COVID is hardly being mentioned nowadays and yet there are obviously plenty of cases. My wife and I are in our late eighties and had managed to avoid being infected but recently succumbed. I especially had a very bad time but had excellent care from our own GP. We avoided going to hospital but even after six weeks are not fully recovered. We have had all the vaccinations and boosters.

We know of five other close people who have been infected.

Trying to find out the true situation at present is difficult but it is pretty clear that the numbers are being under-reported. We in the UK have one of the worst records for deaths in the world and yet we have more or less given up the fight. Perhaps the Chancellor has calculated that, as a high proportion of deaths are among the elderly, he is saving money. The amount that has been wasted on PPE and vaccines could have paid for thousands of staff but was squandered.

Instead of this inquiry which seems to be a waste of time, we should fund medics to find better ways of control. We ridicule the Chinese having a zero policy but they seem to care more for their population than our Government does. Let us have some letters from people in the NHS who know what is going on and might have some ideas to help.
Jim McAdam, Maidens

Maternity crisis in south-west

THE Galloway Community Hospital Action Group (GCHAG) has discussed maternity services with the Minister for Women’s Health, who supports a local solution. A two-hour journey in advanced labour or delivery at the roadside without community midwife or medical assessment and inadequate ambulance provision is self-evidently unfair and unreasonable.

Over a decade there has been a gradual reduction in planned local births here, from 74 in 2013 to none since 2018. Terrifying accounts of labour and delivery in transit abound. We have engaged with the board but most of the meetings have understandably been cancelled at short notice because of clinical overload. We have unsuccessfully sought local and national data, even basics such as ambulance and midwifery transfer protocols. Such data is fundamental to service planning yet challenging to obtain. Even taking Covid into consideration, management should have addressed the problem years ago, but formal review or effective strategy is absent.

Whatever has happened in the past, Covid recovery now legitimately dominates management resources. The board publicly admits to being overwhelmed. An externally-led maternity review would release board capacity to deliver service needs. Other areas have had this. Why not Wigtownshire?
Dr A Gordon Baird, Sandhead, Wigtownshire

Thatcher U-turned on the climate

ANDY Maciver's description that Margaret Thatcher was a leading advocate for tackling climate change ("The Tories must recover their climate credentials", The Herald, November 4) may have been true in 1990 but by the time of her last book, Statecraft, published in 2002, she had completely cast off her environmental credentials, describing global climate problems as a "marvellous excuse for worldwide, supranational socialism".

In fact, so emphatic was her recanting by that stage that she allowed the false impression to form that she never held such views in the first place and explains why it still influences many sceptics in her own party to this day.
Peter G Farrell, Glasgow

Schools should foster debate skills

ACCORDING to research conducted by Channel 4, young people are less tolerant of alternative views than their parents or grandparents. The no-platforming and disinviting of invited speakers to many of our universities and the so-called woke mob’s ravaging of any who dare to oppose them, suggests that many of our young people do not consider reason and rational debate as an appropriate tool for dealing with issues that seem important to them. We now have a group of people who have at their disposal an immensely powerful weapon – social media platforms – which give the user a high degree of anonymity.

For students in our universities it is clearly too late to imbibe the efficacy of reason and debate. These time-honoured tools should be an integral part of our educational system at a much earlier stage. i believe that every school should have a debating club, and every pupil should be given the tools and encouraged to take part. There should be inter-school debating contests, with a national final.
Doug Clark, Currie

• IAN W Thomson (Letters, November 5) adroitly uses lines from Robert Burns to suggest that, given the latter’s romantic relationship with his “Highland Mary” from the village of Auchnamore near Dunoon, he would have celebrated in verse Dunoon Grammar being rated the Best School in the World. The well-educated Burns would of course have been familiar with the poem of Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), 30 years his senior, The Village Schoolmaster:

“And still they gazed and still their wonder grew

That one small head could carry all he knew”.
R Russell Smith, Largs

Breath of fresh air on BBC

I WELCOME Martine Croxall's return to BBC News ("BBC’S Croxall returns to screens after 12 days off-air", The Herald, November 5). Obviously, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and those offended must be heard. I'll add my tuppence worth. Martine presents with professionalism and warmth which, in my view, sets her apart from many of her colleagues. She reacts in an unflustered way to what must be a very stressful task in collating constantly-updated news items and presenting them succinctly.

If the stuffed shirts at the BBC cannot accept a little completely understandable impromptu fun, we're in a bad way.

Gaun yersel, Martine.
John O'Kane, Glasgow

Cost of shaving? That's a dull one

I USUALLY shave with a disposable razor for the sake of speed, using my cut-throat – bought for 10 shillings in 1961 – when I have to remove several days’ growth or have enough time to shave carefully.

I have hitherto accepted that makers of disposable razors will gradually reduce the quality pending the introduction of a new and more expensive, allegedly super-duper model. But recently they have abandoned all attempt at subtlety, and at present practically no disposable razor will give even one decent shave. As this ruse is now well and truly exposed, it is high time it was abandoned in favour of honest and transparent hiking of price.
Robin Dow, Rothesay


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