JOHN CUMBERLAND describes the sight of people on the beach at Bournemouth as an act of treason (HAS, June 27).

I too condemn irresponsible behaviour during the current pandemic, but the photographs taken were horizontal shots which tend to exaggerate the density of any crowd. An aerial shot using a helicopter, or a drone may well have provided a different perspective on the situation.

On the same day an aerial photo of Whitby beach demonstrated that families and groups were maintaining safe distance. Sometimes a picture does not paint a thousand words.

I don’t like to use the word treason, because it is bandied about too readily by right wingers against anyone who disagrees with them. However, if we look at the dictionary definition of treason, ie “betraying one’s country” then the charge is more accurately levied at this Tory Government.

Clearly the Government has betrayed the country because it has failed to safeguard the lives of its citizens in numerous ways. It failed to lockdown in sufficient time, despite adequate warnings from China, Italy and elsewhere. It failed to procure sufficient PPE to protect essential workers and the public at large and it failed to isolate Britain’s care home residents, resulting in at least 15,000 deaths of mostly very elderly and vulnerable people. In addition, after four months of the pandemic, we still do not have an adequate system of virus control using test, trace, track and isolate.

Moreover, despite being the world’s oldest industrial country and having formerly being lucky enough to enjoy one of best public health systems, Britain has suffered the second highest death rate in the world.

Teenagers drinking cans of Stella on a beach did not cause the carnage that this country has suffered from and we should not divert our justified anger against them. The people who have really failed us all are this indolent, reckless and incompetent Tory Government.

John Gilmore, Bishop Auckland