THE extent of Dominic Cummings’s influence in government revealed in Judith Duffy’s article on Sajid Javid’s evidence to the Covid Inquiry will perhaps come as a surprise to readers in Scotland (Cummings was prime minister ‘in all but name’, Nov 30). However when Boris Johnson – the man of words, who had spent his life in the media – fell silent and the UK Government didn’t take the initiative to inform, involve and seek the help of the public in the fight against the virus, something was clearly wrong.

Scots had only to compare the occasional briefings by the Prime Minister, with one or two soft questions from the media, with the First Minister’s daily presentations followed by open question-and-answer sessions from the probing media that evolved in Scotland.

I doubt if the population of any other country in the world had such an opportunity to learn more about every aspect of the fight against Covid as it happened during the pandemic than the Scots.

In fact, the fight against Covid was so well coordinated and integrated that on occasion the media had to be reminded that the experts from health, welfare, vaccination, police, military and other services were not there to represent the government, they were there to better explain to the public how services the length and breadth of Scotland were tackling the virus.

The Westminster government imploded under pressure and is still staggering around trying to find its feet, with the prospect of a similar regime taking over in the near future.

Let’s hope that the latest polls showing increasing support for independence are an indication that Scots are wakening up to the fact that Westminster’s only interest in Scotland is to maintain control over its natural assets.

John Jamieson

South Queensferry

HOW absurd to hear Matt Hancock talk “with hindsight” when any commonsense thinker at the time could have predicted that holding the Cheltenham Festival, boasting a draw of more than 200,000 visitors from throughout UK and beyond, was an obvious threat toward widespread distribution of infection. In view of the reputation garnered by the incumbent Prime Minister and his Cabinet since that time, what seems highly possible “with hindsight” is that “let’s go ahead and reap the consequences” was the undeclared policy.

Tom Gray


I WOULD like to thank Jim Taylor (Letters, Nov 28) for taking the time to read and consider my previous letter and, in the spirit of civilised debate, would like to answer some of his points.

I intended no implication anent possible election losses, which I suspect may already be factored into the expectations of anyone with a modicum of realism in their thinking. My point was exactly as stated, disgust and anger at such an obvious ego-trip in search of vengeance, no matter the cost to the cause of independence and the only party large enough to be our main vehicle. There is never anything but harm to all parties from washing dirty linen in public.

I cannot speak for Mr Grodynski, but personally I have long been frustrated, as have many of my fellow members and activists, by the hold of what Mr Taylor calls a “clique” over the previous administration, to the exclusion of other persons and groups who have had much to offer. In addition, the experience of my long life has taught me that a husband-and-wife team heading up any organisation eventually spells trouble. There are also actions and policies with which I disagree, and still feel that our best opportunity was missed when we were dragged out of the EU.

Meantime, I feel that Humza Yousaf needs time to deal with all the crises that awaited him and I am encouraged by the fact that he stood up to Westminster on safe drug rooms and forced Alister Jack to back down. I hope we may soon see more such moves. Unlike those, therefore, who have moved out to Alba, my commitment to independence overrides all other considerations and I will continue to cast my vote where it will best help to achieve my lifetime ambition.

Anent Mr Taylor’s other points, I agree wholeheartedly. We cannot rely on a majority of seats and so must persuade enough of those who are disillusioned or undecided to add their votes to achieve a majority of these. Exploring other routes too would be profitable. We must also convince doubters that history proves Labour have never yet fulfilled promises to Scotland, even blocking some of the Smith Commission proposals, and will have no need to this time, if they have a majority in England, since Scottish votes have only three times in nearly a century altered the final outcome.

I sincerely hope that Mr Taylor can overcome his disillusionment with the SNP and cast his vote where it will have most effect.

L McGregor


THE absence of analysis of “don’t knows” renders recent indy polls almost useless. It is the undecided, the non-committed, the waverers/potential waverers (not the very decided, one way or t’other – a single vociferous vote has no more value than a single non-passionate vote!) who will determine the outcome of any future indy “poll”.

All of this and more was covered in forensic detail by Robin McAlpine in Direction: A Realistic Strategy for Achieving Scottish Independence, published by Common Weal in October.

Without a strategy agreed by the wider indy movement, without detailed demographic analysis and engagement, with an incompetent SNP administration hogging the headlines, indy is currently no more than a New Year alcohol-induced fantasy? Matheson could respect the “61%” and resign; the story would be dead by Hogmanay?

Ian Davidson

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