Readers' Letters: There are two sides to story of booing national anthem

It seems that, as with most things, the thorny issue of national anthems has two sides to it (Letters, 14 September).

First of all, Scotland fans who booed the National Anthem before the Scotland/England football match on Tuesday should simply be banned from future matches for a given period.

Second, England should not be allowed to use our National Anthem for their football team. It should be played for all British teams, full stop. King Charles is our king, not just theirs. His throne is a British one and is so because the first king who ruled as king of both nations was a Scot. He was a Scots king, moreover, who created the entity known as Great Britain.

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Flower of Scotland is a dirge, not an anthem. The depression it creates was clearly etched on the faces of the entire Scottish team before the match even began.

Scotland scarves during the 150th Anniversary Heritage Match between Scotland and England at Hampden Park on Tuesday (Picture: Craig Foy/SNS Group)Scotland scarves during the 150th Anniversary Heritage Match between Scotland and England at Hampden Park on Tuesday (Picture: Craig Foy/SNS Group)
Scotland scarves during the 150th Anniversary Heritage Match between Scotland and England at Hampden Park on Tuesday (Picture: Craig Foy/SNS Group)

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh


All Scots must have been disappointed by the result of the recent “friendly” football match against England. It was good to see that Humza Yousaf attended the match, and I am sure he too was disappointed.

But it would be interesting to know whether he was more disappointed by the result or by the appalling behaviour of a large number of Scots who booed during the National Anthem. This behaviour made a mockery of the word “friendly”. Presumably Mr Yousaf will join with Ally McCoist in condemning such behaviour.

Frank Gerstenberg, Dornoch, Highland

Report from Oz

I write in response to Richard Lucas (“There’s no ‘safe’ when it comes to drug consumption rooms”, Letters, 14 September). I am a visitor to Scotland this month from Melbourne, Australia. I have 22 years in emergency services as a police officer and firefighter first responder (we assist or attend medical emergencies while waiting for paramedics).

We have had a Drug Injecting Room (DIR) in the inner suburb of Richmond, adjacent to our Melbourne central business district now for several years so I can report on the result of that.

When someone is found unconscious from a suspected overdose it requires the attendance of an ambulance, and most often police as the person may become violent. In lieu of either it may also require fire brigade first responders.

This ties these services up for around three hours each time, with transport to hospital and often being queued, unless they are deemed more urgent. That means they are not available to attend other calls during that time.

The immediate effect of the DIR was a reduction in emergency call-outs and a drastic fall in OD deaths. Let’s remember that every addict is still someone's son, daughter or partner.

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The DIR offers support and counselling and the frequent attendees build a trust and relationship that has led to many going into programmes to get off drugs. They also offer drug testing on request so deaths due to a “bad batch” have reduced.

Local traders in the area report almost no discarded needles behind their shops as this was a real problem beforehand and why that location was chosen.

Yes, there are complaints about drug users in the area going to and from the facility but the media fails to mention they were there before the facility, and why that location was chosen.

It has also led police to track the supply of drugs and follow them back up the chain, leading to Australia making some huge hauls recently.

There is no evidence to suggest making this “easy” has led to an increase in drug use at all. Drugs ruin lives and generally lead to an early death. Having a clean and safe place doesn’t take that away, nor make the lifestyle attractive.

As a footnote, alcohol, smoking and gambling are also all addictive and affect a lot more people. Ask the Police which of the four causes more work, domestic violence, fights and deaths.

Mal Bowker, Livingston, West Lothian

Justice in crisis

It seems that because of continuing Scottish Government budget restrictions, Police Scotland will be forced to shed yet more staff.

Already the public have been faced with a police service largely unresponsive to local needs, and reducing the numbers of police officers and support staff can only exacerbate the situation.

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The justice system itself is in crisis, with prisons bursting at the seams, courts unable to cope with the case backlog and more criminals avoiding jail than ever before, even if their conduct justified it.

The police service needs to be properly funded and resourced, otherwise the only winners will be the law-breakers. I only hope Police Scotland’s new chief constable has a magic wand as she will certainly need it.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Foot in mouth

I was really looking forward to the Rugby World Cup this autumn, but four days in and I’m already seriously disappointed by the dire commentary during matches.

We saw this in the recent Women’s Football World Cup, where too often the commentary seemed to consist of a discussion between the commentators about current football issues rather than them commenting on what was unfolding in front of them.

During Ireland’s rugby match with Romania at the weekend we had to endure the embarrassment of the two commentators being too busy discussing the political situation in Romania in the 1990s to notice Ireland had popped over the try line. It borders on the ridiculous when the viewer has to then wait while the commentators try to work out who scored.

The key to being a good match commentator is to comment on the match. The great commentators were those who did that while embellishing their commentary with asides at the appropriate moment. Bill McLaren could do it in Rugby Union, alongside Eddie Waring in Rugby League. Peter Alliss at his peak was unsurpassable in golf, while Murray Walker stood out in Formula One. Each had their own style which enhanced the viewer experience rather than diminished it.

Sadly, Andrew Cotter is the only latter day exponent who comes close to their standards. His commentaries during the recent World Athletics Championships were an object lesson in giving enough information to retain the viewer’s attention without drifting into the meaningless drivel that is too readily found within the football commentariat. And last but not least, can ITV please do something about the on-screen graphics in its broadcasts? Having the score tucked away in the top left corner of the screen using a font so small that you need a magnifying glass to read it is not helpful.

Robert Menzies, Falkirk

Open Irish eyes

None of the separatists who frequently write about how Scotland should copy the Republic of Ireland seem to have any actual experience of living in the country.

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Fraser Grant (Letters, 13 September) believes that Irish state broadcaster RTÉ is “politically neutral”. Raidió Teilifís Éireann is directly paid for and controlled by the Dublin government. Try tuning in regularly to some of their news coverage and current affairs programmes to see just how “neutral” they really are.

The BBC, on the other hand, which Mr Grant accuses of political bias, is an independent organisation which does not get its orders or funding from Westminster.

Incidentally, RTÉ is currently embroiled in a scandal over its finances, internal governance and lavish expenditure on corporate hospitality.

People like Mr Grant would benefit from finding out what it’s like to fill a tank with petrol, buy a week’s groceries or access healthcare in the 26 counties.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Red flags

The media focus on cuts to police numbers in a budget crisis, the problems with the short-term let scheme and the lack of capacity on the Islay ferry route has obscured the lack of debate over the red flags on consumer power bills once the SNP implement the projects detailed in their Energy Paper (your report, 14 September).

The first red flag debt arises from the proposal to install 60GW of wind and solar power to meet an anticipated maximum demand of only 20GW. The 400 per cent over-capacity target highlights just how inefficient and unreliable is such a technology. Indeed, such is the SNP lack of faith in the plant that Humza Yousaf now plans to add a further 25GW of gas turbine plant to the mix to keep the lights on in Scotland.

That raises a second red flag over the cost of the Constraint Payment bill when, over nine months of the year, the system requirement is only 30 per cent of the winter maximum demand. meaning around 80GW of plant will demand subsidies to remain shut down. Note the lack of data from Holyrood over projected costs to those in fuel poverty.

The third red flag is the debt arising from an untried hydrogen-based generation system. Will the problems with electrolyser costs and building leak-proof hydrogen storage vessels simply be a repeat of the Glen Sannox/Glen Rosa saga? If the technology does not meet expectations then there will be no operational computer systems, no ATMs, no smart phones and no lights for schools and hospitals.

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Surely Scottish consumers should be given the cost estimates of this SNP policy, especially following the warning from Vattenfall over the massive spike in Green Transition projects?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway

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