IT is indeed an ill wind that blows no-one any good. If the coronavirus has achieved anything it has exposed Brexit, Boris, and the Conservative Government for the lie and

fraud they represent, and the danger they pose to each of us. Brexit has been an exercise in irrationality bordering on a form of national madness. There may be a rational argument for exiting the European Union, but it descends into irrationality and madness when its supporters rely on, and embrace, a campaign of lies, disinformation, and the demonization of foreigners to justify it. That their campaign was an irrational fraud has been brutally exposed by how the virus has elevated our immigrant workforce to national prominence by our dependence on their lifesaving contribution to our collective wellbeing, in many areas of our lives and not only in health.

This madness is compounded when they continue to support and applaud a demonstrable incompetent charlatan, caught like a frightened rabbit in headlights by a crisis he is completely unfit to cope with.

The UK is devoid of leadership and its government devoid of credibility as demonstrated by the leadership that has emerged in the other three nations of this so-called United Kingdom to fill the void left by Westminster. Thus the virus also exposes the Unionist narrative as another fraud.

The coronavirus has graphically demonstrated how the narrative of Brexit, the charismatic leadership of Boris, the malign effects of immigration, our undiminished greatness and ability to stand alone, are the racist lies they have always been.

What characterises Brexiteers and Scottish Unionists is their willingness to embrace and applaud what they know are blatant lies from those they know are blatant liars. They are actively and knowingly engaged in a collective enterprise in self-deception as the biggest lie that the virus has exposed is the lie that we are a United Kingdom. The virus has exposed the contempt, bordering on hatred, Westminster, and the Tories in particular, harbour for Scotland, a contempt that also embraces the Welsh and Northern Irish, but whose deepest animus is reserved for the Scots.

Boris and his henchmen were able to achieve Brexit because, starting with Thatcher, the Westminster elite, led by the Tories and their propagandists in the media, led a relentless drive to eliminate the human characteristics of sympathy and empathy from the British system of political economy.

For their free market experiment to succeed, sympathy had to be purged from the public sphere, and, whilst not completely removed, has been seriously diminished. Sympathy is a moral attribute and drives our concern for others. It is the passion of sympathy, rather than the exercise of reason, that motivates us to extend welfare to our fellows.

The Welfare State was erected on the moral basis of sympathy, and is why sympathy had to be purged from the body politic, because if you can successfully diminish the national capacity

for sympathy you can begin to dismantle that system of welfare. For those who lack the capacity for sympathy, there is no rational argument that will make a dent in their hostility to those who have been successfully labelled as benefit scroungers, or undeserving, because they have, in the words of the famous song, lost that loving feeling. Thus, when the nation is undergoing economic and social crisis it becomes easy to scapegoat and demonise “others” and create bogeymen, immigrants, socialists, Muslims, Jews etc.

The paradox lies in the fact that the virus has brought a great outpouring of sympathy back to the surface. It may yet cause the downfall of their system.

Peter Kerr

“WE are all in this together” politicians cry so why have they not reduced their salaries and expenses by 20%? There have been no pay cuts to the 5.7 million employees on the Government payroll. Leave the workers in the NHS alone but cut the numerous bean-counters and fast-breeding managers.

Next should be the big earners in local authorities and those well-paid individuals sitting on the hundreds of talking-shops otherwise known as Quangos.

What about Universities? In October last year the Taxpayers’ Alliance revealed that 4423 university staff were paid over £100,000 and of that number 976 were paid over £150,000. Edinburgh University had the most “high earners” of all the universities in the UK with 359 staff receiving over £100,000 in total remuneration, of which 110 received over £150,000.

Professor Peter Mathieson of Edinburgh University has recently taken a 20% pay cut for six months on his annual salary of £342,000. When will the other 4422 highly paid academics at UK universities do the same? Call it a Covid-19 recovery tax. Will the Scottish Government now lead the way?

Clark Cross

WHILE Saturday’s interesting feature on Tom Mills’ book, The BBC: Myth of a Public Service (REVEALED: How Scots are frozen out of BBC’s coronavirus news, May 16), with its confirmation of poor Scottish representation will not surprise readers of The National, we should assume that the BBC will always favour the Unionist position.

Although its new charter requires the BBC “to raise awareness of different cultures and alternative viewpoints that make up society”, it also expects that it will “help contribute to the social cohesion of the UK”. While the former builds the impression of neutrality, the latter explains why we should never expect the BBC to be anything other than partial on the constitutional question.

John C Hutchison
Fort William