I AM having a wry smile to myself about the latest quarantine rules for overseas arrivals in Scotland and the loopholes.

My son returned last Friday from New Zealand via Brisbane, Doha, Heathrow and up to Glasgow, and is now suffering from “cabin fever” as he is in isolation for the required 10 days.

I can easily see why folk who, like him, have travelled back home from, or via, low-Covid areas and have had correct negative tests, would possibly consider ignoring the advice to self-isolate, based on mixed or confused messages coming from the UK and Scottish governments. I almost get the impression up here that we are not able to track those, like my son, who came in via a “southern airport”, and that the UK – English – authorities have no interest in tracking them up here.

I assume I am wrong, which is why he will be stuck in the house for 10 days. So cancel the visit (or raid) from whoever is doing the checks to see if arrivals from overseas are self-isolating at home.

Douglas Jardine, Glasgow.





WHILE Stuart Waiton makes several telling points (February 10) on the case of Richard Lucas, the Christian teacher who is up before the General Teaching Council of Scotland for allegedly causing offence by expressing his views on same-sex parenting in a video, he fails to see the big picture.

If offence to members or allies of one protected group can see a teacher barred from the profession, then the same must apply for other protected groups. The next time it could be a feminist teacher who has offended transgender activists by expressing her views on women-only spaces or women’s sport.

And if such offence can bar someone from one profession where they deal with vulnerable individuals, then the same must be apply to other professionals and officials who deal with the vulnerable, such as lawyers and, of course, elected politicians. Nor need the offence relate to the recent expression of views. In a number of cases, individuals have lost positions over former views expressed many years earlier.

Very soon, such offence and denunciation become weapons against colleagues, rivals and even neighbours. That is the deeply unattractive, illiberal, indeed totalitarian prospect that flows inevitably from disciplining individuals for expressing their views outside of their work.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.

I HAD not come across the case, so can only comment on what was in Stuart Waiton’s article. It seems that Mr Lucas posted an offensive video about the then pregnant Ruth Davidson on the basis that her gay marriage was not a suitable environment in which a child should be raised.

It could be argued that the timing of Mr Lucas’s attack on her was insensitive, or even downright cruel, but it was most certainly not enough to warrant censorship or dismissal.

It was English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall who first penned the famous democracy mantra, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. A little extreme, perhaps, and one that has taken a bit of a battering in recent times, but here it fits.

The question is not what Mr Lucas said on that occasion, but where else he has expressed his narrow views. If he has been using his teacher status and authority for instilling his personal doctrine in those to whom he was hired to teach maths, he was entirely in the wrong. Otherwise, he was entitled, like anyone else, to say what he wanted to say.

There was no indication of this one way or the other in Mr Waiton’s article, other than the comment that in his day “Christianity was part of the furniture of schools.” It was in my day too, but it was a minor part of the curriculum and not a teacher free-for-all. The distinction is important, and Mr. Lucas should be judged on where and how he expresses himself and not on what he says.

Jim Robertson, East Kilbride.

(Note: Mr Lucas was exonerated and the allegations dismissed, it was announced on Thursday).





I FOR one felt a deep kinship following Eric Macdonald’s harmless and entirely reasonable complaint about the tedium of lockdown, and am grateful that he shared it (letters, February 8). In contrast, the schoolteacherly admonishing he has been met with, however qualified and well-intended, seems unkind and fundamentally lacking in understanding (letters, February 10).

Boredom, clinically speaking (for we are talking about what is fashionably referred to as a mental health issue), surely is a little bit more than what Thelma Edwards leaves us to infer is the definition in her dictionary.

Set to some lively music, her account of her day would make an inspiring montage on the telly, but for lots of us the experience of this moment is more akin to Burgess Meredith rattling around the house alone in an old Twilight Zone episode, however many books we’re surrounded by.

As Mr Macdonald made clear, it’s not for lack of stimulus that he’s bored, rather that he’s become unreceptive to stimulation, absence of the desire for which is the truly pernicious nature of such ennui.

Public health boffins were strategically aware at the outset of the threat that mass psychological fatigue poses to prolonged efforts to contain the spread of Covid, so it’s disappointing to read James Martin’s quickly dismissive response.

Addictions, harm, self-neglect – how much incidence of the more headline-grabbing mental health problems might be said to stem from simple, perhaps, but nevertheless crushing boredom?

And how can we be entitled to discuss, much less detail, wider social iniquity if we can choose not to acknowledge real personal distress at any level, however fortunate or unfortunate we deem people’s circumstances to be? Boredom, which to Mr Martin appears a small and atomised problem, is by no means trivial or meaningless. Coronavirus itself is microscopic.

James Macleod, Glasgow.