THE tragic deaths related to Covid-19 of so many in care homes across the UK, Europe and beyond, is a matter of deep concern to governments worldwide. It is therefore sadly disappointing that the British media are now so fixated on finding fault with the First Minister and the Scottish Government that at Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing it seemed evident that, ahead of the publication of the report into care home deaths by Public Health Scotland, headlines had already been written condemning the transfer of patients from NHS hospitals into care homes.

Interrogators from across the spectrum of British television and newspapers queued up, in some instances quite rudely, to press incorrect interpretations of the report and wrongly label the move to reduce pressures on NHS hospitals – a move which was adopted across the UK – as a “scandal”, when the evidence of the report was that there was no significant statistical data to support such a pronouncement. In fact, the biggest “factor” identified by the report in the spread of coronavirus into care homes was not hospital discharges, whether patients tested or not, but the size of the care home itself.

What is a “scandal” is that the British media continue to turn a blind eye to the negligent operation of private care homes across the UK for the financial benefit of investors (among them offshore tax-avoidance vehicles of rich Tory Party donors) while poorly paid and inadequately protected staff are exploited and many of our most vulnerable elderly citizens continue to die ahead of their natural life expectancies.

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry, East Lothian

IT is interesting that the Unionist elite at Westminster and their hangers-on are trying as best they can to stop Scotland becoming independent.

Two recent opinion polls in the autumn showed that 49% of Labour voters and 52% of Conservative voters in England would be glad to see us go as we cost too much, many in England wish us well and others have no opinion. Why then do the Unionist elite try to stop us leaving when the majority in England do not care.

I have until recently thought it was about them not wanting to lose our wealth and resources but that is only part of the story, important though that is. The real reason is prestige. It is likely that a reduced UK would be challenged for its permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The UK would lose political status. Brexit means less economic status and stability.

Also Scotland is geographically key to Nato as we are in a position to monitor the North Atlantic. So if we leave the UK, they will lose some influence here also.

Then there is the use of Faslane for its hunter killer and Trident subs. Where do they go? These are Westminster’s real concerns over and above wealth.

The good point is that Scotland’s status will increase on the world stage when we are free once again, which in turn will help our economy.

We have a rosy future despite the fact our near neighbour will be diminished in its world status and economically even more knackered due to Brexit. Pity Brexit will affect us in the medium term.

Freedom, aye we can, they will not win.

Robert Anderson


I AM grateful for the responses today from those who sympathised with the points I made in my letter about the proliferation of independence-supporting parties, but wish to make clear to Julia Pannell that there was no “venom” behind my comments.

With regard to “has-beens”, I thought I had explained that term clearly, as referring to those who have previously held some position in the public eye. I am very much aware that, when no longer holding such a position, one of the wisest, but most difficult, things to do is to stand back and refrain from becoming involved, even when one’s successors seem to be reinventing the wheel, though on occasion opinion or advice may be sought.

The second point is that, when one divides 100 by two, the result is 50. Divide 100 by five and the result is 20.

The total of the turnout giving their votes to an independence party is finite, and therefore, if there are six or seven such parties, each inevitably will win a much smaller number of votes, in all likelihood insufficient to win a seat at all.

No venom in these points, just reality.

L McGregor


I NEED to reply to John McKenzie’s comments in Thursday’s edition.

I am not a member of a political party and have avoided becoming one, as I have no desire to become involved in the eternal squabbling and factionalism which seems to plague such organisations.

I first cast a vote for the SNP’s Stephen Maxwell in a local election in the 70s. I still vote SNP, but I am principally a member of the Yes movement. As such, I shall be casting my votes in the Holyrood ballot, as I have always done, SNP and Green.

I think J.McK makes a very bold statement when he asserts that the Yes movement is “UNDER the SNP”.

I think that I, and many others in the wider Yes movement, would prefer the SNP to be working with us in order to achieve the maximum number of indy MSPs in May, and then on to independence.

Gus McFadzen

via email

THE treatment of Jeremy Corbyn is a typical example of the reason the Labour Party have become so unpopular. Corbyn is a man of principle. He hasn’t got a prejudiced bone in his body. Antisemitic? I bet he and Bernie Sanders would be best pals if they had become PM and President. That really would have been a special relationship.

James Arthur