Readers letters: Attention switches as Covid rates fall

"Blaming the app rather than reckless government also provides convenient cover for staff shortages and supply-chain problems caused by Brexit.”

Monday, 26th July 2021, 7:00 am
UK chief trade negotiator, David Frost looks on as Boris Johnson signs the Brexit trade deal

Attention switches as Covid rates fall

Only a few weeks ago, the news media was obsessed by Covid case-rates, splashing headlines about Scotland featuring in Europe’s “top-ten hotspots”.

Douglas Ross took every opportunity to slam the “shameful record” and “critical failures” of the Scottish government.

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Now, as case-rates fall in Scotland while soaring in England, the media, conveniently for Downing Street, is obsessed by a “pingdemic” rather than its cause: vastly increased social interaction due to a premature relaxation of restrictions and a constant noise from the PM about “Freedom Day”.

Blaming the app rather than reckless government also provides convenient cover for staff shortages and supply-chain problems caused by Brexit

For example, there was already a 15 per cent shortage of truck-drivers due to EU nationals leaving the workforce. Just occasionally, because they are never asked, an industry spokesperson mentions the Brexit effect.

The head of the Two Sisters Food Group, a major player in the poultry trade, said that the “pingdemic” had “masked” the underlying problems and predicted major food shortages in the UK.

Chickens coming home to roost, it seems.

Robert Farquharson, Lee Crescent, Edinburgh.

Brexit legacy

The UK government (HMRC/ONS) published trade figures for the last quarter of 2020 prior to leaving the Single Market and Customs Union and during the second wave of the Covid pandemic, showing England had a trade deficit of -55 per cent while Scotland had a surplus of +25 per cent.

With a hard border down the middle of the English Channel, Brexit, which is English independence in all but name, has led to increased costs and delays, putting our farming and fishing communities at an extreme disadvantage.

There is a nationwide shortage of HGV drivers with the Road Haulage Association estimating up to 100,000. Retailers and suppliers are struggling to transport goods, even around the UK.

The Scottish Association for Marine Science is conducting research into the impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic on the seafood sector. During the years 2016-19, three quarters of Scottish seafood was exported to the EU.

It will be interesting to compare trade figures for 2021, to establish the effect on Scottish exports post-Brexit, now that Liz Truss, the UK International Trade Secretary claims Scottish businesses are excited about Brexit.

DW Lowden, Aberdeen.

Concert concern

I was sad to hear the virulent remarks about the classical concerts to be performed at the Edinburgh Academy playing fields.

Spare a thought for the musicians who have been unable to perform during the pandemic, except rarely online, and will have been forced to take cuts in their often meagre salaries.

These residents are mostly the privileged well off. To have to put up with temporary noise inconvenience and help their fellow human beings seems a small price to pay.

They should be grateful that these are not pop groups performing as has been the case at Murrayfield Stadium in the past.

Elizabeth Sudlow, Craigleith View, Edinburgh.

Pothole power

Reading some of the readers’ comments about potholes (News, July 21), people say it is not SNP’s fault as it is a local council responsibility. Do they not realise it is SNP who are in control at Edinburgh Council, so it is their responsibility?

Sheila Kenny, Edinburgh.