SIR Brian Langstaff’s powerful performance in his exposition of the horrors uncovered by the inquiry into the blood infection scandal has rocked the establishment and exploded the myth that the primary purpose of our institutions is the protection of the public at all costs.

It was a tale of lies, deceit, denial and disregard for health warnings, which they all turned a blind eye to.

For a long time there has been evidence that the general public had little faith in what the representatives of our institutions came out with. Now the self-serving nature of our revered institutions has been shown to be lip service to the ideal of devotion to the interests of the people.

Sir Brian is demanding that legislation is needed to establish a commitment to candour, to which institutions will need to conform when their shortcomings are shown to be harmful to the public.
Instead of hiding behind a smokescreen to evade responsibility for such failures, our representatives will be legally bound to explain without prevarication what led to their mistakes.

The electorate has had more than enough of the circumlocutions employed by members of institutions under serious scrutiny to escape having to answer questions which need a direct and unequivocal response.

Public servants are there to serve and to address the needs of the people for which they have to be answerable.

If Sir Brian can bring about that change to make those who lead our institutions unafraid to answer questions honestly and openly, he will have defied the history of politics since time immemorial.

His devastating expose of what his inquiry uncovered gives him the right to demand that frankness and openness should replace the deviousness so endemic in institutional life.
Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.


​Read more: Blood infection scandal victim from Perthshire speaks out

Infected blood scandal could 'largely' have been avoided

Infected blood scandal: Thousands of lives still blighted


Governments asleep at the wheel
I WATCHED the parliamentary drama at Westminster on Monday afternoon. With “collegialism” in evidence across all ranks in the Commons, I couldn’t help remarking that Stephen Flynn could never leave behind the opportunity offered by a crisis. I noted he promised to hold “this place” – i.e Westminster – to account for mistakes made in the unfolding blood catastrophe.

I trust that he will be equally solicitous in pursuing justice for the Scottish victims of mistakes and miscalculations made by the Scottish NHS and blood transfusion service. The Scottish government, no less than its UK counterpart was also apparently, by inadvertence or design, asleep at the wheel.

Cue for Flynn to hold not only his deplored Westminster to account but to sound the tocsin of alarm for dereliction north of the border.
(Prof) Douglas Pitt, Newton Mearns.


Protection of whistleblowers
CAN we now expect that the four governing parties of the past 40-odd years (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and, in Scotland, the SNP) and the relevant NHS medics and management, will now issue their profuse and credible apologies for their inexcusable actions and inactions, to the victims both living and dead and to their families, along with fair compensation?

Further, in view of recent appalling reports, can we also expect prompt legislation to be enacted to protect genuine whistleblowers, not only in the NHS and Post Office but in the private sector and all public bodies, such as but not limited to building control following the Grenfell tragedy, RAAC approval and other such cost-or-corner-cutting practices?
John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife.


Time to secede from this comparison
EVERY so often, someone publishes a spurious comparison between the desire for the restoration of Scottish independence and secession activities in Quebec or the Basque country. 

The latest such article (Mark Mcgeoghegan, ‘Yes and No can learn from Spain’, May 17) contained the words “secession” or secessionist” 23 times. This laborious repetition strongly suggests it is in the hope that sufficient repetition will result in something being accepted as the truth. It’s also possible, however, that it is just a result of the writer’s preoccupation verging on the obsessive.

The only example offering a valid comparison with the history and development of the Union between Scotland and England is that of Norway and Sweden.

Both Norway and Scotland were established countries centuries before most of the countries of modern Europe. Neither country was some discontented “region” of another country. Anyone wishing to learn about the history and development of Norway’s independence will find a thorough treatment in F. Nansen’s 1905 book “Norway and the Union with Sweden”.
Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh.


Where now for Police Scotland?
I FIND it rather tiresome (perhaps your readers do, too) to again write about the failed concept that is Police Scotland.

Willie Towers (letters, May 20) is spot-on with his observation about the job being to big for one individual. In his recent excellent article in the Herald (‘What is going wrong at Police Scotland?’, May 16), Calum Steele, general secretary of the International Council of Police Representative Associations, also alludes to this fact. 

I did write some months ago stating that both Police Scotland and the Metropolitan Police were far to big for one individual to control or influence the culture therein.

I do not know how Messrs Salmond and MacAskill can sleep at night, as they were the architects of the social disaster that is Police Scotland. When are our elected members going to realise the concept is wrong and do something about it?

I have a degree of sympathy for Police Scotland Chief Constable Jo Farrell (whom I have never met). She was vilified for using police transport to her home in Cumbria. I would have thought that was rather sensible of her. Is the Chief Constable, not supposed to always be aware of what is happening in his or her area of responsibility?

Mobile phones are OK but the communication system in a police vehicle is much more sophisticated. Such a facility most certainly would not have been available to her in some other form of private transport.  Was she wrong to do this? In my opinion certainly not.

Perhaps it is the case that politicians (and others) closely examine the minutiae in society and the much bigger, more important picture, continues to elude them, much to our detriment.
Dan Edgar, Rothesay.


Never the fault of the SNP
THE SNP target for a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 is not going to be met. This target was only set because Nicola Sturgeon wanted to prove that Scotland is better at saving the planet than the Tories are.

It’s now been revealed that this information was kept secret for seven months, and that the grandly-titled Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy, Màiri McAllan blames the Prime Minister for altering his targets on emissions and Westminster for underfunding. Nothing new there then: it’s all the Tories fault and the SNP, as usual, is blameless.
Ian Balloch, Grangemouth.


Greens are now political pariahs
THE Scottish Green Party has signalled they would be prepared to join a coalition with pro-UK parties in Holyrood. This once fervently pro break-up-the-UK party is now ready to join with those they berated on almost a daily basis while in office and joined at the hip to the SNP. 

Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie must be missing the £100K salaries and chauffeur-driven cars they enjoyed as ministers in the old coalition.

This signalling for partners would suggest first of all that they see the SNP as a spent force in Scotland, and that is certainly how it appears. But with their off-the-wall views on gender, and initial comments on the Cass Review and some of their stated views on children’s education, as well as the ultra-incompetence they have shown in office, no party relying on pubic support would touch the Greens in Scotland with a barge-pole. Their last coalition has made them political pariahs in Scotland.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


Who’d negotiate with Alba?
MEMBERS of the fringe Alba party have agreed a strategy for achieving Scottish independence. Allegedly. Namely that ‘every national election should be fought seeking a popular mandate to begin independence negotiations’.
Have they not heard that it takes two to tango? With whom do they think they would ‘negotiate’? Who would bother negotiating about anything with Alba?
Jill Stephenson, Glenlockhart Valley.