I DO not agree with Kevin McKenna that Novak Djokovic was unfairly deported from Australia (“The hounding of Djokovic is unjust and sanctimonious”, The Herald, January 17). Mr McKenna considers that this was a “first case of being considered guilty of an assumed future offence”.
It seems very clear that Djokovic had already committed two significant and serious offences: first, he appeared in public and mixed freely with many people, including children, in the days following his positive Covid test. Secondly, he made a false statement on his visa application form (saying that he had not travelled abroad in 14 days prior to visiting Australia). This latter misdemeanour is in itself sufficient grounds for any country to refuse entry, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic.
Nick Mackay, Stirling.
* FIRST, may I congratulate Kevin McKenna on yet again writing a strong, thought-provoking article. As usual, I both agree and disagree with some of his points.
It’s not the main in point of my letter, but I do not agree with his statement that Djokovic is being held responsible for all future outbreaks of civil disobedience by anti-vax campaigners. Less is more, Mr McKenna.
No, what I take umbrage with this time is his reference to roughshod and shoddy. Roughshod refers to horseshoes with nails or similar driven through them for grip, not their appearance. Shoddy refers to basically wool or wool garments recycled from rags and the like, so in fact “shoddy footwear” as worn by horses would be, relatively, more comfortable for the poor downtrodden “all of us”.
Alastair Clark, Stranraer.
ANDREW AND HARRY SHOULD BOW OUT
ON royalty, my opinion has always been neutral. Of all head of state options available, including some kind of political presidency, I thought a constitutional monarchy the best choice available. Then, when I took early retirement from working offshore some years ago and became involved in dealing with overseas tourists, I began to see the huge economic benefits.
Most of the many foreign tourists with whom I spoke were fascinated by the royal family and in fact knew more about them and their way of life and where they lived than I did and visits to royal sites were top of the agenda. It was a kind of Hollywood stardom. It opened my eyes to their value to this country. Perhaps the institution itself is outdated, but there are many pluses.
I find it most sad, therefore, to see Prince Andrew and his nephew, Prince Harry, bringing the whole institution into disrepute. It is time I believe for both to disappear from public life permanently before any more damage is done.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.
BIBLE LESSON FOR THE DUKE
IAN Thomson (Letters, January 17) wonders what The Queen makes of the Duke of York’s behaviour and its consequences.
I well remember, at school, during a particularly rumbustious period our teacher calling us to order and told us to read Proverbs chapter 10 verse 1, when we got home.
It is a pity that Andrew, spoilt child of The Queen, was never apparently made aware of the passage concerned: “A wise son maketh a glad father; but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”
Perhaps he wouldn’t have cared anyway.
David Hay, Minard.
KIRK SHOULD LET GO OF PRIVILEGE
IN response to plummeting congregation numbers and growing financial debt, the Church of Scotland is considering mergers, staff cuts and the handing over of St Giles’ Cathedral to Historic Environment Scotland, the state-funded heritage guardian.
There is no schadenfreude for the Edinburgh Secular Society in this development: these historical buildings are important to all Scots, including the small group who use them for religious worship.
However, with even religious architecture coming into state ownership we must surely now let go of any vestigial notion that the Kirk speaks for all with its privileged position in education, law and government.
Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society.
VOTE AGAINST THE PARKING LEVY
THE Scottish Government is ramping up its war on motorists. Councils will be given the power to introduce a workplace parking levy from March 4, 2022. Nottingham is the only city in the UK imposing this levy and charges an annual £417 per space. Many businesses have passed this cost on to the employees who use the spaces.
Scottish Transport Minister Graeme Dey, who is behind this draconian decision, has said: “Scotland needs to take world-leading bold action to tackle the climate emergency.” This is laughable since Scotland is responsible for only 0.13 per cent of global emissions. Scotland has 2.5 million cars but there are 1.446 billion in the world. Other than car-hating Edinburgh I suspect few councils will implement this policy especially as Scottish local elections are due to take place on May 5.
Motorists must vote out the SNP and Greens before it is too late.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow.
POSITIVE OUTCOME FROM COVID
EARLIER today (January 16) I did one of my regular seven-mile walks at Chatelherault country park. I usually see between 30 and 50 others on that walk. Today I met around 500 people enjoying the beautiful weather, with pram-pushing families, groups of 10, 15 and more, including teens, cyclists, many dog walkers, people on horses and even a donkey. As a nation clearly Covid has persuaded thousands of us that walking in the fresh air and the woods is good for our physical and of course our mental health.
Long may that trend last with our obese and stressed-out friends. Covid does have at least one positive public health bonus.
Max Cruickshank, Glasgow.
MUST OUR LEADERS BE SQUIRTS?
I’VE tried to escape the news by reading about the sea squirts I once saw in the water off Kyle of Lochalsh. This marine invertebrate is born with a rudimentary brain and wanders about the sea until it finds a rock it likes. At that point, it takes root, digests its own brain, and settles down for life. The squirt’s progress is often cited as an metaphor for academic life, but something is far wrong when politicians and other public servants take it as their lodestar.
Gilbert MacKay, Newton Mearns.