WE cannot continue with this general lockdown. There is no end date being given and no plan except the very broad statements about getting the numbers down and vaccinating the vulnerable. For a spell here in Scotland during the summer we got down to very few cases and very few deaths, but we let it slip away. Now here we are with England having the highest death rate in the world and us not that far behind.

On Friday you had an article about phone apps and the fact that most people want more enforcement ("Support for app to track virus violators", The Herald, January 22). None of these apps in themselves would be sufficient. We need to get a number of people authorised to go and knock on doors without prior notice and if there is anyone breaking the rules they need to be dealt with harshly. Close monitoring of adherence to the rules is a necessity and there are enough people unemployed to fill the posts.

We need to be more imaginative in thinking of ways to get out of this mess. Most countries have done better than UK and we must look at what they have done and take some of the ideas on board. But we must also have some real brainstorming to make some improvement.

With schools, surely a system could be put together to allow everyone to go to school part-time?

Let us open shops but restrict the number of people in them at any one time. Make the shops open longer if they wish to open.

Accommodation and leisure facilities should be allowed to open but again, restrict the numbers.

Keep the rules about mixing in homes as this is a big risk.

I know that there will be plenty of people ready to come up with reasons why you cannot implement any change but we have to do something. I am 85 and I need some enjoyment before I go. I am looking forward to getting vaccinated this coming week but what is there for me to do once I get it?

Jim McAdam, Maidens.


JESSICA Williams (Letters, January 21) complains about Nicola Sturgeon bombarding us with media and postal flyers. I must admit that I too have received postal flyers, however watching and listening to news, I have commented to my wife that they are talking to the converted. A huge proportion of the population does not watch or listen to the mainstream media. The only way to get through to those people is via flyers, which I can say that after being read are also useful for lighting the fire.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.


GORDON Brown introduced the Winter Fuel Allowance following the severe level of winter deaths during 1997-97. It was set at £200 for each eligible household. Since that point there has been no inflationary increase while inflation itself has risen in the period since by in excess of 80 per cent. Additionally, there must be an annual administration cost, which no doubt has increased by at least inflation.

Would it not therefore be beneficial to the Government, and pensioners, to have the state pension increased by a more realistic annual amount, which in turn would be subject to an annual increment in line with inflation? Could we then see a Government reduction in annual administration costs?

Alternatively, or additionally, the Government must recognise that there is a significant discrepancy between the cost of heating similar properties in the south of England and the north of Scotland. Again, it would therefore appear logical to apply a range of winter fuel allowances between the geographical areas? Not so long ago, jobs of an equal pay scale and for whatever reason necessitating moving south, would be subjected to a London weighting allowance. I therefore submit that the Government has the ability to apply different rates according to geographical address.

I find this is a logical argument. Will it ever be considered or applied? No, because whoever approaches such an alternative will be seen to be taking a benefit away from the punters and no politician can be seen to be denying a voter’s benefit.

Stewart Lightbody, Troon.


MARTIN Williams's recent feature (“The Lynx effect: How a long lost predator could help save forests”, The Herald, January 20) highlighted the fact that vast numbers of deer destroy the saplings of the few remaining, often lone, Scots pines still surviving from the ancient Caledonian Forest. The report argues that if the carnivorous lynx were reintroduced, the deer numbers would be considerably reduced, so allowing the saplings to survive and grow into mature Scots pines and so help regenerate the Caledonian Forest.

May I suggest that instead of reintroducing hungry lynx, with the accompanying threat to wildlife and livestock, would it not be much easier, and cheaper, simply to plant Scots pine whips, or better still container-grown young trees, enclosed in deer-proof fencing, randomly in the areas of the remaining fragments of the once great Caledonian Forest? Then, in time, our ancient forest could not only be saved, but also be partially returned to its formal glory.

Dr David K Gemmell, Lanark.


DUNCAN McIntyre's interesting anecdote about questioning an instruction at National Service square-bashing (Letters, January 22) suggests that he was more fortunate than I.

At the RAPC training centre in Devizes, no platoon member would have dared to open his mouth in response to any words shouted, nay screamed, by the drill sergeant.

It's an unfair world.

David Miller, Milngavie.