THERE is a clear connection between Covid and current Scottish Government activity. Politicians discovered in 2020-21 that they could exert over the population control that was unprecedented since probably 1945. For example, some quite innocuous roads were closed to vehicular traffic for alleged "reasons of Covid safety". From obligatory mask-wearing to the banning of the sale of alcohol for indoor consumption, the politicians dictated what we could and could not do. Those without a garden were incarcerated in their homes almost all day, like offenders in a prison.

There is a continuum here. The Deposit Return Scheme has to be seen in this context. Lorna Slater of the Greens can insist that we recycle in the way that she prefers, regardless of the logistics. I prefer the current kerbside collections of a variety of materials for recycling. Ms Slater wants me to load up bottles and cans and take them to a recycling centre.

How do I do that? She wouldn’t want me to drive, so do I have to walk, carrying bags of empties? Of course, Patrick Harvie, Green MSP, would want me to cycle, but my days for that are long past. Anyway, how many empties can one carry on a bicycle? Oh, I should make regular trips with small amounts?

Let us hope that on May 31 we discover that, because of the demands of the UK internal market, Ms Slater's ill-conceived scheme has to be abandoned, and that the kerbside collection is safe.

But we will remain stuck with the overweening power that Covid gave our politicians. When they introduce another authoritarian policy, ask why they have done it. The answer, of course, is because they have found out that they can. So what are we going to do about that?

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.

DRS would destroy jobs

WHOEVER told Vicky Allan ("Through a glass darkly – why I’m still backing deposit return scheme", The Herald, May 30) that our proposed DRS would mean she'd "see fewer plastic bottles on our beaches or smashed glass scattered in our parks by 2025" must be employed in one of the many environmental quangos supported by the Scottish Parliament. Her expectations are hopelessly off the mark.

More than two billion of the planet's population don't have access to an organised waste collection and disposal system. They dump their rubbish as far from their homes as possible, and it invariably then gets washed into the rivers and thence to the oceans. Nor will a 20p refund be enough of a financial attraction to deter vandals from smashing glass in our parks.

If implemented, this DRS will destroy many existing jobs in the waste industry, can't deliver the increased recycling performances its supporters claim, and will make Scotland a laughing stock.

It should now be abandoned immediately, although it's doubtful if those who've already received millions of pounds from the public purse will be keen to return any of it.

John F Crawford, Lytham.

Read more: Lorna Slater hints DRS could be axed due to UK Government 'sabotage'

Brown should back Scots voters

I NOTE that polling commissioned by Gordon Brown's thinktank Our Scottish Future found that only 17 per cent of Scots found a "common bond" with people in London ("Brown: Scots feel alienated from ‘London-centric’ state", The Herald, May 30). When my daughter lived in London, I was a frequent visitor and always found Londoners to be friendly and hospitable. I have just returned from a few days in beautiful Shropshire, the home of my ancestors, and again received a kindly welcome. My problem with the Union is not the people, but the politics.

Mr Brown, architect of the 2014 Vow, admits that Scots feel alienated from the "London-centric system" but this is not something which has developed overnight, and I don't remember him doing anything about it when he was Prime Minister. And of course for decades the Liberal Party, later the LibDems, dug out their federalism policy at every election, only to put it back on the shelf to gather dust when the election was over; I wonder if Nick Clegg even raised the subject with David Cameron during their stroll in the Downing Street rose garden when Mr Clegg led his party into the wilderness of the Coalition Government.

My suggestion to Mr Brown is that if he really cares about our Scottish future he should back the holding of a referendum and give voters the opportunity to truly put Scotland's future into Scotland's hands.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

Britain is falling apart

I KNOW that Gordon Brown is a serious man and a heavyweight politician. The fact that Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister (and a Corbynite), Andy Burnham (former Blairite, now radicalised and refreshed as Manchester's Mayor) and Tracey Brabin (looked on favourably by my radical friends in West Yorkshire) are all coming to Scotland in 48 hours to shore up Anas Sarwar and give him a radical edge despite Sir Keir Starmer's Tony Blair Tribute Band is tragic. Do they think people are stupid?

Britain is falling apart. Our cities lack infrastructure, parts of the North look more like war-torn zones in what are euphemistically called developing countries and the idea that this is "just a problem with London" when London makes the decisions and holds the purse strings is just weird, frankly.

As a former 40-year resident of London, user of its public services and transport and witness to its impoverished areas, Scotland is so much better off, despite British nationalists going on about the ferries and other perceived failings of the Scottish Government.

I started off with Johnny Mathis's Too Much, Too Little Too Late running through my head. I am closing, optimistically, with the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again: "A change it had to come, we knew it all along, then I'll get on my knees and pray, we won't get fooled again."

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh.

Where were the civil servants?

CONSIDER all the political disasters of recent years: the Census, the shipyard/ferries, the pretend embassies, the gender and DRS bills, the millions given to dodgy businessmen, ad infinitum. All of which were undoubtedly brought about by attempting above all else to be uniquely Scottish, even to the abandonment of logic and common sense. One thing strikes me. Hapless and incompetent ministers fathoms out of their depth and trying to convince their core voters about how Scottish they are is one thing. But where were the supposedly-neutral civil service throughout all this?

Were they not supposed to be guiding and recommending? Did they meekly pass blunder after blunder with not a word of advice or criticism? Were they afraid of the powers that be and kept their common sense and intelligence under wraps for fear of appearing anti-Scottish and perhaps hampering their careers?

How could Scotland have possibly descended into such a state of affairs?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

Read more: The blame for youth violence lies squarely with us adults

Tackle poverty, reduce violence

I WAS interested in Neil Mackay’s column on youth violence ("The blame for youth violence lies squarely with us adults", The Herald, May 30). He says it is has been shown to be linked to poverty, which is common sense.

It ties in with the work of Scots nutrition scientist Sir John Boyd Orr, who is credited with being the first in his field to establish a definite link between poverty, poor diet and ill health and under-achievement at school. Sir John was running food rationing during the Second World War. So this information has been available to governments for a long time; it actually goes back to the 19th century.

Surprise, surprise, Conservative governments are not interested in such research.

Margaret Forbes, Blanefield.

Where are the smaller homes?

JOHN Gilligan's letter (May 30) on being forced to buy his own house council homes being sold off struck a few chords with me.

First, Margaret Thatcher's right to buy and poll tax policies were typical of the misuse of the Westminster power inflicting Scotland. Hence the ongoing desire for independence.

Secondly, councils were not allowed to invest the income from sales of council houses for the construction of new council houses.

Thirdly, the right to buy also applied to small purpose-designed houses built for pensioners.

I am past 80 years old and am trying to downsize to a ground-floor flat near my present privately-owned abode, also close to family and friends. Such houses are as rare as hens' teeth. Apart from McCarthy Stone nobody seems to be building such accommodation anywhere. If my wife and I continue to live in a family-sized house then a younger family is missing out. This problem equally applies to elderly couples in council houses.

I previously wrote about the current practice of building most houses of a standard well in excess of the needs of most first time buyers (especially when mortgage rates are rising). The same problem exists for the much older generation still in good health.

JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.