IT is bad enough to have to endure the constantly misleading propaganda, “fake news” and sometimes plain lies presented by the BBC and much of the mainstream media, without opening The National at the letters pages to read more selective comments and derogatory remarks about the First Minister and the Scottish Government.

Certainly neither should be beyond objective criticism, even from within the independence movement, but Greum Maol Stevenson (who states that he or she is an SNP member) appears to have unquestioningly accepted Tory-inspired soundbites.

To claim that the Prime Minister and the UK Government have responded “more skilfully and sensibly” to the pandemic than the First Minister and the Scottish Government (with limited powers) betrays the fact that the Covid-19 toll of those who passed away within 28 days of returning a positive test in England is considerably higher per head of population than in Scotland. 40% higher equates to tens of thousands of precious lives lost.

READ MORE: Scotland sees almost 6000 new Covid cases as hospital admissions continue to rise

It was the UK Government that prematurely relaxed restrictions, leading to the emergence of the Alpha (Kent) variant that led to the majority of coronavirus deaths in both countries to date, and it was the UK Government that allowed the Delta (Indian) variant to rapidly invade the UK and create the current high infection rates in both countries.

The earlier opening of schools in Scotland relative to the vaccination roll-out has probably contributed to a “temporary aberration” of higher infection rates here, but while the later opening of schools in England may be helping to suppress the numbers currently infected and hospitalised, the numbers of people dying or suffering from the debilitating effects of Long Covid will regrettably continue to rise.

Of course none of the above should distract from the gross incompetence and the blatant cronyism and corruption which have been the hallmarks of the UK Government throughout the pandemic.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

ON reading the letter by Greum Maol Stevenson I had to read it again to be certain that what I had read was not in my imagination. I was appalled by what I read. The letter effectively refers to Scotland as a region not a country (the country of Scotland is all the people of Scotland), but implies that the United Kingdom is a country. The United Kingdom is not a country and never will be.

He/she also claims to be a member of the SNP – well so am I (for almost 47 years).

Michael Follon

JUDGING by the theme of Friday’s letter, the onslaught on the Scottish Government by the London-based parties in Holyrood appears to have got to Greum Moal Stevenson. He/she should remember that these parties do not want Scotland to perform better than the UK in any way.

In reality, after the first eight years of devolved government the “best small country in the world” had six more council houses and £1.5 billion of immediately available Scottish funds in the bank. The Labour and LibDem coalition couldn’t find anything that could benefit from more investment.

The selective comparison of Scottish regions with countries is like comparing chalk and cheese.

READ MORE: Teaching unions warn over Covid school closures with record cases

The pandemic is far from over, and Scotland is currently subject to a spike in Covid infections, but at time of writing the whole pandemic infections rate per 100,000 for Scotland is 89 compared to Northern Ireland – 113, England – 109 and Wales – 96.

Ambulance performance statistics are not directly comparable but, as the London-based parties must know, some of the C3 and C4 figures in England are also hitting the five- and six-hour mark at the moment.

Look behind the opposition headlines and you will discover that the Scottish Government is not doing nothing; its action on Covid has proved to be the best so far.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

I AGREE with Iain Wilson (Letters, Aug 28) that waiting times for A&E attention are not satisfactory, and our government is well aware of the problem as it publishes figures regularly. However, from what he writes I assume that he has never served in government, either local or national, for if he had he would know the lobbying politicians have to deal with from all manner of single-interest pressure groups.

Mental health services for children desperately need more staff. There is an acute shortage of midwives. More nurses and other health professionals are required to fill vacant posts.

READ MORE: Scottish hospitals' waiting time performance hits record low for fourth week

Away from health issues there is a climate emergency to address, and so little time to reverse a frightening trend. There is a growing problem with food supplies caused solely by Boris’s barmy Brexit. Our railways were neglected by UK governments for decades and now urgently need modernising – what percentage of our population use trains every day compared with the number using A&E?

I would never want to be a politician in the Scottish Government having to juggle with all these priorities, handicapped as it is by London holding onto 40% of Scotland’s annual income. If Iain really wants to see a dramatic improvement, I urge him to join the fight for independence; and stop watching BBC news!

Richard Walthew