WITH Wimbledon, that very British summer sporting event, well under way, I was very pleased to note reports that Judy Murray, the mother and early coach of Andy, twice a champion there, say that she was worried that nowadays not enough emphasis is being put on winning while children are growing up.

I would like to take this thought further and say that I believe this is what causes a lot of the problems in society in general.

Far too often we hear of children not being praised for working and trying hard. Sports and games are so often run so that all can compete equally with the naturally talented, stronger, fitter and more skilled not being allowed to star. In school work those who get ahead of their peers are held back so they do not get too far ahead of the weaker and perhaps less diligent.

This leads to a society where it is acceptable to be average, where those who excel are targets for that scourge of modern life, social media.

In Scotland we used to have an educational system that was the envy of the world, where all who worked hard could get on, exams showed off the hard workers and the best teachers. Team sports were part of the curriculum with local sports clubs being welcomed into schools to help develop the most talented.

Encouragement in sport and education helps in so many ways to form the character of adults. Discipline, good manners, team pride and spirit are all traits that make better and more useful citizens.

When our Queen celebrates another milestone next year many will be planning galas and sports days. Let’s not be bullied into making them non-events, give everyone a mug, but run competitive sports and competitions so we have winners and, equally as important, those who tried.

I hope Judy Murray perhaps has the ear of the First Minister? She is the sort of person politicians should listen to, to help them form polices that are designed to shape the future of our young people and hence the future of our once-great nation.

Andrew Duncan, Kirkton, Dumfriesshire.


DR Hamish Maclaren (Letters, June 29) lays out how difficult, I would say impossible, it is to define when a life is "no longer worth living". Unfortunately, he uses this to justify retaining the status quo that leaves an unfortunate few and their families to needlessly suffer unmanageable pain and mental anguish at the end of life. He asks: "Who am I to judge somebody's quality of life?" Well quite. Only the individual experiencing the suffering can and should do this. That is the point of changing the existing law for mentally competent adults.

Secondly, I would like to remind people that the option of assisted suicide is already available and used, within the law, by those who can afford to pay and are able to travel. People do this, even if it means they have to travel alone and deny their family the opportunity of being by their side when they die. Why should limited income or lack of mobility restrict your access to medical help with suffering?

Ron Lavalette (Letters, June 29) rightly calls for well-funded social care that supports people in life and through dying. I totally agree, but that should also respect an individual's right to choose, hopefully in agreement with their loved ones, when and how they wish to die.

We are governed by law. Laws made by democratically elected MSPs with respect for the rights and opinions of every individual, regardless of colour or creed. Published surveys have demonstrated large majority support for an assisted dying bill. MSPs should vote according to their constituents' wishes, not their personal or religious view. For fairness, equality and compassion we need this law.

Mrs R Slack, Glasgow.


ALLAN C Steele (Letters, June 30) notes that "several employers in the licensed trade and restaurant sector complain about lack of available staff since reopening" and "considering the availability of the 80 per cent government furlough scheme" he wonders where all these former employees have gone. There are several possible answers to that.

One could be that not all employers could afford to furlough their staff, partly due to the continued (and continuing) uncertainty over regulations and restrictions allied to the fact an employer is responsible for any tax, National Insurance and pension contributions incurred while an employee is furloughed, or perhaps the above-mentioned uncertainty and trying to survive on 80% of their basic wage led some furloughed employees to seek employment elsewhere.

Another problem might be that like the agricultural, fishing, soft fruit, food processing, transport and care industries, many of their workforce no longer feel welcome in this country, where many of them have worked hard and long and have returned to the EU countries from whence they came.

William Gold, Hielan Jessie bar, Glasgow.


ALTHOUGH it was in the context of Brexit, it was good to see The Herald referencing Iron Maiden ("Issue of the day: Pop stars versus Brexit", The Herald, June 30). Am I being too optimistic in thinking that this could be the start of more coverage of heavy metal and dark rock in the press?

Carl McCoy, Paisley.


I HAD to re-read before taking in Mike Wilson's paean to Ally McCoist as a co-commentator (Letters, July 1), a view apparently supported by many.

If someone in authority would persuade Mr McCoist to stop repeatedly saying "Make no mistake about it", "I'll tell ye right now", "I'll tell you what", and "To be honest with you", I could refrain from seeking the mute button so often.

I find Mr McCoist's efforts cringeworthy.

David Miller, Milngavie.