OUR leaders at Westminster and the Scottish Government would appear to be under the impression that we are all sitting happily at home awaiting their next pronouncement regarding the easing of the seemingly never-ending lockdown restrictions.

In reality, most of us are actually seething with rage and frustration at their apparent reluctance to take advantage of the best chance of getting us back to normality – vaccination. The current shilly-shallying over vaccination passports is a case in point. I could be wrong, but surely it is a bit pointless to vaccinate people and then expect them to still live under the same restrictions as before? Especially as we have been told for months now that vaccination is, if not the answer to all our pandemic woes, at least the beginning of their end.

Yet the constant impression given by governments is that even though the vaccine is being successfully rolled out, they are not quite sure about it or quite what to do next to hasten our return to normal. They constantly refer to the pandemic in terms of war and at the moment it is as if they are fighting a battle backed by all the technology of modern warfare but trying to hold the front line using bows and arrows because that's what they are most familiar with, even though it isn't very effective.

Surely after almost a year of lockdown we deserve better than this?

Dave Henderson, Glasgow.


SCOTLAND, we are told, is doing well. It is ahead of its JCVI targets and all over-50s will be offered the jab by May. Today (February 19) the English press widely reported that rollout progress is going so well down south that it will be offered to the over-40s in around three weeks' time.

So why are we Scots so far behind the national curve, what is it we are not doing that England is? Right now, it appears, is not a great time to have a Scottish postcode.

Paul Morrison, Glasgow.


IN a cynical attempt to mobilise the “Dunkirk Spirit” Sir Keir Starmer has floated the idea of “Recovery Bonds” to finance the resurrection of the UK post-pandemic economy ("Starmer reveals recovery bonds vision as he urges a reset for UK’S economy", The Herald, February 19). I bet they’d be printed on Union Jack paper.

But wait. Who could afford to buy the bonds? Would it be the general public who have suffered financially during the pandemic or an Establishment which always seems to prosper in the face of adversity? Who would eventually redeem the bonds and pay the interest due? Would it be us PAYE serfs or the tax-avoiding tax-evading Establishment? Who would ultimately profit from the exercise?

Sir Keir either doesn’t understand how money works or is batting for the wrong side. Today sterling is riding high in the currency market despite the UK’s current historic level of national debt and the Treasury and the Bank of England presently using quantitative easing – creating money out of thin air – to provide funds to bolster Westminster’s shrinking tax revenue. There is no reason for the Government to borrow money when it can continue to print it as it did in its hundreds of billions to rescue failing corrupt banks in 2008. More than a decade later none of that “debt” has been repaid to the Bank of England which sanctioned it, and the billions have been conveniently forgotten.

If and when the pandemic peters out the Government could and should instigate the biggest infrastructure and public services expansion scheme the country has ever seen. But then again it could have done that before the virus arrived, the need has existed for years, the workforce is there waiting to start and it all could be done with money created from thin air. Of course, the Establishment would take its cut as it always does but it would cost the rest of us nothing. Alternatively, Westminster could adopt Sir Keir’s plan to make the Establishment richer and the general public poorer; two guesses as to what will happen.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

* TO aid Britain’s post-pandemic recovery, Sir Keir Starmer has proposed the eye-catching introduction of Government-guaranteed Recovery Bonds to “ invest in the country’s future". To flesh out this proposal, one obvious question is how are they to differ attractively from the existing National Savings Certificates and other National Investment opportunities, similarly guaranteed and apparently already for the same purpose? On first sight they would appear to be in direct competition with the latter as a home for personal savings, and as such would seem to amount simply to robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.


I WAS saddened by your report on the extent of racial harassment at the University of Glasgow, one of Scotland’s great universities and, I’d hoped, a beacon of enlightenment and civility ("Report reveals catalogue of racist harassment at Scots university", The Herald, February 18). It’s encouraging that Principal Sir Anton Muscatelli accepts the evidence, has apologised, and has committed to act on the revelations, but it’s clear that nothing like enough has been done in the past to tackle this cancer.

I recognise much of what Glasgow University’s survey revealed from my own experience as an employee of a major UK airline. There was the same refusal to acknowledge the extent of the problem; the same threats of reprisal for challenging racist language or behaviour; the same reaction to allegations of racism: deny, deny, deny – then shoot the messenger.

