Readers' Letters: Scotland needs to change tactics to win big

Hungary defender Willi Orban fights for the ball with Scotland forward Che Adams during Sunday's Euro 24 match (Picture: Fabrice Coffrini/ AFP via Getty Images)Hungary defender Willi Orban fights for the ball with Scotland forward Che Adams during Sunday's Euro 24 match (Picture: Fabrice Coffrini/ AFP via Getty Images)
Hungary defender Willi Orban fights for the ball with Scotland forward Che Adams during Sunday's Euro 24 match (Picture: Fabrice Coffrini/ AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland’s Euro 24 dream ended with a goal from Hungary – should the national men’s team have done better?

The Scotland Euro 24 team deserve 9/10 for levels of effort and endeavour, 1/10 for levels of skill.

Given that any Scotland squad is made up of the best players in the country, there are none (with the exception of Billy Gilmour and Andy Robertson) who look comfortable on the ball or who can control the ball at will or can be relied upon to make a useful pass to a teammate.

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Unless we move away from the prehistoric mindset with our young players that “winning is everything” and lose the “get stuck in” approach we will forever remain on the periphery of the international game.

It will take a few years to make such a shift of attitudes but success will never materialise for our national team without investment in skills development of young players.

Brian Wilson, Glasgow

Be kind

Congratulations to Steve Clarke and his team for representing Scotland at Euro 2024.

They did well to qualify but some people had unrealistic expectations for what was always going to be a hard task. Swagger that we should beat Switzerland or Hungary proved unjustified.

I hope that the know-all media and pundits don't go for the jugular. Better international squads have failed to get through to the knock-out stages before. Scottish hubris is generally swiftly snuffed out by nemesis. A microcosm of the Nationalist cause for independence.

Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh

Initial thoughts

I see on social media that plenty of separatists are now adopting an ABE (Anyone but England) approach to Euro 24.

Presumably, that's because SNP (Scotland's not playing)?

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Poor show

When the general election date was announced, First Minister John Swinney instantly went into familiar grievance mode by complaining that this disrespected Scottish voters because many of them might be away on their summer holidays.

But thanks to “Westminster austerity”, a cost-of-living crisis and (of course) Brexit, most Scots simply can’t afford to jet off on vacation any more, can they? The SNP paint a picture of an impoverished country where exploited multitudes rely on food banks to get them through the week, which explains why hardly anyone managed to scrape together enough bawbees to visit Germany for the fitba, or even buy pricey tickets to hear Taylor Swift’s sell-out Murrayfield concert.

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If an early July polling day benefits anyone at all it must actually be the separatists, given that foreign travel is now a luxury for well-heeled Tories and other Unionists?

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Time to get real

John Swinney sounds very confused about the idea of a mandate. I’ll explain it for him.

He and close colleagues have had a mandate to serve the people of Scotland in devolved government for an impressively long time. The first years were very promising and I sensed improvement when I visited on a work trip in 2013.

The last ten years have been a stealthy plunge in the direction of the third world. The administration has very little time to nurse the mandate idea.

Problem one has been an authoritarian secrecy which has fuelled all the other problems.

Money is secretly squandered. Tenders and contracts are concealed. Gigantic sums are spent on having no ferries to the Isles.

I’ve not heard threnodies of joy about the trains, either.

The NHS and its staff are exhausted. They may be just as exhausted in England and Wales, but the NHS is a devolved and the buck should have stopped with a serially incompetent devolved minister. Waiting times cost lives.

Drug deaths? Education attainment? A high proportion of children living in poverty is third-world performance in one of the richest countries in the world.

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Now let’s get back to the mandate thing. The administration’s mandate to serve the Scots runs until 2026. If they don’t make the effort to govern properly well ahead of that, they’re out of office. No mandate and no dreams. No EU passport and no fresh and modern institutions. No imaginative Nordic foreign policy at all. No social democratic rescaling of spending.

