankful Ms Cherry is a lawyer, not a doctor, let’s nevertheless hope the pros and cons of airport testing are fully assessed.

Martin Redfern

Woodcroft Road, Edinburgh

Vultures circling

Far from fudging the picture, all UK governments in daily briefings report only hospital deaths from Covid-19, as only these are representative of the population as a whole and, of course, also more certain of cause than care home fatalities, hence far more informative to the general public of its own position.

If Scotland’s NHS was far more wise than that of England in the provision of ample PPE, then why the outcry when one supplier let it be known that it understood (incorrectly) it was contracted to supply only NHS England? Also one correspondent’s apparent glee of a week or two ago that Scotland was much better ­prepared in the matter of emergency bed provision than England now appears unfounded.

Simple comparison of deaths from Covid-19 in ­different (chosen to make the UK appear bad) countries is fraught with difficulty. Why didn’t correspondents quote China – hasn’t that country one of the lowest, if not the lowest death rates per head of population? Would China’s actions be acceptable in Western democracies ? Remember the outcry when thousands of stranded tourists were demanding that they be flown home from all over the world (many bringing the disease with them) immediately at government expense ?

Luckily they were not all in New Zealand, a country which bolted its doors ­completely within days. I have a family member who has been trapped there for more than a month past his planned return date and has had to close down business premises in both Scotland and England from that remote location –the effect on his staff must be dreadful.

There is only one certainty in the present situation – that any such disaster is festive season for political vultures.

(DR) A McCormick

Kirkland Road,
Terregles, Dumfries

Sterility needed

Gordon Fraser (Letters, 21 April) makes a good point about our lack of PPE for frontline NHS staff. I agree that more can be done using our workforce and volunteers. However, PPE needs to be made under sterile conditions, which may be difficult for some businesses.

ScrubHubs volunteers around the country are busy sewing scrubs for health workers, who do not require full PPE.

Fiona Garwood

Ormidale Terrace, Edinburgh

Company I keep

As all of us continue our way through difficult circumstances, we should keep in mind how we have been treated as customers throughout.

Some businesses and sectors have excelled. Others, such as Ryanair, have made it as ­difficult as they can for customers to get their ­money back for cancelled flights.

I had been waiting weeks for a refund after following instructions from the airline, then, last week, received a voucher instead of cash. The accompanying e-mail stated that no cash refunds would be offered until the end of the coronavirus outbreak. ­Companies like this won’t be getting my custom after we are through this. We need to vote with our wallets and avoid those who haven’t ­acted to the right standards.

Instead, we will continue to support the businesses that have kept customer service to the fore. We are now getting deliveries from local farmers and wholesalers of meat, milk, fruit, vegetables and baked goods – businesses we supported at the farmers market that have adapted to put the customer first. We’ve had deliveries from local ­independent bookshops and restaurants too.

I hope that one of the lasting impacts will be supporting local businesses who do things the right way.– those who contribute taxes and jobs to the areas we live in. I know where my money will be going and the companies I will choose to keep.

Jody Lewis

Wilfrid Terrace, Edinburgh

Energy costs

The article on the fight against climate change (your report, 21 April ) provided a multitude of data but no information on the cost of implementing such a policy.

A paper at the World Forum on Climate Justice pointed out that, as renewable energy (16p/unit) costs 400 per cent more than gas (4p/unit), the product was too expensive for Scottish consumers and the financial burden must be transferred to the taxpayer.

With less than 11 months to the Holyrood election campaign, the Finance Secretary has yet to state whether the annual £56 billion energy bill will have to be paid by 2.4 million Scottish taxpayers or remain with the consumer. The cost represents a yearly increase of around £23,000 for every taxpayer, which would be a financial blow to Scots living on the average wage of £26,500 a year.

Perhaps future articles on climate change will extend to a review of costs and who will pay the energy companies.

Ian Moir

Queen Street, Castle Douglas

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