WHILE generally welcoming Common Weal's take on controlling Covid ("Local ‘traffic light’ system call to battle second wave", The Herald, September 9) I'm not sure I would agree on the efficacy of random sampling. This approach allows you to form a picture of the wider population but is that what's needed in the current situation?

Given that we know that young people are especially prone to acquiring Covid (mercifully for them, usually without symptoms, but perhaps not so good for the rest of us) perhaps cohort sampling would be more useful, concentrating testing on the group most at risk. I recall someone once remarking that public health initiatives were 10 per cent science and 90% marketing. Cohort sampling might require a bit of imagination, by for example using the pubs and clubs in a local area as test centres perhaps. Test, test, test might need to be supplemented by target, target, target.

Alistair Richardson, Stirling.

THIS morning, I have an email from PatientAccess.com on the subject of flu vaccinations. It begins: "Every year flu is responsible for many thousands of deaths in the UK".

I may be one of the uninformed, or even one of the bloody- minded described by David Gailey (Letters, September 9), but surely the statement by PatientAccess.com puts the current dangers of Covid-19 into perspective. No wonder our National Health Service has been described elsewhere as the Covid Health Service.

David Miller, Milngavie.


I NOTE your article on the Arrol crane (“Engineering masterpiece built in Scots workshop to be restored” , The Herald, September 8), which perpetuates the myth that Sir William Arrol designed the Tay Bridge, Forth Bridge and Tower Bridge. He did not design these bridges.

The Tay bridge which collapsed was designed by Sir Thomas Bouch, while the bridge which stands today was the work of William Henry Barlow.

Bouch’s design for the Forth Bridge was discarded, and replaced by one from Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker which had to withstand much higher wind loads. Tower Bridge was designed by John Wolfe Barry.

Sir William Arrol & Co was the fabricator and erector of the bridges, using innovative methods to form the new steel materials.

When I was employed by Sir William Arrol/NEI Cranes in the 1980s, the bulk of the work was the steelwork for power stations. The last coal-fired power station we fabricated was for Rihand in India.

I was responsible for erecting some much smaller road and rail bridges. I should have realised this was a “sunset” industry in Scotland as famous steel fabricators disappeared. I was made redundant by NEI Cranes in July 1986 when the closure of Sir William Arrol was announced.

Charles Murray, Newton Mearns.


I WAS shocked – shocked – to learn that “men who downed an average of half a glass of wine or a quarter of pint of beer daily, were ten per cent more prone to obesity or metabolic syndrome” ("Even a tiny tipple puts drinkers at risk of health triple-whammy, study warns", The Herald, September 3).

I am profoundly thankful that I am able to say with absolute veracity that I have never contemplated consuming alcohol in such quantities.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


I’M afraid I have to correct AB Crawford on the eggy spelling of Fort William. If your correspondent is to be completely accurate then "egg" should appear before each vowel, thus reading Feggort Weggilleggieggam, by my calculations.

Having said that I really enjoyed both cartoon and letter; some much-needed light relief in these troubled times.

Janice Taylor, Carluke.