WHETHER epic sporting achievements on the world stage are worthy of inclusion within mainstream national news bulletins is a matter of debate, but given they usually are accorded such a status, it would be fair to assume that BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News would have heavily featured coverage of Scots boxer Josh Taylor's unprecedented achievement in becoming the first British fighter to unify all four versions of boxing's world title in any weight division ("Taylor makes the world take notice", Herald Sport, May 24).

The Prestonpans light-welterweight had gone into his unification fight against José Ramírez with two of the four world titles to his name, on a par with Watford-born heavyweight Anthony Joshua, but was fighting to become the first British boxer to become holder of the quartet of titles in the "four belt era".

It was curious enough that the Taylor/Ramírez contest was not covered live by any of the UK's main pay-per-view channels such as Sky or BT Sport – it was eventually streamed live on the specialist boxing platform FITE TV for a one-off payment of £9 – but the returning Scottish hero's homecoming failed to make the cut on any on the main UK-wide news channels.

Rather, on the day of Taylor's return to the UK from Las Vegas – passing through London Heathrow en route to Edinburgh – the main news channels deployed their esteemed sports editors (incidentally, all English) to the announcement of Gareth Southgate's provisional squad for the delayed Euro 2020, England's opening fixture still a full three weeks away, his final 26-man squad still a week from being finalised.

Whilst appreciating the numbers game between Scotland and England and the juxtaposition in popularity between football and boxing, surely Taylor's unprecedented actual achievement should have carried significantly greater editorial weight ahead of a provisional squad pre-announcement for one team taking part in an event that will not reach its denouement for almost two months?

Given such England-centric prejudice in drawing-up daily national news agendas, is it little wonder that we Scots – and incidentally Welsh and Northern Irish too – feel so undervalued and alienated, when our ground-breaking national achievements are at best sidelined and all too often ignored in favour of what are, in reality, second rate – but English – stories?

Mike Wilson, Longniddry.


IN reply to the letter by M Green (May 26), yes, Israel should apologise. For cynical actions in East Jerusalem that deliberately sought to provoke a reaction from Hamas that would distract attention from Netanyahu's dishonesty and illegality. For operating an apartheid state where Arab Israelis do not have the same rights as Jewish Israelis. For turning Gaza into a refugee camp instead of allowing an independent Palestine state to flourish.

Israel will never enjoy peace while it continues to oppress Palestinians. I share the view that Hamas are extremist thugs who use civilians as a human shield, but I can't see what Israel is achieving by bombing these innocent people. The US should insist on a two-state solution as a condition of further support for Israel.

Sandy Slater, Stirling.


GUY Stenhouse ("It's time for state to allow people to reclaim freedom", The Herald, May 24) rehashes his opinion that private is good and public is bad in almost all his columns. Reading the same point made week after week, I am tempted to ask if you pay him with the same cheque week after week. If not, you should certainly consider it.

I’d like to ask Mr Stenhouse two questions:

Has he ever visited the A&E department of a private American hospital where his credit card would be more important than his illness?

Has he tried comparing the publicly-owned French railways with their privatised British equivalent? A French TGV would take him 500 miles in less time than a British train for less than half the price.

Sam Craig, Glasgow.


ALTHOUGH I am only 63 years old, the letter (May 26) from Ed Brown complaining that there would be no “real” celebrations for his daughter leaving primary school confirmed once more that the modern world is something completely alien to me.

When my friends and I left primary school there were no celebrations, organised or otherwise. Proms were unheard of. We just got on with it. It was no big deal and none of us were any the worse for it.

David Clark, Tarbolton.


MIGHT I join David Brown and David Miller (Letters, May 25 & 26) in their club for Grumpy Old Men? Having squirmed when I read Nicola Love's column ("Don’t fear the young will fail to take up vaccines", The Herald, May 26) and her statement that a quick call had secured "my partner and I" vaccination appointments, I concluded that the blame must lie squarely at the door of Oscar Hammerstein II for failing to correctly name his musical The King and Me.

Eric Begbie, Stirling.


I WAS shocked to learn that comedian Les Dennis is now involved in an opera production by Gilbert and Sullivan ("Issue of the day: Les Dennis turns to opera", The Herald, May 26). I am not shocked by the radical change of direction in his career but by the description of the work of Gilbert and Sullivan as "opera".

I am with the late Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini 100 per cent when he said that Italian opera should be sung in Italian. French opera in French, German opera in German and English opera should not be sung at all.

Poor Verdi, Bizet and Wagner will all be rolling over in their graves.

Tina Oakes, Stonehaven.