THE relaxation of lockdown measures will no doubt please those who want to sit outside in a beer garden of an evening. But there seems little logic behind some of the provisions.

I have seen no evidence to show that restaurants have been transmitters of the virus, yet restaurant proprietors have been punished disproportionately. It is hard to understand why 50 people can sit down together at a wedding feast but restaurants cannot yet open. After all the expense restaurateurs went to last year to make their premises Covid-safe, this is another slap in the face for them.

As last year, restaurants have to close at an unsocially early hour. Why? What is so special about 8pm that 10pm doesn’t meet? Having a glass of wine indoors is not permitted. Why? This reminds me of a colleague who described the old Scottish licensing laws as "The Misery of Scotland Act".

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


I READ Peter Russell’s letter (March 17) and the replies from Alasdair Galloway and Elizabeth Mueller (Letters, March 18).

I sympathise with their points of view concerning the present travel restrictions, as I cannot visit my family in England either, nor can they visit me.

I have a son and grandchildren in New Zealand, whose annual visit now seems in doubt, and also a daughter-in-law who visited her family in South Africa last January but has been stuck there ever since, not able to join my younger son, who is working in China and cannot leave.

Politicians and their scientific advisers have an impossible task fighting an invisible enemy while trying to balance health and economies. This is, after all, a pandemic affecting the whole world.

Like Ms Mueller I am so fed up with never-ending lockdowns and restrictions, but maybe it is a little comfort that millions of women and men all over the world feel just like us and long for better days and some form of normality.

Annelise Swanston, Moffat.

* WHY is the EU threatening to withhold supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine, if a fair proportion of its members are refusing to use it?

George Dale, Beith.


MUIRHALL Energy plans to develop a giant wind farm featuring up to 75 turbines near Teviot, six miles from Hawick ("Plans for giant wind farm unveiled amid strong investor interest in Scotland", The Herald, March 17). As is now the regular situation, the company dangles a juicy carrot saying the development could generate £3.6 million for the people living in the area.

Note the word "could", not "will''. This is bribery. Other developers have made similar offers but "unexpected circumstances" meant that the companies cut the payments in half.

We already have 1,293 wind turbines, so Scotland is already saturated. When wind electricity is not needed turbine owners are paid to switch off. Nearly £1 billion in these constraint payments has been paid since 2010 and were added to our energy bills, causing more fuel poverty and forcing business closures. Wind electricity is already 5.6 times the cost of gas yet the Scottish Government is banning gas at 3.28p per kWh and forcing people to buy expensive wind electricity at 18.455p per kWh.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


LIKE Roger Graham (Letters, March 17) I think that the Six Nations rugby of today for different reasons does not hold a candle to the Five Nations rugby we enjoyed in the 1970s.

Some of us will remember the sparkling runs of Andy Irvine, Gareth Davies, Michael Gibson, David Duckham, and Philippe Sella to name but a few. We used to enjoy side-steps, scissor movements, dummies and overlaps in the backs, and exiting mauls and the occasional feet, feet, feet in the forwards. Nowadays, scrums inevitably simply force penalties – as winning the scrum is irrelevant as the ball always goes in squint. Rugby is now just brutal possession – phase after phase after dreary phase until the defending side concedes a penalty. Boring.

The main problem is the players are too big, too physical, and too fit for such a small pitch. The answer is to reduce the team numbers to 12 – five forwards and seven backs – creating more space to open up the game. Get back to only two substitutes – and only for medical reasons. Replacing virtually half the team as happens now means that nether side tires, so reducing the chances of games opening up in the last quarter.

Three points for gaining a predictable penalty should be cut to two. This would encourage teams to stop forcing penalties and concentrate on scoring tries, thus making the game a much more attractive spectacle.

It's definitely time for a rethink before the game grinds to a halt.

David K Gemmell, Lanark.

* ROGER Graham draws attention to many of rugby's current problems in his letter and yet one recent law seems to have escaped him: "At a scrum, the player putting the ball in should stand at an angle of forty-five towards his goal line to enable it to reach his second row forwards cleanly." The vertical coverage now available on TV shows that scrum-halves adhere to this consistently. When Adrian Stoop was introducing a second half-back, the standoff, in Edwardian times the head of a decent school tutt-tutted that "rugger was not meant to be a spectator sport".

Rab Williams, Falkirk.