Readers' Letters: Wales and England show weakness in Qatar

To absolutely no one’s surprise, England and Wales backed down on the big day at the last possible minute over wearing LBGTQ+ armbands when playing in the highly dubious Qatari World Cup.

Like typical Wokesters, they're full of fighting talk when their target is weak and malleable, but the moment it shows an iron resolve precisely of the sort required to inflict those cruelties without remorse the “Be Kind” brigade professes to be fighting against, they crumble to dust – proof of the old adage that all bullies are cowards.Let this be a lesson to those kowtowing at every turn to the plethora of cranks and perverts who have hijacked well-intentioned human rights and ecological campaigns for their own ends. They only do as much as we are foolish enough to allow.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

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Reality calling?

While members of the Wales and England squads never wore their LGBTQ+ support on their sleeves, BBC presenter Alex Scott, right, donned a OneLove armband (Picture: BBC)
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Could a modicum of reality finally hit the SNP? Already, health secretary Humza Yousef has said that a two-tier health system would be “abhorrent”. It’s not ideal, but why? The SNP want to make everything ‘free’ or deploy the more inane term of declaring something a “human right” as if this magically makes it immune to price shocks, scarcity, bottlenecks or abuse.Do the individuals who work in extractive and chemical industries work for nothing? Do the people who labour on pharmaceutical production lines do it out of duty?Most of us know services aren't free, but some persist in this naive delusion helped along by the SNP, who have almost entirely ruptured the link between services and taxation.If I had to pay a fixed sum to see a GP, similar to dentistry, then so be it. I’d rather the entire service works. And I say this from no place of great wealth, working minimum wage for a “free” advocacy service.However, the NHS Scotland health board chief executives' minutes are more succinct than me: “...divorced from the reality of life and purpose of service”. This could sum up the last 15 years in Scotland.

David Bone, Girvan, South Ayrshire

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Harsh lesson

The catalogue of violence and anti-social yobbism in Dunfermline listed by John Lloyd, and the EIS reports of widespread aggressive acts in schools generally, are utterly appalling (Letters, 21 November). But the EIS must surely acknowledge that to some extent at least, these acts result from its own chickens coming home to roost.

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It was a previous generation of teachers who themselves led the campaign to ban corporal punishment without having any credible and effective alternative to put in its place. Incidentally, I was quite rightly belted in the 1950s when, showing off, I pretended to trip up the janitor as he walked past carrying a heavy load of jotters and papers (though I was also belted unfairly on another occasion).

I also recall that in the mid-1980s the EIS led a protest march with its banners depicting the face of the then Secretary of State, George Younger, as the bull’s eye of a rifle target – unequivocally disgraceful and a dreadful example to set their pupils and our children. So what did the EIS expect?

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John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

Vile youths

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Last Sunday I took my son to visit my parents in Airdrie, using ScotRail’s service from Edinburgh. On the return leg, just before Blackridge station, the train banged and shook as its front bogie crunched through an obstruction, maliciously placed on the track. It felt as though we came perilously close to derailing and when stopped at Blackridge we could hear the driver telephoning Control to tell them what had happened.

Just four days later, taking Lothian Buses’ route 25 home from work, a group of youths at the back of the bus ripped one of the plastic seat-backs off its mounting and one of them, following encouragement from the others, posted it through the open top-light of a window on the pavement side. One can imagine the consequences had either an elderly person or a baby in a pram or pushchair been unfortunate enough to have been on the pavement when that particular item came flying down through the dark and rainy sky and hit them.

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These experiences suggest to me that there is currently an unfortunately large number of youths hereabouts who are desperately under-educated with regard to their social responsibilities and who take a perverse and reckless pleasure in deeply irresponsible and malicious behaviour. I suggest that it is only a matter of time before similar actions result in serious injury and death for innocent bystanders who by ill luck happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong moment. A profound change in attitudes must therefore be encouraged.

