When it comes to Partygate, a frequently deployed trope from the Prime Minister’s apologists is that, as we stand on the brink of World War III, his fixed penalty notice for breaking his own lockdown laws amounts to a speeding ticket. speed. Given the pain suffered by so many bereaved parents, this is a risky line to take.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis tried to play it both ways on Tuesday’s Radio 4 Today program when he said: ‘I am in no way trying to equate a traffic ticket for excess speed to the sacrifices people have made because of Covid.” Michal Husain replied with conviction: “You literally just did it.”

But what interests me in this exchange is the unspoken assumption that a speeding ticket is innocuous. Mr Lewis allegedly never said Mr Johnson’s fixed fine amounted to a drunk driving conviction. And yet, deliberately flouting the speed limit is just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol; it may even be cumulatively more dangerous, because the practice of speeding is so widespread.

According to Reported Road Casualties Great Britain (RRCGB), in 2019 there were 1,752 road deaths and 153,158 people injured, 25,945 of them seriously. These figures are based on STATS19 police data, but Hospital Episode Statistics considers that STATS19 underestimates the actual injury figures, which the Department of Transport says could be up to three times higher.

On the roads, speed is the major causative agent of death and major trauma. Speed ​​limits exist as part of a culture of safety. And yet speed limits are largely ignored. You just need to drive to Glasgow from the northeast to see it. There is a 50mph limit on the M80 from the Bishopbriggs exit, dropping to 40mph on the M8 with current lane restrictions. Stick to them and you’ll find yourself overtaken at high speed on both sides. Stick to the 20mph limit in many cities and suburbs, and you’ll be hounded and intimidated by flashing lights and honking. Meanwhile, you can listen to the light-hearted trip report on Radio 2, and its litany of “accidents” – as if these events were unpredictable lightning strikes. Nearly five people die on the roads every day, and no one seems to care. We have a cultural problem. Speedsters really don’t believe that speed limits concern them.

So the idea that Boris Johnson breaking lockdown rules is tantamount to breaking the speed limit is perfectly accurate. It’s not the 10-Minute Birthday Cake Ambush that’s the problem, it’s the culture – so fatally betrayed by Allegra Stratton all those months ago – that the rules don’t apply to occupiers from No 10. The first speaker on the BBC’s Any show last week The Questions eloquently drew a direct line between this culture and deaths in care homes. The direct causal line between speed and death on the roads is precisely analogous.

Dr. Hamish Maclaren, Stirling.


I note with interest your report from the NASUWT Teachers Union Annual Conference (“Teachers ‘should be available 24/7′”, The Herald, April 18). Never has the expression “to make a rod for his back” been more appropriate than in the life of a teacher. One member said that “parents and students now feel they can access teachers 24/7.” The union’s general secretary said: “We are seeing a high prevalence of burnout among school staff.”

The key to disrupting this cycle lies in the word “No”. As a traveling music teacher, I served five schools, an average of 750 students, per week. Organization and communication were essential. The affairs of each school were conducted on the day I attended that school.

When a new principal and later nicknamed “last-minute.com” asked me for my cell phone number, I replied, “No, my cell phone is for personal use. When he asked for my email address, similarly: “Why? I’m here. Everything to discuss is happening today.”

A few years later, I went to a school and was informed that it had its own Facebook page. I shook my head, thinking that was a way to open a Pandora’s box. Are we surprised that teachers are victims of verbal abuse online? No. Given the platform, that’s to be expected.

Teachers suffer from a lack of boundaries inside and outside the classroom. Set limits and if you’re under pressure, play to save time. Consult your union, but never allow yourself to be intimidated, harassed or ignored. Teachers have rights. The right to work in a safe environment. The right to a family life. The right to privacy. Above all the right to be respected. If you don’t demand it, you won’t get it.

Maureen McGarry-O’Hanlon, Balloch.


I was surprised to learn recently that electric vehicles cannot be towed flat, that is, with their wheels on the ground. Instead, they should be loaded onto a flatbed trailer. This applies to buses and the like, causing great inconvenience. It is also not recommended to tow hybrid vehicles, especially those that generate electricity through the wheels or the brakes. Doing this on an electric vehicle can cause a lot of engine damage.

It is something that is not much publicized by those who encourage us to buy such vehicles. I wonder why.

J. Morrison, Renfrew.


YOUR correspondence on peeing on the compost heap (Letters, April 19 and 20) reminded me of my friend informing me that she had persuaded her husband to pee all around the house to discourage an unneutered tomcat from spraying . When I went to Kuwait and was involved in animal rescue, I advised expats who had problems with cats spraying around their windows and doors to ask their husbands to pour a jug of male urine all around the outside of the house. This solved the problem. No more smelly spray.

Margaret Forbes, Blanefield.


I ALWAYS enjoy Remember when… images because they give those of us of a certain age the chance to see shops from our youth that are often long gone. My curiosity was aroused by the Tuesday-like Clydesdale Rubber Co store where the Greaves sports shop now stands (“Thomas Cook has opened a travel center in Glasgow”, The Herald, April 19), because it seemed like a strange name for a downtown store. A bit of Googling the name of the shop led me to the surprising discovery that it is still registered at the same address as it became Greaves.

The things you learn.

Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs.