KIRSTY Strickland’s article “Big presents are not what will make Christmas feel special” (Dec 5) was bang on.

When I was but a lass in the 1940s and into the early 1950s, Christmas was a magic time but done on a shoe string. The box of coloured paints came out – dried and cracked from the previous years but brought back to life with a little warm water. Lined or white paper was cut into strips and painted different colours then stuck together with glue for paper chains. When there was enough, the strings were carefully pinned to each corner of the room and attached to the light shade in the middle.

Prayers were said for them not to break, which they inevitably did, much to the annoyance of my father who would be the one to stand on a chair or get the ladder out to repair the damage – several times! Christmas Day – for several years when I was little – wasn’t even a holiday in Scotland and my dad would have to go to work.

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This year I have – in some small way – replicated my childhood Christmases. I told my son and daughter: a token present each. Has anyone else heard a grown man weep at the idea of no lavish present! Instead, decorations are at a minimum, tree lights are battery-run, Christmas dinner a pared-back affair – hardly many turkeys and chickens to be had, so let’s give the ones left a chance! Has this saved me money from my pension? NO. The money I would have spent has gone to three causes – my local food larder, Good Law and one other charity.

Will it make a lesser Christmas? No because it's not about the giving and receiving, nor is it about who has the biggest show in the house and garden. The same fun will be had, same enjoyment at being with close friends and family. And yes, Kirsty, the same kind of memories made – who will perhaps have a sherbet or two too many and make a memory.

Frieda Burns

I HAVE been puzzled since the UK Supreme Court ruling by the way the judges pronounced upon the situation in Quebec and Canada but steered clear of examining the sole precedent for a country leaving the UK: Ireland.

Ireland was part of the UK from 1801. Canada was not. Quebec was not. Given an expanded electorate in 1918, the majority of Irish votes went to Sinn Fein, favouring independence.

New elections in 1921, following the Government of Ireland Act in 1920, used proportional representation (single transferable vote) polling to establish a “House of Commons of Southern Ireland” and a “House of Commons of Northern Ireland”. Again, a majority for Sinn Fein and independence in “Southern Ireland”.

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Fresh elections in 1922, again using proportional representation (STV), once more delivered a majority in favour of independence in “Southern Ireland”.

The British state recognised and negotiated with Irish elected MPs as representatives of Irish national aspirations, rather than treating them as a government, but the voters’ clear choice was treated as legitimate.

Voters in Scotland have delivered multiple mandates for parties that represent Scottish national aspirations, in both Westminster and Holyrood elections, using first-past-the-post and proportional representation polling methods. Other parties have explicitly campaigned on the basis that a vote for them is a vote against another referendum, and those other parties have not succeeded in winning a majority in favour of that position. However, those other parties prove to be unaccepting of the legitimacy of the voters’ choice.

More than a century ago the British state– recovering from war and dealing with a pandemic – was able to accommodate “Irish national aspiration”, so what is preventing the British state now from doing the same for Scottish national aspiration, and why did the UK Supreme Court overlook or avoid referring to the only legal precedent that is relevant to the matter of a country leaving the UK?

Anna Corne
via email

FURTHER to John Randall’s letter (Dec 1), the Unionists say Scotland is too wee, too poor, and too stupid to run our own affairs. The situation John mentions certainly proves we are indeed too stupid.

Amongst other things we had Blackford standing in the House of Commons immediately after the Supreme English Court decision saying we will abide by their decision. This court has no standing in Scots law and they should have been immediately advised of this fact. Stupid!!

As John points out, we produce vast amounts of electricity from wind power etc, sell it to the market and buy it back at exorbitant rates. Stupid!!

Scotland needs her own currency and self-determination to prevent this situation. Stupid!! As John mentions, the UK’s broad shoulders are needed to carry off our wealth. Stupid!! They tell us there is a £50 billion black hole in the UK economy and they need to balance the books Which are just plain LIES and we believe them. Stupid!!

Time to get out of this colonising situation.

John Robson
via email