I CANNOT be the only person for whom the likes of Virgin (in all its guises) squealing for UK Government (aka UK taxpayers) to bail it out due to coronavirus is both insulting and disgusting.

Given Mr Branson’s personal wealth, stashed away in offshore tax havens, I would suggest it is up to Mr Branson and his fellow oligarchs to bail out their own businesses, with their own cash, before turning to the hapless UK taxpayer.

UK taxpayer resources should primarily be used to resource the NHS across the UK to deal effectively with any serious outbreak, raise UK sick pay to a sensible level, raise basic pensions and protect the major employer in the UK: small and medium-sized businesses.

All this must happen before the oligarchs like Branson get a single penny.

Since it is the UK Prime Minister’s line that only the fittest in the UK human herd will survive the virus outbreak, it makes perfect sense to say the same about the UK oligarchs and their businesses.

This, of course, will not happen because the Tories rely on the self same oligarchs to fund them and keep them in power.

The UK is now run for the benefit of the oligarchs and politicians; therefore it is, by any dictionary definition, a fascist state.

The big question remains: just how much longer must we, in Scotland, play by the rules of the Tory fascists in London?

Peter Thomson



IN the mid-1800s my great grandfather was Inspector of the Poor for two parishes in the Black Isle, and responsible for the “shilling a week” which kept some destitute families alive. Accounts of the social deprivation were handed down to me at granny’s knee but can now be a salutary read online (google “poor law”).

Thankfully a much more complex system of support is being offered as the result of a financial crash already waiting in the wings but now induced by a virus. Behind the current disruption to life we will, however, see mega wealth flow into even fewer hands.

Please take an overview: Boar War, diamonds, spears versus rifles; the Great War, tanks versus trenches; 39/45, TNT versus an atomic bomb. Our present civilisation has much to offer, but steps must be taken to separate the power of wealth from the trigger of hydrogen weapons.

Scotland must leaves the Westminster rat race as soon as possible and design a sane form of political behaviour. The world will be watching.

Iain R Thomson



NOBODY really knows how this crisis will work out. The coronavirus epidemic, fuelled by conflicting and evolving government advice and media messages (traditional and social), has got many of us into a state of unparalleled mass hysteria. So although Ian Johnstone’s comments that letter columns may alleviate social isolation I’m afraid they could also add to the problem!

For every decision we make there’s a plus but also a negative side. By debating this crisis over and over we are in fact just adding to the frenzy. Nae bog rolls! Only when it’s all over will we know what was right and wrong. Obviously we should all try to do our bit. The government is finding money!

There are nice things happening everywhere but what really infuriates me is that prior to the pandemic the government didn’t do the same to fight drug deaths, homelessness, food banks. Didn’t do the same to curb the all-powerful oil companies that are destroying the planet. But now that we are ALL affected we are all called to solve it. Just like it was when Joe Soap solved the banking crisis.

And no doubt when it’s all behind us the government will revert back to indulging the privileged and forgetting the people who got them out of this mess! Hopefully I’m wrong.

Robin MacLean

Fort Augustus


THE National has reported new emergency laws being introduced to include allowing “police or immigration officers” to detain people “for a limited period” if there are fears the person could be infected with coronavirus. Yet such a person (who fears he may be infected) is being told that his symptoms should not be notified to the NHS, at least not for the first seven days.

This is bizarre. Either an illness is notifiable or it is not. If it is, do our leaders say the potential patient should be phoning the police to confess symptoms if NHS 111 do not want to know? Will he be tested, treated or prosecuted? Would the resource being deployed to the police in this instance not be better spent on a clinical test?

C Walker

via email


SURELY even the rabid Rule Britannia brigade look around them now and concede that the panic-loo-roll-buying Brits are not the ones who built an empire or defeated Hitler. Continuing with Brexit now that Covid-19 has brought home a few serious truths is like going ahead with unprotected sex with a stranger when you know about HIV. Covid-19 will cleanse the US of Trump it must do the same for Brexit. Any politician of any party with a backbone, step forward. You’re on.

Amanda Baker



IT’S all about “demand”, NOT “need”, is an extra lesson for our young people after their schools have closed. The desperate shortage of alcohol needed to make hand sanitiser has kicked into action free-market economics – namely the greater folks’ need for an essential, the greater the price demanded by the seller. So when teachers get around to explaining our economy to their students after classes resume, I hope they will point out how it has absolutely nothing to do with fairness. Only profit.

Kors Allan