IT is now almost a week since you published my letter – and others – calling for a clear timetable to be announced by Nicola Sturgeon regarding the vaccine programme (Letters, January 7) and surprise, surprise, we are all still waiting. Could this be due to her being too focused on her independence priorities, as articulated over the weekend by her overstretched deputy John Swinney ("Salmond row Sturgeon claim ‘absolute nonsense’", The Herald, January 11), or perhaps she is overly occupied preparing her defence to Alex Salmond's recent and potentially career-ending allegations?

If the vaccine programme were indeed her top priority as she says it is – and assuming she had the leadership skills to direct and lead it – we would have had a very clear timetable published by now, indicating who will be vaccinated by when and by whom, with clear mileposts identified to objectively measure progress against quantifiable objectives. Instead, from her and her wholly inept, incompetent SNP administration, we are still being fed generalisations and waffle such “it's a priority” or “it’ll be done by autumn”.

Ms Sturgeon and her colleagues are again getting away with unchecked underperformance. It is shameful and an absolute disgrace.

Paul McPhail Glasgow G43.

* A FRIEND'S 21-year-old student son has just received his vaccine letter – working part-time in an opticians he is regarded as a key worker. However I am an 80-plus man, have one daughter regarded as extremely vulnerable with stage four breast cancer, and another who teaches schoolchildren with disabilities, yet we are all waiting for the "don't call us we'll call you" Covid vaccination invitations to drop through our letterboxes. The sense of priorities has gone through the window and one can only hope this Government gets a grip.

Alan Stephen, Glasgow G44.


I WONDER if any other readers play word bingo with Guy Stenhouse’s column. The game is quite simple. You choose half a dozen unflattering adjectives. Within the first couple of paragraphs, Mr Stenhouse will have applied them all to the Scottish Government, while skilfully avoiding using them to describe the shilly-shallying of Westminster. There are no prizes in this game of bingo. Simply the satisfaction of taking his column less seriously than he does.

Today’s column ("Governments must resist temptation to please crowd", The Herald, January 11) concerns care homes and the disadvantages of a possible state monopoly of such homes. He can see only the disadvantages of such a monopoly. Without taking sides in state vs private provision, I would point out that many initial cases of Covid in private nursing homes were spread by infected care workers being unwilling to take time off due to inadequate or absent sick pay.

We also have a state near-monopoly in health called the NHS. It has its faults, particularly at the present time, but it is a great deal better than an American-style private insurance-based system where half the population can’t afford insurance.

Sam Craig, Glasgow G11.


KEVIN McKenna normally writes articles of considerable erudition but his latest one ("Appalled by Trump protests? Then you are part of problem", The Herald January 9) has me struggling to make sense of it.

Those individuals who attacked the Capitol building in Washington DC did not look, to me at least, as if they were disenfranchised, lost souls. Striving to merely exist? I think not. They were quite obviously a well-organised faction of “rent a mob”, wound up and excited into destructive action by a man who is clearly in need of medical care.

Of course there are problems in our global village, but the descent into mob rule is not the answer.

I think we should all be acutely aware of this danger, particularly those politicians whose careless rhetoric can so easily erode the thin and fragile veneer that lies between order and anarchy.

Dan Edgar, Rothesay.


I HAVE just listened to Ian Blackford on Radio 4's Any Questions (January 9) deflecting blame for Scotland’s declining educational standards on to Scottish local authorities.

Could this be the same educational authorities many of which have a sizeable SNP presence in their governing coalitions?

It begs the question: who is in charge of Scotland’s educational destiny? I was under the impression, perhaps misguided, that John Swinney was the champion of educational improvement. If Mr Blackford is correct, what is Mr Swinney doing to clean the Augean stables at the local level?

(Dr) Douglas Pitt, Newton Mearns.


YOUR informative treatise on the use of honorifics ("More than a question of Mr and Mrs", The Herald, January 9) led me to check that I did know the meaning of the word. Google's predictive text system suggested that I might be looking for honorificabilitudinitatibus", which apparently means the state of being able to achieve honours.

Having spent my career counting, I reckoned that this 27-letter word must be the longest in our language, later to find that the old chestnut "antidisestablishmentarianism", which I probably learned at school, beat it by one.

I was brought back to earth when Google predicted that I was searching for "antiquated", which probably sums me up.

David Miller, Milngavie.