I'M sure readers would not be surprised at me, a priest, fully endorsing Kevin McKenna's sentiments in his article relating to the relevance of the Christmas story to the present time ("Nativity story belongs in the age of the Covid", The Herald, December 21). It was not an attempt to evangelise but to highlight the human values underlying the narrative – not only values that all of us would laud but values such as love and care that so many of us are putting into practice.

But in concluding his article he rightly questions why succeeding politicians deliberately avoid any reference to the actual story in public communications. The name "Jesus" is never mentioned. I risk being irreverent if I suggest that that is like missing the baby elephant in the manger.

Fr Joe Mills, Glasgow G32.


WE are being told repeatedly that the real solution to the Covid-19 crisis is vaccination, indeed on the TV news this evening (December 21) Boris Johnson stated that in excess of 500,000 people had now received their first injection. Included in this total were those in the 80-plus age bracket. This raises the interesting question as to what exactly is the NHS Scotland programme.

Some two weeks ago I contacted NHS Fife to ask about the proposed programme for those of us aged over 80. I was told that no information was available but to inquire at NHS Inform. The reply here was to contact NHS Fife. At this point I thought that it might be better to deal with the organ grinder rather than the monkey and so I e-mailed the Scottish Health Secretary explaining my difficulties. The reply that I received today reads: "Your letter has been passed to the relevant area for consideration".

It would appear from the foregoing that this whole issue is yet another example of the incompetence presently displayed by the Scottish Government in dealing with this pandemic outbreak.

Geoffrey H Robinson, St Andrews.


THE people who write to The Herald complaining about Nicola Sturgeon’s daily Covid briefings are the very same people who would complain if she didn’t. She’s dammed if she does and dammed if she doesn’t.

David Clark, Tarbolton.


AS Christmas nears, there could be a new twist to an old song:

All I want for Christmas is my two vaccines,

My two vaccines, just my two vaccines.

If I could only have my two vaccines,

Then I could wish you ALL a Merry Christmas.

Mark Bratchpiece, Motherwell.


IT would be interesting for an economic guru to analyse the cost of hydrogen energy delivered to the consumer as part of the green revolution in Scotland ("Hydrogen to power £25bn surge", The Herald, December 22). Renewable energy already costs 16p/unit whilst that from gas is only 4p/unit. The cost of processing the product from an electrolysis unit must be added to the above cost, plus that of enhancing the hydrogen grid system to transfer the product to the consumer, as hydrogen is a difficult gas to contain.

That would likely mean a cost of around 32p/unit which increases energy bills eight-fold – can those in fuel poverty afford such a luxury product or will energy be a product that only the rich can afford?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.


HARK The Herald's columnists and some letter writers yesterday (December 21).

If not all on the same hymn sheet, they at least chimed an encouraging chorus of hope and spiritual harmony in troubling times. Mark Smith, bless him, bestowed a measure of praise on the Scottish Government ("Our nation’s drugs crisis is a tragedy but we can’t blame the Scottish Government", The Herald, December 21).

Halellujah! I hope it catches on.

Gerry Burke, Strachur, Argyll.


IT is Christmas time but that does not prevent everyone having a good festive go at the humble Brussels sprout.

Part of the reason might be in the Brussels part of the name. Enough said.

Another part might be the fact that if you overcook a sprout a noxious rotten egg smell is emitted. And a boiled sprout is a damp mouthful of blandness.

But this is in praise of the sprout.

An 80 gram helping of these mini cabbages delivers four times more vitamin C than an orange.

Sprouts help lower cancer risk, are good for eye health and (you already guessed this) are great for the libido.

Add in the fact that they weigh in at only 26 calories a cup and what is there not to like?

And here is the most surprising thing about sprouts (which is not mentioned in the online article "25 Fun and Surprising Facts about Sprouts" I have just plagiarised): If you eat a raw Brussels sprout there is as strong peppery, nutty aftertaste. After about six sprouts it actually becomes quite unbearable.

The sprout has a sting in its tail.

I sense disbelief. Just try it, but have a glass of cold water standing by.

Alan Susskind, Newton Mearns.