THESE are contradictory times. Boris Johnson celebrates “Freedom Day” locked away in Covid isolation (“PM in rapid U-turn on dodging self-isolation after angry backlash”, The Herald, July 19). Ruth Davidson retires from representative politics on family grounds, only to be wheeched away to a feather-bed in London, where she will attack those in Scotland who still put in the "efforts, hours and travel” for the sake of our democracy.

Jill Stephenson (Letters, July 19), as a historian, must be aware that Scotland lost much of its indigenous service, banking and manufacturing industry in the 20th century when directly ruled from London. We also lost huge numbers of working-age people at the same time, something which has been assuaged by devolved government. Mr Johnson apparently wants to solve UK inequalities (the largest in the developed world), by devolving power – even though he privately thinks devolution is a “disaster”. You couldn’t make it up, although I think that is exactly how the Westminster Government operates.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


I’M grateful to the Prime Minister for introducing what we ought (in his honour) to call the Johnson Jink. It’s a bit like the cooling-off period in a credit deal and allows one to commit to something but then get a “do over" if the feet get cold or the consequences get a little sticky in the subsequent two and a half hours.

I understand it is currently operating as a pilot project available to an unspecified group of people chosen at random – any of us might be included but probably aren’t.

Grant McKechnie, Glasgow.


I HAD a good laugh at your Letters Page headline "Ruth Davidson was right about getting on with the day job" (The Herald, July 19) as the brand-new shiny Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links is poised to get on with her day job in the House of Lords.

One remembers when the brand-new shiny Ruth Davidson became leader of the Scottish Conservatives, a fresh-faced new, modern, Tory we were assured; little did we guess that the same old toxic Tory lurked behind her cheery grin. Ms Davidson (as she was then) announced that her ambition was to be First Minister of Scotland, but when things started to unravel and she saw that the writing was on the wall, she used the hoary old chestnut of "wanting to spend more time with her family" as an excuse for quitting as Tory leader, before announcing that she wouldn't be standing for re-election to her Edinburgh Central constituency. Clearly, a better offer had come along, as Baroness Davidson arose from the ashes of the Scottish Conservatives to accept an unelected, undemocratic seat in the unelected, undemocratic House of Lords. Of course, members of the Lords don't get a salary – that would be common – but they are entitled to £305 a day attendance allowance, plus travel expenses and subsidised restaurant facilities.

Baroness Davidson ditched her position as leader and ditched her constituency (which you reported the Tories as giving up trying to defend at May's Holyrood elections), but her reward for failure is a seat for life in the Lords. Milady has said that she wants to "reform the House of Lords into a democratic chamber"; may I suggest that her not being in it would be a step in the right direction. Lundin Links really doesn't need a Baroness.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


IT has been no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon has expressed her disapproval of Ruth Davidson's appointment to the House of Lords. Narrow-mindedness is one of Ms Sturgeon's greatest failings.

Whether it be right or wrong the Parliament of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is divided into two Houses, and that will remain the status quo until constitutional matters in these islands are altered.

As we are all aware the UK is not alone globally in having two parts to its parliament. But alas it seems that Scottish nationalism is a breeding ground for discontent and uncharitable behaviour. It has certainly led to obvious divisions throughout Scotland within families and between friends.

It is my view that it can only lead to Scotland's downfall economically, politically and internationally. Scotland deserves better.

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife.


I HAVE always been terrible at remembering family birthdays, even my own, which happens to be today (July 19). The date will now be particularly memorable as the day that the UK threw caution to the wind with Covid restrictions.

There have already been mistakes with throwing open the gates to sports, football in particular, which appears to be allowed to have rules all of its own, and has already been shown to be partly to blame for a recent spike. The days are long past for the repeated guidance, rules are rules and should be treated as such so as to avoid any ambiguity.

Covid operates on a slowly-slowly-catchy-monkey basis, and guess who are the monkeys in this unfolding scenario? The way infection rates are rising and falling the Covid infection will almost become like the inevitable rise and fall of the tides, year on year for evermore, with the infection constantly adapting to suit.

George Dale, Beith.


I NOTE George Fraser's letter (July 17); he is much more polite than I was when I got the news that this year's Great Scottish Run was not going ahead due to Covid. In light of the decisions of around 6,000 fans per day being able to attend the Euro 2020 fanzone on Glasgow Green, and for who knows how many fans to attend Wimbledon, it seems nonsensical to prevent people running outdoors (with appropriate safety measures being applied). It's not only charities that will suffer, an incentive for runners to train has been removed.

Isobel Frize, Glasgow.


AS face coverings continue to be mandatory in Scotland it is important that the public be informed of their ineffectiveness. According to Dr Colin Axton of Brunel University, a Covid viral particle is 100 nanometres in size. (A sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometres thick.) The gaps in the material of surgical masks are 1,000 times the size of a Covid viral particle and the gaps in cloth masks are 500,000 times its size. Wearing a face covering will not stop the virus.

William Loneskie, Lauder.


THE UK Government last week published its long-awaited National Food Strategy ("Support for new food strategy", The Herald July 17). However, from a quick look at the document it is unclear how its findings and recommendations relate to Scotland – probably not much, as many of the issues are devolved to Holyrood.

Nonetheless, Scottish voters have a right to know how the Scottish Government is going to address the even worse life-and-death issues of nutrition, food culture and obesity-driven metabolic illness and death in Scotland. Will Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousef take the steps demanded by the strategy’s author Henry Dimbleby (and supported by figures such as Jamie Oliver and Louise Casey)? Will they go further and invest to drive the food culture of Scottish schools up and beyond those in England? Will they demand health warnings on lethal Ultra-Processed Foods (UPFs) similar to those on tobacco and alcohol?

In short, will the SNP act to save lives and create a better Scotland – or will minds be on Other Things?

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


THE cost of decarbonisation has been put at trillions of pounds ("Most Scottish firms have no plans to cut carbon emissions", The Herald, July 17). That is to say, thousands of billions of pounds. Quite apart from being a useless gesture, where would the money to pay for this folly come from?

Before Covid our national debt was £2 trillion, and now it is £2.3 trillion and still rising.

One hopes that the same sense that made government cut our foreign aid budget will also apply to the cost of decarbonisation.

As we run a deficit economy, every penny we spend has to be borrowed at interest. Presently we pay more than £1.2 billion a week in such interest. Sooner, rather than later, nobody will be lending to us because our ability to pay interest will be called into question. Even more so if international interest rates rise as currently predicted.

So if decarbonisation proceeds, so will our bankruptcy as a nation. Not a hard choice to make surely?

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

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