Whatever rises from the dust of all that will be up to new people.

The First Minister may be savouring an abrupt rebuke with breakfast on 5 July. That ought to warn SNP leadership that it’s time – and very late – for getting real about the job they have.

That’s the only mandate they have. Any other is up to the public and the public will not reward any more failure.

Tim Cox, Bern 6, Switzerland

Illogical attack

Many Edinburgh parents will be concerned about Labour’s plans to have VAT charged on school fees.

I have discussed this with a Labour candidate who claims to be not against the principles of private education, does not wish to restrict parents’ choice, and states that the independent sector plays a critical role and can provide specific needs.

The potential damage to the private school system and pupils could easily be avoided by raising the very small amount of money, 0.15 per cent of Government revenue, from other tax sources.

Why is Labour intent on attacking parents, not all wealthy, who wish to use the private schools ?

DJ Neale, Edinburgh

One-way ticket

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In just about every interview during the current election campaign, SNP representatives and candidates have said we need more inward migration to fill job vacancies and boost Scotland's economy. They claim that only by voting for them can we separate from the United Kingdom and rejoin the European Union, allowing people to come in and work in the National Health Service, hospitality and the care sector.

Almost in the same breath they say that rejoining the EU would allow our young people the opportunity to work and study in Europe.

Given that the campaign is taking place against a backdrop of SNP incompetence, housing and cost of living crises, long NHS/dental waiting lists, and falling education standards in overcrowded schools it is more likely that, should the SNP's separatist fantasies come true and we did rejoin the EU, “freedom of movement” would be along a one-way street heading into Europe.

Mark Openshaw. Cults, Aberdeen

Vetting failures

In relation to the shocking deception by disgraced Chief Constable Nick Adderley (“Police chief who lied about career sacked”, 22 July), what must be of even greater concern is the staggering incompetence of the security vetting and clearance process.

It is highly likely that this officer underwent advanced vetting several times throughout his career, to the highest clearance, level (developed vetting) which we now know failed to establish the very simple fact, among others, that he was only 15 years old when he alleged that he had served in the Falklands.

In view of the foregoing it is perhaps unsurprising that police vetting in general is failing, with criminals and sex offenders being repeatedly identified within the lower ranks.

One has to wonder how many other incompetently vetted individuals occupy positions within sensitive areas of our military and security establishment.

Russia and China might be in a better position to provide accurate figures.

A Gilmour, Edinburgh

Valuing life

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I read with interest the column by Professor Ben Colburn entitled “Assisted dying bill must not fail because of wealthy and well-connected opponents” (Scotsman Online, 23 June). In this, he indicates that Scotland should uphold compassion, dignity and a respect for individual autonomy. These are principles with which, I am sure, most persons in Scotland would agree. But compassion, in Latin, means suffering with another person. Not ending his or her life because society agrees it has become a life unworthy of life.

Moreover, Prof Colburn writes that assisted suicide should be legalised because certain persons may be trapped in a body wracked with pain. But, again, this is not the experience of those receiving appropriate and compassionate palliative care in a Scottish hospice.

The real argument behind Prof Colburn’s column is one of individual autonomy. But absolutist autonomy in deciding when a life has any value, as is required for assisted suicide, undermines the very concept of the equal value and worth of all human life. A concept which is vital for civilised society to survive. Indeed, it is only because we value the human life of a person that we even respect his or her autonomy.

This means that the concept of the equal value and worth of all life must have priority over absolutist autonomy. If this was not the case, the value of human life may become totally subjective. It may even become very cheap, as is already happening in some countries that have legalised assisted suicide.

This all means that Scotland’s laws do not lag behind those of civilised nations, as is suggested by Prof Colburn. Of course, those in favour of assisted suicide are entitled to their beliefs but they should not impose these views on everyone else – views which would undermine the equality and value of all human life.

(Dr) Calum MacKellar, Director of Research, Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, Edinburgh

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