The Cummings scandal has made me doubt if we'll ever recover from Covid

This whole Cummings affair makes me sad. Just a few days ago I could see lockdown was working, was willing to forgive the lack of preparedness and the consequences, and had a happy feeling in my head that yes, actually the British people believed in what they were doing and we could pull together to get the country and jobs back up and running.

I was even hoping that perhaps some of the worst causes of it all might finally be properly addressed. There was also talk of a Covid Levy, a National Care Service, creation of a pandemic “defence” industry and even a war on obesity suggested by a Prime Minister who acknowledged his BMI of 36 was a major reason Covid almost killed him.

A Prime Minister who, from being at best a figure of fun eight months ago, was beginning to look like the guy to pull Britain’s socks up.

And now all this happens.

Dominic Cummings should have had the humility to at least admit he had made a grave mistake, even though it may have been with the best of intentions, and apologised to the nation for misleading and misreading. It’s too late now, and too late for Boris to scrape any credit if he belatedly fires him.

He, too, could be gone soon. Britain has been humiliated and our worst internal and external opponents have won a huge victory without lifting a gun, trade war, material change in circumstance, a finger even.

I never thought I would say this. I wonder if Britain will ever recover.

Allan Sutherland


Any regrets now, Tory voters?

What must the people in the north-east of England think about the irresponsible attitude of Boris Johnson's leading strategist over his ill-advised trip to Durham, when we were all doing our best to observe the rules to keep the NHS from being swamped with cases.

Those who entrusted the Johnson-led Government with their votes to make sure he got Brexit done – the election-winning slogan thought up by Dominic Cummings – must now be conflicted in their minds owing to the recent unhappy activities exposed in the media.

Their confidence in the PM must now be at a low ebb as they wonder whether they can be comfortable any longer with a Conservative Government under Johnson's leadership. Regret may now be foremost in their minds as they struggle with understanding the convoluted defences offered of Cummings' conduct by various government spokespersons, including the PM.

If confidence in the Government is to be restored, though it has been almost irreparably damaged by this episode, then Cummings needs to be cut loose so that the Government can return its focus to steadying the ship of state on the twin fronts of a recession brought about by Covid-19 and the attempt to secure a sensible Brexit.

Denis Bruce


Deafening silence from Tories

The Scottish Tories screamed "Resign", "Atrocious", "Public Rage", "One Rule for Bosses", "Must Go" when a healthy Dr Catherine Calderwood drove 40 miles, but not a peep when unhealthy with bad eyesight Dominic Cummings drove 260 miles away to spread the virus to his elderly parents.

The rules were simple – if showing symptoms, self-isolate – and Boris Johnson said back in March children should not be left with older relatives as they are the most vulnerable. Yet this 260-mile trip has been described by Boris Johnson as responsible, legal and with integrity.

It must feel like a kick in the teeth to all those men who missed their babies being born, all those elderly mums and dads dying alone while their kids cried at home, all those unattended funerals. All on the instruction of a government now defending a mate who chose to take his suspected Covid on a road trip.

The only grace is the Scottish Tories Tweeter feed has been silenced for the last few days.

Rod Selbie


This needs sorted – one way or the other

After reading reams of pages and listening to hours of comment and debate, I am no nearer knowing whether Dominic Cumming broke the lockdown rule or not. So far all I am hearing and reading is political puff, full of point scoring, gossip, grievance and more than a touch of old score settling. We even have reports of someone seeing a person who looks like him being given credibility. I await with anticipation further reports of someone who looks like him being spotted in the company of Elvis in a flying saucer.

Either he broke the rules or not – it's a simple question. If he did then he should go but if he didn't lets put away the torches and pitchforks and move on. There are more pressing issues than this.

Paul Lewis


Let's get our facts straight

I find it interesting that amid all the strong "feelings" and "views" regarding Dominic Cummings, the fact is that only two groups blatantly and completely flouted the social distancing guidelines namely (i) the reporters, flocked outside his house, thrusting cameras under his nose, and (ii) the presenters in the Downing Street gardens who felt it was "all right" to stand, one after another, breathing (speaking) into a hairy microphone, which surely must have attracted any "virus breath" from the questioners!

I find it irritating that so many are more than happy to attack, in some cases literally as in the case of his home, an individual with absolutely no regard to the circumstances at that time: the Prime Minister's health.

I find it staggering that presumably intelligent reporters can "misquote" circumstances.

Dominic did not go in the car to test his eyesight; he took the "test drive", his words, to verify to his wife that he was indeed fit enough to drive. Dominic did say he completely understood those who felt he had done wrong (ie regret/sorrow).

In fact no one appears to have succumbed to the virus as a result of this incident, unlike the thousands who attend the Cheltenham race meeting and the Liverpool football match, who did spread the virus.

James Watson,


The challenges of universal basic income

Your article on universal basic income (Herald on Sunday, May 24) was interesting – and, yes, it is one way of delivering social security. But it is not in itself necessarily progressive.

For it to be progressive a number of conditions need to be met.

