Readers' letters: Ian Murray is shooting at the wrong target

"Managed by private company Serco and run from national call centres, the system failed to find many infected cases.”

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 7:00 am
The UK government's test and trace application displayed on a handheld device
The UK government's test and trace application displayed on a handheld device

Ian is shooting at the wrong target

Ian Murray can’t resist a Scottish government ‘bad’ story. The trouble is, he’s wrong again (News, July 1).

Scotland’s Test and Protect system continues to work well. Despite the fall in the number of people contacted within 24 hours after the Euro 2020 football infection surge, Scotland is still contacting 86 per cent of cases within 72 hours, comfortably beating the WHO target of 80 per cent.

If Ian wants to talk about gross negligence, he needs to look no further than the failed NHS England Test and Trace service that cost taxpayers £37 billion, £10 billion less than the entire NHS salary bill.

A five per cent pay rise for all NHS England staff, as opposed to the miserly one per cent offered to nurses, would cost just £1.7 billion.

Managed by private company Serco and run from national call centres, the system failed to find many infected cases, failed to reach the asymptomatic and failed to act in time. It continues to fail to support, test contacts and to backward trace.

According to the BMJ, the system was designed by an authoritarian government that sidelined medical and scientific expertise. It is calling for a serious public enquiry and suspects criminal activity.

If Ian and Sir Keir had any sense, they’d attack the real culprit, the Tory government.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Merchiston Crescent, Edinburgh.

Why football is not coming home

What an absolute treat for football fans this Euro 2020 has turned out to be. Even my usually bored-out-her-mind-with-football wife has been caught up in at all.

This past week we had England and Germany in a grim battle that England edged and Switzerland beat the World Champions France in a thriller. Switzerland has a population similar to that of Scotland and Belgium and Croatia, but the difference is that the European countries are not run by people who are obsessed by a neighbouring nation and grievance-ridden and most there are happy within their own skins.

Why cannot Scotland, with all its passion for the game, reach these levels? The problem here at home is in great part psychological. It is exemplified by the dirge- like ‘’Flower of Scotland,’’ commemorating those Scots who fought and died in a battle fought many centuries ago. To join successful small countries and their sporting achievements, Scotland has to throw off this chip on the shoulder attitude and begin to look outward and upward rather than inward and down.

We should not be resentful of or dislike anyone. Then we can join the Switzerlands and Croatias and Belgiums of this world.

Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh.

Ineos plant closure is proving very costly

The forced closure of the Ineos plant at Grangemouth is a 30 per cent hit to Scottish GDP or an annual £50 billion a year loss of income.

The replacement of gas (4p/unit) with renewable energy (16p/unit) is a £40 billion a year increase in energy costs which explains why a paper at the World Forum on Climate Justice states that “renewable energy is too expensive for Scottish consumers, hence the bill must be paid by the taxpayer.” To date, the First Minister has yet to adopt such a policy!

There is also the £150 billion debt arising from the implementation of the paper by the Climate Emergency Response Group although, once more, there has been no explanation as to how this debt will be repaid.

Surely time for Holyrood to match the Swiss in outlining the costs of implementing COP26.

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.