THIS week saw the biggest Fife derby ever as Dunfermline Athletic and Raith Rovers fought out the Premiership play-offs. Both stadia should have been rocking with five-figure passionate crowds. There was little atmosphere. Fans watched on the clubs' live streams or listened on radio.

This has now become intolerable, 14 long months after the World Health Organisation confirmed that this virus does not transmit outdoors. The virus has to navigate wind, rain, sleet, snow, heat and humidity, to leap between people. UV from sunlight destroys the virus particles.It does not survive on a hard surface. Indeed, to be in any danger, someone in front of you would have to cough directly into your face at the very moment you inhale with no mask. One can google numerous academic studies from the UK, the United States, Canada, the EU, Russia and China to find similar evidence. In one Chinese study 76,000 patients were examined and not one got it from airborne transmission.

On that basis sailing, fishing, tennis, golf, kayaking, bowls, outdoor swimming, putting, all returned. Football and rugby were sidelined.

The Scottish Government has said 500 fans can attend outdoor sporting events from May 17 in Level 2 and your local council can agree more. This is simply unacceptable.What was the point of 300 fans attending 21,000-capacity Pittodrie or 700 at 64,000-seated Murrayfield more than six months ago, given there were no similar experiments nor any subsequent matches with increasing crowds? How is TRNSMT going ahead?

The reality is that, last June, half a million turned up at Bournemouth beach and there was no spike. Nor was there at the Liverpool or Leeds United or Rangers' championship-winning celebrations, yet all attracted near-hysterical, hostile newspaper headlines.

The Scottish Government has been commendably cautious, although as we are not yet independent, we could not follow Professor Devi Sridhar's advice and emulate similar-sized Denmark (which has had 2,491 deaths to our 7,660), when it was the first to shut down and close its borders and first to reopen.

Now pressure will mount on Holyrood as England sees fans at the FA Cup Final, Ascot, Wimbledon, cricket Test matches, the Grand Prix, 10,000 at EPL games, and, ironically, Scotland at Wembley.

Our club chairmen are not asking for packed stadia in the short term but socially-distanced gates with relevant hygiene measures and stewarding. Away fans will not be allowed to travel but fans can watch their clubs' live PPV stream. Fans in beanies, gloves and scarves will be safe with no hospitality on offer and staged arrival and dispersal. Forty-three per cent of Scottish club income comes through the turnstile and clubs are about to put their season tickets on sale.It is imperative fans are allowed to return.

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing.


I READ with interest the cost involved for consultants to attempt to fix the 15-year problem of landslides on the A83 Rest and be Thankful ("Ministers criticised over 10-year wait for A83 solution", May 2). This involves a 10-year plan and spending £25 million on consultants alone; that's before the road itself is fixed. We can only surmise the eye-watering cost of that venture.

Meanwhile we all have to traverse daily on roads that are more akin to farm tracks. It does not give you much hope that the Rest and be Thankful will ever be fixed if our roads remain in the condition that they have been allowed to get into.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.


SIGNIFICANT tightening of UK carbon emissions policy (Net Zero for Scotland by 2045; 78 per cent of the way to Net Zero across the rest of the UK by 2035) and the inclusion of aviation amongst the targets for cuts could well impact upon Scotland, were Heathrow expansion to proceed.

Because, in confirming that there can now be no net expansion in UK aviation capacity, the UK Government’s Climate Change Committee has now stated that expanding Heathrow – in the already economically advantaged south-east of England – would need to be offset by restrictions, and quite possibly closures, at other UK airports. And this could include those in Scotland.

Other than Heathrow’s foreign based shareholders, who might advocate for such a relegation of economic opportunity?

Paul McGuinness, Chair, No 3rd Runway Coalition, Teddington, Middlesex.


ON Wednesday (May 12), MEAction will hold #MillionsMissing events, calling for governments to take action on the ever-growing crisis of ME.

There will be more than 25,000 people in Scotland still in "lockdown" – missing from work, education and family life – due to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). A quarter are housebound or bedbound. Long-term illness and disability can be triggered by viral infections – 80 per cent of ME cases are initiated by an infection. We now talk about "Long Covid", which is devastating and the NHS must offer science-backed treatment to the 10% of people who have long-lasting Covid symptoms, many of these similar to ME, and to people with ME.

Some ME sufferers remain ill indefinitely. The commonly-offered treatment, graded exercise therapy, is now regarded as dangerous. People who have ME or long Covid with symptoms of ME need to rest and pace themselves.

My daughter had ME from the age of six until 19 and missed most of her schooling and any normal life in that time. I know many clever, motivated young women who are missing higher education, starting a career or family. About 75% of ME sufferers are women. Is this perhaps why the medical profession has turned its back on those with the illness and left it to a few psychiatrists to "specialise", who say that this is not a physical problem but a mental one?

Helen McDade, #MEAction Scotland, Pitlochry.


THANKS to Helen McArdle for her excellent and detailed investigation article ("Prozac nation", April 25, drawing attention to the new review confirming our concerns about antidepressants, and to the current Scottish Government Public Consultation, open until June 4, which arose directly out of our public petition PE01651 to the Scottish Parliament. This petition was closed on March 25, due to the election and to the concurrent launch of the Public Consultation Short Life Working Group (SLWG) on Prescription Medicine Dependence and Withdrawal.

We urge people to take a look at the online public consultation and to contribute their own responses, if they wish to, by the deadline of June 4. There is an option to register to participate in an online event run by the Scottish Government on either May 18 or 19, details of which can be found at the Scottish Government/NHS website, (

We took part in the SLWG during 2020 as a Patient Reference Group, and remain especially concerned that the main issues which are absolutely at the heart of our public petition, being patient adverse experiences and serious difficulties arising from very common initially-GP-prescribed medicines for stress, anxiety and depression (antidepressants and benzos), seem to have been railroaded into something rather different for this now-published public consultation.

Marion Brown, Named petitioner PE01651, Helensburgh.


THE climate change disciples want to cull cattle since they emit methane, while vegans agree because they do not like meat eaters. Reality check to both: Scotland has 0.15 per cent of global emissions and 1.76 million cattle, 6.9m sheep and 330,000 pigs all quite happily emitting methane. There are 989m cattle, 1 billion sheep and 900m pigs in the world all quite happy emitting methane. What will those who want to cull methane-emitting animals propose doing with the 7.8bn people on the planet today all quite happily emitting methane?

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


I READ with interest your article on St Kilda ("New evidence of St Kilda Iron Age settlement is discovered", May 2), but I question why it omitted to mention that the UK Government, which could not support the indigenous populations in the 1930s, continues to support the military presence on the islands.

The military presence is not only an ugly building, right on the shore of Hirta but includes an "observation station" sold to an American military company on the heights of the island. So not quite the romantic image as painted in the article.

Helen Kay, Edinburgh.