TOM Gordon is right to contend that the coronavirus will have an effect on the drive for a second referendum ("Pandemic will hit push for Indyref2 and change Scots political landscape", The Herald, March 14). Visit any boardroom in a private or public organisation and the MD or CEO will tell that the biggest problem they face is the “silo” mentality where the defending of personal empires and departmental interests hampers the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation as a whole.

Nationalism is the silo mentality writ large. Gordon Brown is right to say that the virus will only be defeated by cooperation across national borders. By extension the best way to address our national problems is by internal cooperation.

But the coronavirus is not the only factor which is negatively influencing the nationalist cause. Brexit (Britishnationalism by another name), has already shown the foolishness and futility of breaking away from a successful union. In any future campaign the arguments that Scottish nationalists deployed against British nationalism will be turned around and used against them and their dream of “independence”. Events in Renfrewshire and the High Court, which are still to fully play out, will have their own unpredictable repercussions. The case for “independence” was already facing growing difficulties. The battle with the pandemic will serve to show that cooperation beats separation every time and that the division and difference fostered by nationalism is the exact opposite of the internal and external cooperation required to solve the many connected problems in an inter-connected world. Let's face it, even the most rabid Scottish nationalist cannot possibly believe that the way to best beat the pandemic would be to close the border at Gretna.

Alex Gallagher, Labour Councillor, North Ayrshire Council, Largs.

TOM Gordon suggests that one effect of the coronavirus pandemic will be to make the people forget about long-term matters such as independence and self-determination.

It’s true that in a time of national emergency which compels members of the public to fundamentally change their daily behaviour, the focus of the media and of everyday conversation turns to immediate matters.

However the coronavirus will, like past epidemics, burn itself out. Unionist hopes that the public will return to the old state of apathy and will leave the “divisive” business of decision-making to elected politicians are in vain.

The people are not so fickle.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow G31.

While I don't doubt Nicola Sturgeon is as concerned as everyone over the human suffering and loss of life associated with the coronavirus, its arrival in Scotland also, for her, acts as a silver lining to the cloud that is her failure to deliver another independence referendum. For months, she's insisted indyref2 will definitely take place this year. Few could work out how – yet she stuck to her script, even when some journalists suggested she made no sense. So now expect her hugely creative spin-doctor team to start assuring us the global pandemic is the one and only reason another independence referendum won't happen this year.

Martin Redfern, Edinburgh EH10.

IN a recent interview the Prime Minister suggested that one of his options in dealing with the Coronavirus would be to let the virus run its course throughout the population of the UK and, in his words, “take it on the chin” The UK is the only country in Europe to propose the idea of “ herd immunity” as a realistic government policy to try and deal with the worst pandemic health crisis in over 100 years.

Despite a wide range of health professionals and experts condemning this response to the greatest national and international threat to life in a generation, it appears that theGgovernment of Boris Johnson is placing money and business before human life with the probability of catastrophic consequences for the elderly and the vulnerable in our society.

The notion of “ herd immunity” (a term offensive and degrading in itself) can only be feasible when the “ herd” has been vaccinated, otherwise it’s known as Darwinian natural selection and equates to a survival of the fittest. If we use the experiences of China and Italy as a predictor here Government policy could well see 0.7 per cent mortality rate in the UK, equating to approximately a quarter of a million deaths.

Whilst member states of the EU meet, along with Switzerland, to discuss shared experiences and a collaborative path forwards in tackling the virus and its short and long term effects, Mr Johnson and his Government self-isolate in a pathetic but dangerous and misguided paean to Brexit and its blinkered philosophy. The Prime Minister appears unable to grasp the screaming reality of the situation he faces and is content to adhere to a laissez- faire mentality at a time where decisive action is required by a strong and proactive leader. Unfortunately everything we know about Mr Johnson's private and public life point to his lack of compassion and empathy and to his indolent attitude to carrying out his duties, even in times of relative stability.

