I HAVE watched much of the broadcast of the UK Covid inquiry currently under way in Edinburgh. However, from what I have seen so far there seems to be an undue interest in and concentration on, for example, the contents of mainly trivial WhatsApp messages between, in effect, work colleagues.

I have no doubt that many of us share the former First Minister’s views on the former UK Prime Minister, and frankly I do not care very much what some Scottish Government advisors thought of various Tory MSPs.

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I can only hope that the evidence of the former First Minister and others in the coming days might concentrate more on the real issues and answer some of the fundamental questions arising from the pandemic. I would be far more interested in learning the thinking, if there was any, behind some of the major decisions taken during the pandemic. The swift transfer of patients from hospital to care homes without testing comes top of that list.

It is very unfortunate that, having made very public promises to make all correspondence in all formats available to the inquiry, this now seems impossible for various reasons. I sadly am reminded of the old excuse “the dog ate my homework”, or in these current cases “the dog ate my smartphone”.

I certainly do not look forward to a repeat performance by the main cast of characters when it comes to them giving presumably much the same depressing evidence to much the same questions at the Scottish version of the Covid inquiry.

Brian Lawson

THE answer to Judith Duffy’s question “What else can we learn from the Covid inquiry?” is far from clear at the moment.

The absence of WhatsApp messages from Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Alister Jack and the clamour over trivia in the media has taken the inquiry off course and generated public suspicion that perhaps any hope of candour from witnesses has already fallen by the wayside.

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Will the inquiry ever get around to investigating serious and tangible issues such as why there were substantial differences between the actual and expected mortality rates in the over-60s in Scotland and England, revealed in the World Health Organisation’s report “Estimated number of deaths directly averted in people 60 years and older as a result of Covid-19 vaccination in the WHO European Region, December 2020 to November 2021”?

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

WHAT’S up with WhatsApp? I guess the obsession with Covid WhatsApp messaging has some foundation. It’s mainly because Tories have “lost their messages”. We suspect evidence of their disrespect of life and financial corrupt dealings with chums were in there.

However – and I write from personal experience – when dealing with integrity with a set of very complex, difficult issues, decision-makers need private space. Space to assimilate, consult and consider. Even space to let off steam and be irreverent. The end products are better-informed decisions and their communication.

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Nicola and Jason and the rest of the principals in Scotland excelled at that, although they do admit they weren’t perfect. Lawyers spot the opportunity to weaken respondents and love that level of detail. The media seize on it with relish for their own legitimate or illegitimate agendas. But it’s really raw chat, and should be respected as that.

Allan Burnett

REGARDING Craig Cockburn’s letter “Should Yes movement switch to being a civil rights movement?” (Jan 26), at least this is a path that does not rely on UK Government cooperation, and many other countries have done the same to get their independence back.

The UN accepts that the basic issue is the existence and rights of “peoples”, and on that ground Scotland obviously qualifies. The rational case for normal Scottish democracy should be recognised on that basis.

The SNP cannot find a legal political solution to our position, and going to the Supreme Court further confirmed the UK Government position. The SNP/Alba parties are stuck, and cannot take any legal political solution to further our independence cause. They have probably known this since 2015, hence no action taken.

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Scotland is a country but not an independent state, as it exists within the framework/political union of the UK. All “peoples” have the right of self-determination. The sovereignty of the people is the basis of the right to self-determination, and laid down in international law. Peoples, not government or legislators, expressly hold this right.

A convention of the people of Scotland – it cannot be led by a political party or government – must form a movement, a people’s movement, liberation movement, civil rights movement, of the Yes Movement and more, and with a substantial majority Scottish democracy should be recognised.

Take our case to the UN and pursue our inalienable right of self-determination as guaranteed under international law. It’s a path that does not need London’s cooperation and is in our own hands.

Michael Maclennan

REGARDING Adam Robertson’s article “Writers get warmed up for literary festival” (Jan 27). Scotland does not have a poet laureate, we have a Makar. Jackie Kay was Scotland’s Makar, just as Kathleen Jamie is the current Makar.

It’s bad enough we have to put up with “British” being slapped on everything from eggs and pears to the Co-op eclairs but please, Mr Robertson, do not meddle with our Makar.

M Forsyth