PROJECT No Surprises? I was surprised and shocked to read that a Scottish MP [Stewart McDonald] described Scotland as “a martial nation” (SNP MPs call for independent Scotland to be world leader in military medicine, Dec 5).

I was under the impression that a lot of our wars historically were by the landowners encouraging their tenants to fight so landed gentry could keep their land and later, once we were part of the UK, young men were forced into regiments because they had little left in their own homeland. They earned a well-deserved reputation for dogged bravery, perhaps because they’d had a hard life and honour was one thing that couldn’t be stolen from them.

A brief search of Google reveals how medical people learn to treat war wounds. Horrific burns and other injuries obtained in warfare are the training ground. Are we really eager to see that replicated? All medical research is important, but why push resources specifically at “military medicine”?

READ MORE: The Yes movement should engage with angry military types

There is so much our defence forces could do to benefit our country: coastguard and navy, operating together, ready to save lives; air force and mountain rescue working together could not only save lives in our country but help train others; as well as delivering vaccines, what other medical treatments or procedures might the army contribute to? Think outside the box, beyond medicine and treatment. What about prevention?

Problems Scotland will face in the future include global warming and possibly terrorism. How could the armed forces be prepared for these threats? Cyberterrorism is also on the rise. We shouldn’t just think

“Oh well, Helsinki is a world leader there so we’ll leave them to it” but with the expertise of Scotland’s Silicon Glen we can forge links with Finland and work with them. Learning to collaborate with others perhaps will show that we are not a threatening nation.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson's government thinks it's above the law – it isn't

When Costa Rica abolished the military in 1949 they used the money instead for security, education and culture with impressive results in reducing infant mortality. Perhaps abolishing the military is a step too far for some, but it’s all about where your focus is. Trying to impress Nato is not where I’d want our focus to be. Let’s impress the world instead with our focus on equality, fairness and a peace-promoting lifestyle, not trumpet Scotland as a martial nation.

Jane Guz

I HAVE just given myself a bit of a shock. I have just completed a projected income and expenditure calculation for the coming financial year, starting in April 2022.

I seem to remember an article by yourselves recently in which you stated that the Westminster government is abandoning the triple lock on pensions and that next year the increase we will receive is likely to be 3.1%. I believe this could well be true since last year the increase on my pension and pension credits equalled only 2.1%

So, what I’ve done is take all my expenditure for this year and have applied a 5% increase to it, since most firms indicate they will make increases of 2% above inflation. I have then calculated how much I will have to pay per week to meet those necessary increased expenditures. That leaves me the vast sum of £55.49 to spend on food, household items (like washing powder) and to put petrol in my car. I don’t allow for any social activities because I haven’t been able to afford any since I retired.

READ MORE: When and where it will snow in Scotland this week as yellow weather warnings issued

I only use the car to go to the shops a few times a week and to church on Sundays. Therefore, I have always allowed myself £20 per week for petrol. That’s usually, but not always, enough. On that basis I have £35 per week to feed myself. My calculations show that, in real terms, I will actually suffer a reduction of some £19.51 per week compared to last year.

I really do wish the SNP would hurry up and get rid of these Westminster bastards and start paying us a pension that allowed us to live with a little dignity.

Charlie Kerr

AS another variant of Covid hits us, is it not time to consider stronger actions to curtail the spread? May I suggest that a repeating break be considered, such as every second week of every month be a lockdown week? This would probably sever a link in the infection rates. Being known that is a fixed time of one week, people are less likely to suffer the stress of an unlimited lockdown. The intervening three weeks could allow time to live more normally.

While I am sure that this would be far from perfect I feel that we should try, as Covid mutates faster than human reaction.

M Ross

MR Neil Barber of the Edinburgh Secular Society (Letters, Dec 3) is so right about no subject being exempt from satire ... including Christmas! Given that Biblical scholar Sir Billy Connolly correctly identified that the greatest story ever told did, in fact, take place in Gallowgate and not Galilee as previously believed, does this prove that one of the most famous biblical quotations was actually “Many are cauld but few are frozen?”

Also, and this is true, a few years ago a leading black culture magazine held a readers’ poll to select the most influential black person in history. The choice of the readers was Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus qualified for the poll on the basis that he must have been black as he was dark-skinned, he called everyone brother and sister ... and he didn’t get a fair trial!

WJ Graham
East Kilbride