Readers' letters: Nicola is right to put our safety first

I listened to Nicola Sturgeon and thought that she spoke sense with compassion, so I cancelled our family Christmas party.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 24th December 2021, 7:00 am

I asked my children who live in England not to come up to see us this Christmas and I am going to indulge in a Christmas lunch with my husband that contains only the things we like best.

We will enjoy that a great deal, knowing that we are not at risk of Covid or putting anyone else at risk.

Instead I am going to spend the money that I would have spent on a family meal on items for a food bank and that will make me feel even happier.

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I heard Boris and despaired. Does he even look at the numbers of new cases in England?

Four of my grandchildren living in England have had Covid 19 but only one so far in Scotland, and as he works in hospitality, that might have been caught from visitors to his hotel.

I do not need to listen to grannies dredged up by the BBC to whinge “I need to see my children. I must see my grandchildren at Christmas”. Why is that supposed to move me?

If they wanted, there is the whole of the rest of the year to catch up with their families and to stay in contact with them.

Skype, Zoom, meetings with just a few of them, can happen at any time and summer is a great deal more comfortable for us old folk to walk or even sit and eat together outside.

Make your Christmas one to remember with pleasure instead of guilt.

Elizabeth Buchan-Hepburn, Edinburgh.

Legacy of slavery needs spelling out

The welcome research by the National Trust for Scotland noting that the number of its sites with known links to slavery has more than doubled should come as no surprise.

As a nation, we benefited disproportionately from this cruel trade, which played a major part in financing and powering the Industrial Revolution.

Scots owned more slaves, more plantations and had a higher share of the transatlantic trade in plantation goods such as tobacco and sugar than England or most other European countries. In 1796, Scots owned nearly 30 per cent of the estates in Jamaica and by 1817, 32 per cent of the slaves.

The rapid rise of Glasgow into an industrial city was produced off the back of slave labour and the commodities it produced such as tobacco, sugar and cotton. Edinburgh’s glorious New Town, seen by many as the physical embodiment of the Scottish Enlightenment, was sadly partly funded by the enormous profits derived from the enslave-ment of Africans.

Links to the trade are evident all across Scotland with statues, schools and streets named after those who profited through misery and servitude.

One hopes that the National Trust will reflect these links to the slave trade at its sites, but greater education on our nation's role is also vitally required.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Nuclear power

Tim Flinn (Letters, 21 December) exaggerates the dangers of nuclear waste and seems not to know the price we pay for its electricity includes the cost of dealing with the waste and the demolition of the power stations. Most 'nuclear waste' is in fact so-called 'used fuel' which can be recycled as new fuel. The remaining fission products are easily stored and managed and have been for 60 or so years.

Some new reactor types can burn these products so what's left has a short half-life. We need nuclear fission as a means of providing on-call electricity without damaging the environment.

I doubt fusion will ever be successful, cheap or safe.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh.