YOU report on Stanley Johnson's "Covid-proofing" trip to Greece ("PM’s father defends lockdown visit to his Greek property", July 5).

Where to start at this time of crisis? Perhaps with education. Would any institution care to set up the Scottish Enlightenment Centre in commemoration of all who have suffered from Covid, to a greater or lesser extent, since the New Year?

Specialists to hire, subjects to study, students to recruit:

• A historian who understands the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. Which was, of course, made 120 years before poor Henry VI founded a place called Eton – wonder what became of that? Did any of its alumni ever amount to anything?

• Someone who combines geography and philosophy, to answer the vital question eating away at Dominic Cummings' mind: where exactly is Bishop Auckland?

• Someone with a good memory of how the British constitution used to work before a blond bloke tried to prorogue the Westminster Parliament last autumn.

• A health and safety professional with extensive experience in historic buildings, to advise MPs on how to protect themselves and their families from Jacob Rees-Mogg's sloppy approach to their wellbeing, when others are encouraged to work from home.

• A mathematician with experience of how the benefits system works for ordinary families, to help Stanley work out how many grandchildren he has.

• A vexillologist, to explain what Nigel Farage was waving, and why, back in January.

• A second, peripatetic historian, to wander between Hadrian's Wall and Gretna, forever explaining to Priti Patel that the wall only worked while the Roman army patrolled it: after that, immigration became a completely different issue.

• A Sinologist, to explain to President Xi that a wall in China may have had the same problem (no point wasting time explaining this in Donald Trump's White House).

• Someone with experience of bridges (not just London Garden ones), railway engineering, and economics, to explain why Tory transport policy will be a shambles in 15 years’ time.

That should keep future generations busy for a while, and we've not even considered Greta Thunberg yet…

Norrie Forrest, Kincardine.

JACOB Rees-Mogg compared the First Minister’s talk of a border with England and possible quarantines being imposed on visitors with Donald Trump’s delusional wall.

When it was pointed out in the House of Commons that there is no border as neither country is a sovereign nation, the SNP troops were quick to tell us that there is Scottish law and English law on either side so there is de facto a border.

Of course, to that the answer is there are also different local laws in force between, say, Glasgow and Edinburgh and Surrey and Devon.

But, why worry about details, this nonsense was the stuff on which the zealot wing of nationalism salivates. Borders and walls, what could be better? A chunk of red meat thrown to assuage the head-banging fringes. I am sure the First Minister was well aware – more than anyone – the furore it would cause.

Who was it again that said the pandemic should not be politicised?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.

BORIS Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg appear to have a selective short memory by claiming in Parliament that there was no border between England and Scotland. The day before devolution the then Labour Government secretly and without debate shifted the North Sea Boundary Line, thereby giving England 6,000 square miles of Scottish waters. The Scotland 1998 Act and the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundary Order of 1999 apply should they still really believe that the UK is one country.

I attended a debate at the Scottish Parliament about the legality of moving the North Sea boundary adjacent to Montrose. I recall John Home Robertson persistently saying that this was merely to give the Westminster Government "more clout" when discussing UK Fisheries with the EU in Brussels. When further questioned he said that the sea bed would still belong to Scotland.

Former PM David Cameron said that if he was elected as Prime Minister that he would readdress the legality of the Westminster-approved North Sea Boundary changes. Of course, he never did.

Donnie Morrison, Benbecula.


MARTIN Williams draws attention to six new reported Covid cases in the Forth valley area ("Tensions rise over tourists", July 5). Other areas have seen new Covid cases in single figures.

Elsewhere you have a headline reading "Scottish tourism at risk of total collapse". This encapsulates the conflicting pressures the Scottish Government is dealing with.

Whilst there is no room for complacency, these figures are consistent with the prediction of Professor Devi Sridhar of Edinburgh University, that Scotland is now "weeks away" from no new confirmed cases. The Scottish Government's precautionary, science-based approach has been vindicated, whilst England now has 36 areas in "local lockdown", with the worst case, Leicester, experiencing 944 confirmed cases of Covid in the past two weeks.

