Letters: Warning: Union is unhealthy
IT is now clear that the Union is bad for the health of Scotland with Boris Johnson’s political decision to end free testing and the requirement to self-isolate if Covid-positive which, coupled with the not wearing a mask, puts the lives of our healthcare personnel at risk. and carers as well as to the elderly and vulnerable members of society (“Sturgeon under pressure as Johnson axes all Covid rules”, The Herald, February 22). Moreover, it will now be very difficult to detect any new variants at a vital early stage.
It was the UK Government’s hesitation at the start of the pandemic that allowed Covid to run amok and wreck the economy when as an island the UK should have had one of the weakest numbers of deaths and cases rather than one of the highest in Europe. per inhabitant.
Although Scotland has performed well, the lack of border controls and normal borrowing powers have hampered the Scottish government’s efforts to control the pandemic.
The UK government’s refusal to continue funding devolved nations that make more responsible health decisions further illustrates that the Union continues to be a one-sided concept.
Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.
WHY ENGLAND AND NOT THE REST?
VICTOR Clements (Letters, February 23) misses a major point of principle regarding future funding for Covid testing. Why should England have the support of the British government when the “English government” demands it, but when the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish governments need the support of the British government, it is refused?
Moreover, if the UK government sincerely believes that the pandemic is indeed over, then the demand for free lateral flow tests (much needed for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society) should be significantly reduced and the cost to the the UK Government’s future expansion of this facility would therefore represent only a tiny fraction of the figure quoted for January. Could it be that the UK government’s stance on testing reflects the possibility that the English public will be misled into keeping the prime ministership of a deceitful charlatan who has repeatedly demonstrated he is ready to gamble with public health?
As for Jane Lax’s comments (Letters, February 23), it is sad to think that with the amount of information we have today, some still struggle to understand how the small independent countries of the world, most with far fewer resources than Scotland, manage to prosper economically. Perhaps the bashing of the majority of their fellow Scots will, unfortunately for some, remain a lasting ‘Union dividend’ once Scotland can determine its own way forward among the former ‘dependent states’.
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.
END RESTRICTIONS ON PATIENTS
The sooner we end the barbaric restrictions on our hospital patients, the better. I had the misfortune to attend A&E recently and witnessed the following first hand. A father was brought to the reception by his two sons; he was in the middle of a stroke. The sons were amazing and they made him proud. One of the first things they were told at reception was that they had to leave: no visitors allowed, patients only. The receptionist was just doing her job, but he was cold and unresponsive. This is all so wrong and countless thousands of families will have had this harrowing experience during this pandemic. Far too many patients suffer alone.
I scoured the Prime Minister’s Covid update (“Scotland to scrap all Covid restrictions from March 21”, The Herald, February 23) looking for advice on when some sense of normalcy will return to our hospitals. The update is purely legal and political; I can’t find anything concrete about when patients will regain their dignity. The status quo is an endless cycle of misery and despair as long as these restrictions remain in place.
Paul Morrison, Glasgow.
TESTS ARE NOT WASTED
WILLIAM Loneskie (Letters, February 23) seems content to seek out the worst in people, rather than acknowledging the good.
I take a lot of lateral flow tests because I have to show a negative test (and a batch number on the sleeve) every time I visit my mother in her nursing home. Most visits are planned; some, unfortunately, are not.
None are used cavalierly, whatever that means.
Allan McDougall, Neilston.
MORE INVESTMENT IN AMBULANCE SERVICES
TWO articles in the past week, Feb. 17 (“Stop ambulance service cuts or risk more deaths, Yousaf warned”) and Feb. 22 (“Health secretary accused of failing to act in the face of ‘dangerous’ ambulance cuts), both made incorrect statements What is more disappointing is that the Scottish Ambulance Service was not approached for comment prior to the publication of either another article or to verify if the assertions made were true.
To be clear, there is no staff reduction in the Western Region or Prestonpans as has been claimed. As part of the additional 566 staff being recruited and trained across Scotland, these areas are receiving additional investment and are set to benefit from increased A&E ambulance services through our ongoing demand and capacity programme, not less. All of the proposed changes to shift rosters are intended to ensure that we increase ambulance availability at identified times of highest demand, reduce delays for patients and minimize staff fatigue.
Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service, Edinburgh.
UKRAINE: EVERYTHING IS A QUESTION OF RESOURCES
Last night (February 23), while watching my Chinese TV, a thought came to mind. The program I was watching was the UEFA Champions League game between Chelsea and Lille. It struck me as bizarre that on the very day Boris Johnson launched his first financial barrage against the evil Vladimir Putin (“UK targets billionaires and banks with sanctions”, The Herald, February 23) that a Major sponsor of the game I was watching was Gazprom, a Russian state company and one of the teams was owned by a Russian billionaire and coincidentally didn’t have a single Englishman in the original roster.
If our esteemed prime minister publicly wanted to execute a vicious sliding tackle against the bully Putin, why wasn’t that game called off? Could it be that the public response would have been swift and vehemently negative if he had? Will Roman Abramovich be stripped of the ownership of Chelsea FC and its well-paid foreign mercenaries posing as an English football team? Who decides if Russians are good guys or bad guys? A cynic might suggest that it depends on the size of their wallet and how much they are willing to give to UK political parties and individual MPs. Why doesn’t Mr Johnson confiscate all British assets held by Russians, just like President Biden did with billions in Afghan currency reserves?
When it comes to unwelcome incursions into foreign countries, historically the UK is an expert in this practice and is obviously quite happy currently to ignore others who do this like Palestine and Yemen as long as the aggressors buy us their armaments and not interfere with any assets our establishment may hold there.
When it comes to current disputes over territorial boundaries set in the past by conflict rather than geography, it is always about resources and money. What is happening in Ukraine has nothing to do with sovereignty or self-determination, everything has to do with who will end up exploiting its resources. The catch is that based on our tragic experiences in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria, the British mainstream will have no meaningful influence on what ultimately happens in Ukraine.
David J. Crawford, Glasgow.
* ONCE AGAIN there is a feeling that sport is separated from politics as rugby and football are silent on the issue of penalties. Why not be absolutely clear – any sport that anticipates Russian teams will face immediate sanctions, including withdrawal of all tax benefits and government support and recognition? If you want Russian money, limit yourself and your team or sport to competing only in Russia.
James Watson, Dunbar.
* ALEX Salmond is obviously a sitting duck on his role on RT; well, he was never going to get a BBC gig à la Ed Balls or Michael Portillo. To break the hypocrisy here, all politicians who have appeared on RT should have their names published, how many times they were, and how much money they were paid. This will silence some.
GR Weir, Ochiltree.
Read more: Why isn’t the SNP using tax powers to fund Covid testing?