Bruce Peter, Edinburgh

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Forget Norway

Nationalists never mention Croatia in their “if they can do it why not Scotland?” lists. They're a hard act to to follow

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They became independent in 1991, created the Kuna currency in 1994, applied for EU membership in 2003, joined in 2013 and will adopt the Euro in January 2023. A similar journey for Scotland after October 2023 means joining the EU in 204​5 and Euro in 2055 – 32 years!

And that's if our deficit is below 3 per cent of GDP to comply with Euro joining conditions; Croatia’s deficit averaged 3 per cent between 2013 and 2021 and was 1 per cent or less in three of the last five years. Scotland’s deficit averaged 10.7 per cent in the same period

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So the SNP-Greens have an uphill task. They disagree on currency and refuse to outline the cuts and taxes required to get to a 3 per cent deficit level.

Alan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

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Straw clutching

Yet again simple arithmetic seems too much for Alastair Stewart and the SNP party, who equate seats won to democracy (“Democrats cannot deny SNP Indyref2”, Perspective, 19 November). The independence issue will be settled by a referendum, therefore a Yes or No is all that is required to a single question. It is a safe presumption that independence seekers vote SNP, Greens or Alba already. Only once have their votes outnumbered the combined votes for Unionist parties.

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It is also safe to suggest that a turnout for a referendum will far exceed the normal vote turnout, and that will produce an even higher vote in favour of No. The SNP are clutching at straws, know they are doomed, yet spend £20 million-plus unnecessarily. As for the current Westminster mess, the cost of fighting Covid, furlough etc has to be recovered. I did not hear squeals of anguish when jobs were saved and wages were paid. We in Scotland have lived in a mess of Holyrood’s making for quite a while now and giving them a borrowing lever will only make it worse!

As for how to escape Westminster, when more people want SNP etc than the rest, the government would listen – but that won't happen until Holyrood unearths talents it hasn't got and proves itself capable.

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Jim Rigby, Edinburgh

Spad wasters

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Tomorrow, the Supreme Court is scheduled to deliver its verdict on the SNP’s spurious claims for another referendum and, surely, the SNP will be given a flea in their ear.

However, the First Minister’s taxpayer-supplied and funded SPAD army will not then turn to using their brains to help solve Scotland’s myriad and deep seated problems and suggest, for example, curtailing profligate spending on nationalist shibboleths and use the money instead to pay fair wage claims and aid the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

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The “special advisers” will instead be employed in attempting to find any new grievance whatsoever to help their obsession with breaking up the UK, to the exclusion of all else and the weary people of this country will be faced with further years of division and festering hatred and misery.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

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Rally fears

With the Supreme Court’s ruling on whether the SNP administration may hold a legal referendum without reference to Westminster due, the Yes movement is swinging into action. Tomorrow night, rallies are to be held across Scotland, outside Holyrood and in Selkirk, Dumfries, and even Skye, among other places. Further, on the following Saturday, All Under One Banner (AUOB) will hold a rally on the steps of the BBC Scotland building at Pacific Quay in Glasgow, the site of a rowdy Yes demonstration in 2014. The organiser, Neil Mackay, tells us “we’ll be having a very prominent, very loud demonstration”.

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This being the UK, these demonstrations will take place without molestation. Minorities’ rights are protected, to the extent that the danger of a “tyranny of the majority” is prevented and we are now approaching the tyranny of minorities – see the Gender Recognition Reform bill as an example

If the separatists win tomorrow, those at the rallies will celebrate. But if they lose, what will happen? True, their numbers tend not to be large, but it is clear organisers are intent on encouraging people not to accept a legal decision if it displeases them. What form that displeasure may take is not clear, but we have to hope it does not result in civil disorder. Hope may not be enough.

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Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Reveal Egypt cost

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How do we find out the cost and duration of the First Minister's trip to Egypt? She was not part of the UK delegation. She is not the Head of a sovereign state so who was she representing?

Since John Swinney tells us the cupboards are financially bare, what is the justification for this trip when Scotland's contribution to global emissions is so ridiculously small compared to other nations of the world?

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Can we ever get some common sense and focused priority from the SNP?

Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

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