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SOME here in Scotland have come to think of the monarchy as an English institution, one that is a bit remote from us. The feeling is understandable, if only because its headquarters are in London.
MELROSE as winners of both the Premiership and the Border League, and finalists in the Scottish Cup, and with a respectable performance in the British & Irish Cup, are surely the club side of the year, while Craig Chalmers deserves to pick up the coaching award.
The global bar-room of the internet ensures that any legislation to control gossip will be impossible to implement
There may still be questions about a few positions, but Andy Robinson has, one assumes, more or less finalised his World Cup squad. Some of those on his list may be injured, in matches or training, between now and the date for departure to New Zealand. Nevertheless I suppose that most of us could write down the names of those likely to be on the plane.
The subject of immigration has scarcely been aired in our election campaign.
AFTER his catastrophic final round in Augusta, Rory McIlroy has been praised for his dignity and good humour, but not by everyone. The old pit-bull Brian Moore was ready with an old quote - the famous or notorious judgement of Vince Lombardi, "legendary coach" of the Green Bay Packers: "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser."
There is no evidence of much public interest in the referendum on electoral reform. The lack of enthusiasm has provoked an amusing complaint from England.
"NO," said a stalwart veteran of the Philiphaugh Kop, "I won't be going over to Melrose. Too many non-rugby people there." One sees his point.
Stephane Hessel is a survivor and a fighter who, aged 93, continues to lash out at injustice
START with something good to which perhaps not enough attention has been paid: Scotland Under-18s' win against England last weekend. We are accustomed to struggle at age-group level, partly because competition for places in these teams is less intense than it is in England, or indeed Wales and Ireland, too, nowadays.
The coalition policing Libya's skies needs to realise it is taking sides in a civil war and must choose its battles carefully
SCOTLAND beat Italy who beat France who beat Ireland who beat England who beat Wales who beat Scotland . . . Here we go round the mulberry bush and so on. England were the champions, deservedly, but, except for Wales, they were the only team who got worse rather than better as the tournament went on.
There are still some great parliamentary occasions. Monday's debate on Libya was one, with fine speeches from front- and back-benchers alike. It showed the House of Commons at its best, with speakers aware of their responsibility and the Chamber alert and attentive. In the not so-distant past, Budget Day was a high spot of the political and parliamentary year, but the drama has departed from it.
ONLY those who hold to the idea that we should beat Italy as a matter of course will underestimate the quality, as well as the importance, of the victory on Saturday. Admittedly, it also set one thinking how much more successful this Six Nations might, and indeed should, have been. If only we hadn't played like zombies against a Welsh team whose mediocrity has been confirmed in each of the their subsequent matches - no matter that two of them ended in undeserved victory. If only...
The biggest surprise of the Six Nations to date wasn't Italy's one-point defeat of France last week-end but their total collapse at Twickenham. One had thought this well-schooled and battle-hardened Italian squad had put that sort of thing behind them.
For 50 years I have treasured the vivid memory of a covering tackle by Ken Scotland on Dewi Bebb when the flying Welsh left-wing seemed certain to score in the corner, but found himself in touch instead.
Making religious freedom a condition of UK foreign aid may do more harm than good for Christians
THERE are trophies for a lot of international matches now, but the Calcutta Cup remains special, simply because it was the first, dating from 1877. Scotland won that original Calcutta Cup match at Raeburn Place by one drop-goal to nil.