MY daughter started university a couple of weeks ago, but you’d be hard pushed to tell. In those two weeks she has had a single lecture with a lecturer present. That lecturer told my daughter she’d see her again in Week Four.
My daughter tells me her course is “a bit fragmented”. So far she’s had a couple of online seminars and watched some recorded documentaries.
It’s not quite the start to a law degree we were expecting. It’s pretty poor, in fact.
My wife, as a company director, has had scarcely a day off in two years as she works to keep people in jobs. As a key worker I have worked throughout the pandemic.
My daughter was able to attend TRNSMT at Glasgow Green with 50,000 other attendees every day for three days. I have attended several live music events, including one at The Barrowland with 2,000 other guests.
Our restaurants, bars, nightclubs and theatres are open. Our factories are open. Our schools are open.Yet our lecturers are still in their pyjamas.
Are they more susceptible to Covid than the rest of us? Have they not been double-jagged like the rest of us? Have they refused the vaccine?
Or are they simply too precious, unlike the rest of us, to be risked in their workplace?
I think we should be told.
Steve Brennan, Coatbridge.
ALARMS LAW WILL BE DISOBEYED
STUART Waiton reminds us of the danger of moral panics in his column on the outcry following the appalling murder of Sarah Everard (“Beware the danger of moral panic over crime”, The Herald, October 6). A case study of the dangerous consequences of such moral panics is with us presently in the shape of the smoke and heat alarm legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament in the wake of the Grenfell disaster whose implementation date of February next year looms.
This requires all private home owners (1.5 million of us) to install three or four (depending on whether the house has one or two levels) new alarms in strictly specified locations, which are interconnected. This is regardless of whether the home already has a system of alarms which are not interconnected. The societal cost of this will be huge (at least £200 plus installation costs for battery-operated ones and much more given an electrician’s and decorating costs for hard-wired ones; probably not less than £500 million in total), not to speak of the inconvenience and hassle, and is hugely disproportionate; the risk to individuals not intoxicated from home fire is very small, and requiring the entire population to go to the trouble and expense of installing newly regulated smoke alarms even where they already have adequate ones, is absurdly disproportionate and worryingly authoritarian, especially when it is considered that this would not have prevented Grenfell.
Another of your columnists, Adam Tomkins, refers to the damage caused when bad law causes mass disobedience (“When institutions like ours fail us, people will just take the law into their own hands”, The Herald, October 6); we are about to witness a very substantial example of this when it becomes clear just how few people obey this new law on smoke alarms.
Stephen Smith, Glasgow.
MISSING OUT ON APPRENTICESHIPS
I MUST comment on Penny Ponder’s letter (October 8) regarding thinkers versus doers. Given my entire career was based upon an excellent apprenticeship as a marine engineer at Ardrossan Dockyard Ltd between 1955 and 1960, I totally agree with her brief but absolutely on the ball letter.
During my previous business career I was a long-term champion and indeed severe critic of the very poor support from all of the UK and Scottish political parties relative to proper fully-qualified artisan apprenticeships.
In 1999 I obtained from Scottish government sources the actual annual expenditure for apprenticeships in Scotland versus full-time tertiary students in the Scottish universities and technical colleges.
The figures were as follows: university students £950 million per annum; full-time HND technical college students £200m; support towards apprenticeship training costs £13m.
Is it any wonder therefore that all of the past 20 to 30 years-plus of gross underfunding towards apprenticeships by the political elites in Holyrood and Westminster of all parties have brought us to the current parlous state?
Meaningless orations from Boris Johnson will not now resolve the chronic shortage of fully-qualified skilled artisans in the UK and in Scotland.
I am afraid we have missed the boat on this crucial issue.
WR McCrindle, West Kilbride.
DON’T LET COP26 CREW LEAVE
TO my good friends in Glasgow from a fellow northerner here in Alaska, please do welcome government delegates from around the world to the Glasgow climate summit later this month, but please, please, please do not allow any of them to leave unless and until they have an iron-clad, legally binding agreement to reduce global carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2030 (to less than 25 gigatons of CO2e/year), a significant global carbon tax, agreement to fully fund the $100 billion/year Green Climate Fund, and stiff penalties (trade sanctions and so on) for non-compliance.
The world cannot afford more empty talk, promises, and excuses, and Glasgow should simply close all exits (airport, roads, river travel, etc) at the end of the summit, until the job is done. The world will be forever in your debt.
Rick Steiner, Professor, Anchorage, Alaska.