When the carpet is lifted and something unpleasant revealed, most organisations react by throwing the carpet back down and pretending the mess underneath doesn’t exist. We’ve seen that with many of the cases of child abuse in care homes and in the church. It’s both depressing and infuriating that so many senior figures are more concerned about the public image of their organisation than the welfare of those in their employ or care. Not only is that uncaring and cowardly, but it’s also counter-productive in the long term. When the truth eventually comes out, it’s the inaction and cover-up that do the most damage.

I respect former rector Aamer Anwar for highlighting racism and discrimination on the Glasgow University campus. The phrase “institutionally racist” was coined by the recently deceased Lord Macpherson of Cluny, in his report into the police investigation of Stephen Lawrence’s murder. It has been much over-used since, but Mr Anwar is right to use it to describe the University of Glasgow.

Bright young people are coming to Glasgow University to study, drawn by its academic status and Scotland’s reputation for openness and warmth. They are having their experience ruined by a small number of racists, by a larger number who don’t understand the impact of what they say or do, and, it would seem, by people who know there’s a problem, but would prefer to file it in the too-difficult category. It’s time the university, and indeed wider society in Scotland, faced up to racism, had an honest debate about it, and actually did something to tackle it.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


ONCE more the issue of rewriting history has appeared in your columns (Letters, February 16 & 18 and "Professor will lead review into university’s links to slavery", The Herald, February 17). The decision on the part of the University of Edinburgh to rename the David Hume Tower was shameful. Here is a classic example of the fashionable urge to punish individuals from previous ages by the standards of our own. It would appear that Hume is being judged on the evidence of a single piece from his extensive writings. Hume’s views on "National Characteristics" were not the product of his inherent racism but rather drawn from a perfectly understandable ignorance. To compare Hume’s views with the racist actions of the police who killed George Floyd is frankly ludicrous.

Hume was one of the greatest Scots who ever lived. His work as a philosopher and as a historian earned him an international reputation – a reputation that has stood the test of time. He was the catalyst for Scotland’s "Golden Age" and an inspiration for the authors of the American Declaration of Independence.

Hume was very familiar with prejudice and bigotry. His views on religious fanaticism saw him barred from professorships at both Edinburgh and Glasgow universities. In 1756 and 1757 Hume and his great friend and mentor, Henry Home, the future Lord Kames, were tried before the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on the grounds of "infidelity". And it was of course Lord Kames who in 1777 found in favour of the West Indian slave Joseph Knight and established that Scots law did not recognise slavery.

Interestingly, Knight’s case was defended by Henry Dundas, another victim of this revisionist iconoclasm. Contrary to the opinions of Dundas currently being aired, Dundas was not a supporter of slavery and was certainly not a racist. In defending Knight, Dundas concluded his remarks in the Court of Session by stating: "Human nature, my Lords, spurns at the thought of slavery among any part of our species.”‬

Shortly before his death in 1776, Hume wrote a very brief autobiography. These were his concluding remarks looking back at his remarkable life: “My friends never had occasion to vindicate any one circumstance of my character and conduct: not but that the zealots, we may well suppose, would have been glad to invent and propagate any story to my disadvantage, but they could never find any which they thought would wear the face of probability.” His words remain as true today as they did in 1776.

Eric Melvin, Edinburgh.


I AM in full agreement with John Dunlop (Letters, February 19) regarding a boycott of Tesco.

I was a regular daily shopper at Tesco for my paper and a few morning rolls. Until this happened: January 27, four morning rolls, £1. January 29, same four morning rolls, £1.40.

I complained to Tesco about the 40 per cent increase; they were “sorry”about the increase but there were other wonderful bargains to be had in the store.

While this example of its greed is minor in comparison to the rehire scheme, it seems to be an indicator of general policy.

Eric Macdonald, Paisley.


UNLIKE Bill Dalgleish (Letters, February 19), I do not turn to the centre pages to see Steven Camley's cartoons.

My wife does; despite living with me for more than half a century, she is still a lady of intelligence, but has to ask me to explain them, and finds my inability to do so uplifting.

One man's meat ...

David Miller, Milngavie.

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