I READ Rebecca McQuillan’s article, “Keeping over-70s at home isn’t victimisation. It’s protection”, (The Herald, May 1) with interest. However, I think that she is missing the point.

I am no 75-year-old superfit vegan marathon runner, but as a semi-retired medical man on the wrong side of 70, I am only too aware that my age increases the risk of me catching Covid-19, possibly coming to a miserable, lonely end, then being seen off at the crematorium by an even smaller number of people than might otherwise attend.

But increasing age is a risk factor for many other things, as well.

When the lockdown was announced, towards the end of March, we were initially given the impression that we had signed up for a three-month affair. That was a bit of a problem but we anticipated that a more normal life might be resumed after midsummer.

I appreciate that Covid-19 is an entirely novel illness, with new information emerging daily, but I am concerned to hear that, although the lockdown may be lifted for others, it may, for us oldies, remain in place for considerably longer - at its most extreme for 18 months.

Even that may be contingent upon the development of a successful vaccine or efficacious treatment, of which there is no guarantee.

While I may be able to carry out some of my medical work from home I, and others like me who may be reasonably fit and active, but are nearer the finishing-tape of life’s race, envisage being cut off from the wide variety of outside activities that we enjoy, the pleasure of the routine company of our families, friends and colleagues, and being excluded from landmark events.

Some quality of life – and we might still catch and die from Covid-19.

Actually, I’m sure that it’s a fiendishly cunning plot of the Remainers: we Brexit-voting oldies will pine away from loneliness, and they will grab our money, and take the UK back into the EU.

Christopher W. Ide,


East Renfrewshire.

IT is time that the care-home coronavirus crisis was put into the correct context.

The huge proliferation of care homes, residential homes and sheltered housing is mainly a result of UK government decisions in the 1970s to take old age care out of the NHS.

Most of the sector now is owned by multi-millionaires (many of them with huge cash deposits offshore) and huge, prosperous companies.

The workers in these facilities, however, see little real benefit from the huge costs paid by the residents.

If they are inadequately provided with the resources to do their jobs properly or inadequately provided with protection, the immediate responsibility to provide such lies with the proprietors.

It is obvious to all that this sector will inevitably see the highest number of fatalities of this pandemic but we see a UK government, which is suspected of trying to conceal the number of deaths in this sector, and the Scottish Government, which is honestly reporting them, both being attacked for failings in this area over which they have less than adequate control.

This is not the time to play politics but surely when we have got out of this crisis it will be time to look seriously again at how we provide old-age care.

Dave McEwan Hill,


ON the topic of lockdown I agree with Isobel Hunter (Herald letters, May 2). We are indeed moving from nanny state to police state.

If we are “all in this together”, why are the rich and powerful able to move from city to country retreat? Why did Boris Johnson recuperate at Chequers and not in Downing Street? There are enough rooms, kitchens and bathrooms there for Boris to have stayed separate from his fiancee.

This lockdown will fall apart in a dangerous way, with riots, unless it applies to us all equally.

My sister’s neighbours are in their eighties. Their families are not permitted to drive to visit them to do shopping and get prescriptions. So my brother-in-law, who in his late 60s but in good health, has to perform these essential errands.

Margaret Forbes,


THE UN told us last month that CO2 emissions are down by six per cent due to the lockdown. Climate alarmists want emissions to be zero.

Road traffic is down by 70 per cent; tourism is dead; flights are all but grounded; many factories are shut, and tens of millions of people have lost their jobs.

Can a climate alarmist tell us what other sacrifices we need to make to achieve the other 94 per cent emissions reduction?

Geoff Moore,


AM I the only one who can’t find any explanation of how this magic ‘R’ number is derived or calculated?

I understand what it is purporting to show or measure, but without any explanation at the briefings or online or even in the press of how it is calculated, how do I have any faith in its accuracy?

Could The Herald please publish a detailed explanation of the derivation of the magic ‘R’?

Dave Biggart,


I WONDER if ‘R’ will become a new word in the dictionary next year?

Paul Shaw,


A LARGE, well-known DIY chain has announced it has opened over 50 of its stores throughout the UK, including several in Scotland. Why is this allowed to happen when we are constantly being told to stay at home except for outings for essentials – food, medications, et cetera?

Since when were paint and wallpaper considered to be vital items?

Jack Petrie,

East Kilbride.

THE French government have decided to build on the enormous increase in cycling because of the lockdown and the corona virus. They are offering to pay 50€ towards repairs to any bike, regardless of its condition.

This is a very insightful move that not only improves health but will also support the future problem that is coming our way from climate change. A win-win, no doubt.

Let’s hope the Scottish, Welsh and Westminster Parliament can build on this brilliant political move. Vive la France.

Max Cruickshank,


I AM not an SNP supporter but I must compliment Nicola Sturgeon for the straightforward and honest way in which she has presented the daily updates.

In comparison with the daily updates from Downing Street, which are more like party political broadcasts, the Scottish presentation is clear and concise without the spin, flannel and misinformation that Westminster government spokespersons continue to put out.

To be absolutely clear, another word for “spin” is “lying”. Shame on Downing Street.

Robert Taylor,

Newton Mearns.

LOCKDOWN? More like lock-up!

Gordon Keir,

Bridge of Weir.

I DON’T know of a more perceptive, quick-witted, political scrutineer whose cartoon critiques convey such “serious” fun on a regular basis. Steven Camley also knows when to draw the line when some events demand more muted tones.

Gerry Burke,

Strachur, Argyll.

HAVING walked over fields and alongside the burn close to home, enjoying the sunshine and company of lambs gambolling, a wild duck paddling with five ducklings, and the flight of a solitary deer disturbed from a close-by thicket, I basked this morning in the warm glow of congratulatory self-approval on reading “Healing power of nature ‘will give Scots a mental health boost’”, further enhanced by “Nature is the key to a better world when lockdown ends” (May 4).

But I was jolted back to earth on a review of what prominent Google search terms are telling us about life under lockdown (Opinion Matrix, May 4), when I recalled my Google search after communing with the Great Outdoors: how to fix a wobbly toilet seat.

You win some, you lose some.

R Russell Smith,


AS someone who has been working from home now for several weeks (I live alone, too), I am starting to miss my daily interaction with my office colleagues.

Desperate though I am for such contact, though, I don’t think the British government has got its guidelines for getting employees back to work quite right yet.

I see that the TUC has quite properly expressed concerns over the draft guidelines.

Workers such as myself need to be 100 per cent assured about our safety before we set foot in our offices again. We simply cannot afford a second peak.

J. Hamilton,


SOMEWHAT to my surprise, in view of the fact that I have never voted for the Conservatives, I have to say that, despite a sluggish initial reaction (which will surely make interesting fodder for the inevitable public enquiry), the government has handled the crisis well.

The daily briefings are sober and informative, and the message concerning the need for a continuing lockdown have by and large been handled well, though some contrary voices emerged in Cabinet during Johnson’s enforced absence.

I thank my lucky stars I do not live in America, where President Trump has been extremely erratic and impulsive and has shown not one iota of caring and compassionate leadership. He has not discouraged those gun enthusiasts who, complete with fearsome assault rifles and full body-armour, voice their contempt for the lockdown. They say, in effect, that it is anti-American and contravenes their basic rights.

Thank God we are more sensible in this country.

S. Deans,