I MUST take issue with the views of Nick Ruane on the subject of vaccinations and Covid passports (“Let’s have a serious debate about the loss of our liberties”, November 22)

He seems to believe that the changing restrictions and the requirement for proof of vaccination are infringements of our liberty, and would like clarity on the government’s vision for a return to “normal”.

Perhaps none of these “infringements “ or “encroachment[s] into our private lives” would be necessary if the virus were only kind enough to give us advance warning of how it intends to continue afflicting the world.

Perhaps the Government could avoid changing the regulations at short notice if Covid could simply notify us that “ I will be continuing my focus on killing more folk in countries X, Y and Z, while I complete my mutation to a form that will be more virulent when I return to visiting the UK with renewed strength on December 13”.

It would also have helped if everyone had followed all the simpler measures earlier, instead of following their notion of their own “freedoms”.

The right of any one of us to do as we please can easily become the right to kill someone else.

It saddens me that so many folk are more interested in their own freedoms rather than being prepared to do their utmost to protect others, and thereby help to reduce the incidence of the virus to a manageable level that can truly be regarded as a minor, endemic infection.

I myself have had no holidays, nor visited family living far from me, for 18 months, but I regard that as a necessary evil and a small price to pay to keep those around me safe – and in some cases, alive.

After all, I was brought up to believe that it is more important to care about others than oneself, if we want to live in a civilised society that works for the benefit of all.

P. Davidson, Falkirk.



IN response to Tom Gordon’s article (“Nicola Sturgeon warned of bleak Christmas for economy if Covid passports extended”, HeraldScotland, November 22): while I recognise the threat that Covid poses, especially to the elderly and frail, I strongly believe that the economic damage this would cause to Scottish businesses, in such a vital phase of their recovery, would be catastrophic and far outweigh any benefits this extension may offer.

Amelia Brooks, Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne.




PEPPA Pig? De Pfeffel Pig? Flying Pig?

What on earth or other adjacent planet was that speech by the Prime Minister at the CBI ?

Boris Johnson’s train of thought never seems to reach the promised destination and is subject to delay, diversion, cancellation and breakdown at short or no notice. Even with a script in front of him, communicating a coherent message is far beyond him.

We long knew he was unfit and unsuited to be Prime Minister. If there is anyone of any sense or compassion in the Tory party, please do the indecent thing – hatch a ruthless plot to replace him and “promise” him a peerage to go.

You can always scale that promise back to a couple of rolls of wallpaper later.

Grant McKechnie, Glasgow.


BORIS Johnson seemed to get the pages of his speech mixed up and had to improvise. But why on earth did he choose to ramble on about a children’s amusement park, of all subjects? Is this what an Oxford education does for you?

M. Harper, Glasgow.

ONE would have needed a heart of stone not to laugh when Johnson struggled to find the misplaced pages. I’d like to think that it was engineered by a disaffected aide on the lines of the American politician whose notes ended midway with “You’re on your own now, you b-----d”, or by a follower of the ploys adopted by US political consultant and prankster Dick Tuck in his famed interchanges with President Nixon.

Schadenfreude Rules OK.

R Russell Smith, Largs.




THE opinion piece by Rebecca McQuillan (“Sturgeon is right to oppose Cambo. Now she must go further”, October 19) raises some valid political points, very few of which concern the person in the street, and which will no doubt be argued and debated over by numerous politicians, environmentalists and the media, few of whom have any idea what goes on in the oil and gas industry.

However, some of the actual technical issues, the stuff that affects people, is wide of the mark, in some cases, very wide of the mark.

Whilst I agree that there has to be a reduction in harmful emissions, just stopping drilling and production is not that simple. The change to non-fossil fuel energy will take place over a number of years, and during that period we will still need oil and gas, albeit in decreasing amounts.

Oil companies and their contractors/suppliers are already using various means to reduce their own carbon footprint: power from shore, generated from wind farms or, hopefully, nuclear.

In Norway, an increasing number of installations are operated from onshore, meaning fewer people offshore, so fewer helicopter flights.

There are over 140,000 people employed in the UK oil and gas industry, two-thirds of that in Scotland. If you take a fifth or sixth-generation drilling unit, with a core crew of 50 or 60, for continuous 24/7 operation, I doubt if any amount of transition training would make 75% of them eminently transferable to the renewables industry.

I worked in the oil industry, shipping and offshore, exploration and production for over 40 years, worldwide, as well as on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). The move towards greater sustainability and reduction in emissions in the last 10 years far surpasses that of the previous 30.

Finally, given the state of world politics and the potential weaponising of energy supplies (see Belarus for details), I would suggest that maintaining a high level of energy self -sufficiency is probably a good idea.

Steven Matthews, Kilsyth.

The First Minister has made many misjudgments but she has surpassed herself in coming out against the Cambo oil field development.

It is, after all, just seven years since the independence referendum, when the SNP’s infamous paper on the benefits of independence was predicated on “Scotland’s oil” and a price per barrel in excess of $100. The future was financially rosy in an “independent” Scotland.

Her volte-face on this issue is entirely political and frankly has nothing to do with green jobs or the environment. She fails to mention the huge job losses coming down the road in the north-east, or her and her Government’s complete failure to create some of the highly-skilled green jobs that were promised.

There is no answer to the questions about increasing our reliance on imported oil from regimes with appalling human rights records and where we have absolutely zero influence into working practices, never mind the environmental practices in extracting the oil.

All areas where we have exactly those influences in extracting oil from the Cambo field. Her decision is a sop to the green lobby and in an instant will cast thousands of jobs onto the scrap heap.

Finally, it rather looks like she has also misjudged her support in the north-east and not just the electorate but also fellow SNP MSPs. The case for independence is economically dead and the First Minister’s ill-thought-out political decision will come back to haunt her.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.



I READ all the letters from The Herald’s Unionist correspondents and while I disagree with them, I have seldom felt so angry as I did on reading Jill Stephenson’s latest contribution (November 20).

It seems incredible to me that Ms Stephenson apparently believes that Westminster governments in general, and this one in particular, have been such a rip-roaring success that Scotland should stay within a failing Union.

In election after election we have to accept governments and their poisonous policies we never voted for, which have seen us ripped out of Europe after voting to stay, and where we have no right of veto, and no voice at the UN.

However, it is one thing to disagree with and criticise political parties (and Scotland gets the Holyrood governments it votes for) but in writing that “a separate Scotland would be an unmitigated disaster” Ms Stephenson goes beyond insulting a political party, in fact, she has gone beyond the pale; she has insulted our nation.

Her declaration implying that Scotland would be unable to become a successful self-governing country has all the hallmarks of Project Fear and the whine of the ‘too-small, too-poor, too-stupid’ chant which aims to erode Scotland’s self-belief and self-confidence.

Except that it isn’t working, Ms Stephenson, as opinion polls show that increasing numbers of voters are growing in confidence that Scotland can take its own future into its own hands, and be a world-class self-governing country because we’re big enough, rich enough and smart enough.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.