I HAVE to wonder if there is a delay in announcing or reporting on the key strategies and pre-emptive actions taken by the Westminster government in the management of this pandemic.

I have been looking for an reason to explain why Johnson’s government are only ever telling us what they are “going” to do. Rarely, if ever, do we hear them report that they’ve “been and gone and done it”.

Their approach adds to the perception that their only strategy really is to be reactive. The population in general seems ahead of them. There is no indication that this UK Government has the ability to be proactive or inventive to counter the many challenges of the current crisis.

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Take for example the recent announcement that Cambridge University is to set up a Covid-19 testing lab. Really! Three-and-a-half months in!

Why would a government with all the power and contacts this Westminster government appears to have not task every suitable lab in the UK to participate in this endeavour months ago?

Contrast that with the approach pursued by the diminutive Faroe Islands. No messing about. None of the sluggish grind of Westminster and Whitehall, but a “what do we need and let’s make it happen” repurposing of resources for the greater good of the population. Their early conversion of a salmon testing lab to a Covid-19 lab being hailed as a game-changer for rapid testing and protection of their population.

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Now it may be that the UK Government too had such ideas. Ideas they put on hold while they pursued the “herd”. However, given that they appeared to abandon that strategy some weeks ago, their pace of response still remains moribund.

Yet again, and if it was ever in doubt, Scotland needs to look north for inspiration, not south.

I Easton

TODAY I received an unaddressed letter from Boris Johnson giving “a vital update from the government about Coronavirus”. It was accompanied by a leaflet detailing the government’s policy.

The leaflet’s most important message is that we should stay at home, and it gives us guidelines on necessary personal interactions, such as staying two metres away from other people.

But then this seemingly sensible advice is completely undermined by the policy on work. There is no description or advice regarding essential workers, no advice that only essential workers should go to work. In fact, the advice is the opposite. You can travel to work, with the mealy-mouthed caveat that you should only do so if you cannot work from home.

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If this advice is followed it means that civil servants, local authority workers and trades people (to use just the most obvious examples) can go to work. There is no mention of shops or other businesses closing. We are advised that “critical workers” can take their children to school, but no words about school closures, and no further illumination of who is considered a “critical worker”.

The leaflet is worse than useless, since it says on one hand that we must stay at home (and in his letter Boris says that if we don’t the NHS will be overwhelmed), then on the other hand the leaflet tells us we can go to work. Which I must assume means those of us who are asymptomatic will spread the virus.

This is the herd immunity policy that I thought was abandoned weeks ago. It is no wonder that the Institute for Health Metrics in Seattle predicts the UK will have the highest death rate in Europe (as reported in yesterday’s National).

In the UK we have seen an utter failure of leadership, which looks as though it will lead to many unnecessary deaths, including many people who would otherwise have lived long and useful lives.

Despite Nicola Sturgeon’s impressive handling of the crisis, the fact that the Scottish Government has been unable (or unwilling) to differentiate its policies from those that serve London best may yet turn out to be the biggest shame of all.

Stewart Robinson

ACCORDING to Alistair Potter (Letters, April 9) the SNP is no longer the party driving independence we all thought it was, rather, by “challenging the grass roots to grow the movement,” it is sitting back and seeing where it leads. Perhaps this explains Sturgeon’s half-hearted approach to Johnson for a Section 30 order, and why she didn’t have or deploy a pre-planned riposte from her armoury.

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Mr Potter should resist the notion that criticism of Sturgeon’s apparent lack of drive makes one a Unionist infiltrator. While there be some of those, isn’t there a substantial section of the Scottish population just a wee bit hacked off that after so many legitimate mandates being handed down for an independence referendum, under Sturgeon’s SNP leadership we are no further forward? Coronavirus apart, what are we waiting for?

Jim Taylor

LISTENING to the Lesley Riddoch podcast this morning, I hear Lesley sitting on her doorstep broadcasting with birds tweeting in the background. Speaking to my very right wing brother-in-law on the phone last night, I hear him telling me that the air in his garden smells much cleaner and he can hear birds singing. He is happy!

Surely the time has at last come for the green economy to actually arrive. Just who in Scotland has the detailed plans ready to go when the coronavirus crisis is over?

Susan Grant

GORDON Young’s amusing “Loch Down” letter reminded me of the pub called The Office. Customers would phone home and tell the wife in total honesty: “Be home soon, I’ m still at The Office.” So how about a budding entrepreneur naming his pub the Staying Inn?

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

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