ANOTHER Sunday and another contrived “good news story” to distract from the shambles of the UK Government’s handling of the coronavirus catastrophe is dutifully relayed by Britain’s media on Monday. Dominic Cummings must be proud of the way he manages to manipulate the mainstream media, including the BBC, to endorse and spread UK Government propaganda. Of course, we in Scotland should not be surprised at the covert and immoral antics of a government whose representatives, both Tory and Labour, persistently proclaimed that Scotland could not survive economically without the “broad shoulders” of the UK while the McCrone report, stating the opposite, was scurrilously hidden from the Scottish public.

Augmented by selective charts (now excluding country comparisons) and partial statistics (often excluding pertinent ONS data) the stage-managed daily coronavirus briefings from sound-bite spewing automatons make a mockery of claimed “transparency”.

In 2016 an expert report, Exercise Cygnus, concluded the UK was not adequately prepared to effectively manage a pandemic, but instead of taking necessary follow-up action the report was kept confidential. Through this coronavirus pandemic, the UK has supposedly been led by the science, but the UK Government has not even been open about the names of the scientists or political “appointees” comprising Sage. Out-of-date PPE equipment in England has apparently been re-tested for current use but requests for reports confirming testing remain unanswered. A large proportion of the recent antigen tests that purportedly have been “carried out” daily have actually not been carried out but simply mailed as test kits, yet the BBC, ITV and Sky continue to relay fake news. In this time of public health crisis, the media must take their wider responsibilities seriously and seek to objectively reveal and report important facts, with any caveats appropriate, rather than unwittingly, or otherwise, be party to spreading government propaganda.

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry, East Lothian

UNTIL March 12, official Government coronavirus advice was that it was “very unlikely that people receiving care in care homes will become infected”.Yet now, care homes are described as “where the major battle with Covid-19 is now raging”, according to the NHS Confederation.

Why this change? Quoted in the Daily Telegraph, a cardiologist has said: “We discharged known, suspected and unknown cases into care homes, which were unprepared, with no formal warning that the patient was infected, no testing available and no PPE (personal protection equipment) to prevent transmission.

“We actively seeded this into the very population that was most vulnerable.”

Should we be surprised after the long litany of government coronavirus screw-ups, failure to deliver testing and thus any control of the virus, failure to protect front line staff by the omnishambles of PPE delivery, and the unprecedented political interference in scientific advice on handling the pandemic?

Only America, led by a president who suggested injected poisonous disinfectant as a possible cure for the virus, has more coronavirus deaths than Britain. Britain’s 34,500+ deaths is the highest in Europe. The government desperately tries to excuse this by saying that countries cannot be compared.

The hard, indisputable fact is that no other European country mismanaged their coronavirus response so incompetently with over 34,500 deaths. No wonder other countries now regard Britain with pity!

Deaths in the NHS and deaths in care homes are both down to government inexperience and incompetence.

This incompetent government is now planning the Brexit process, on negotiating trade deals with both the USA and the EU. If they are as successful with Brexit, as they have been the coronavirus, we are in very real trouble!

Andrew Milroy

Via email

IT is welcome news that the Scottish Government is amending the coronavirus legislation to allow for swifter intervention in private care homes if serious failures are detected.

It’s becoming clearer with every infection in private care homes that the current model of private care is not capable of looking after the most vulnerable in society. Too many private care homes are simply cash cows for large multinational, tax-dodging companies.

They have used myriad tax dodges to increase the profitability of their homes, including using subsidiary companies to mask the money they are taking out of the care system.

We’re being fed a stream of tales about their inability to procure essential PPE equipment for their staff, while on the other hand, they’re handing out dividends to their investors.

All the while, the private sector relies on low wages to maximise their profits, complaining loudly when there are calls for a living wage for their staff.

Hopefully this new legislation can ensure that proper oversight of this sector is enhanced and any failings quickly acted upon to save the lives of both staff and residents.

However, we also have to think again about having private businesses involved in this sector and look to how we can ensure the safety of all residents and staff in the long term.

Whether that is by moving control of such facilities to the NHS, local authorities or some other public body, there is a need to find a long term, sustainable option – one that puts residents (and staff) welfare above private profit.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren


NEIL Gaiman’s response to criticism of his trip from New Zealand to Skye is that he is on the electoral roll here. That’s not proof of residence, as many of us know. How many sons and daughters are on the register at their parents’ homes although they fled the nest years ago? This should be looked at when our next elections could be critical. How do we get proof of residence rather than simply tick a box to say “we’re all still here”?

Another paper says Gaiman’s family home is in Woodstock, USA. Are our lockdown rules simply guidelines which rely on people doing the decent thing, or have the police powers to stop entry or turn back people to their real residences?

Catriona Grigg