Readers' Letters: What did Jesus do to get ‘cancelled’ by M&S?

The other day a display of Christmas cards in Marks & Spencer caught my eye. However, when I looked through it something seemed to be missing. It took me a couple of minutes to work out what it was – not a single card related to the birth of Jesus, which is what Christmas actually celebrates.

A selection of this year's M&S Christmas cards
A selection of this year's M&S Christmas cards

I could hardly believe that Marks had erased the Nativity from their cards, so the following day I went back and searched all the other displays in the entire store: individual cards, multi-packs and even Christmas gift cards. In the end, I could only find a single card relating to the Christmas story. The fact that Marks are only selling a single design relating to the Nativity – no shepherds, wise men or angels – leads me to think that it was an afterthought.

Although practising Christians are certainly a minority in the country these days, there is probably still a majority of people for whom Christianity, if not our religion, is still an essential part of our culture. Imagine Marks & Spencer treating a much smaller group, such as the transgender community, so shabbily – it’s almost inconceivable. Christians and cultural conservatives, however, are a different matter.

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Offering only a single card relating to the Christmas story for sale is a disgrace: St Michael is really taking the Mickey.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife

Sweeteners?

On Wednesday 27 October, during Portfolio questions, Oliver Mundell MSP asked Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, about reports that wind farm developers are offering payments to local residents in return for signing non-disclosure agreements and not objecting to planning applications. Anyone taking a “financial incentive” would be in a difficult situation should they encounter problems such as noise nuisance or pollution of private water supplies once construction is underway.

The Minister refused to be drawn on the issue as, he said, it was connected to a “live planning matter” and the Scottish Ministers had not yet received the Report. Unfortunately there will be a long wait before they receive that, possibly a year or more!

Offering cash and cheap electricity is nothing new, particularly if it is considered that some property owners are likely to be “difficult”. The buying out of properties to give them more room to put up even more turbines has happened previously. As suitable sites for ever taller wind turbines become more difficult to find we will witness further ingenious ways of “persuading” affected neighbours to accept these monstrosities closer to their homes, leaving them unable to complain when the worst happens.

This situation needs to be addressed now, not years down the line when many more people may have been affected.

Aileen Jackson, Uplawmoor, East Renfrewshire

No charge

Many of us know the phrase, “There's coincidence and there's coincidence!” but having the COP26 Conference in Glasgow in the same week as it has been revealed that 1,679 charging points for electric cars in Scotland have failed to work this year, makes mockery of both the conference's ideologies and Scotland' s ability to run electric cars in order to “save the planet” (your report, 1 November).In fact, nearly 4,000 charging points have failed to work in Scotland since August 2019, which must have left a lot of EV drivers with low fuel but with high blood pressure.“Take it up with the authorities!” I hear you say, but that won't be so easy now that the Electric Vehicle Owners Association has chosen to hand over control of many of these charging points to Swarco eVolt.You could, I suppose, push a letter of complaint through their head office letterbox… but you'd have to go to Innsbruck in Austria to do it!

Archibald A Lawrie, Kingskettle, Fife

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Squeeze out SUVs

I have been pondering what might be done locally, at no cost, and within the limited competencies of our local authority, to address climate change. My best idea so far. The city states that three years from now no resident's parking permits will be issued for SUVs.

Replacing SUVs with smaller cars will effectively increase carriageway width, allowing freer moving, and hence less polluting, traffic flow. It will lower fuel demand. Smaller batteries will decrease the carbon cost of their manufacture. And the ex-SUV owners will be better off. Win, win, win! What reasonable person could possibly object?

David Hogg, Edinburgh

Bullying stares

It seems that Richard Lucas is quite clear about what he considers to be right, even if many of us do not have the same outlook (Letters, 30 October). What I find disturbing is that he seems to think that abortion is “a grave moral evil”. Does that apply in every case?Does he believe, for example that a woman must carry a dead baby to full term?

If a mother will die if she continues with a pregnancy, must she continue regardless?

Women died as a result of back street abortions before David Steel introduced the Abortion Act. Would he want us to go back to that by making abortions illegal?Does he understand how threatening a group of ideologically focussed bigots standing and staring at a woman on her own going into a clinic can be, most of them for completely different reasons than abortion?Why does he think that trade unions have long used picket lines to brow-beat what they call “scabs” continuing to go to work? Because it exerts psychological pressure, otherwise called bullying.Have these women no right to go about their business without fear?

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

Poor Scotland

William Ballantine's letter of 30 October about the Budget suggests that he is unaware that more than 40 per cent of taxation raised from Scotland is retained by Westminster to pay a “population share” of expenditure which is of no benefit to, and has not been agreed to by, the people of Scotland.

These items to which we are forced to contribute include: illegal nuclear weapons (costing £1,830 per minute); Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station; HS2 Rail; London Cross Rail; the House of Lords; buildings in Westminster; a contribution to the billions paid to private companies for defective PPE etc.

There is also the “London weighting” by which the richest city in the UK, with a population nearly twice that of Scotland, pays wages, salaries and benefits that are higher than anywhere else, at our expense.

All this money raised from Scotland should be being spent where it is really needed, in Scotland, for the benefit of the people of Scotland. Pittances returned do not compensate for the injustice of the constant removal of the wealth of Scotland to support the vanity projects of London and the South-East.

The taxpayers of Scotland pay much more to Westminster than they get back because of the accounting systems used, and are continually deliberately disadvantaged by it.

The 35 per cent privatisation of National Health England, for example, reduces the amount paid to National Health Scotland by that amount, but the same amount of tax from Scotland is retained by Westminster.

Susan FG Forde, Scotlandwell, Kinross-shire

Whistling in dark

I suppose we're all guilty from time to time of selectively quoting opinion polls. Alexander McKay says the most recent poll, showing a small majority of voters in favour of the Union, proves that “it's safe to say that the independence dream is over” (Letters 1 November).

He neglects to mention that the same poll in The Scotsman, showed increased support for the SNP in voting intentions for Holyrood, with the SNP on 48 per cent in the constituency vote, 26 points ahead of their closest challengers, Labour.

For the regional list vote, the SNP are up two points to 38 per cent, with the Conservatives 16 points behind.Mr McKay thinks it's time for independence “stalwarts to head homewards to think again”. This is an odd choice, considering it refers to a famous victory for the Scots in their battle for independence.

However, it may be advisable for independence supporters to stick their fingers in their ears to block out the sound of Unionists whistling in the dark.

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

Burns fright

While I enjoyed reading Alison Campsie’s Heritage article in Saturday’s Scotsman, it is possibly a sign of the times and the obsession with all things Highland and Gaidhlig that no mention was made of Robert Burns’ poem, Hallowe’en, where in his native Scots tongue he described in verse all the customs alluded to in the article...but maybe Ayrshire and the Scots tongue is not as “printworthy fashionable” as the Gaidhealtachd!

John Nisbet, Reston, Scottish Borders

Achtung-tied

The Commando war comic I used to enjoy in my younger days is now in its 60th year, the sole survivor of the genre.

Surprisingly, the average age of the readership is 35-45 and the artists – who take a month to draw an issue – must get every detail on planes, weapons, uniforms etc spot on or some eagle-eyed critic will invariably pick it up.

Now I am not saying that correspondent Andrew HN Gray is one of those nerds, but the expertise he displayed on German First World War helmets in his letter yesterday would surely be invaluable to the publishers on a consultancy basis!

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

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