Owen Kelly, Stirling.

THE proposed quarantining of the over-70 is surely a policy bound to fail, as Right Honourable lords and ladies will be unable to sign on to claim their £300-plus attendance allowance at their exclusive day care centre.

Duncan Graham, Stirling.

MORE superstitious folk than me might readily conclude that Covid-19 is an endangered planet's way of reacting to whatever is endangering it. It is readily surmisable that the coincidence of this global epidemic and global warning are perhaps less coincidence and more inevitability. While such speculations could discomfit the scientific community, there also arises the idea that maybe humanity has over many decades become besotted by science and has drifted away from more spiritual interpretations of events and phenomena. Given that societies of people invariably invoke nowadays scientific explanations for such rare occurrences as pandemics, and to be fair, find them, it is no surprise that this is the general reaction to the present crisis. But the presence of the other crisis, global warming, which had been claiming headlines until the advent of Covid-19, invites a strange interest in such circumstances. Perhaps planetary solar systems and all the mysteries of life are wound into a puzzle in which science is simply a manifestation of superstition.

Faced with such crises, whatever they might be, humanity is likely to realise its limitations rather than its power. Maybe that offers a hopeful prospect in the midst of current anxieties. Since warring and militarism have been such constant activities among humans, these current crises can be a reminder that when it comes to power, nature is still the big player, and people puny by comparison.

Ian Johnstone, Peterhead.

AS of today's date (March 14), the total worldwide number of deaths is in the region of 4,600. The vast majority of the deceased is in the most at risk category. Meanwhile, in the United States, the deaths from normal flu is 20,000 - 52,000.

I have listened to Scotland's health spokesman who has stated that for 80 per cent of the population there is nothing to worry about. Even a layman can see that, like flu, there is nothing to fear about this virus.

So, please, tell me why you in the Mainstream Media are doing your best to scare the population? Or, is this a case of Jo Moore's' "a good day to bury bad news? And, if that is the case, what is being hidden? Don't just laugh at another conspiracy theory because, all too often, conspiracy theories tend to come to fruition.

Joseph Adam-Smith, Lesvos, Greece.

ASSISTANT Chief Constable Bernie Higgins told MSPs that that the climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow would "only cost £180 million". Only? But what is the total cost to UK taxpayers? This made me question what the costs have been for each of that previous 25 COPs and what reduction in emissions worldwide have been achieved during those 25 years. The answers are billion sof pounds and very little.

The coronavirus is a game changing event. China's emissions of 30 per cent will drop dramatically as will most other countries in the world. Sporting entertainment and other events create large emissions so these being cancelled will drop emission levels even more. It will be years before countries recover economically. The cost of the UK trying to reach net zero over the next three decades will surpass £3 trillion –£100,000 per household. The UK must repeal the Climate Change Acts and use the money to save lives and help businesses stay solvent.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

NOW that we have trained people into the importance of washing of hands, wouldn’t it be a good idea to extend this beyond the pandemic to get the nation to be conscious of the importance of washing of hands, especially in public places like cafes, restaurants, and carveries?

Why have a basin in the toilets when it should be near the front door as people wait to be shown to their tables? Make a little curtain closet solely for the washing of hands.

I have spoken to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, who think it is a sound idea.

John Burleigh, Greenock.

GIVEN the minimal potential exposure to infection having online shopping delivered, compared to visiting the store, perhaps supermarkets should consider cancelling delivery charges for the duration, or at least reducing than to a nominal amount.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.

AS ever Steven Camley hit the nail on the head with his cartoon on Friday (March 13), with Boris Johnson mouthing "Let's get delay done".

I suspect Dominic Cummings wished he had thought of that one. He and his underling, the Prime Minister, are waking up to the realisation that government is quite a serious matter.

Funny that Mr Johnson has returned to seeking advice from experts.

Willie Towers, Alford.

Read more: Coronavirus is a blow to Indyref2 and changes the Scottish political landscape