Sunday's opinion page pieces discussed Boris Johnson's appeal to Scottish nationalists, the effect on Scots businesses of the latest Covid-19 restrictions and the continuing concern over care home deaths during the crisis. Here is The Herald’s pick of those editorials.

The Sunday Times

Political columnist Alex Massie warned that Boris Johnson is failing the union and that his unpopularity makes it unsafe to send him to Scotland or appear on TV.

He warns that the PM gives wings to SNP supporters "every time" he speaks about Scotland in an article titled "the Union is sunk with blundering Boris Johnson as Prime Minister".

"The kindest explanation for Boris Johnson's declaration that "devolution has been a disaster" is that he was merely pandering to what his audience of MPs from northern English constituencies wanted to hear. Even if you accept that, Johnson's remarks were those of a prime minister without a scintilla of political awareness. And, as it happens, I do not accept this generous interpretation. I suspect Johnson really does consider devolution a disaster," he wrote.

"Silence might not be ideal but it would be preferable to anything Johnson actually says. Ignoring the problem cannot make it disappear but Johnson's words can only make it worse.

"Beyond Brexit, however, the United Kingdom — and with it the Union — desperately needs some years of quiet but capable government accompanied, ideally, by economic growth of 3% a year. That would not answer the national question but it might at least persuade UK government ministers to stop lobbing fresh jerrycans of petrol onto an already blazing pyre.

"Nevertheless, the prime minister's unpopularity in Scotland does matter. A new poll this week found that while Nicola Sturgeon's approval ratings in Scotland are higher than those for the government she leads, Johnson's are the other way round. A quarter of Scottish voters think the UK government has handled the coronavirus crisis well and while that is not exactly good, a mere 19% think the prime minister has personally been doing well."

Sun on Sunday

It's leader said it was "time to support local retailers" as Glasgow's city centre streets were deserted because of the imposition of the highest Level 4 Covid-19 restrictions.

While Glasgow' streets were empty at a time when Christmas shoppers would be expected to be out in force, in Edinburgh which is in Level 3 territory, "it looked remarkably close to business as usual" with consumers crowding streets and shops, the paper said.

"But what is a relief for Edinburgh retailers will be precious little comfort for struggling firms in Glasgow.

"That's why it's vital to listen to the fears of shop bosses and industry leaders over the threat they face in the run-up to a Christmas like no other.

"Things looked bleak even before the tougher restrictions kicked in across swathes of the country.

"Now more jobs, livelihoods — and even lives — are under threat."

It urged consumers to shop locally online "where you can" - to help family businesses survive.

"They'll appreciate it. And you'll know you've helped spread some festive cheer," the paper said.

Sunday Mail

The paper reaised concerns about a continuing transfer of Covid-19 infected patients from hospitals to care homes which it said will be an "enduring scandal" of the pandemic.

"It beggars belief that the combined brains of Government ministers and public health officials couldn't see this policy was a horrific tragedy waiting to happen," it said.

"Who knows how many of the more than 2000 people who have died in homes since March would be alive today had things been different.

"It is difficult to comprehend the anger relatives of care home residents will feel at our revelations today which set out how the practice has been allowed to continue despite assurances it had stopped.

"They have been effectively locked out of homes and refused access to their loved ones for more than eight months.

"This is despite infection control experts repeatedly making clear that with the correct testing, PPE and procedures in place, visiting can be carried out safely.

"Yet the same authorities who have deemed it too dangerous for them to be allowed in the front door appear to believe it is safe to quietly move Covid patients in the back.

"Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has insisted this will only happen for 'clinical' reasons in exceptional circumstances.

"But what possible clinical reason could there be for moving an elderly patient suffering from Covid-19 from a hospital bed into a care home?"