I recall back in the 1960s STV ran a contest entitled A Song For Scotland.

I heard a couple of workmates discussing the show and, intrigued, asked them what the songs were like. "Och, ye ken, the usual," came the reply, "Marchin' through the heather up tae the oxters in peat!'

Half a century on, I have transmogrified from a young joiner into an elderly poet and often think about that remark because it taught me a lesson: just inserting all the right ingredients into a poem or song doesn't mean it will be good or memorable.

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That is the problem I have with the lyrics offered on your Letters Pages (January 1 & 7). They are puddings which have been over-egged. A national anthem should convey a simple message and not be just a list of high-flown phrases; when I hear lines like "hearts beat strong and true", I cringe.

My own preference would be for an anthem in Scots, written by our national bard and conveying the sentiments of brotherhood that most Scottish people empathise with.

I realise others have suggested Is There For Honest Poverty. It is to me the outstanding candidate. Failing that, we should settle for what is the people's choice, Flower of Scotland.

It is not anti-English to celebrate a battle that paved the way for Scotland to assert its right to be recognised as a nation.

Is it any worse than the wonderful poetic prose of Shakespeare's speech, in Henry V, about a "band of brothers" on "St Crispin's Day"?

I've never heard anyone describes that as anti-French.

David C Purdie,

12 Mayburn Vale, Loanhead, Midlothian.