HAVING watched Prime Minister's Questions last week (April 29), I was struck by the extremely courteous and almost conciliatory exchanges between Dominic Rabb, the Foreign Secretary, standing in for the Prime Minister, and Sir Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Opposition.

At this time of national crisis, it made for refreshing viewing. With these two politicians leading the way, isn’t it time that we as a country put our differences behind us and worked together to defeat this deadly coronavirus which is currently running rife in our community?

Let us put our political allegiances aside for the moment and stop levelling constant criticism at the governments of both Westminster and Holyrood who, guided by the science, are working night and day to navigate a way through what is arguably the worst crisis to hit the UK since the Second World War. Naturally, like in any crisis mistakes will be made, however every effort is ongoing to obviate these issues and learn from them.

There may well be some flaws in the supply chain for PPE and the like, however whilst dwelling on these issues we should also be highlighting the huge logistical and distribution achievements in the last few weeks in unprecedented circumstances by all concerned. We should also be leading on the number of people who have actually recovered from the virus instead of the number of deaths. Of course, both sets of data need to be broadcast but a more positive focus would be of enormous physiological benefit to our nation and a boost to our flagging morale.

There is far too much negativity prevalent throughout the media, including in your Letters Pages and it should be reined back by all contributors. Let us focus on the positives that are occurring everyday both in our hospitals, care homes and the community at large including all those working in the essential industries sector.

Christopher H Jones, Giffnock.

IT'S a matter of trust.

In a democracy the general public elects and empowers representatives first and foremost to look after their collective best interests. That single brief should be of paramount importance and we should be able to trust our MPs to put our collective interests ahead of those of any minority group or the financial interests of a relatively few individuals amongst us here or elsewhere. That is the theory, in practice the bottom line is they obviously don’t.

Those of us who actually listen to MPs and ministers in particular hear them talk at length yet say nothing, they emit noise but little substance. They fail to address direct questions and slip into a prepared narrative and make promise after promise that they never fulfil. There appears to be no effective mechanism in the media to challenge this when it happens. The expression “snake-oil salesmen” comes to mind and the adage of “You can tell he is lying because his lips are moving” has never been more appropriate.

The latest BBC Panorama exposé on PPE in England (April 27), which one assumes was run past the legal department before it was broadcast, is impossible to reconcile with the message given in public briefings by Government ministers. For those who haven’t watched the programme it told of an historical deliberate run-down of PPE reserves caused by the political decision to cut NHS funding and worse still the deliberate distortion of the truth by agents of the present administration regarding the current levels of PPE, its distribution and re-supply. Coupled with what to the outsider appears to be systematic deliberate under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths in England makes me lose what little faith in and respect I had for the Westminster administration.

I no longer trust Westminster. Not only would it appear that lives have been unnecessarily sacrificed in the pandemic as a direct result of political decisions taken before the virus appeared and the subsequent mismanagement of the pandemic but the illusion that we live in a functioning democracy that cares for all of us has been shattered. What can be done to remedy this?

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.