I HAVE been a member of the SNP for more than a decade and I am naturally disposed to favour the Scottish Government’s handling of the Covid pandemic. I’ve been keenly aware, like most people, of the powers that Scotland hasn’t had to deal with the crisis. On the current quarantine policy, though, I think the Scottish Government has got it all quite wrong.

I’ve no doubt that the UK Government measures are far too lax. But I am also hearing Mark Drakeford, the Welsh FM, who believes that there is an effective and robust middle ground to be sought.

I understand that people who have been locked down in their homes will instinctively want to see the most stringent quarantine measures and find it hard to think

of others’ personal circumstances. We are all suffering because we haven’t been able to go anywhere for so long. At the same time sometimes people do need to travel because of family illnesses, deaths and other good reasons.

Recently we have seen someone coming from America detained, and then released into home quarantine because they passed through Dublin. That person – if I’m not wrong – was fully vaccinated against Covid a few weeks ago. (The US Centre for Disease Control says that such people don’t need to self-isolate even if they come into contact with someone who has Covid.)

It’s also the case the people coming from Taiwan and other places where there quite literally is no Covid at all need to go into hotel quarantine.

The science on this is going to change as time progresses and Scotland needs a policy that is robust, sensitive to individual circumstances and able to change as the science changes. If you are going to detain a person away from their own home and charge them £1750 for the privilege there had better be a real reason for it. That’s just natural justice.

It’s worth saying too that the World Health Organisation has said that mandatory quarantine – as a public health measure – should be funded from public health budgets.

Given the tiny volume of travel, is it beyond the capacity of the Scottish Government to perform a risk assessment of the situation for each returning resident? It would take into account where they have been, if they have been vaccinated and the route they have taken to get home. Then you decide what is the right quarantine measure. Isn’t that what we would all want if we needed to travel? Isn’t it what a member of our society might expect?

Maybe almost all passengers would end up in a quarantine hotel, but they would know their situation had been taken seriously.

Such a policy that would make news around the world for being both strong and humane. It would be realistic, proportionate and compassionate, and able to respond to changes in science. It would also help put a stop to the endless controversy and populist chuntering that is going on just now.

One last word… perhaps a change of tack might also allow the British government room to climb down, so there is a better outcome for us all and not just endless talk of “loopholes”.

JM Scott

WITH the continued support for Scottish independence – with the 21st poll in a row now showing a majority for Yes – it was interesting to see the projected SNP list vote hovering around the 40% mark. At this level it is unlikely the party will pick up many list seats, especially if it has won the vast majority of constituencies within a region.

This is important for two reasons. One, these polls don’t guarantee the SNP winning a single constituency seat. If the SNP don’t win as many as expected it would rely on list seats to ensure that it is the largest party, never mind winning a majority of the seats to become the government.

Secondly, the last-minute tampering of the list seat selection process by the SNP will put off many voters. I’ve a couple of disabled friends and they are appalled by

the SNP’s plan to allow list candidates to self-ID as disabled simply to cheat the party’s list process, to ensure they jump to the top of the party’s list.

I can’t believe this is a good idea. If it was, this whole process would have been announced at the start and genuinely disabled members could have put their names forward for selection but instead we now get some SNP candidates who have never claimed to be disabled before now making spurious claims about their alleged disability. Not only is this cheating the system, its an insult to those who are genuinely disabled.

As a long-term SNP supporter I will not vote SNP on the list because of this. I will still vote SNP for the constituency but won’t allow them to belittle people with genuine disabilities by this masquerade.

Duncan McIntosh

I THINK the SNP leadership is aware that they won’t win many (if any) list seats and are encouraging members and supporters to switch their list vote to other independence parties. Surely that must be the reason why they have been so ham-fisted in their approach to the list selection process, where HQ will decide who tops each regional list, based on whether they fit into either the BAME or disabled category– although each candidate is allowed to self-identify if they can fall into each category! This has to be a deliberate policy to stuff up the list vote.

John Fraser
Port Glasgow

EVERYONE is grateful for the steady progress in vaccinating Scotland’s people against Covid-19. As we receive our vaccines, could we help someone elsewhere to get theirs? Arm in Arm invites people to celebrate if you can by donating to the World Health Organisation Covid-19 Fund, which treats, vaccinates and supports people worldwide. The pandemic is global but so is our humanity.

Donald Smith