"SCREECHING u-turn", "mother and father of all climbdowns". Once again politicians race to belittle and mock when an opponent, Conservative, SNP, Labour, Green or Liberal – it doesn't matter which – has a change of mind ("Swinney aims for full-time schools after parental fury", The Herald, June 24).

When will people realise that these predictable and puerile responses, or the fear of them, makes it even harder for a politician to change their mind having had time to listen, reflect and take action based on new or better intelligence?

Perhaps this u-turn is simply John Swinney's response to listening to parents and others. It's then not a u-turn, but a measured response to public concern and demand. But no, it cannot be that because this is a command and control Government which doesn't listen – isn't it?

Alastair Clark, Stranraer.

FEW would not welcome the mother of all U-turns by the SNP’s powers that be with regard to our children returning to school. Very recently John Swinney announced that a return to school was unlikely "within the year". But now it seems in a matter of days it is has all changed to being perfectly OK for all to go back in August.

What inspired this monumental volte-face? Was it principled consideration of all the relevant facts or, as most suspect, a reaction to the anger of many Scots parents (and voters) at the delay? Or even more likely, was it the fact that they did not want to be left behind by the others occupying our island?

Whatever the case, it revealed the utter hypocrisy of the governing party in Scotland.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.

THE latest U-turn by Education Secretary John Swinney to now fully re-open schools in August shows yet another example of SNP policy being made on the hoof. Its latest buzzwords, "blended learning", comprise a catchphrase that has no substance other than catchy rhetoric that flatters to deceive, the SNP proving to be masters of deception and spin.

Time for a change, the SNP has made too many disastrous decisions with its maybes aye-maybes naw policy-making.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.

IF John Swinney gets a report card I would imagine it would read “must do better, a lot better".

Michael Watson, Glasgow G73.

I HAVE just listened to a radio phone-in on the issue of full-time education resuming in Scotland in August. This pandemic has certainly turned things upside down and as the Education Secretary John Swinney acknowledged when announcing a return to full time education that this has only come about because the public has adhered to the lockdown and been patient.

With the Government doing what it can to restore some form of normality to the education system, I was rather taken aback to hear some grandparents saying the scenario they find themselves in of dropping off and collecting grandchildren from school has not been taken into consideration in the Government statement.

Grandparents play a huge role in so many families, but the Government simply can’t be everything to everybody and some responsibility has to lie with the parents, otherwise we will become a real nanny state.

Safety measures are paramount in this announcement by the Education Secretary, but in the unprecedented circumstances the country is in, a return to full-time education is a bold but a necessary move in the interest of the country going forward on the long and winding road of recovery from Covid-19.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

SO Nicola Sturgeon is preparing to accelerate Scotland out of coronavirus lockdown using the lame excuse for delay so far, of following the scientific evidence, when it is quite clear that she now realises that her ploy of grandstanding of her position as First Minister in dictating that Scotland do things differently from England – just for the sake of contradicting Westminster – is now starting to unravel, with the delay in easing lockdown in Scotland having potentially more negative economic consequences here than elsewhere in the UK.

In obstinately not "getting with the programme" about to be implemented in England, she is simply trying to save political face –and that’s all there is to it.

Philip Adams, Crosslee.

THERE is an apocryphal story of a rich American booking a complete floor of rooms in the best hotel in Donegal Town but saying before settling in with his entourage that he wanted to do some sightseeing. The manager not unreasonably asked for a substantial deposit to secure the reservation because of the size of the booking and was given 300 Punts (old story) as a non-refundable deposit. With this unexpected windfall the manager decided to settle an outstanding account with the butcher. The butcher did likewise with the baker and the unexpected windfall created a cascade of overdue accounts being settled in multiple businesses which ended with the undertaker paying a deposit on a future wedding reception at the hotel that started the cycle. The Yank never returned after having decided to go to Derry instead and lost his deposit. As a result of the exercise hundreds of thousands of pounds of debt were repaid with an injection into the process of a meagre few hundred.