The Scottish Government has also always been clear that beating Covid cannot be achieved by government measures alone. Maintaining social distancing, avoiding crowded places and wearing face coverings are the main ingredients for ridding Scotland of Covid and avoiding the danger of a second spike.

Jim Daly, Edinburgh.


IT would appear that Prince Harry is determined to right the wrongs of the past.

He surely must be aware that he is treading on dangerous ground as well as opening up the part our monarchy has played not only in the illustrious moments of the UK's past, but also the implication of our sovereigns in the darker moments of our chequered history.

Meghan may well be a republican, but has she converted him to her way of thinking? Can it be that he contemplates the end of monarchy as having outlived its purpose?

At the back of all this, everyone ought to recognise that different times have different customs.

Gradually we are becoming more enlightened, though politically today we seem to be drifting away from a world based upon rational policies to a period of powerful autocratic personalities.

There is also abroad a brand of puritanical intolerance not seen since the time of Oliver Cromwell, in that many are wary of opening their mouths to express any opinion which runs counter to the zeitgeist of our world today out of fear of reprisals.

Harry should ca' canny with his criticisms and rely upon the gradualist approach to politics and history instead of being swept along in knee-jerk fashion by the undeniable strength of today's emotional orthodoxy.

Rome was not built in a day, nor will the wrongs of yesteryear be corrected overnight.

Dennis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

THE Duke and Duchess of Sussex are the latest of a long line of people queueing up to apologise for the UK's slavery connections. Prince Harry said that we needed to "acknowledge the past". Slavery was more than 200 years ago. However, he is clearly confused when, speaking to Commonwealth youth leaders, he said that the overarching priority of the organisation must be to atone for its wrongs. It was the British Empire which condoned slavery, not the current Commonwealth of Nations, which was formed in 1949.

Foreign nations which are offended by the UK's past slavery history are free to hand back the billions of foreign aid they have been given over the years since it was "tainted" by slavery money. They can also refuse to accept any of the UK's annual £15 billion foreign aid bill. Now that would show solidarity with slavery past and present.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


RJ Ardern (Letters, July 5) believes that CO2 emissions are changing the climate. But he ought to read the hacked Climategate emails which are readily available on the web, in which so-called climate scientists make statements which are very different to what they say in public.

Hundreds of emails show uncertainty in the science. For example, in an email dated October 14, 2009 Kevin Trenberth wrote: “The fact that we cannot account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not.”

Other emails show scientific bias. An example of bias is cherry-picking of data, and in a July 2005 email Phil Jones wrote: “It is possible to get a trend of nearer 0.75 if the trend starts around 1920 (especially if the cold year of 1917 is at the start).”

And in a 2001 email the same Phil Jones wrote, when discussing a highly alarmist and influential climate report: “I just hope in the US that people read the full IPCC reports and the summaries, rather this hastily cobbled together document. I also hope that the Europeans don't read it."

Geoff Moore, Alness.


YOUR article about the housing development proposal in Lennoxtown ("Residents at odds over new housing, June 28, and Letters, July 5) was a great read, I’m really impressed by the detail shown in the article regarding social housing shortage within Scotland particularly the East Dunbartonshire Council area.

I find it concerning that if I was to apply for a council house today the likelihood of obtaining a one or two-bed property in Lennoxtown would take approximately 20 years.

Elaine Dodds, Lennoxtown.


I WAS intrigued by your feature "Perfect tipples for a picnic in the park" in your Taste section (July 5). Where, exactly, is this possible? Police Scotland would have me in handcuffs in seconds for twisting the cap of a cheeky little Pinot Grigio in the great outdoors.

This is, of course, because it is impossible to draft a law discerning between a couple sharing a chilled Chardonnay on a picnic blanket and the hundreds of idiots necking Buckfast in Kelvingrove Park who had to be dispersed by officers on horseback.

On the bright side, beer gardens have opened.

My table's booked.

Steve Brennan, Coatbridge.