THE nightmare is drawing to a close. For the first time in many years, I feel safe enough to return to doing something I have not done for years but once did as a norm, voting Labour. Millions of once-staunch voters who have deserted the party throughout the UK will, I am sure, share my feelings.

Jeremy Corbyn and the far left brought Labour close to oblivion ("Keir the killer asserted authority by banishing the Magic Grandpa", Iain Macwhirter, November 1). They hated those with whom they disagreed in their own party more than they did any opponent. Mr Corbyn and his group can now hopefully form a new party on the far left of UK politics and take their chances with the electorate without the Labour Party camouflage.

And Labour can get back to fighting for working people and social justice.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.


IT is rather depressing to see a lifelong anti-racist campaigner Jeremy Corbyn currently suspended from the Labour Party.

Mr Corbyn has been the subject of constant criticism by supporters of the government and military of Israel for standing up for the human rights of the Palestinian people.

The bad news for organisations such as the Board of Deputies and other uncritical supporters of the Government and military of Israel is that campaigning in support of Palestinian human rights will continue in Scotland and across the world.

Activists involved in the campaign are encouraged by support for the Palestinian cause which comes from across the political spectrum – not just Jeremy Corbyn.

It is probably not widely known that in a 2014 speech senior Tory Alan Duncan likened the Israeli authorities' attitude towards the Palestinians to apartheid in South Africa.

A couple of weeks ago Stephen Kinnock MP made a parliamentary speech where he called for a boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements.

The harsh and unfair treatment of Mr Corbyn should be used to ensure that efforts are redoubled to ensure that the cruel and heartless treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli authorities comes to an end.

Arthur West, Chair of Scottish Friends of Palestine, Irvine.


DESPITE Public Health Scotland describing the discharge of elderly patients into care homes as “not significant”, this continues to be pursued by the opposition in Scotland.

We know from this report that 1,814 elderly patients were transferred from hospital to a care home which subsequently had a Covid outbreak. Of those who had been tested 302 were negative (94.4 per cent of those tested) and 18 positive (5.6%). If we apply those proportions to the 1,491 not tested prior to transfer, then it would suggest 84 might have been positive, which is 2.3% of all the elderly who were transferred.

Moreover, this happened very close to the beginning of the outbreak when it was thought that the asymptomatic could not have Covid, and therefore transferring anyone without symptoms was consistent with the small amount of medical knowledge we had of the virus at that time.

Additionally, this was a time when there was a real expectation that hospitals could be overwhelmed by Covid cases. Therefore, what was the alternative to transfer? Would it have been good practice to keep the asymptomatic elderly in hospital, surrounded by people who actually did have Covid?

All the same, are there no other explanations for Covid outbreaks in Scottish care homes?

Particularly telling was the comment by the chief executive of the charitable care home operator, MHA: “The only real way that this can have come into our homes is through staff picking it up, just through the community contacts they would have had.”

This is not to blame either the staff or the management, but as MHA’s CHIEF EXecutive points out “if [staff] don’t know they’ve contracted the virus, how can you manage this?. How indeed. Its own research into its own Scottish homes found 42% of staff who tested positive were asymptomatic.

That said, however, the practices of some care homes made a situation difficult to impossible to manage even worse. For instance, bank staff, who will work in a number of homes, as well as when staff from other homes are brought in.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but to be helpful it should also be sensitive to the context that the decisions being examined were taken in. It should also be appropriately wide ranging and not just politically opportune.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.


IT will be interesting to see whether the SNP honours the Scottish Parliament vote to force it to hand over the legal advice it received regarding the Alex Salmond affair. If it does it will be a major crack in the edifice of secrecy and evasion we have experience these past 13 years. If it doesn't because it has been destroyed even those who normally turn a blind eye will surely be disgusted, outraged and demanding action. If it doesn't because it claims the vote was only advisory that surely gives the UK Government to reject any Holyrood vote demanding a referendum.

