WITH regard to Greg Russell and his exclusive about air ionisers: during my time as a Royal Army Medical Corps medic, I spent time on the staff of the High Dependency Unit at the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot. One of the items of electrical equipment, which was left permanently running, was a little machine, not unlike in appearance a small fan heater.

This machine, we were told, was an “ozone generator”. We medics, of course, thought it was just a bit of kit which reduced the very unpleasant smells which inhabit units like this one. But no, we were told, there was an anti-microbial benefit to ozone and this machine was helping keep the bugs down. This was in the 70s.

So when Pete Gavin started campaigning for the usage of negative ion ionisers as a weapon in the fight against Covid, I, for one, saw the validity of his argument – but was surprised by the legion of nay-sayers who, without any solid evidence, dismissed his advocacy!

Much of this dismissal ran down the “this has not been scientifically adjudged and proven” route.

Now, given that the cost of a negative ion ioniser runs at about £60, I would have said that if it’s possible but not conclusively proven that it helps, why not use it?

Imagine a board of inquiry investigating the sinking of a ship carrying a cargo of expanding foam insulating material. The ship has been seriously holed after hitting a rock. The vessel’s master is answering questions.

“Was there any material onboard which you could have used to plug the hole, Captain?”

“Well yes; there was the expanding home insulation foam, but because it hasn’t been scientifically proved as a ship’s survival aid, we couldn’t deploy it, so the ship sank.”

Given the increased rampancy of the new coronavirus strain, wouldn’t it be wise to employ anything which might reduce its potency?

May I conclude with my long-time acquired cynicism which has me believe, when I read from Greg’s article, “a Scottish Government spokesperson”, followed by, “though there are no plans for the SLWG to meet again, we will continue to monitor the situation”, is just polit-speak for an assured inertia on the matter?

What are they using as a monitor? Not a negative ion ioniser, obviously!

Ned Larkin


GIVEN our assured position as treasured equals in this best of all possible Unions, we should be able to look forward to our fair share (no more, no less) of the coronavirus vaccines as they increasingly come on stream.

I sincerely hope that our responsible ministerial staff at Holyrood and the involved clinical personnel at national level in Scotland are keeping the closest of eyes on this even-handed distribution.

If, in their chewin’ o’ the fat, for example, I were to hear Johnson or Gove state that supplies are to be directed primarily to “areas of greatest need”, my nostrils would immediately flare out in true Karen Dunbar fashion.

Or am I just an old cynic?

Ian Duff


AS the UK excess death rate over the last ten months of the pandemic is higher than the yearly average of the military and civilian casualty deaths in the second world war, might it be salient for the Queen to seek Boris’ opinion on a National government as happened during the war?

M Ross