OK, I confess: last week I entered a café in Aboyne and it was a few seconds before I realised I wasn’t wearing a face mask. Perhaps if I turn myself in now, I’ll be treated leniently – transportation to Rwanda rather than the death penalty.

Devastation in Ukraine and Syria, humanitarian crises in Yemen and Tigray, the rapidly rising cost of living making parents choose between heating homes and feeding their children. And what’s exciting Jane Lax, “a former Tory treasurer in Moray”, and Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane? Why, the fact that Nicola Sturgeon forgot to put her face mask on for a few seconds (“Sturgeon reported to police for 'breaching' face mask rule”, The Herald, April 18). Anybody else ever done that, or is it just me?

If the six-second video clip of a maskless Ms Sturgeon had shown her having a wee swally of Buckfast while cutting someone’s birthday cake, I might have been interested. But the reality is trivial and those who are jumping up and down to try to make political capital out of it are behaving childishly. I say to Ms Lax and Dr Gulhane: grow up.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

* LAST week, Nicola Sturgeon stated that she didn't know how Douglas Ross could look himself in the mirror.

Last Saturday, perhaps she should have actually looked at herself in the mirror, of which there were many in the hairdressing salon in East Kilbride, and that would have reminded her that she wasn't wearing a face mask.

Walter Paul, Glasgow.


KEVIN McKenna provided a lengthy introduction, based on his Christian and socialist beliefs, to his suggestion that Derek Mackay be forgiven for his behaviour which led to his resignation as a Government minister in February 2020 and to him later standing down as a MSP, in May 2021 ("Must Derek Mackay always be treated as a social leper?", The Herald, April 16). He is, of course, free to express his conclusion based on those beliefs.

I think it to be unlikely that there are many who would wish to see Mr Mackay walking through the streets with a bell shouting "Unclean! Unclean!". Having said that, I am sure that there will be some who may choose to reflect their opinion of his behaviour, for which he was much criticised, by just not having any business dealings with him. That is a decision for them to make. Moreover, it would be of interest to know how the young man who was messaged by Mr Mackay and those close to him would feel about the showing of the compassion recommended in the article.

I would add that Mr Mackay did not help his case for forgiveness by continuing to collect his MSP’s salary and expenses during the period following his resignation of his ministerial position and his later ceasing to be a MSP. It would have been much fairer for his constituents if he had also resigned as a MSP and a by-election called.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


I WOULD agree with Iain Gunn (Letters, April 18) when he states that health services across the world have been devastated by the Covid pandemic. However, as he accepts that this is a worldwide problem, I find it inexcusable that he then goes on to imply a possible solution to the problem has been denied to us as "the days of recruiting staff from Europe and beyond is over due to Brexit". In effect, he is bemoaning the fact that we can no longer poach healthcare workers from other countries who need them every bit as much as we do right now.

Perhaps Mr Gunn should just take a minute to think how the people of some eastern Europe countries must have felt when many of their talented doctors and nurses disappeared westwards on their country's accession to the EU, leaving their own health services critically understaffed. Any government which plans its country's future healthcare needs on the importation of talented people who have been trained elsewhere, at great expense to someone else, is taking the exact same approach to life as that of some of our colonial forefathers, who similarly plundered resources from abroad solely for their own benefit and without thought of the consequences to others. There are indeed problems in filling gaps in the NHS workforce in Scotland at present, however, the correct solution is for the Scottish Government to forego the neo-colonialist approach, roll up its collective sleeves and get down to work planning a homegrown answer for right here and right now.

Michael Laggan, Newton of Balcanquhal, Perthshire.


WE are regularly told by Scottish Government ministers and wind developers that wind-generated electricity is cheaper than that generated by conventional means.

Coal generation has been totally closed down, half of our nuclear generation has been retired and our one remaining gas plant, used solely for grid balancing, has had its output reduced by almost 90 per cent. At the same time our politicians have encouraged and supported the current relentless ramping up of wind turbine construction on both land and sea.

Surely then we should be benefiting from this allegedly cheaper electricity? But, as we are all too aware, our electricity bills are increasing dramatically. Could it be that we are being fed a falsehood?

GM Lindsay, Kinross.


REGARDING Stephen Henson's letter (April 16) on smoked mussels being sourced from Chile: as a fresh mussels fan, I purchase from my mobile, but local, fish van, a net bag of fresh farmed mussels from Shetland. After discarding a tiny number of breakages, these are then simply cooked, shelled and rinsed before jarring and pickling in a 1:2 mix of wine vinegar and fresh water. Once in the fridge, these are despatched as an aperitif over the following few weeks.

Cost to the planet: not a lot. Yum yum.

Calum Anton, Fortrose.


THE Royal Horticultural Society report on gardening compost ("Only one third of gardeners make own compost", The Herald, April 18) reminds me of finding myself in company some years ago which included a fragrant lady from the upper echelons of posh society who waxed indignantly at length on having seen “the gardener peeing on my compost heap”.

My immediate thoughts, unspoken of course, were “Go thee and do likewise”.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

Read more: Brexit and the UK's 'hostile environment' have brought NHS to its knees