IF there is anyone in public life so odious and narcissistic as Dominic Cummings, then I have yet to come up with another name. The poison and vitriol he now aims at the Prime Minister and others seems nothing more than petty revenge for losing his job, which frankly he should have lost well before he did.

Whatever one’s views of Boris Johnson, he demonstrated a level of loyalty to a special adviser (Spad) rarely seen before. Dominic Cummings was permitted to hold his own personal press conference in the Rose Garden of 10 Downing Street, a privilege not afforded to any other Spad to my recollection. It transpires that Mr Cummings was at best economical with the truth concerning his Barnard Castle trip, as in May he told a committee of MPs that he left London due to security threats against his family and admitted that failing to disclose this at his Downing Street PR exercise was a "terrible misjudgment”.

It is very clear to me that he lied when he declared he had travelled north due to child care issues. The media should not give this disgraced individual any further oxygen of publicity and indeed, not a word he utters should be believed.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.


LISTENING to the BBC News interview with Dominic Cummings today (July 20), I was struck by the fact that no account was taken by Mr Cummings of the indisputable fact that our Prime Minister is in a far better position to empathise with the potentially vulnerable in the community, having personally experienced how life-threatening Covid is, and what it feels like to have recovered and survived. I know from my years in the NHS that such an experience gives the patient a much keener appreciation of the value of life, irrespective of their age ... all life is valuable after all.

Being of advanced years is surely evidence of a robust state of health, having survived to a great age. What makes the human race vulnerable is serious medical or mental health conditions, regardless of age. I'm certain Boris Johnson's thinking is more holistic, which it needs to be to govern the country.

Tricia Duncan, Milngavie.


NO matter what is motivating Dominic Cummings, whether it is remorse of conscience or the desire for revenge, the political narrative at play suggests that he is a busted flush and little attention will be paid to his outburst, unless he can produce hard and incontrovertible evidence to support his accusations.

On the other side of this equation stands the PM who has so many flaws that you would have thought his days were numbered. There appears to be a Teflon coating which protects him from the mud slung at him. He also has a posse of useful idiots who can be wheeled out to defend the indefensible without losing a heartbeat.

Somewhere at the heart of this Westminster Government there are bound to be other witnesses who could back up Mr Cummings's take on the PM but they seem reluctant to step out from the shadows into the public glare to substantiate what the former chief of staff says and put paid to this ramshackle premiership. This makes me fear for what is left of the threadbare reputation of our elected representatives.

Unless we can place trust in the Government to match its deeds to its rhetoric, then public trust will evaporate and leave us in the grips of the amoral few who could not care less about principle when privilege, profit and self-preservation, that unholy trinity, rule the roost.

Dennis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.


THE SNP is making a habit of taking its eye off the ball ("Scotland's 'pothole plague' spreads fivefold under SNP", The Herald, July 20). The potholes are simply a very visible manifestation of the deterioration of everyday life after 15 years of SNP power.

Less obvious on a daily basis is the steady decline in hospital and general health services, policing, education, the economy and even the lifeline ferry services. The claim by the SNP to be "stronger for Scotland" is looking rather tired. It is no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon keeps putting off Indyref2, as any campaign would be riddled with problems as to how to explain why independence would genuinely make anything better.

Scots have recently made a narrow choice to have almost five more years of an SNP administration. The SNP described this as a "landslide victory". With no real answers to Scotland's current problems this is rapidly turning into a disaster. Actions speak louder than words.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


A GREAT headline-grabber from the Tories on potholes, but perhaps they are just a little blinkered on that subject.

I have travelled the roads of the Highlands for around 60 years and well remember, even from the very early days, how many of the single-track roads were in dire need of repair. Some were so bad that the crumbling sides almost met the holes in the middle. Locals would tell us how they had been complaining for sometimes as long as 40 years to have them decently repaired with more than the occasional shovelful of Tarmac that disintegrated with the first frost, but nothing was done.

How many Tory governments did we have doing nothing about this during all that time before devolution? Strangely, once we had our own parliament, the situation began to improve. One major project I remember was the new two-track road from Achnasheen towards Achnashellach, which was so unusual that some locals nicknamed it the “Achnasheen Autobahn”. Since then, more and more stretches of single-track have been widened to two-track.

How was this possible? The signs at many of these improvements reveal “Funded by Holyrood and the EU”. How did this EU money suddenly, magically, start to be available, once devolution arrived? This money was probably available all along, but went to Westminster, which did not, and still does not, have any interest in these remote parts of Scotland.

Since Brexit, this money is now in the hands of Westminster again. So Holyrood must deal with what is left of the enormous backlog of repairs from before devolution, as well as ongoing damage and necessary improvements, but without the money that previously made improvements possible. And Westminster now intends to make the decisions on the infrastructure priorities for this money, to prove how much the UK Government does for Scotland.

When complaining about potholes, let us remember how unwilling past Tory governments were to make these a priority, recognise that leaving the EU has reduced Holyrood’s funds, and that the most important decisions are back in Westminster hands.

L McGregor, Falkirk.


THERE are 54.9 full-time-equivalent press officers in the Scottish Government because the emperor has no clothes. No amount of spin will ever justify Holyrood. It has failed miserably, it wastes £100 million per annum, is clearly not fit for purpose and corrective action must be taken. Closure would be the best remedy.

John Dunlop, Ayr.


YOUR correspondents George Fraser and Isobel Frize (Letters, July 17 & 20) are quite right to condemn the cancellation of the Great Scottish Run. Moreover, they may be interested in a Freedom of Information reply which I received from the Scottish Government on the issue of outdoor and indoor exercise (specifically Parkrun and indoor cycling classes). The response read: "It is not possible to publish scientific evidence specifically on outdoor and indoor sports as in general neither the Scottish Government, the Chief Medical Officer's Advisory Group or SAGE have produced evidence papers on a sectoral basis. Instead we have used scientific evidence on transmission coupled with the social and economic benefits of gyms which Ministers have used to make decisions."

In other words, the question had not even been asked. This was dated May14, 2021: presumably it has not been asked – or answered – now. Instead, it suggests that the Scottish Government is neglecting fitness in the midst of a pandemic, and is more interested in controlling the population than encouraging us to take exercise which will make us more resilient to Covid and many other illnesses, including protecting our mental health and general wellbeing.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


WILLIAM Loneskie (Letters, July 20) deserves praise and publicity for his research into the ineffectiveness of face masks.

The World Health Organisation's advice on how to wear a mask includes:

"Clean your hands before you put your mask on, before and after you take it off, and after you touch it at any time. When you take off a mask, store it in a clean plastic bag, and every day wash it if it's a fabric mask."

Aye, that'll be right.

David Miller, Milngavie.

Read more: The chaos of this Tory Government beggars belief