Life is better

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Now is the season of party-poopers and the Guardian’s global-warming catastrophist George Monbiot warns our Christmas lunch damages the planet more than a long haul flight.

Well, of course, that is utter tosh as is the wailing that Christmas is not what it was in the good old days for, having been born in the Second World War, I recall those times.

Christmas present is infinitely better than anything most of us knew as children in Christmas past and the joy of children is surely what this whole business is about.

The overwhelming majority of the world’s children are healthier and better fed than they have ever been. The air is so much less polluted, our cities cleaner and prettier, our homes warmer, the variety and quality of presents and food incomparably superior to those my generation knew.

It would be absurd to pretend everything is better than it was 70 years ago and the fractured nature of modern family life is especially on show at Christmas, but an awful lot really is.

Rev Dr John Cameron

Howard Place, St Andrews

Welcome view

I was most impressed with David Cameron’s Christmas address to the nation in which he urged people to reflect on Christian values.

I feel it was a very well thought out and sensitive speech.

It is no surprise that David Cameron has been vilified for what he has expressed, by many individuals and organisations such as the secularist society. This would not have happened 30 years ago. Things have changed for Christians and not for the better.

It seems that in today’s society every minority has a right to free speech, but there have been many cases, too many to mention in recent times, where Christians have done just that and faced persecution and even prosecution.

It is time this country got back to basic Christian values and stop living in fear of what minorities would think of our faith.

Well said David Cameron.

Gordon Kennedy

Simpson Square, Perth

Lifeless churches

It is reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury worries the Christian Church will be no more in the Middle East by conflict there.

Maybe he should be more concerned about the future of his Church of England and the Church of Scotland, reported to be doing a deal to unite.

As an old Scotsman, circa 1940, I am worried that I am losing my Christian beliefs because both church authorities are either getting dour or more dull.

The Scots hymns lack any voomp and the ministers in the pulpits just put congregations to sleep with their long, often repeated sermons.

The Church of England is often worse, and a disgrace because the old priest or bishop or Archbishop just cants out old doctrine from a printed book. For goodness sake put life in to your churches!

Terry Duncan

Greame Road, Bridlington, East Yorkshire

Out of tune

For several days now the Scotsman has been carrying stories of a growing wave of protest against Edinburgh Council’s proposal to cut funding for music instruction which has undoubtedly been an excellent service.

However, none of the protestors have stated what other services they would cut to find the necessary funding.

Faced with the massive cuts imposed by the SNP Scottish Government, councils must find the savings somewhere.Instead of attacking the council, therefore, people should be attacking the SNP who for eight years now have made local councils the whipping boys, forcing them to make unpopular cuts while they themselves continue to centralise power and look after their own populist projects.

Henry L Philip

Grange Loan, Edinburgh

Drug remedy

It is encouraging to hear that Kenny MacAskill has recently suggested that policies on drug abuse should be reviewed. It is a pity that this was not done during his seven years as justice secretary, when both drug deaths and the prison population in Scotland were rising. Scotland has one of the highest prison populations In Europe, much of it due to drug-related crime. Drug deaths in Scotland have now reached a new peak, much of it linked to heroin or methadone. It is widely recognised that the “war on drugs” has been counterproductive, and the United Nations has now called for decriminalising possession. This is not the same as legalising drugs, and indeed drug dealers should be rigorously pursued.

In the 1970s, when the Misuse of Drugs act was passed, there were fewer than 1,000 known heroin users in the whole of the UK. In 2012 in Scotland alone, it was estimated there were 22,000 addicts, with millions of pounds going into the pockets of criminals.

This is madness on a massive scale. Disastrous failures require drastic remedies.

Firstly, the possession and use of heroin should cease to be a criminal offence, which would remove large numbers of offenders from the courts and prison.

Secondly, heroin should be prescribed to addicts in NHS clinics, with help for those who want to come off it, which most addicts do. Such facilities would help destroy the black market.

Dr David Hannay

Carsluith, Wigtownshire