THERE is little emanating from the Scottish Government with which I take issue, and certainly not in their handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

I do, however, find myself at odds with them – and with most governments in the world – over their attitudes to the forthcoming “bah humbug” season.

It seems that we are to set aside logic, scientific wisdom and much of the progress made earlier in pursuit of relaxing restrictions over Christmas.

The logic, and I would question the use of the term in this context, appears to be that we need to be close to those closest to us over this period and, for that reason, we should relax social distancing guidelines, mix households to an extent not permitted since the onset of the pandemic and generally make merry without a care in the world.

Of course, being close to those closest to us brings a clear and present danger, regardless of the season, and the coronavirus is unlikely to take cognisance of the celebratory mood, whether sacred or secular. This particular scourge seeks only to survive and to replicate and, in easing off on measures which have saved countless lives, how many more might we be putting in jeopardy?

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says coronavirus rules could be relaxed for Christmas and Hogmanay

I don’t doubt that, particularly after the year we have all had, many are dying for Christmas, but is Christmas worth dying for?
Gordon D Peden

I FIND it quite sad at this time of year, with Christmas pending. To make us oblivious of what’s really happening around us, feel-good Christmas Mills and Boon-type films appear on the TV. Stories of good citizens doing their bit appear on the news. There will be stories of people less fortunate than ourselves and what we can do to improve things. An increase of charity adverts asking for donations.

I often wonder if as a society (me included) we should be doing so much better. Why is the gap widening between the rich and poor with no signs of abatement? Trump, the virus and Boris remain the main topics of discussion. Little word just now of poverty, drug deaths, homelessness and food banks. They raise their head every now and again but unfortunately they have also grimly sunk into our subconsciousness as being normal and just a fact of life.

Apparently the first food bank in the UK appeared in the latter half of the 20th century. The Trussell Trust was founded in 1997 and has massively expanded year after year. There are now more than 2000 food banks in the UK. There are almost two million food bank users!

The first charity shop was in 1947 in Oxford. An Oxfam shop set up to fight famine in previously Nazi-occupied Greece. There are now 11,200! Some may put a spin on it and argue their emergence is a society success story. Volunteering is at an all-time high in its fight against poverty and injustice and to promote wellbeing. 19.4 million people volunteered as a member of a group, club, or organisation in 2018/19.

Children in Need has raised more than £1 billion since its inception in 1980. A record £50.6 million was raised last Friday. Very commendable, you may say, and good that society and individuals are responding to the challenges of modern-day living. But sadly 14 million people (and rising) in the UK are now living in poverty.

But what about Westminster? What are the Government really doing? When did they allow the NHS, a jewel in the crown of UK democracy, join the ranks and status of a charity? They say they are giving record amounts of money. But our eyes do not deceive us. Have we let the Westminster Government off the hook by responding when they have not?

They say Scotland is a fairer place, and by gaining independence we can correct these injustices that have become the norm. We must get off this downward cycle of poverty and injustice. I only hope and pray when it happens (it’s our only feasible option) Holyrood rises to the challenges and our aspirations.
Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

LIKE most of Scotland I’m hacked off with Alister Jack and his yoon cronies continually rabbiting on about what constitutes “a generation”. For the benefit of Mr Jack, who I know will be fully au fait with this, but also for all Scots who might not be, I copy below the relevant part of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, often referred to as the Good Friday Agreement:


1. The Secretary of State may by order direct the holding of a poll for the purposes of section 1 on a date specified in the order.

2. Subject to paragraph 3, the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern

Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.

3. The Secretary of State shall not make an order under paragraph 1 earlier than seven years after the holding of a previous poll under this Schedule”.

READ MORE: Alister Jack was 'joking' when he ruled out indyref2 for 40 years

Does paragraph three look like 45 years to you? And while you’re at it, note that the decision lies with the secretary of state and not the PM, and no mention of anything approaching a Section 30 Order.

As my old friend and retired editor of The Indy, Jim Lynch, pointed out to all in the Tory, Labour and LibDem parties, don’t they remember what their intransigence post-First World War in Ireland led to? Do they want that level of bloodshed all over again?

Respect the wish of the Scottish people.
Charlie Gallagher

CAN Boris Johnson explain how there can be three countries with devolved parliaments in a precious Union of four equal partners?
John Jamieson
South Queensferry