OUR First Minister seems set against asymptomatic tests, she just plain disagreed with Jackie Baillie at First Minister's Questions today (January 28). I am with Ms Baillie on this one.

As an example, a work colleague recently feigned symptoms so that he could be with his girlfriend (showing symptoms) as she was anxious about going for a test. Interestingly, her test result was negative but his was positive. Thinking there must have been a mistake, they repeated the test and got the same result. We still have a busy office due during the lockdown so this was a piece of good fortune for our business and has stopped a bigger outbreak happening.

This simple example demonstrates the powerful case for asymptomatic testing. We cannot suppress the virus by only testing for symptomatic cases. Surely it is common sense that an entire household come forward for testing when one of them shows symptoms. We have the test capacity, use it. Some would argue we should use the full capacity at our disposal as every positive test could save a life. Surely that is worth doing, Ms Sturgeon.

Paul Morrison, Glasgow G69.


I READ Andrew Robertson’s letter (January 27) with added interest following my recent positive experience with the vaccine roll-out.

My wife and I – both in the 75-79 age bracket – are patients in a GP practice located in the G44 area of Glasgow. At midday on Wednesday (January 27) our respective iPhones "pinged", signifying the arrival of text messages. The message read: “Please call us now on 0141 xx to book your appointment for your first dose of your Covid-19 vaccination. Dr X and Partners”. I immediately telephoned the surgery. The receptionist quickly booked two back-to-back appointments at 11.05am for our jabs on Monday, February 1. Nae hassle.

It appears that the system devised for those of us in the 75-79 cohort is functioning correctly. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde should save yet more paper and postage costs by refraining to send out further confusing letters to this age group. Let this new arrangement bed-in.

Robin Cairns, Glasgow G44.


I WATCHED, with astonishment Ian Blackford questioning Boris Johnson at PMQs today ("Fun with Finns as Jack the sad tells Scots to stick their oar in", The Herald, January 28). He accuses the UK Government of devastating policies, U-turns and mixed messages. Is he unaware that, unlike other opposition parties, his own party has been responsible for pandemic management and planning in his own country?

It has become apparent that the Scottish Government has full powers to manage the pandemic in Scotland and yet did nothing until Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown on March 23 last year. Is he unaware of the mixed message surrounding Christmas from our First Minster? Government policy was that mixing was allowed on Christmas Day only, a U-turn on the previously-agreed five days and advice from Nicola Sturgeon was not to mix, despite this being contrary to guidance on the Scottish Government’s own website. This would seem to a dictionary definition of both "U-turn" and "mixed message".

The First Minister was keen to quote Burns to Mr Johnson. Perhaps I could be allowed to quote our national bard to Mr Blackford: "O wad some Power the giftie gie us/To see oursels as ithers see us."

Paul Teenan, Glasgow G41.


ONE of the deer management solutions described by Vicky Allan – "we just shoot more" – is wildly over simplified ("Issue of the day: Culling time – the great deer debate, The Herald, January 27). There is an important balance to be struck between meeting cull targets, maintaining animal welfare standards and treating Scotland’s deer with a degree of respect. We do not want to see a situation where deer are managed on private land as they are on public land, where the use of deer management contractors and licences to cull deer out of season and at night are commonplace.

We have concerns about the welfare implications of prolifically culling deer in extraordinary circumstances under licence, and we feel it relegates our iconic and much-loved deer to pest status. The time has come to rethink our approach to culling deer on public land in Scotland by promoting greater public participation in deer management through the use of qualified recreational deer stalkers. A replicable model scheme already exists on Arran – a partnership between Forestry and Land Scotland and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.

Ross Ewing, Political & Press Officer (Scotland), the British Association for Shooting and Conservation Scottish Centre, Dunkeld.


THE 1953 derailment featured in your Remember when.... feature ("A narrow escape", The Herald, January 28) was, as stated, a Glasgow-Colchester service via Edinburgh, one that ran overnight departing Queen Street at around 10pm and did so into the 1960s, frequently conveying service personnel so sentenced to the corrective military establishment at Colchester. Carriage compartments so used would be reserved for prisoners and escorts.

Not that this was its prime reason as the service had origins as a connectional one for passengers going forward from Harwich to the continent via the ferry service to the Hook of Holland.

John McNab, Falkirk.