EVEN though Scotland fell at the first hurdle, it remains insightful to watch coverage provided by the BBC and ITV in general, in particular to experience the differing editorial tone struck by the two broadcasters.

For its part, the commercial channel projects a more inclusive approach from its studio pundits, clearly recognising a significant minority of its audience is watching in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as England.

And if there is a more insightful co-commentator than Ally McCoist, he or she is yet to come to my attention; providing a professional’s analysis as to how and why key moments in a match occur, clearly and concisely, the former Rangers and Scotland striker, excels, especially when compared to the usual pundits explaining what the viewer has just seen, multiple times in super-slo-mo from half-a-dozen different angles.

Surely editors and/or producers should have a quiet word in the ears of Shearer, Ferdinand & Co to explain their actual role, namely the one McCoist fulfils with aplomb?

Meanwhile, as ITV struck a more "four nations" approach to its coverage of England matches, the BBC has clearly opted for a full-on "three lions" offering, fine if you are a fan of Gareth Southgate’s talented outfit, grating if you are not.

Gary Lineker and his cronies – whose chummy "in-crowd" shtick must surely even alienate some English viewers – exude a quasi-England fan club ambience, adopting an increasingly jingoistic tone that will only grow as they progress through the tournament.

In short, BBC Sport’s coverage is provided by on-screen personnel who view themselves unashamedly as supporters first and foremost – unbiased independent reporters very occasionally – perhaps an inevitable outcome when there is not, unlike ITV, where anchor Mark Pougatch brings an element of editorial judgment and constraint to proceedings, a single journalist on either set.

The BBC’s match commentators and their co-commentators adopt a subtle but discernible inflection, inserting supportive, complimentary comments in between pauses describing the action; during this week’s England v Germany match, commentator Guy Mowbray and analyst Jermaine Jenas were positively purring throughout as much of the match as I could tolerate before muting the sound.

But the BBC saved its piece de resistance for the post-match analysis, having the temerity to air footage of the studio panel, Lineker, Shearer and Ferdinand, alongside an awkward-looking token German in Jürgen Klinsmann, leaping around the Wembley studio set like the fans they clearly – and brazenly – are, omitting to recall they were broadcasting not only across England, but to large audiences – all compulsory licence fee payers forced to watch on the BBC – throughout the UK.

Presenters and pundits, love them or loathe them, it’s a matter of personal preferences and taste, but the key word in the British Broadcasting Corporation is "British", not English and paying £159 per year to be force-fed superlatives about Harry Kane and his fellow Englishman, is where I flag the BBC offside, with no VAR check required.

Mike Wilson, Longniddry.


WATCHING England beat Germany just a few hours after Ian Blackford got another ticking-off from the Speaker for his overblown, embarrassing rhetoric made me realise just how far England is pulling way ahead of Scotland in many areas, including football, education, business, culture, optimism and ambition.

You can't blame the SNP for all of this, in many ways it takes its lead from the electorate in order to win votes. But it has accelerated the decline.

We haven't been challenged, we have been fed excuses, told someone else is always to blame and taught that mediocrity is acceptable.

There has to be a better way, and it needs to come quickly.

My generation of baby boomers, the people who remember how to cast off our shoulder chips and leverage our education and pride to our advantage, who gloried in our comedians and history, will be gone in the next 20 years.

Scotland needs a reboot. More Harry Kanes, Andrew Neils and Rishi Sunaks and fewer Ian Blackfords, Janey Godleys and Humza Yousafs.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

* THE headline to this week’s offering from Stuart Waiton (The Herald, June 30) reads "Sturgeon hates the Tartan Army”.

It seems to me that Mr Waiton hates Ms Sturgeon.

David Clark, Tarbolton.


BOYD Johnson’s letter (June 28) calling for higher taxes on car use leaves me wondering if he is actually aware of how much the car user contributes to the public purse, and the many projects that rely on that income.

Just a few of the tax avenues used by the Government include vehicle tax; VAT on car purchase; VAT on fuel; excise duty on fuel; VAT on car servicing; VAT on repairs; VAT on tyres; VAT on accessories and replacement parts; VAT on vehicle insurance, and the list does not end there.

I doubt if there is a higher-taxed section of society (anywhere in the world) than the Great British motorist, and those taxes already support the transport infrastructure that carries public service vehicles and ensures that goods and food reach supermarket shelves, although the road haulage companies are also taxed to the hilt for the pleasure of ensuring that Britain gets fed.

More tax – now there’s a novel idea.

Francis Deigman, Erskine.


IF the idiot who flew past me recently on the M8 test-piloting a prototype is anything to go by, the prediction that flying cars will be seen in cities "within a decade" (The Herald, June 30), is clearly on track.

R Russell Smith, Largs.