When will I be able to visit my parents again? - Readers' Letters

I have been following with less and less hope the plans for a return to normalcy in Scotland.

Covid restrictions mean flying into Scotland is complicated
Covid restrictions mean flying into Scotland is complicated

My deepest and most fundamental of human desires – to return home to see my family and hug my ageing parents, after being unable to do so for two years – is seeming less and less likely to happen.

Even vaccinated, as per the Scottish Government website, international travellers are not allowed into the country without quarantine in a government pre-selected hotel.

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If you have a job here in the United States, vacation days are precious in number and I have consistently taken my vacation annually to return home.

Effectively burning two weeks of vacation to sit in a government-chosen hotel costing me an arm and a leg before being declared “safe” for entry is an exercise in control taken to extremes.

On the government website there are many exemption categories listed where self-isolation is not required for persons deemed to be in essential services, for example from amber-rated countries “seasonal agricultural workers, elite sports personnel, postal workers, bus or coach drivers”, to name but a few.

These people are also human beings, the risk they pose is no different. There is not one bit of logic here.

What is then the point of being vaccinated? Did we exercise this absurd control for the flu or tuberculosis, which also kill people? Where does this end? There will always be another virus, another variant out there.

The point is risk management. We take risks every day in our lives, commuting, interacting with others, nothing is fool-proof.

I respect the need for crisis management. However taking responsibility and freedom from individuals to this degree is sinister and positively Orwellian

Amanda Jordan, Pinehurst, North Carolina, US

Jason’s Gospel

Why is National Clinical Director Jason Leitch being given such prominence in the media? We rarely hear or see the Chief Medical Officer of Nursing Officer.

If you read the multitude of Scottish Government guidelines his hands appear to be all over them. Soft play areas, singing, dancing, graduations, weddings & funerals. Where and when is it all going to end?

If the Bible was being written nowadays perhaps we would have "the Gospel according to Jason".

Can I suggest that Scotland is really short of dentists at present.

Cameron Fletcher, Tobermory, Argyll and Bute

Public inquiries

Brian Wilson (Scotsman, 12 June) declares: “Only a public inquiry will get to the bottom of our £300m ferry debacle”. Every time a government, or indeed any public organisation screws up, which they do on a regular basis, there are strident calls for a “public inquiry”.

Public Inquiries are a crass waste of vast sums of taxpayers’ money poured into lawyers’ pockets because they always end up with similar conclusions – ie, a whitewash. After years of deliberation, no-one will be held to blame, no heads will roll, and the culprits will have been promoted to higher positions, ah, but “lessons will be learned” – they never are.

Classic recent examples are the massively over-budget parliament building and Edinburgh’s trams, five years after an inquiry costing millions, and still no conclusion published.

David Hollingdale, Edinburgh

Balkans blast

I agree with Alan Hinnrichs (Letters, 11 June) that we could be heading for the balkanisation of Scotland – for example, if the UK Government agreed to Indyref2 on the condition that any of Scotland's 32 council regions voted 60 per cent or more to remain in the UK could do exactly that.

Based on the 2014 results that would mean the Borders, Dumfries, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Aberdeen City and Shire, Orkney and Shetland would not be part of Scotland. In fact, the north eastern border with the UK would be at the Forth Bridge and the Newbridge roundabout. Losing Edinburgh and Grampian would mean a ten per cent hit on the per capita GDP of DROLA (Democratuc Republic of Lesser Alba).

The SNP would only have themselves to blame. Their policy of rejoining the EU demands a border, they continually trumpet the right of self-determination that Mt Hinnrichs ignores when it comes to a democratic Indy debate, and they have continually been unable to propose a believeable, attractive economic plan for independence since the demise of oil and gas and their Green Party-driven plans to accelerate its closure.

But even if they did agree to the fragmentation of Scotland they risk serious further Ulsterisation in the remaining rump state due to civic unrest in Glasgow and west central Scotland from a vocal cohort of people who love Scotland but see themeselves as loyally British.

What a mess the Scottish nationalists have made of my once harmonious country.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

A house divided

Alan Hinnrichs appears enraged at the idea of a democratic division of Scotland into "pro- and anti-independence cantons".

Is this because regions voting Remain would be prosperous, income-generating ones, whilst Leave areas would be mainly the post-industrial rust belts with ingrained dependency cultures?

What would these two post-partition zones be like? North and South Korea spring to mind.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Micro-states

I take issue with Alan Hinnrichs' opposition to "cantonising" Scotland post-independence.

The tragedy of the Irish Troubles illustrates the folly of locking people into a state they reject; the 1921 partition was on a rushed, all-too-crude county basis.

In many potentially secessionist areas, for example Catalonia, there is widespread opposition to separation; those who advocate Scottish independence (and I mean real independence, outside the EU) must accept that large swathes of the country clearly do not.

They should be aiming for a proto-Scotland consisting of areas like Glasgow and Dundee, where the 2014 referendum produced pro-Indy majorities. And even there, opt-outs at the ward level must be possible.

A utopian patchwork? Of course, but libertarians like me reckon micro-states are the way forward.

Examples, from Europe alone: Luxemburg (indigenous population some 320,000), and Montenegro (total population 640,000). Demographically, they're not even twice the size of my "nation”: Fife.

George Morton, Rosyth, Fife

For the many?

Susan Dalgety should finish her thought on Keir Starmer's support for GRA reform ("Starmer must show courage and protect women's rights”, Scotsman, 12 June).

Ms Dalgety argued that Starmer’s pledge to introduce self-identification for trans people had "sent a clear message whose side he is on" in the unfolding culture war.

She also suggested Labour's poor electoral performance was because its current LGBTQ policies do not "chime" with the "concerns of the majority" and no longer stood on the side of the "many, not the few".

It's a pity Ms Dalgety does not appear to have the intellectual honesty to carry her argument to its conclusion. Since she won't, I will.

According to polling commissioned by this very newspaper ('Nicola Sturgeon backed by majority of SNP support over Joanna Cherry sacking, says poll', February 11, 2021), almost 40 per cent of Scots back GRA Reform, compared to just 26 per cent opposed. Indeed, more Scots (27 per cent) told pollsters they had no opinion on proposed self-ID laws than those who said they were against them.

Women – the group Ms Dalgety purports to defend – are far more likely to support GRA reform than men. It is, of course, only by omitting this context that Ms Dalgety can pretend to be protecting the rights of the "many" against those of the "few".

The reality is that the vast majority either actively support self-ID laws, or have no opinion on them whatsoever. It is Ms Dalgety and the small clique of obsessives she belongs to who are the minority in Scotland.

Of course, I won't hold my breath while waiting to see her admit that fact – doing so might mean she'd have to come up with something original to write about instead.

Conor Bullmore, Edinburgh

Childhood’s end

Recent pictures of 11-year-old pupils throwing their mortar boards in the air filled me with sadness.

I have watched the Scout programme be introduced into the Cubs. I have seen the age for education be reduced from five-year-old in school to three-year-old for nursery school. All this at the sacrifice of what was deemed the “fun learning years” at home with parents.

Having robbed our children of their innocent childhood, it is perhaps not surprising we see 13- and 14-year-olds carrying knives and earning peer bragging rights in attacking the innocent and elderly. The game of Cowboys and Indians, with a finger acting as a “gun”, has been replaced by computer-generated “reality” that so easily carries over into real life. The school bully, often brought up short by the headteacher, now thrives in vicious online bullying which crosses the boundaries of one's own home walls into the victim's bedroom.

Many talk about a lost generation of opportunities but the loss of innocent childhood is a price that will surely blight the future of the majority.

James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

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