I WRITE to express my growing concern over the continued legal enforcement of domestic travel and "stay at home" restrictions imposed in Scotland.

Covid-19 case numbers are happily steadily declining, to the extent that the virus is now classified as "suppressed" in many areas and great strides have been made in delivering vaccinations to large numbers of the most at-risk groups. It is now clear that by far the main causes of virus spread are large gatherings and institutional settings.

However, it is still illegal for my wife and I to leave our home, drive a few miles across the border to England to visit our son and his partner and our granddaughter, who themselves have been working from home or furloughed for almost a year. Similarly, it is illegal for another son, who has been working from home since last March and who lives alone, to drive his van to the border hills to go mountain-biking on his own on his days off.

I stress these restrictions are not a matter of "guidance" by our Government, they are a matter of law. Breaking these rules without a valid reason is a criminal offence.

Whilst I am sure we all understand the necessity of imposing restrictions in a pandemic, we live in a democracy where citizens are expected to use restraint and obey the rule of law based on consent. The legal restrictions under which we are now living should be removed forthwith and replaced by guidance allowing people to use their own common sense and tolerance of risk informed by the well-documented scientific information.

These draconian laws will have unintended consequences, not least in terms of widespread mental health impacts, and should have no place in an open free society except in the most extreme emergency.

Gordon S Cox, Bearsden.


IT is incredible that the appropriate authorities cannot trace a person who has tested positive for the so-called Brazilian variant of coronavirus simply because the individual has made a mistake in completing a test registration card ("Brazilian strain found as cases of new Covid variants double", The Herald, March 1).

It is unbelievable that the authorities have asked people to contact them if they have not received a result after having been tested in mid-February. This solution is unlikely to work if the individual is an international terrorist or some other undesirable person.

If the identity of the individual cannot be easily determined then that calls into question the claims that we live in a surveillance society. Passenger lists and passport controls along with surveillance camera footage should allow those responsible for border control to identify people for questioning with regard to this incident. Any excuse to the effect that this is a health issue should not stand in the way of interdepartmental cooperation between government agencies.

Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh.


I NOTE that the Royal Navy’s most recent attack submarine was christened HMS Anson yesterday. I also noted that the two next two vessels in the class will be Agamemnon and Agincourt.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Government’s new Minister for the Union (whoever that is) were to redress the Anglocentric nature of future warship nomenclature? How about HMS Bannockburn for example? However, those in the Admiralty should resist HMS Culloden (if they are tempted to just reach for a convenient-sounding Scottish name). Alternatively, could we have ships named after Scottish naval heroes? For example HMS Cochrane has a nice ring to it ... but, of course, the flagship of the Chilean navy is already named for him. That shouldn’t really be too much of a problem since most "retired" Royal Navy ships are passed on to Valparaiso anyway.

While we are on this particular tack could we also ask Nicola Sturgeon to lobby for Groundskeeper Willie, the Scottish character in the Simpsons, to be voiced by a Scottish actor (noting that the producers of the august, multi-award winning show have, in the recent past, yielded to demands for Indian and black actors to take over the roles of characters with such ethnicities)? Or is it possible that our First Minister is already so embroiled in other issues at this time which have distracted her from righting this irritating glaring injustice?

Ian Graham, Erskine.


HUGH Macdonald writes: "The motivation of the criminal is easy to explain but what of our responses?" ("It's great being a pensioner, apart from the constant nuisance calls", The Herald, February 27).

Just days after my husband died in 2008 I received yet another of "those calls" from someone who eventually asked if he could speak to "the man of the house". I said no. The caller asked why. I replied that he had only just died. I was then asked if I was "the lady of the house", and again I said no. The caller asked if he could speak to her. I said no. The caller asked why not. I said because she was busy in the garden digging a large hole and must not be interrupted. The phone was immediately put down.

I spent the rest of the day wondering when the police might arrive. It is probably coincidence, but I am not bothered by cold-callers.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.