IT was with gratitude that I read both Lesley Riddoch’s column and Xander Elliards’s story on Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance before the Covid-19 inquiry this week.

This event was trailed and then reported on in such hysterically overblown terms that any sense of journalistic balance or fairness disappeared.

By the end of Ms Sturgeon’s evidence, the line of questioning and the atmosphere in the hearing room felt more like a Nazi war criminal trial.

The inquiry is presented as a fact-finding one so as to learn lessons for the future, not a criminal trial, but too often it felt otherwise. Both writers pointed out so many aspects of the evidence-gathering that were overlooked in the pursuit of uncovering “the hubris of Nicola Sturgeon”, and this should be addressed.

Vilifying any politician in this way – and every media outlet’s coverage I’ve seen is guilty of gross behaviour in this regard – is unacceptable. This kind of thing has led in the past to MPs being murdered!

And, by the by, to hear Alister Jack on the witness stand say he thought Ms Sturgeon could produce tears from a single eye if required was ungracious in the extreme and unworthy of a minister in the UK Government.

Iain Black


THE UK Covid inquiry certainly had the attention of Scotland for a wee while as it came to town. But there were some glaring anomalies, and some politicians who were nothing short of offensive in their evidence.

Many in government through the pandemic were called to give evidence and were questioned for hours: former first minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP for approximately five hours and the then health secretary Jeane Freeman for two-and-a-half. Quite extensive, I would suggest, and very emotional for those concerned to be re-living the pandemic.

During the pandemic, those of us living in Scotland were kept up to date as Ms Sturgeon, along with members of the Cabinet and health experts, gave the country daily updates. It must have been taxing for all concerned to face the country each day.

But the offensive comments came from the Conservative Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack MP, who incidentally was only questioned under oath for one hour and 20 minutes.

Despite the global emergency the Scottish Government was dealing with, Mr Jack made a derogatory statement regarding Ms Sturgeon’s emotional appearance at the Covid inquiry, saying he thought she could cry from one eye!

For the Secretary of State for Scotland to be making such derogatory comments, one can only assume the behaviour of his Conservative colleagues in Westminster during the pandemic is rubbing off. And incidentally, Mr Jack deleted all his Covid-related WhatsApp messages!

Catriona C Clark


SO Alister Jack says he “didn’t delete some of the messages – I deleted all of them ... because that created the capacity that allowed my phone to carry on”.

Why has he not been subjected to the same media witch-hunt as Nicola Sturgeon? Also, according to a Labour-supporting friend of mine, Alister Jack’s comment that Ms Sturgeon “could cry from one eye if she wanted to” is a personal attack and “has no place in politics”.

But what else can be expected from a Tory?

Paul Gillon

Baintown, Leven

I WAS so impressed by Lesley Riddoch’s insightful and balanced article regarding Nicola Sturgeon’s contribution to the Covid inquiry.

However, I don’t agree entirely that it will be down to the bereaved only to decide Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy. It will also be down to the many, many people in my age bracket who survived the Covid plague.

As an elderly person, I was so grateful that I lived in Scotland during that awful, scary time!

I and other friends found our hope and confidence in the leadership and tireless commitment of our then first minister. Thank you, Nicola Sturgeon!

Kate Reid


WEDNESDAY’S weather was pretty awful so I was able to stay at home and listen to the former first minister’s evidence to the UK Covid inquiry in full.

As I suspected might be the case, large amounts of time were spent dwelling on the sometimes trivial contents of texts, emails and WhatsApp messages. I waited in the forlorn hope that the inquiry chairperson might intervene at some point and ask the inquiry’s KC to move on to more relevant aspects of the actual pandemic.

The former first minister, as you would expect, put up a spirited and able defence of her and her government’s actions in what turned into an intensive six-hour public interrogation. In the final hour, questions appeared to evolve into a more personal and unhelpful attack on Ms Sturgeon’s motives.

It was left to a very short session of questions led by a representative of the Covid bereaved to raise the very difficult subject of transfers into care homes.

No doubt lessons need to be learned but I do not really see what else will be added to the pool of current knowledge by interrogating the same witnesses and further questioning their basic motives at a Scottish inquiry.

Brian Lawson


AS an SNP member, can I take the opportunity to thank Patrick Harvie for being the only panellist on Question Time to speak up for Scotland. He was articulate and persuasive and he has the values that reflect the independence movement in our country.

The anti-SNP bias was clear to see again on the BBC. We will need to stay strong and together to fight the Unionist lies and propaganda.

Robert Allan