Readers' Letters: Christmas has not been cancelled!

Strange as it may seem in these chaotic days, Christmas has not been cancelled.

There's more to Christmas than partying, as the Nativity scene reminds us
There's more to Christmas than partying, as the Nativity scene reminds us

Followers of Jesus will still celebrate the coming of Immanuel, though in different ways as did those who had to adapt Ramadan and Hanukkah, and other festivals. Having had, thankfully, only one Christmas on my own, I can sympathise with those who face a solitary Christmas this year. However, just like a mirror, the adaptations might cause us to reflect on our lifestyles. Is it really correct to rely on Government to tell us what we can do? We changed our arrangements at the end of November – posting presents and cancelling dinners and over-nights because we saw the problems coming down the track? Is it really correct to depend on schools to manage our family life as well as our children's education?

Where is the spirit of our parents and grandparents, who coped with the horrors and ravages of war?

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Where is our sense of gratitude that most of us are not homeless, aren't worried about bombs dropping on our homes or where we might find food for our starving children?

James Watson, Randolph Crescent, Dunbar, East Lothian

Blame Covidiots

So Christmas has been cancelled.

Don't blame Boris, blame the idiots who didn't obey the rules.

Donald Carmichael, Orchard Court, East Linton


With further Christmas restrictions, lockdowns and the extension of the furlough scheme to April next year, it is past time to ask the uncomfortable question as to whether the lockdowns and other extreme measures against Covid-19 are actually justified?

The average age of death from Covid in England is 82 years old. Scottish statistics gives figures of 79 for men and 85 for women, which amount to the same thing. Over 90 per cent of Covid deaths were among people with pre-existing conditions, with Alzheimer’s being the most common of these. Largely, this disease is killing the frail sick elderly.

The death rate in Sweden (73 per 100,000), which has never had a lockdown and has largely avoided masks, is lower than that in the UK (96 per 100,000).

We have known the demographics, risk factors and death rates for Covid-19 since the spring, and yet public policy is still conducted as if Imperial College’s discredited computer model and Professor Niall Ferguson’s discredited prediction of half a million dead were true.

The economy has been plunged into a deep recession and the national debt will increase by about £400 billion this year.

The only rational conclusion is that the authorities have grossly overreacted and people should be freed to get on with rebuilding their lives and the economy.

Otto Inglis, Ansonhill, Crossgates

Useless ‘gift’

“Up to three households in Scotland were initially allowed to gather indoors between December 23 and 27. However, the First Minister announced on Saturday at a Scottish Government briefing that the five-day window was now being reduced to December 25 only.” (Quote from STV News).

But I don’t have a car and there is no public transport on Christmas Day! So what use is that to me, if I only have Christmas Day available?

How am I supposed to meet my family for Christmas?

Another of Sturgeon’s ill-thought-through decisions!

J Moir, Duthie Court, Aberdeen

The fall guy

I can’t be the only person in Scotland to be quite unaware that we had a Public Health Minister, only really realising that as he was sacked.

Mind you, given his woeful performance on public health, it is perhaps no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon saw fit to keep him well and truly in the background as she took centre stage each day to pronounce on... public health. She must be so pleased that she had a ready-made fall guy who could take the blame for her government’s continued failure to address drug deaths. At least he has been seen to accept the chop with a level of grace not often, if ever, seen in the SNP. If I could remember his name I would have used it.

Ken Currie, Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

Angela’s on high

Only a couple of days after expressing her support for Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick, he purportedly “resigns” from his position, in effect to save the First Minister the embarrassment of losing a “no confidence” vote against Mr FitzPatrick in Parliament.

Consequently we watch with interest as to his replacement, hoping the quality of the individual appointment will inspire confidence in dealing with the shocking drugs death statistics in Scotland. How disappointing and underwhelmed the feeling is at the news that Angela Constance has been selected as his replacement. The same Angela Constance who lasted just about 18 months as Education Secretary and only just a little longer as Communities Minister! If ever an appointment demonstrated the paucity of ability in those that govern us, then this is it.

However, more worryingly, there will be many more drug-related deaths in Scotland due to Scottish Government cuts, as admitted by the First Minister, and we can only hope that Ms Constance can get a grip on her brief which, regretfully, she was unable to do when previously in a Cabinet position.

Richard Allison, Braehead Loan, Edinburgh

Shoogly seat

Joe FitzPatrick, who was apparently our Public Health Minister (Brian Wilson, Perspective, December 19), has been thrown to the wolves to save his boss’s skin. It is good to see that at last the facts have overwhelmed the political fiction. If the fact that we have one of the worst death rates in Europe from Covid-19 replaced the political fiction of competence peddled by the SNP then Jeane Freeman, who apparently has responsibility for protecting our health, must be on a very shoogly seat.

She could then be followed by John Swinney, who is presiding over the decline in Scottish education. The common theme is that while the SNP spend their time promoting independence, which will only make matters worse, the health and education of the poorest in Scotland continues to wither on the vine.

Alan Black, Camus Avenue, Edinburgh

Not without faith

I agree with Robert Farquharson's assertion (Letters, December 19) that all governments, including the current Scottish and UK ones, will commit errors and blunders.

I do not, however, accept that Scots are "generally incompetent and incapable of governing themselves". Far from it. My comments (Letters, December 16) simply reflected on the performance of the current Scottish Government over the past decade. Whilst I would love to look to the future and a well-run independent Scotland I can only consider the evidence that we have.

One of Scotland's most successful entrepreneurs and a past economic adviser to Ms Sturgeon, Jim McColl, summed up this SNP government's record when he said "Everything they touch is a mess". That is not what I want for the future of my country.

Jim Houston, Winton Gardens, Edinburgh

Wilson’s a winner

May I suggest that if the Labour Party in Scotland is serious about challenging the Nationalists they appoint Brian Wilson to the position of leader with immediate effect?

His weekly contribution in the Scotsman challenges the Scottish Government in a way that Richard Leonard singularly fails to do. Consistently.

Chris Smith, Lochty Steet, Carnoustie

Climate copers

Clark Cross pointed out that, despite climate change alarmism, polar bear numbers are doing well, with the population now estimated at 40,000 (Letters, December 19).

Coincidentally, I remember reading that their bone remains have been dated back over 40,000 years. During that lengthy time we have had several Ice Ages come and go, and many other up and down climatic fluctuations.

Vaughan Hammond, Braco, Perthshire

All together

It is deeply disturbing to read some of the comments you published on Saturday which have been gleaned from the Scotsman’s own website and Facebook page.

One commentator says that “some Scots would prefer to be dictated to by a foreign nation”.

I assume that he is not referring to the European Union, as it has not (yet) managed to accord itself the status of a nation, close though it may be. I assume that he is making the accusation that we are some kind of “possession” of England.

England is not, of course, “foreign” and has not been for well over 300 years. It is a concern that anyone in this day and age can be so deliberately mendacious.

Another contributor states that “any true Scottish person” knows that “independence is crucial to (the)...future”. That future is “free from the clutches of our despicable, overbearing, greedy, lying corrupt neighbour”, again, meaning England.

How can anyone sane express such prejudiced, unpalatable, untrue tripe? How can such people not look at the state of Scotland, with its overbearing government – greedy for power and more and more money, which is then put in the bank and not spent where it should be – which signs a solemn agreement over a referendum and then reneges on it?

We need look no further for those qualities than Holyrood.

This is the true face of Scottish nationalism that I encountered in my boyhood and which, self-evidently, continues to this day.

It is only marginally less extreme than the vile propaganda that emanated from pre-war Germany.

Andrew H N Gray, Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh

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