ANDY Maciver suggests that “even No voters think Nicola Sturgeon is doing a good job” (“There is a way to win over No voters ...but this is not it", The Herald, July 17).

I am at a loss to recognise where he sources this deduction about the First Minister from. The Scottish Government has been just as tardy in stopping the Covid-19 virus from flooding our communities in Scotland as Westminster has been in England.

Now, I would say that Jacinda Adhern, the Prime Minister of similar-sized New Zealand, is really doing a good job; only 22 deaths from the virus compared with 2,491 in Scotland. Since the NHS is devolved in Scotland our First Minister had the political power to stop, test and trace people entering Scotland via sea and airports from the time the virus first revealed itself to be on its way.

Scotland likes to compare itself with similar-sized countries such as Finland, yet it has had 328 deaths; similar-sized Denmark has had 610 deaths. I suggest that it is an invalid argument to say that we all are wise in hindsight. We do not vote into office governments who learn on the job. The horrendous risk of a pandemic was well known, yet it appears the UK nations were unprepared for the robust action which was needed months ago.

However, the creation of the Alliance for Independence is good news for unionists as it reveals a growing sense of disorder, frustration and confusion in the ranks of separatists.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

IT is perhaps unsurprising that a number of commentators on the performance of the Scottish Government in managing the coronavirus pandemic have appeared "underwhelmed" in spite of plaudits from across the UK for the First Minister’s personal performance. The fact that the BBC produced a misleading documentary related to the Nike conference and even ITV has based morbidity figures for the UK on tested outcomes while figures persistently presented for Scotland (via STV) include “presumed or suspected deaths” related to Covid-19, has only helped to engender confusion. Further adding to this confusion is the additional fact that Covid-19-related deaths registered for England have been consistently "under-reported", as noted by the London School of Economics and the Financial Times (both of which confirm that, as with reported care home deaths, the figures for England are out-of-step with figures for countries throughout Europe). Belgium by comparison attributes all ‘excess deaths’ to Covid-19 so has a disproportionately high morbidity rate.

What we can be certain of is that England, with a relatively younger population, has suffered a Covid-19 morbidity rate, confirmed from actual tests, nearly 60 per cent (57.9%) higher than that of Scotland. We also know, from genome sequencing, that the infamous Nike conference did not lead to the spread of the coronavirus across Scotland and that as the UK Coronavirus Act was only introduced on March 25, the Scottish Government could not have effectively moved into lockdown relatively even earlier than England, irrespective of subsequent postulations.

In other words while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have suffered many more deaths in comparison with countries of similar populations across Europe and around the world, with limited powers the devolved governments, including the Scottish Government, have apparently managed the pandemic considerably better than their much larger neighbour which dictated most of the major actions leading to the UK’s invidious position atop of confirmed international Covid-19 death rates. While some commentators may have been fooled, the general public has not.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.

I NOTE with interest Andy Maciver's article. Why do we need just one independence party? Those of us who support independence do not assume all unionists are in the same party and we know their views range from right of the Tory Party (tricky these days) to left of the Labour Party (easily done). Parties play the voting system: look at all the attempts to have alliances in first past the post systems. At the first referendum there was a selection of independence-supporting parties and who knows what will happen to all our political parties after independence?

Yes, the demonstration at the border caught the headlines, particularly for the unionist press to play a derogatory image of Scotland, but isn't Mr Maciver concerned about people travelling from places where the incidence of coronavirus is far higher than in Scotland? My brother, who lives in Yorkshire, has a holiday booking in Scotland in the next couple of weeks and I was taken aback when he told me of their forthcoming trip. Yes, I would like to see him, but like most of the people I know, I'm concerned about the spread of the virus.

We aren't ones for package holidays to the Mediterranean, but we had hoped to visit Sicily this spring. This is now being replaced with a few days in Rothesay and we are looking forward to it. I'm sure many people will be doing something similar and supporting local businesses as much as they can.

I might just agree with Andy on his last point about forthcoming AUOB walks. I've been on the last few in Glasgow, but, until I know that coronavirus is at very low levels I won't be going on another, but I also won't be going in busy pubs or travelling to see friends and family in England.

Patricia Fort, Glasgow G1.

KEN MacVicar (Letters, July 17) is considering buying a mask. The tartan the First Minister chose, which aroused Gerald Edwards ire (Letters, July 13), was the Homeless tartan. Twenty per cent of the mask's price is donated to homeless charities.

Colin Campbell, Johnstone.

Read more: Letters: The next referendum will be fought on a very different battleground