The point of the story? Well that is exactly why Boris Johnson and his chums want lockdown scrapped, as in a service-led economy that is how it all works and for as long as we are not selling each other beer and hamburgers the meaningless GDP is scuppered. That’s why lives are being put at risk and why rather than stopping furlough payments the Government should actually be increasing them. But for ideological reasons the Government cannot be seen to be giving the poor "free money" which they would universally spend rather than save, this despite the fact that money is just a tool and is not the same as wealth.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

YOUR front-page report on Tuesday ("Young people in Scotland ‘need two-year jobs lifeline’", The Herald, June 23) raises some serious issues. I fully endorse Benny Higgins's proposed scheme to provide a Scottish Jobs Guarantee, a period of secure employment of at least two years for 16 to 25-year-olds, paid at the Living Wage, with access to training, apprenticeships and possibility of progression. Nothing less can mitigate to any realistic extent, the effects of the predicted unemployment tsunami.

The proposal doesn’t sound all that different to a scheme back in the 1950s and early 60s. This scheme provided a cast-iron contract for at least two years, very wide-ranging training, payment just around Living Wage level and occasional foreign travel.

Yes, it was called National Service.

This being the time to look outside the box for answers to impossible questions, it could be worth more than a passing thought. It did me no harm and gave me superb training in electrics, electronics and radar.

Jack Robertson, Stirling.

DR John Cameron (Letters, June 24) rails against the measures being taken to limit the spread of Covid-19. He claims that the experts’ predictions about the dangers were “scandalously pessimistic and out by orders of magnitude.”

Dr Cameron claims that the infection fatality rate is “about 0.2%”. The figures you publish today are of 306,000 confirmed cases in the UK, with 43,000 fatalities; that’s a fatality rate of 14%. Dr Cameron’s figure of 0.2% would imply that 21.5 million people in the UK have or have had Covid-19.

There’s an interesting paper in Thorax, a British Medical Journal, written by three Australian medics who were quarantined on a cruise ship that returned from Antarctica; one of the medics was a Professor at Macquarie University in Sydney. Over half the passengers and crew tested positive for Covid-19, and 81% of those who tested positive had no symptoms.

There have probably been a lot more cases of infection than the official figures show. However, if Dr Cameron has evidence to suggest that almost a third of the UK population has been infected, he should produce it. As the saying goes: he’s entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

ROSEMARY Goring is to be congratulated for raising some issues re face masks ("I look like a Holby City cast member in my face mask", The Herald, June 24). She mentions the discomfort of wearing a mask in hot weather but what about in the rain when the mask becomes soaked? This is Scotland after all.

She mentions the constant "tweaking and touching" that wearers indulge in. This is not only a sign that they are experiencing discomfort from the mask but also a sign that they do not understand the function of the mask. If masks are to be worn to minimise the spread of the virus in the exhaled breath of infected but asymptomatic individuals then the mask must act as a filter trapping the virus particles. The mask will then become contaminated with virus. The masks are not waterproof and the virus will permeate through to the external surface of the mask. When the wearer touches the mask, virus will transfer to their hand and then on to whatever surface they next touch. Not an ideal state of affairs if travelling on public transport when the next passenger may inadvertently pick up the virus or in shops or supermarkets when the mask wearer may pick up an item examine it and put it back for someone else to pick up along with any viral particles left behind.

The science behind the suggested benefit of mask wearing is weak. I am not aware that surface contamination of masks worn by asymptomatic Covid-19 individuals has been assessed or what is the risk of transmission by the mechanism described above. I have witnessed mask wearers in supermarkets who tend to be less aware of social distancing and have no problem with picking up and handling items before putting the back. This would suggest that the wearer is not that concerned about potentially spreading the virus to others or they would avoid unnecessary handling and that the mask does in their mind confer them with a "false sense of security".

The advice on wearing masks has to be reassess looking at all potential mechanisms of spread not simply reduction in exhaled droplet numbers.

Eric Gardner, Glasgow G41.

Read more: EIS boss highlights 'anger' over schools U-turn