Blog: Brexit and coronavirus are being used as covers for stifling of Scotland – The National

I DO realise the word “righteousness” is rarely used in today’s politics. It usually manifests itself by describing the opposition as being unrighteous and unreasonable.

They employ their tactics under the smokescreen of Brexit, the pandemic and economic downturn. “This is not the time” is the latest call to pull together to save the Union. They would appear to be spending 50% of their efforts to tackle the virus. It appears to me much of their focus is to establish strategies to undermine our growing movement for independence. I only hope we too have plans not just to counter their moves, but to also go on the offensive.

Clearly Nicola is acting righteously in tackling the virus and our move for independence, but I also hope we are ready to pounce on various fronts. Not to just act honourably, but with some teeth. If we have learned anything from being under Westminster rule for so long, it is that they say anything to remain in power and do anything to retain donations from big business and retain their privileged positions. They turn a blind to tax avoidance, offshore accounts, tax loopholes etc. Instead they retain a monopoly and make the populace work for them.

In Scotland it’s so different. Politics is more moral, it’s more about the environment, equality, freeing groups from oppression, maintaining and developing the NHS, encouraging fair play, ensuring everyone’s wellbeing, fighting poverty. We must be prepared not just to defend our rights, but to improve them. I only hope we have a few tricks up our sleeves.

We and many other parts of the UK are being clearly manipulated by Westminster, but we in Scotland are also increasingly recognising the virtue of righteousness and the right of self-determination. The polls recognise this. Great exciting times await the Scottish people. Holyrood, let’s not dither – make it soon!

Robin MacLean

Fort Augustus

AS we mark World Mental Health Day today in one of the most critical years in recent history, we have the opportunity and duty to raise awareness of mental health problems and the implications they have across society. We have been advocating for years that mental health should be regarded on a par with physical health, and given the current focus on public health, we cannot help but wonder why that is still not the case.

The rise in mental health problems has previously been labelled as a modern-day pandemic and one of the greatest public health challenges of our times. In the UK alone, one in four people experience problems with mental health, and the costs of ill mental health surpass £105 billion every year. Nevertheless, we do not seem to regard a mental health crisis as severe as the one brought by Covid-19.

Mental health problems are even more worrying when they concern the mental fitness of our younger generations and how we are preparing them to face the growing challenges of entering adulthood. One in ten youngsters had experienced a mental health problem before Covid-19 struck, and this number is expected to rise dramatically due to the pandemic. Mental health services will inevitably face an overwhelming and unprecedented pressure, which could potentially lead to a lost generation of vulnerable children and young people who are missing out on the support they vitally need.

This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is mental health for all. Against the perfect storm of a mental health crisis combining with a global pandemic, we must not lose sight of the challenges that the most vulnerable members of society face and place our efforts in indeed ensuring that adequate mental health support for all our children is provided.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition: Tom McGhee, chairman, Spark of Genius; Kenny Graham, principal, Falkland House School; Niall Kelly, managing director, Young Foundations; Lynn Bell, CEO, LOVE learning

THE so-called Great Barrington Declaration by a group of scientists states that all suppression of Covid-19 should be abandoned with regard to young people and that elderly people should be shielded. This is playing with people’s lives.

Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist from Yale University, is quoted this week in The Guardian as saying: “This was about culling the herd of the sick and disabled. It’s grotesque.” The same article by Iain Semple quotes Professor William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, saying that allowing the coronavirus to spread amongst the young could leave many young people with major health problems.

The proposed herd immunity strategy is doomed to fail, is inhuman, and should be abandoned.

Sean Clerkin


I WAS never a great fan of TV or films like Game of Thrones. I have long since grown out of fairy tales and the legends of King Arthur with his knights around a table. I can just about take Braveheart, with all its historical inaccuracies, and tall tales of Rob Roy and his clansman thieving cattle in the glens. History lessons of Henry VIII and Charles I leave me cold.

The last time I looked the year was 2020, not 1320. It’s bad enough that failed politicians and the elderly so-called great and good sit in the House of Lords, the nicest, and best-paid geriatric care home in the country. There should certainly be no place in a so-called modern democracy for ex-cricketers to lord over us and help shape our laws for the rest of their lives. The recent installation of Baron Botham, of Ravensworth in the county of North Yorkshire, to the House of Lords is a scandal.

Brian Lawson


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