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Hope electorate exercise power responsibly

Hope electorate exercise power responsibly

Sir, As we approach the end of what has been a momentous year, most of us will pause and reflect on events that have touched our lives. Nowadays, modern means of communication and transport renders it virtually impossible for individuals and nations alike to be isolated from and be unaffected by repulsive social or unsettling political situations which occur in every part of the globe.

Arguably, we live in a time where there is a general feeling of anxiety, instability and insecurity fuelled by the evil, sickening and despicable acts of obscene brutality by groups such as ISIS and the Taliban.

Added to this we can also observe how rapidly and radically a nation’s political fortunes and economy can alter when decisions that may seem relatively innocuous produce widely different diverging outcomes of unintended consequences a response popularly known as the butterfly effect in chaos theory, making long-term prediction difficult if not impossible.

It would appear, according to commentators, that 2015 will be particularly prone to uncertainty and unpredictability with a general election that may produce a chaotic outcome that surprises everyone but satisfies no one.

We can be assured that Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond (if elected) will do everything in their power to disrupt and divide our nation for, as leaders of a single issue party, it’s in their nature to strive to achieve their goal almost regardless of the consequences.

At a time when defence and security is vital, when economic stability is paramount, when unity of purpose is desirable, we witness every effort by the present Scottish Government to create the very conditions which would lead to the opposite and which this country so badly needs to avoid.

When asked by a journalist what can blow a government most easily off course, the then Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, is attributed to have said: “Events, dear boy, events”.

If 2014 has been a momentous year, “events” in 2015 could well prove pivotal in the fortunes of our nation. I trust the electorate will exercise their power responsibly.

Iain G Richmond. Guildy House, Monikie.

A refreshing change . . .

Sir, I am spending Christmas and New Year in the south where it is so refreshing to go into a shop and see cigarette packets being displayed, where there is no penalty for getting a bag for the shopping, and where calling a Tink a “Tink” does not earn a night in the jail.

Stephen Younger. 43a Main Street, Strathkinness.

They can enjoy the real thing

Sir, I was amazed to read about the low-calorie Christmas dinner cocktail made for jockeys, which took three years for “food scientists” to develop (Courier, December 22).

It was reported they used turkey gel, dehydrated Brussels sprouts and potato foam and the meal appears to have been fitted into a sundae glass.

I have just done a calculation using published values for the fresh ingredients and can report that the jockeys could enjoy the real thing as long as they limit the oil and fat in roasting.

A small portion of roast turkey (around 60g) with boiled or steamed potatoes, parsnips and Brussels sprouts with cranberry sauce and gravy (made from granules) will come to around 300kcal.

Why have the laboratory produced a substitute when you can enjoy the real thing?

Dr Wendy Wrieden. Registered Nutritionist (Public Health), 12 Bearehill Loan, Brechin.

First scientific explorer

Sir, I am surprised that in the recent press coverage of the wonderful “pancake ice” on the River Dee no mention has been made of Pytheas of Massalia (Marseilles) who first recorded the phenomenon during his epic voyage, circa 320BC, into the North Atlantic and round the north of Scotland. He is now regarded as the first scientific explorer and recorded many hitherto unknown phenomena.

Pytheas was searching for a trade route to Britain for tin, a highly prized metal needed to alloy with copper to make bronze. He kept a journal which famously recorded fish the size of boats which spouted smoke, the midnight sun and floating circles of ice, amongst many other marvels.

Much of this was dismissed as fantasy at the time and there is a theory that when Ptolemy came to draw his famous map of the world (c140AD) with Scotland curiously shifted at right angles east into the North Sea, he did so because he did not believe the north latitudes reported by Pytheas could be true and that no one could have sailed so far north!

Sadly, pancake ice is uncommon; however I found in my archives a wintry scene from 1982, with the Tay Division minesweeper HMS Glasserton and HMS Unicorn both frozen into Victoria Dock.

Roderick Stewart. Dronley.

Happy Ukes’ fundraisers

Sir, The “Happy Ukes”, ukulele group would like to thank the management and staff of Tesco, Dundee, for allowing us to play two fundraising concerts at the Dundee Riverside store.

We usually support a charity for a one-year period and all donations we receive are forwarded to our charity of choice, which for 2014 is Cornerstone.

Thanks to Tesco’s help and the very generous donations from their customers we raised the magnificent sum of £522.24 over the two concerts.

Peter Davidson. Happy Ukes.