Sir, – I am very angry about the BBC stopping their broadcasting of the Scottish Government’s daily Covid updates.
They have been my main source of information about the pandemic and what is expected of the Scottish population in controlling the disease.
I think that Nicola Sturgeon has been perceived as being extremely competent in her handling of this horrible crisis.
Having said that, compared to the haphazard and chaotic manner that Boris Johnson/Dominic Cummings have dealt with things from Westminster, it would not be too difficult to appear as competent.
The only logical reason that the BBC has stopped the coverage is that the Conservative/unionist parties have put pressure on the Beeb.
I have written a letter of complaint to my local MP asking her to use her influence in Westminster to reverse this decision on behalf of her constituents.
I urge for all people who have relied on the daily Covid coverage to also write to their political representatives.
It is predicted that next month could see a big increase in Covid infections fuelled by the beginning of the flu season.
Then daily updates will be more necessary than ever.
20 Mid Street,
Troubling consequences for human rights
Sir, – The possibility of the UK Government breaking international law by unilaterally changing provisions of the EU Withdrawal Agreement is far from “welcome” (‘Change other agreements too’, Letters, September 10).
It sends a troubling message that risks undermining the government’s international legal commitments and its support for a rules-based international order.
This could also have far reaching consequences for the UK.
Human rights are much more than “sound moral principles”, they are universal and underpin a just and fair society.
Recently the Scottish Government introduced a Bill incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into law in Scotland, thanks to the hard work of children, young people, and organisations who have campaigned for this change for more than 10 years.
The UNCRC is an international human rights treaty offering protection for all aspects of children’s rights – something we should all celebrate. The Refugee Convention remains relevant today as people are forced to flee their homes for reasons including warfare, persecution and, increasingly, climate change.
Scotland has a long tradition of welcoming the most vulnerable people seeking safety.
Amnesty surveys public opinion on human rights issues on a regular basis.
These reveal a clear and consistent support for human rights in the UK and around the world.
A final word on the International Criminal Court (ICC) – it exists to investigate and prosecute people suspected of the most serious crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and enforced disappearances.
No one from the British Armed Forces has been referred to the ICC, but I hope we can all agree if crimes against humanity have been committed anywhere in the world, those responsible should be prosecuted to achieve justice for the victims.
Japan trade deal is really nothing
Sir, – The trade deal the UK Government has announced with Japan has been heralded as the UK’s “first major trade deal as an independent trading nation”, a symbol of the clout of “global Britain”.
The full details have not yet been released at time of writing, but it’s already clear the agreement largely replicates the contents of the tariff-reducing deal that the European Union concluded with Japan in 2018.
For UK firms trading with Japan this is not some kind of surge forward, but simply largely replicating what was already in place. And while the government announcement highlights potential gains to the UK economy of £1.5 billion over the long term, that represents less than 0.1% of our economy.
Moreover, this is a gain relative to a future in which the UK had no trade deal with Japan, not relative to the UK’s current position as a participant in the EU-Japan deal.
Britain’s total trade with Japan in 2018 amounted to £29bn, while our trade with the rest of the European Union, by contrast, was £650bn. So as a trading partner the EU is 20 times more important.
When one considers the 0.1% of GDP support from this Japan trade deal, don’t forget that the UK Government estimate that the long-term damage of a no-deal Brexit would be around 7.5% of GDP.
With the disastrous events of last week in the EU trade talks, this trade deal with Japan is paltry in economic terms when compared with the looming threat of a no-deal Brexit.
2 Marchmont Road,
We need to look at hospital use
Sir, – As one of those who voted for the closure of the Wellesley Unit at Randolph Wemyss Hospital, I was reminded of visiting my father there some years ago.
While he was in his final weeks and hours, he wasn’t ill and wasn’t receiving any treatment. He was being cared for – well cared for – but in the clinical setting of a hospital ward.
He had no connection with Levenmouth but that’s where the system had assigned him a place.
It’s important to remember that this isn’t the closure of the hospital or even of any part of the hospital that’s public-facing.
It’s not like out-of-hours or A&E. You can’t just turn up there, any more than you can just turn up at a particular ward in the Vic.
It’s a small cog in a very big machine and an unusual cog at that.
The rest of the hospital sees patients who arrive and depart same day. This 10-bed unit is the only part that’s occupied at night.
Nor is there any argument about closure. There will soon be no medical cover and the unit will not be able to function.
The debate is around what to do next.
Morag Lindsay’s recent Saturday Journal in The Courier said “The NHS is an evolving entity, which must always seek out new and more efficient ways of providing care to a growing and ageing population” and she’s right.
We should be looking for a better alternative rather than arguing to put back what was there.
In 1961, I was admitted to the old Orthopaedic Hospital in Kirkcaldy for foot surgery that had been years in the planning.
It was done quickly but I spent four weeks in a hospital bed, stookied up to the knees and bored rigid, as the bones set.
Nowadays, I’d have been out in no time.
We’ve realised that there’s no intrinsic merit in being in hospital.
Absolutely the right place for anyone needing the treatment that only a hospital can provide but not somewhere to linger in.
We need to look forward, not back.
Cllr Dave Dempsey.
Councillor for North Queensferry, Inverkeithing, Dalgety Bay & Aberdour,
Member, Health & Social Care Partnership Integrated Joint Board.