I CAN assure Jill Stephenson (Letters, January 7) that Scotland will forget very little indeed about the Covid nightmare which still threatens to overwhelm our National Health Service.

I will never forget the London NHS consultant, dying from Covid, who begged his son to campaign for PPE for NHS staff. I will never forget, nor forgive, Westminster’s refusal to accept the EU invitation to join in the procurement of PPE – which might have saved the lives of many care workers and NHS staff.

I won’t forget Boris Johnson’s insane suggestion, last March, that the whole of the UK should take “Covid on the chin” nor his Government’s simultaneous decision to cancel testing for Covid (just as the World Health Organisation begged the world to “test, test, test”). I will not forget their decision to exclude Covid deaths in English care homes from their daily statistics.

And I will always remember the moment in March when the Welsh and Scottish governments finally broke away, thank goodness, in order to ban large gatherings and close schools – according to the advice of their medical teams. In poor old England, Cheltenham Races went ahead, and a Covid cluster followed.

For nearly a year now, the whole of the UK has been dealing with the consequences of those awful months in early 2019. Scotland will never forget the clear, comforting clarity provided by Professor Jason Leitch and his team at what became daily briefings about Scotland’s particular battle with Covid. We are more dependent on them than ever.

I am glad Ms Stephenson acknowledges the importance of international co-operation on Covid: the AstraZeneca and Pfeizer-BioNtech teams both include experts from many different countries. The whole world is fighting this virus – for the whole world must be vaccinated and safe – before any of us are safe. That is surely the lesson from Covid none of us must ever forget.

Lastly, Ms Stephenson fundamentally misunderstands our First Minister, and the monstrous regiment who stand behind her: unlike Westminster we have no ambition to “stand on our own” or “beat the world” at anything. We simply want Scotland to rejoin the world and the EU, to have her own voice, in order to share and co-operate internationally in the challenges that will confront a, hopefully, post-Covid planet.

Frances McKie, Evanton.


THE State of Israel has no facility to produce a vaccine for Covid-19, yet it has vaccinated more people per capita than any other country. It buys the vaccine from source and flies it into Israel. Boris Johnson, in one of his many chauvinistic comments regarding Scotland and the Scots, asserts that Scotland would have had no vaccine if it were not for the “UK” – presumably England ("Johnson accused of ‘politicising pandemic’ over UK’S vaccine role", The Herald July 7).

This is patent nonsense. Scotland could have done precisely what Israel has done. The difference is that Mr Johnson could not direct remarks to Israel, similar in content to those he has directed at Scotland for years. It’s time the media stopped pandering to this man: his bigoted commentary toward Scotland verges on racism, and should be called out for what it is.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


ALEC Oattes (Letters, January 4) and other SNP proselytisers over the last few months have parroted their unshaken belief that the SNP has an inalienable right to hold Indyref2 but also – obviously – that the people of Scotland will break through the barrier between separatism and unionism and triumph with a sizeable majority. They give as their evidence the number of seats won by the SNP at the last UK General Eelection, namely 48 seats out of 59. No contest. QED. What bit of this do we non-believers not get?

Well, as a sceptic, I discussed the alleged statistical superiority with my husband, who donated some of his lockdown hours to scrutinise the electoral returns from 2019 and he came up with a very different set of statistics which Mr Oattes (and the others) might take heed of.

There are indeed 59 constituencies to the Westminster Parliament, and the SNP did indeed take 48 of them. Of the adult population of Scotland a tad over four million people registered to vote (4.053k) and of these 2.758k or 68 per cent actually voted. The SNP received 1.242k votes, comprising 45.1% of the vote. That means that 55% of the people (1.516k) did not vote for the SNP. A very similar result to 2014. Worse still for the SNP number crunchers, if you take the SNP vote as a proportion of everyone registered to vote, that makes a meagre 30.5%. So, I make that 69.5% who did not vote for the SNP and separatism in 2019. Indyref2 will not be decided on the number of seats, it will be decided on a simple mass vote.

If I were Ms Sturgeon and her advisers, I would not break the champagne out quite yet.

Freddie Dale (Mrs), Glasgow G12.


JILL Stephenson claims the May elections should be delayed, denying the Scottish people the only democracy we have left. We’re ignored in Westminster. Scottish MPs will be cut from 59 to 57 whereas English MPs will increase from 533 to 543, worsening the democratic deficit. Boris Johnson didn’t delay Brexit and imposed his pathetic trade deal on a Scotland that roundly rejected it. The US elections proceeded and recent events show why a delay would have been catastrophic. Last week, Mr Johnson once again showed his contempt for Scotland by denying our right to determine our future.

Why are the Tories desperate to hold on to a Scotland they claim is a burden? Shouldn’t they be eager to offload us? Here’s the truth: Scotland subsidises London and is a convenient place to dump UK costs and store its nukes. Scots have had enough. A brighter future as an independent nation beckons.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh EH10.


JILL Stephenson seems upset that "Nicola Sturgeon is determined to proceed with May's elections".

She is also concerned that Scots might actually support Ms Sturgeon, citing the view that we should all be thanking the generous, benevolent government at Westminster for its billions in handouts to us ungrateful Scots.

Ms Stephenson is living in a country which still has a democratic process and she will therefore have to accept the result of that election.

Taking a one-sided view of recent developments (her own) will convince no-one, anywhere, to vote for her preferred party, which, judging by her repetitive vilification of the First Minister, is anyone but the SNP.

I fear her views will be in vain and Ms Stephenson will be forced to grin and bear it, while Ms. Sturgeon will lose very little sleep over the opinions of the indy-bashing correspondents in The Herald.

Kevin Orr , Bishopbriggs.

* I WAS surprised to see Robert IG Scott (Letters, January 7) calling for May's Scottish Parliament elections to be delayed, as in his previous letters I'd had the strong impression that he desperately wanted to see the SNP Government thrown out of office as soon as possible. I can only assume that Mr Scott has noted the raft of opinion polls which put the SNP well on course to be returned to power for a fourth historic term, and that he has adopted the Micawber-like principle that Something Will Turn Up to save the unionist parties from yet another disaster at the polls if the democratic process is stalled and kicked into the long grass.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


DONALD Trump boasted that his followers would get sick of winning. He recently lost the presidency – losing three times in Georgia, where he also lost control of the Senate on behalf of the Republican Party.

Britain in its heady dash to regain a mythical missing sovereignty, negotiated a trade deal that created – as many have observed – a worse trading position for UK business. Britain has a Prime Minister who cheer-led the denigration of Brussels as the evil source of vast rolls of unnecessary red tape – and who has landed UK firms with massively increased bureaucracy that has already seen some major firms suspend operations. I could go on…

Both countries were desperately grasping for greatness. In the UK’s case a gullible public were fed a notion that Britain should still rule the waves. In the case of America it was a false, victim mentality encapsulated in the MAGA slogan.

Since 2016 both countries are diminished on the world stage. Is it super-irony or simply a case of the old adage that pride (and stupidity/racism/criminality/laziness/incompetence) come before a fall?

Amanda Baker, Edinburgh EH12.