If it is to replace basic sick pay, unemployment benefit and state pension then it needs to be significantly over £100 a week – more than double the RSA figure. Even that figure would only allow people "to cover their basic needs" as long as many services continue to be provided outwith the market. In Scotland, for example, health care is provided outwith the market whereas food and heating are usually purchased. Right-wing proponents of a universal basic income often see it as a step towards having all public services provided through the market.

Clarity is also needed as to which benefits would continue and which would be subsumed into the basic income. Universal Credit has shown up the problems of trying to subsume housing benefit into the weekly figure.

This is not to argue that there is no place for a universal basic income – rather to argue that if it is to be progressive its supporters need to show how it fits into all the ways in which people’s basic needs are covered.

David Mumford

Innerwick, Dunbar

Nicola Sturgeon is a model of good leadership

I must disagree with Iain Macwhirter when he writes that Nicola Sturgeon has made the same mistakes as the UK Government "but has somehow managed to devolve responsibility for those mistakes to Westminster" (Herald Voices, May 24). Over the past two months, Ms Sturgeon has refused to play party political bashing games, in spite of being goaded to do so by some opposition leaders at Holyrood, and she has acknowledged that the four political leaders of the UK have worked together constructively throughout this difficult and unprecedented situation.

I would suggest to Mr Macwhirter that Ms Sturgeon fully deserves the public's trust. She has been dignified, she has been resolute, she has been coherent, and she has been visible; throughout these long lockdown weeks she has gone to the podium day after day, breaking bad and sometimes harrowing news, informing us, encouraging us, and assuring us that if we stuck to the rules there would be light at the end of the tunnel. And now we know that there is.

The First Minister always concludes her daily briefings by thanking the Scottish public for their patience and cooperation during this challenging and stressful time; Scotland should in turn thank her for her round-the-clock hard work and leadership, and recognise that in Nicola Sturgeon we have a first-class First Minister.

Ruth Marr


Howzat! A history lesson

I greatly enjoyed Sandra Dick's article "Howzat?" in The Herald on Sunday (May 24).

While the author asserts that the last occasion when the Alahakbarries cricket team competed was in a celebratory match against West of Scotland in early June 1930 I respectfully beg to differ as I had the good fortune to play in a more recent Allahakbarries' match!

As shown in the attached match programme (price 3d), the "Festival Cricket Match" on Sunday 1st May, 1960, was played between Allahakbarries and Forfarshire CC. While my brother Alistair (ARD) played for the former I played for Forfarshire under the captaincy of Scottish internationalist JD Henderson.

I do not recollect any details of the contest but I clearly recall that, in keeping with JM Barrie's cricketing eccentricity described in Sandra Dick's article, the captains tossed in the middle not with the conventional coin but with a postage stamp. As it was quite a windy day this caused some difficulty and not a little hilarity!

It is a pity that the match planned for the 90th anniversary of the cricket pavilion and the 160th anniversary of Barrie's birth has had to be postponed until next year when I hope I may be able to attend. I hope too that, in the interests of authenticity, "the toss" will feature a postage stamp.

Neil Bowman


A sweeping statement that's simply wrong

I wish to take issue with Neil Mackay's sweeping statement that Sweden has the highest per-capita rate of corona virus deaths on the planet due to its "slack and eccentric approach to preventative measures" (Herald Voices, May 24).

The figures indicate that infection rates are lower in Sweden (3,315 per million) in comparison with the UK (3,825) and the death rate in Sweden (396 per million) is considerably lower than that of the UK (542 per million).

Sweden did not have a complete lockdown and treated its citizens as adults, trusting in their common sense to follow the guidelines issued by the Government. This seems to have paid off and their economy has not collapsed, unlike the situation that currently prevails within the UK.

This begs the question – did we in the UK follow the wrong advice? Time will tell, but a whole generation may have been thrown on the scrapheap on the basis of a flawed premise.

Pauline Campbell


On the care home crisis

I'm sure officials, politicians and staff have always done their utmost for care homes.

However when I hear of latest efforts to stem the crisis I can't keep two variations of well-know expressions out of my head: "we'll cross that bridge after it collapses" and "closing the door after the Corona horse has bolted in".

Allan Sutherland


Don't buy into the myth

Every UK Green Tom, Dick and Harry is using the reduction in global emissions due to Covid-19 to push their views on a carbon-neutral world. The average emissions worldwide dropped by 17% in April compared with the daily average in 2019. These zealots want more walking, cycling, electric bikes and E-scooters. They are even suggesting that these activities should receive a mileage rate. Who will pay for this and the expensive additional facilities?

The Committee on Climate Change has already said that the UK must consider changes in tax policy. A "Save the Planet" tax?

The Greens want emissions reductions as happened in the Covid-19 era to be the new norm despite the UK's minuscule 1.13% of global emissions.

The rest of the world has been ignoring the green fanatics for decades as they burned fossil fuels to drive their economies and will do so even more post Covid-19. The majority of the world's countries do not have legally-binding Climate Change Acts so the UK "leading by example" is yet another urban myth.

Clark Cross