Letters, July 31 2020

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More balanced local politicians?

Councillor Alastair Redman’s blind hatred of the SNP leads him to absurdities beyond parody.

He must know the First Minister has an approval rating in the UK, not only Scotland, 90 per cent above that of his beloved Johnson, the SNP is on course to take the great majority of the constituency seats in the next Holyrood election and independence is now the consistent majority view in opinion polls.

It is manifestly not the case that the Scottish public believes the pandemic has been mishandled in Scotland. It equally clearly is the case that Johnson is widely perceived as having handled matters badly. Yet Redman rants and stamps.

Worse, you give him the space to do it. My anger is rapidly being transferred to the Courier for indulging him and giving him the publicity he craves.

At least last week, for a change, you did not carry another puff piece with a photograph of him. Can you not find more balanced local politicians to write in?

Tony Williams, Angry Old Man, Muasdale.

Plumbed new depths

Alastair Redman’s weekly campaign to keep his name in front of the public via your columns has plumbed new depths (Letters, July 24) in his attempt to smear the Scottish Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Everyone was shielding at the start of this. If anyone was included in the actual shielding category erroneously, was that not at least safer than them not being included? Was it not better to be safe than sorry, especially in the face of such a damaging and deadly threat?

At the start of the crisis, the leader of the Scottish unionists promised in the Scottish Parliament not to politicise it. That promise was quickly broken, though not by the First Minister, whose vow not to do so has been kept. She has given many a journalist a flea in their ear for asking politically motivated questions at her daily briefings and easily seen off constant attacks by the Tories in the parliament chamber.

If Mr Redman wants to politicise it, he would do well to have a long hard look at the chaos and shambles his party has made of it in the rest of the UK.

Thank God they had no chance to do similar damage in Scotland.

William Crossan, Campbeltown.

Cost of EU withdrawal

The European Council, after one of the longest summits in EU history, recently agreed that, alongside its almost one trillion pound 2021-2027 budget, the Commission will borrow more than £680 billion in the financial markets.

This aims to assist member states’ recovery from Covid-19 and will include more than  £350 billion in grants.

The Economic Recovery Package includes grants for rural areas and the higher education sector, as well as environmental projects.

Allocations are based on the projected economic harm resulting from Covid and Scotland may have received in the region of £5.4 billion.

By contrast, the UK Government has allocated only £3.7 billion to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As an independent member of the EU, Scotland would clearly have been a major beneficiary from such an arrangement and yet again the UK’s withdrawal from the EU continues to cost us dearly.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Take a step in the right direction

We’ve all felt the strain of lockdown these past few months, which means looking after our physical and mental health is extremely important.

At the British Heart Foundation (BHF), we see it as our responsibility to help people to keep their hearts healthy, which is why we are asking the nation to take on our new ‘step challenge’ now lockdown has eased.

A brisk 20 to 30 minute walk each day is a simple way to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week and can also help improve sleep, reduce stress levels and boost energy.

My Step Challenge has been designed by BHF cardiac nurses so is suitable for all fitness levels, including those with heart and circulatory conditions.

It is a great way to increase your daily steps whilst raising vitals funds for the BHF’s life saving research.

Like many charities, the coronavirus crisis has devastated our income, costing us around £10 million a month. We are urging the public to #BackTheBHF and help the millions of people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases.

Research suggests people with these conditions are at higher risk of complications from Covid-19, meaning our work has never been more important.

Visit our website www.bhf.org.uk/mystepchallenge to find out more about how to improve your heart health and sign up to My Step Challenge.

Barbara Kobson, senior cardiac nurse, British Heart Foundation.

‘Unacceptable’ treatment of social care workers

It is unacceptable for the government to sidestep the issue of social care workers’ pay with last week’s announcement of a public sector pay rise that won’t include them.

Care workers are here to care and have been a stalwart of the Covid-19 front line. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, professional care home staff have continued to provide care under the most challenging circumstances.

They – like their amazing colleagues in health – have done this with compassion, providing a lifeline for the most vulnerable across communities.

This has never been a low-skilled job and should never again be consigned as a low paid role.

We need the government to act now to ensure every care worker is recognised and rewarded for their extraordinary work.

Vic Rayner, executive director, National Care Forum.