Letters: Like it or not, football is hugely important to many people and is often a force for good

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UNFORTUNATELY the valid points made by Rosemary Goring concerning footballers and football during the pandemic, especially the criticism of Celtic, Neil Lennon and “Dubaigate” (“Footballers are like royalty, heedless of what ordinary folk are going through”, The , January 21) are devalued by her scattergun anti-football snipings purporting to reflect on the sport’s role during the current crisis.

In an attempt to shore up her anti-football agenda she maintains it is undeserving of the attention and support it receives and would have us believe, for example, that football is a “minority” sport, that “almost as many attend church as games” and does her best to belittle its importance to national morale, conveniently overlooking its widely-accepted significant contribution in that respect during the Second World War. Warming to her theme, she widens her arc of fire to attack even the sport’s quality here by decrying it as “a boring two-horse race” and mentions how “streets empty” where she lives when the Calcutta Cup is on.

In expressing such ill-founded criticisms she undermines her principal point. She simply chooses not to accept that like it or not, football is big business, an important employer, is the biggest sport here bar none and consequently hugely important to many people, especially at present. She also lamentably fails to make any mention of the important role currently played by the charitable foundations of most clubs in the country in their community-based activities providing a support lifeline in material and psychological terms to many badly affected.

Football and footballers are certainly not perfect but deserve a more balanced critique.

Jack Davidson, Edinburgh EH10.

THANK YOU, MR SPEAKER

I WRITE in order to convey my sincere thanks to the House of Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, for pursuing a small but important matter on my behalf with the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions.

I had written to Mr Speaker requesting that he draw to the attention – and correct if possible – Boris Johnson’s continuous and inaccurate terminology when referencing the Scottish National Party as the Scottish Nationalist Party, pointing out this is inaccurate and, in my opinion, pejorative.

Within a week, I received an informative reply from the Speaker’s Office, acknowledging my complaint and undertaking to address it, whilst admitting his powers were somewhat limited when dealing with MPs and the Prime Minister.

At PMQs yesterday (January 20), in responding to a remote question from Ian Blackford joining the session from Skye concerning the UK Government’s future relationship with the new Biden administration, Mr Johnson replied: “Of course we will work with President Biden to secure the transatlantic alliance and Nato, which of course the Scottish Nationalist Party would unbundle” (“Blackford goes blank as PM takes the piscine with El Dorado dream”, The , January 21). To which Mr Speaker interjected: “It is the Scottish National Party, Prime Minister. I know you keep having a memory lapse on it.”

Of course, the PM would never refer to the Labour Party as the “Laborious Party” or his own organisation as “the Conservatory Party” so why has he, until now, got away with a wrong and prejudicial description, given the connotations of the term “Nationalist”?

Only time will tell whether Mr Johnson, who generally does not seem to grasp the basic premise of answering questions posed, will change his ways and call Scotland’s largest party – by far – by its actual name and not one twisted to suit his own agenda.

Mike Wilson, Longniddry.

THIS IS A DAY FOR CELEBRATION

BELLS are being rung across Scotland at midday today (January 22). The reason? To celebrate the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that is coming into force on this day. Until now, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not banned under international law, despite their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. Now, with the treaty’s entry into force, we can call nuclear weapons what they are: prohibited weapons of mass destruction, just like chemical weapons and biological weapons. Seventy-five years on, the first resolution passed by the United Nations in January 1946 to eliminate nuclear weapons is finally being realised. More than 75 years after the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the world is saying “never again’”.

It is now time that the UK Government stopped its involvement in this illegal activity.

It is now time that the Scottish Government stopped its collusion in allowing Trident, and its planned replacement, to continue from its base in the west of Scotland, against the will of the Scottish people.

It is also time, as we plan post-Covid for a just and green new deal, that we ensure that funds, currently squandered on illegal weapons of mass destruction, are diverted to green jobs. Skills conversion from nuclear weapons and the arms industry to health, housing, education and transport is required.

Dr Margaret Craig, Glasgow G62.

KEEP AN EYE ON COP26 DELEGATES

VOLUNTEERS are being sought to help at the Glasgow COP 26 climate conference to assist delegates and promote Scotland (“Volunteers wanted for Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow”, The , January 20). I would like to make a call for volunteers to watch local airports to see which delegates arrive by private jet, and to monitor restaurants to see who’s eating meat.

Geoff Moore, Alness.

WE WERE NEEDLED ON A DAY OFF

RE the correspondence on being vaccinated during National Service (Letters, January 20 & 21), at square-bashing we were told that vaccination would take place on Saturday morning, allegedly our time off. On asking why, we were told: “So that if you are ill after it, it’s in your own time.”

Duncan McIntyre, East Kilbride.

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