Sir, – Being a child of the fifties I have lived through two sets of miners’ strikes, one Winter of Discontent, power cuts, the three-day week and petrol rationing.
Yet I cannot remember a time when divisions were so deep and when the country felt quite so vulnerable.
Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the arguments, one thing is abundantly clear –membership, or not, of the European Union has been a divisive and malignant fissure line running through British politics pretty much from the moment we joined the Common Market.
It seems to be the one cause where, for some reason, absolutely nobody is prepared to compromise.
The prime minister may well have survived the vote of no confidence in her leadership but that is not the end of the matter.
She may have won more time but she has not won the debate.
I have been left feeling quite dismayed as I read ever-more vituperative online blogs and comments.
Decency and respect in debate seems to have been sacrificed in favour of howling rage, insults and scarcely-veiled threats.
This just isn’t healthy. It’s bad for our reputation abroad and it’s bad for our democracy.
But if the will exists a way can be found and in so doing we can calm the more extreme voices.
So that’s what I want for Christmas – for all of us to show respect and tolerance and a new year that highlights the best in all of us, not the worst.
Reason for the season is clear
Sir, – I refer to Neil Barber’s letter The Courier (December 19).
He refers to “the baby Jesus myth”.
According to my concise Oxford Dictionary a myth is a “purely fictitious narrative”.
The birth of Christ is no myth.
This event was prophesied hundreds of years before it took place, even naming the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5.2).
It is documented by the gospel writers.
Luke records the prophesy by Elizabeth that the child her cousin Mary was carrying was her Lord.
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her that her child would be the son of God.
What other birth was serenaded by angels?
As the apostle Peter says “we have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ”.
The wise men followed a star to come and worship the King.
Wise men still seek Jesus.
Christians do not own Christmas but the clue to the meaning is in the name.
Sentiment was mean-spirited
Sir, – Neil Barber’s message (Letters, December 19) from a secular society, denying that Christians “own” Christmas, mentioning the winter solstice presaging the returning sun, and neglecting the literal meaning of the celebratory noun, is both curiously mean-spirited and inaccurate.
If secularists are happy instead with “winterval”, coined in Birmingham a few years ago, they could fairly adopt that more apt neologism, leaving Christmas and its synonym Xmas for those professing a Christian faith.
One could ask whether secularists are happy with other faiths “owning” their special celebrations such as the Passover or Ramadan.
Mr Barber and his ilk could, of course, logically and fairly ignore Christmas by that name and celebrate new year in true pagan style.
111 Viewlands Rd West,
Show painted a false picture
Sir, – I am writing to endorse and support the comments made by senior charge nurse Sarah Wiseman about the biased BBC following the “Care” drama (Courier Letters, December 15) and to give your readers my experiences as a leukaemia patient receiving chemotherapy treatment.
The staff in day ward 34 are extremely busy from the start of the day administering toxic cancer killing drugs via drips and blood transfusions for other patients on other haematology regimes.
Each patient must receive their correct and individualised pouches and great care is taken to ensure no errors are made during the procedures that can last as long as six or seven hours.
They have taken multi-tasking to super hero levels.
At all times this is all done with tremendous patience, kindness and efficiency and is a great comfort and confidence booster to patients at a low physical and emotional ebb.
Anyone in the NHS Tayside area who receives the devastating news that they have leukaemia or another serious blood disorder can be reassured that their experiences at haematology will be quite different from that seen in the negative and prejudiced BBC show.
The same professionalism and caring culture is also displayed by frontline skin cancer doctors and nurses within the dermatology department.
Perhaps the BBC programme makers could turn their forensic spotlight inwards.
They could then produce a documentary on the £87 million Eastenders set extension that is years behind schedule and causing untold grief for the nearby residents whose quality of life has been ruined in the process.
As TV licence payers we are all footing the bill for this and other BBC follies.
39 Gowan Rigg ,
Infrastructure not up to scratch
Sir, – Ken Clark (Courier Letters, December 15) continues to defend the Scottish executive’s failing infrastructure record.
Perhaps he should read Audit Scotland’s August 2016 report on the deterioration of our roads.
There he can read that 57% of road users state that road condition is “a major concern”.
Audit Scotland report that the proportion of motorways in acceptable condition has fallen to 58%.
They further report that Transport Scotland’s expenditure on trunk road maintenance fell from £168 million in 2011/12 to £162 million in 2014/15; figures not adjusted for inflation.
They report that in the Scottish Borders 50% of roads are classed as red or amber and in Perth and Kinross 40% are classed red and amber – which means that they are “not acceptable”.
Mr Clark opposes the construction of our two magnificent aircraft carriers.
The first priority of government is to keep the nation safe.
As an island nation Britain needs to defend her seaways, and in a world where threats are increasingly menacing these two great ships will make a major contribution to the Nato alliance.
9 Justice Park,
Put trust in the climate experts
Sir, – Your correspondent Angela Rennie is incredulous that humans can change the world’s climate (Letters, December 8).
She is an enthusiastic recycler.
By her logic, should we not just dig up virgin material, make plastic, use it once, then dump it in the oceans?
I have been to the Pacific – it’s really, really big.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its highest concentration for three million years.
That came mostly from our burning of fossil fuels.
We have measured both of those things.
We have changed the entire global atmosphere.
That is simply fact.
It was in 1988 that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established.
Since then we have not, as she suggests, subtly switched to the term climate change.
The clue was in the name.
Acid rain, and the hole in the ozone layer, didn’t just go away on their own.
There were international treaties on reducing the emissions causing such damage.
Your correspondent may have of heard of the global Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is still there, but it is slowly recovering.
All of your letter writer’s talking points can be found on American “wing-nut” websites.
Why should we believe them, and not climate scientists?