WALTER Paul (Letters, December 11) thinks that it was a great mistake to relax the lockdown regulations for Christmas. He seems to think that we can all stay isolated for the rest of our lives and those who let us off the leash are doing it to gain popularity. He thinks it’s a matter of showing true leadership to keep us confined in isolation.

The truth of the matter is that many of us can die of Covid19 or die of starvation because we are all losing our jobs due to not being allowed to go out to work. Nicola Sturgeon and her advisors know full well that we cannot stay confined indefinitely. The number of suicides have already increased, mental illness is on the rise, more and more people are being laid off, symptoms which would normally be checked at outpatients’ departments are being ignored. It took three years for the population to get herd immunity for Spanish flu. This virus will not disappear just because we stay home for just another few weeks.

We need the populace to go shopping to keep others in jobs and provide them with an income. Give us all a Universal Basic Income, and more people will be financially able to stay home. But as long as we are under the thumb of a comic who should be concentrating on the day job we have to meet at Christmas.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


AS an occasional contributor to the Letters Pages, I found Drew Allan's advice ("Helping you to have your voices heard", The Heralds, December 12) very helpful. I absolutely agree that correspondents should calm down, collect their thoughts and compose their arguments before submitting a letter.

One question though; does this advice apply equally to columnists? If so, how did Struan Stevenson's article ("Nothing thrives in pandemic times like nationalist authoritarianism", The Herald, December 12) make it through to publication?

Professor Brian Boyd, South Lanarkshire.


DR Hamish Maclaren (Letters, December 11) predicts that as "Hmm" is taking over from "So" as "a piece of verbal upholstery" it will be the next OED word of the year for 2021.

I prefer, and more frequently use, "Hmm" minus the "H", thus becoming "Mmm". It is particularly emitted from my contented lips and mind after reading Tennyson's poem Ulysses. Here Ulysses tells of his elderly crew of adventurers and says that it is "not too late to push off ... that some work of noble note may yet be done" and predicts:

"Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'

We are not now of that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."

There comes my "Mmm" and a feeling of contentment. I will not be driven crazy, as Dr Maclaren also predicts by "Hmm" and "So", but will quite happily emit "Mmm", especially at the end of many of the Poem Of The Day choices throughout 2021.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


THAT ravens, being members of the Corvid family are smarter than apes at an early stage in life and indeed would appear to be so throughout their entire lives is well documented as are others of that bird species (“Young ravens are smarter than apes”, The Herald, December 11).

From my childhood days in my native Angus I was told the phrase “bird brain” did not apply to any “crows” whatsoever. Countryside acquaintances gave accounts of examples of their behaviour (mainly hooded crows or rooks) that led keepers on certain sporting estates to swore they could tell if a walking stick or a rifle was being carried. On noticing the former the birds would carry on regardless or fly off accordingly. One also told of firing at a “crow” that fell tumbling over as if mortally stricken but at around six feet from the ground shot off in direct flight.

John Macnab, Falkirk.


THE Letters Pages don't always provide much humour in these divisive days. I did, however, laugh at David J Crawford's tale (Letters, December 12)of a visit to Santa's Chinese Grotto. Taking up his theme of renaming the Chinese supermarket See Woo Jimmy, I find that online I can buy a See You Jimmy hat, best described as a Tam O' Shanter with hair.

Alas, too late for my attendance at a Zoom meeting this afternoon.

David Miller, Milngavie.


BRAVO. I like Alan Fitzpatrick’s erudite “plus la change” observation on French President Emmanuel Macron’s contribution to Brexit negotiations (Letters, December 12 ); although, quand la merde frappe le ventilateur, I guess my own comment on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s unedifying part in the whole sorry mess is likely to be less cultured and in more robust Anglo-Saxon.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

Healthy Christmas alternative

MUCH as Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" finally reaching No.1 in the UK Singles Charts is 26 years overdue – the last truly great original "classic" Christmas song written and recorded ("Finally, Carey classic is No.1", The Herald, December 12) – would it not be more appropriate if this year's Christmas No1 was the X-Ray Spex 1978 Christmas classic "Germ Free Adolescents"?

Mark Boyle, Johnstone.