WITH all the bad news about Covid-19, Brexit and borders, there is at least one bit of excellent news to celebrate. Because of Brexit, we were was able to start vaccinating two weeks before any EU nation and order vaccine in sufficient quantity to treat the entire population.

Owing to the involvement of the European Medicines Agency, the EU did not order vaccine until mid-November and then only from German and French companies, and not in sufficient quantities for the entire population. By contrast, the UK Government had placed orders for 340 million doses by the end of September, so that whichever vaccines got regulatory approval, we would have enough doses. The EU reportedly turned down an option on 500 million doses from the US company Pfizer.

Brexit is not just good for the economy; it saves lives.

Penny Ponders, Edinburgh EH28.


THE Channel crossing fiasco ("Clock ticks on millions of pounds of Scots seafood stuck at Dover", The Herald, December 22) is surely the final proof of the original folly of the UK putting most of its trading eggs in the EU basket – a folly forced upon us by our own governments.

It is absurd that national hardship pivots upon so narrow a point as the Dover link; and especially a link with France, which has always been an unreliable ally when not an actual enemy.

The sooner we replace EU trade with world trade the better.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian.


NICOLA Sturgeon said on Monday that it would be "unconscionable" to compound the coronavirus crisis by leaving the EU market regulations on December 31 – as planned and agreed by both sides ("PM rejects pleas to delay Brexit amid deepening Covid crisis", The Herald, December 22). Yet this is the same politician who wants to press ahead with a second attempt to separate Scotland from the world's fifth-largest economy while Covid-19 is still rampant and while the devastating recession caused by the pandemic is set to last for years.

If leaving the EU's regulations on Hogmanay is unconscionable, then having a second divisive referendum creating huge uncertainty in the Scottish economy and fomenting discord from Lerwick to Gretna would be economically and socially disastrous.

William Loneskie, Lauder.


MANY recent and earlier correspondents have referenced the Scottish Government's allegedly poor record on subjects like education, drugs policy and the management of major projects, both in support and against.

Some of this criticism is justified and some of it exaggerated in my opinion, but as Alasdair Galloway mentioned today (Letters December 22), Labour MPs cannot understand why the negative message is not getting through.

I would suggest to those Labour politicians that one, the people of Scotland are able to see that other governments are no better at managing these problems; two, they understand that the Scottish Government is operating with one hand tied behind its back; and three, independence is higher in the people's priorities than unionist parties will acknowledge.

If, as seems likely, the SNP gains a majority in the elections in May, and can learn and improve on past performance, then what arguments will unionists deploy to deny the majority their wish?

I suggest that the unionist parties are in panic mode over that possibility, and that we can expect any number of obstacles, such as Sir Keir Starmer's latest proposals, which seem to me to equate Scotland with English cities, counties and regions ("Starmer touts devolution convention in bid to stop another independence vote", The Herald, December 22), to be thrown in Holyrood's path over the next year or two.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


IT has taken a long time, but it appears Alexander McKay has finally written something that makes some sense within the context of current Scottish politics (Letters, December 22). That said, his long-outdated views of the relevance of the Labour Party in Scotland, as run from London, appear to have led him to an illogical conclusion. This is perhaps understandable as he also misguidedly seems to think that Sir Keir Starmer should consult Jackie Baillie for advice in spite of the fact that she is clearly no more in touch with the constitutional pulse of the people of Scotland than the now-loathed Gordon Brown.

In fact it appears that not only is Sir Keir unaware of what was articulated by Mr Brown and vowed by Ed Miliband, and his fellow unionist collaborators David Cameron and Nick Clegg, before the last Scottish Referendum, he is unaware that the Labour Party actually argued against increased powers for the Scottish Parliament during the Smith Commission cross-party talks.

So where does that leave the Labour Party in Scotland now? Certainly those who are sincere in their support of the founding principles of the Labour Party as espoused by Sir Keir’s namesake, including the ambition of Home Rule, could follow Mr McKay’s recommendation and join the SNP, and this would certainly be a more honest political affiliation. However, for the majority of Labour supporters who are not against the people of Scotland determining their own future, perhaps a more logical option is to join an Independent Scottish Labour Party advocating the aims of Keir Hardie in the full knowledge that once independence is achieved "Labour" could again become a true party of the people with significant influence in positively building a genuinely more democratic and egalitarian society.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian.


ALEXANDER McKay says that Gordon Brown was “a wonderful Chancellor” . This is an odd thing to say, because in 2007 during the infamous Mansion House speech Mr Brown said: “This is an era that history will record as the beginning of a new golden age for the City of London and I want to thank all of you for what you are achieving.” He was also famous for saying: “No more boom and bust.

However, in 2008 we had the worst financial crash since 1929 due in large part to the City of London and other financial institutions exposing themselves to dangerous risks in a frenzy of greed.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


I REFER to two pieces published on Saturday (December 19), one by Sir Tom Devine concerning the future prospects of a second independence referendum ("Scottish independence supporters will have to wait despite recent polls") and another by Kevin McKenna regarding the blame for Scotland's drug toll ("Do you want to know who is to blame for drugs death toll?").

Sir Tom gave his usual well-argued and balanced account of how he saw things happening over the next few years. Imagine then my disappointment at a section near the conclusion of Mr McKenna's piece. He accused Sir Keir Starmer of being a “right-wing plant" and stated that as far as the Labour Party is concerned on drugs “their opinions are entirely worthless".

I am generally an admirer of Mr McKenna's articles, but I must take exception to these statements. Sir Keir was elected by the vast majority of Labour members, most of whom previously voted for that well-known right-winger Jeremy Corbyn. Nobody's opinions are worthless. Is he trying to say that members of or supporters of the Labour Party do not care about this issue?

I think Mr McKenna is in danger of being stuck in a time warp. Tony Blair is no longer the leader of the party and we have moved on from arguments about the Iraq war and the like. Mr McKenna seems obsessed with this period of Labour Party history and has not moved on.

It would be better if he took note of Sir Tom's approach, which is to respect everyone's opinion and not to indulge in petty point-scoring.

Iain Martin, Dumfries.


UNLESS Sir Brian Donohoe (Letters, December 21) is proposing that an independent Scotland should become a republic it is inappropriate to ask the people of Scotland if they want to remain in the United Kingdom. Should the Scots choose independence then the crowns of England and Scotland will remain united and the only change will be to add the letter “s” to the word “Kingdom”. The Union Flag will still fly over Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh EH3.