And perhaps more of the four million Scottish voters who haven't a clue what is going in will sit up and take notice

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


NICOLA Sturgeon plans to use UK taxpayer funds to set up Scottish quasi-embassies across European capitals. Only the naive would believe these are for trade purposes – they'll inevitably be used as political hubs to try to generate support for an independent Scotland to join the EU, bypassing the EU's strict entry requirements, which currently Scotland nowhere nearly meets.

However, of more concern is what this means our money isn't being spent on. The SNP administration has a purely domestic remit – education, the NHS, transport and the like. Are all these services so massively over-funded now that the nationalists can afford to divert cash to chase their own separatist dreams?

Martin Redfern, Melrose.


I STRUGGLE to make sense of Brian Harvey's letter (November 1) regarding context in historical study. Of course, context is important, but not as important as precision, something of which his comments are totally devoid. Asking what the Jacobites stood for in political, religious and national terms is like asking what the Scottish Rugby Union stands for in shinty, football and hockey terms. The answer is in their name.

When he refers to Jacobite myths, there are certainly a few, but not many of the Jacobites' making. He probably supports the myth that the Hanoverian victory at Culloden was overwhelming, whereas it was Cumberland's closeness to defeat that turned him from a congenial young commander into the monster we know today. It also explains why the Jacobites who assembled at Ruthven a few days later were brimming with confidence that, with barely 3,000 men, they could smash the enemy to pieces. (It helped that the fifth columnists who had sabotaged the army consistently on its return from Derby had been exposed at Culloden and deserted.)

Maybe he is referring to the myth that the Jacobite army was largely Catholic. Not likely, given the huge numbers of Jacobites who later gained commissions in the British Army in an age when Catholics were prohibited from gaining commissions.

Or perhaps he meant the myth that Highlanders were forced by Jacobite leaders to join the rising. Sorry, but that was the invention of the singularly humanitarian Lord Loudoun. When my family sept surrendered their weapons to him in Brae Lochaber in June 1746, he asked his superiors to go easy on them as they had been forced "out". He knew that was not the case as they were well known to the Duke of Argyll as the most ardent of Keppoch's supporters. Loudoun was doing his best to get the Highlands back to normality without the need for revenge.

My ancestor was a little boy at this event and more than 30 years later, when as an officer in the Scots Guards, he was killed in the American War of Independence, it was his commander, the same Lord Loudoun, who was first to put his hand in his pocket for the widow's pension.

George F Campbell, Glasgow.


AS a former director of education and headteacher of high schools in both Scotland and England, I am astonished to see the large amount of pornography and sheer filth shown by terrestrial TV in recent months,

Not so long ago, this kind of horrible, rancid stuff was found only on Sky and Internet channels, but is now freely available on B8C1 & 2, ITV and channels 4 and Five. I can now hear the secularists say "Why watch it? Just turn it off." But they know that this kind of disgusting dirt tends to creep up on you, almost surreptitiously, or at the press of a button. It is no excuse to argue that it appears after the 9pm deadline, as we all know that most teenagers are not in bed by 9pm, and this even applies to many Primary-age children, many of whom have access to TV and cell phones, which are often freely available.

Recently, these appalling, disgusting programmes are full of nakedness, full frontals, live sexual intercourse, masturbation, prostitution and sado-masochism. Here, parental guidance is obviously required, but, as parents, we cannot reasonably be expected to observe our children every minute of the day. Even secularists and other free-minded parents would, surely, not want their children to be viewing this kind of disgusting material which, research shows,c an distort their minds and their sexual/emotional development.

As indicated previously, these filthy, degrading films and dramas have surfaced only recently on family channels, and now it is pertinent to ask: Where are our Christian/Muslim/Jewish and other good parents who should be objecting to this nightly poison, and where are the politicians and churches/mosques who need to stand up against these dangerous and disgusting threats to our fundamental values?

HJ Lynch, Larbert.