Covid measures do more harm than good - Readers' Letters
I note your report of the decision to close pubs and restaurants across the Central Belt for a 16-day period, purportedly to stop the further spread of Covid-19 (Scotsman, September 8). You quote Ms Sturgeon as stating that the tougher restrictions are about the protection of life and health. She states that every day she is facing decisions where there are lives on one hand and jobs on the other. I do not think it is that simple. Is she not, in fact, choosing the life and health of one section of our society at the expense of another?
Ms Sturgeon is choosing to protect the lives and health of those at risk of Covid but the loss of businesses and jobs These new restrictions will undoubtedly have an impact on the mental and physical health of those affected.
Can Ms Sturgeon advise us how many suicides will ensue as a result of the widespread loss of businesses and jobs? How many people will suffer from depression and other mental health issues? How many people will be thrown into poverty, with the associated impact on their health?
Also surely the stress of losing businesses and jobs is likely to increase the risk of those impacted suffering heart attacks and strokes. All this on top of the people whose diagnosis of life-threatening diseases and conditions such as cancer has been delayed thereby jeopardising their lives and future health. Do all these lives not matter as much as those who are at risk from Covid.
Ms Surgeon seems to be making these decisions alone and perhaps as a result she is too bogged down to see the bigger picture. It might be better if there were more widespread consultation and proper analysis of the wider impact of the various choices being tabled before such drastic measures with far-reaching consequences are rolled out.
Gilmerton Road, Edinburgh
Home and away
In recent bulletins we have been advised that it safer to be in public houses than at home. Now we are told stay at home do not go to public houses. I think this might take the prize for ‘most confusing advice’.
A A Bullions
Glencairn Crescent, Leven, Fife
With one simple statistic the credibility of the lockdowns and the other Draconian restrictions to fight Covid-19 has been destroyed – the average age of death from Covid-19 in England and Wales according to Office of National Statistics data is 82 years old. It is no doubt only marginally lower in Scotland. Most suffered from other medical conditions, or co-morbidities as the medics call them. Many were both frail and demented.
We cannot afford to continue to cripple the economy and should not cancel exams for a disease that is the most marginal threat to children and healthy working age adults.
Ansonhill, Crossgate, Fife
Off the rails
National Rail, in answer to my query, has confirmed that “Waverley was the former name of the station, however, the station is now known as Edinburgh”. It is suggested that if I want the station name to be changed, I write to London North Eastern Railway, as they manage the station.
As a Blue Badge tourist guide, I've been proud to say that Waverley is the only station in the world called after a writer’s work, but apparently this is no longer the case. Setting cultural heritage aside, given that Edinburgh has two mainline stations, the decision does not even make sense. I will be writing to LNER, but hope that Scotsman readers might provide a more powerful and passionate response.
June Edgar, BSc, MBA, FRSA
Blue Badge Guide to Scotland, Edinburgh
Spray for today
Flu vaccination in Fife has been centralised as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A letter was sent out to all over-65s and one telephone number was given. Soon the line was overwhelmed. The call centre has now appointed an extra 38 call handlers to bring their total to 46 and that is bound to help. Rather than looking back to this unfortunate situation, where people could not book appointments, I would like to add a different perspective.
Primary school children are offered a flu vaccination, which is administered as a nasal spray. I have been told, that this particular nasal spray is not suitable for adults. I wondered, however, if pharmaceutical companies would be able to alter it in such a way that it is.
If a nasal vaccine for adults had been developed in the past year, the flu jab tangle would not have occurred. Sprays could have been picked up at pharmacies or even have beensent through the post.
In the meantime while this situation is in the process of getting sorted out, let’s hope, that we follow Australia’s good fortune, where most likely thanks to the social distancing, the number of flu cases was extremely low this year.
Seaview Row, Pittenweem, Fife
Brian Wilson writes touchingly about his colleague, Donald Dewar (Scotsman, October 10), and hits the nail on the head when he writes that Donald's motivation was that “Scotland should never again be exposed to the full rigours of a government it had not voted for”. He then lazily conflates issues in a way his friend and mentor would never have countenanced, diminishing his achievements in the process.
The Murrell disclosures are a dispiriting business, raising important questions to which we need answers –but what bearing does it have on the achievement of the Scottish Parliament?
What matters to ordinary families in Scotland is, thanks to the Scottish Parliament, we have resisted the rampant privatisation suffered by the English NHS, helping us fight Covid in a far more co-ordinated and effective way; our children are not saddled by £40K of debt coming out of their higher education; in these and in numerous other ways, the Scottish Parliament has protected and nurtured Scotland. Think of what it could do if it had the full powers of independence to act on our behalf.
That is the kind of vision which I think would have animated Donald Dewar, and, if he were still with us, what he would be striving for now.
Fox Spring Crescent, Edinburgh
When Brian Wilson criticises the lack of scrutiny at Holyrood (Perspective 10 October), I assume he has never watched the farcical Scottish Questions at Westminster which is dominated by Tory MPs from England asking pat questions attacking the Scottish Government rather than holding the Secretary of State to account.
Also, The Scottish Affairs Committee, which is the main opportunity MPs from Scotland have to scrutinise how the UK Government deals with Scotland, has only three SNP MPs, with five Tories and two Labour. Four do not even represent Scottish constituencies .
Devolution doesn’t give Scotland adequate fiscal powers to successfully tackle poverty or the powers to close our borders or financial powers to enter into an earlier lockdown than dithering Boris Johnson in late February with the dire consequences for our health and economy.
Labour have joined the Lib Dems in saying they will not try to get back into the EU while the Tories are using the UK Internal Market Bill to attack our devolved powers.
Does Brian Wilson agree with the Scottish TUC which said that should the UK Government proceed with the UK Internal Market Bill, against the wishes of the Scottish Parliament, it makes the case for a second independence referendum unanswerable?
Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh
Susan Dalgety (Scotsman, 10 October) rightly deplores child poverty. She and I have both lived in Malawi and as a doctor there I associated ill health with poverty, particularly child poverty, as is the case throughout the world, including Scotland.
I hope she can accept that those who give priority to regaining Scottish independence largely see this aim as a means to combat poverty both in Scotland and in the world as a whole.
My work has made me visit many countries. None is perfect but I have seen prosperity and efficient social services in Denmark, Norway and Sweden and have also seen practical and useful aid schemes from these countries in economically poorer parts of the world. I hope to see Scotland following their example. I am also aware of, and have worked with, valuable UK aid in Malawi and elsewhere. I would not disparage that but I believe Scotland can do better, both for itself and for the world, as Scotland.
Blacket Place, Edinburgh
The Prime Minister claims we haven't been successfully invaded since 1066, further evidence if any was required that Boris isn't the sharpest knife in the canteen. Like other politicos he read "greats" at Oxford but unlike Denis Healy and Harold MacMillan, he wasn't awarded a First. Like Lord Curzon, another frightful swell, he got a 2nd. We were, in fact, successfully invaded in 1688.
The birth of a male heir in dubious circumstances to the Catholic King James II led to widespread riots and fears that the British Royal Family would return to Catholicism. William of Orange, Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic and married to James' Protestant daughter Mary, took the opportunity to invade and landed on November 5, 1588 at Torbay in Devon with some 20,000 Dutch troops.
In this Battle of Britain, our army ran away leaving James no alternative but exile. Parliament wanted Mary to reign alone but William was having none of it and on 19 December marched his expeditionary forces into London. MPs understood the Stadtholder wouldn't play second fiddle and passed a Bill of Rights which William was invited to sign as he ascended the throne with his wife.
Rev Dr John Cameron
Howard Place, St Andrews
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