IT bemuses me when I see anger on social media whenever an England football match is shown on Scottish TV. Tuesday night was one such occasion. Twitter and Facebook were alive with angry nationalists who are convinced it is an affront to them with phrases such as “England-centric” and “we need to get broadcasting into our own control”. I’m not sure who they feel is in charge of STV. It was even said that this is why people vote for SNP.

It is a shame that the Scotland match was not on a free channel for all to watch as it was a fantastic game, but if you vote SNP because STV don’t show Scottish football, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

Bill Shankly, who is reported to have said "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that" may have meant it or it might have been tongue in cheek. Voting for a nationalist political party because your footie team are not on the telly is really ignoring the things that do matter – education, health, social care and the economy. What good is it being able to watch Scotland play football if you can’t get that operation you need or your child is not getting the education they need?

Jane Lax, Aberlour.


ANDREW Dunlop ("SNP ceaselessly complain while claiming all the credit for the UK’S largesse", The Herald, November 16) intones that Scots should be grateful for UK largesse. The truth is quite different.

In 1965, the Church of Scotland concluded that each year between 20-25% of total revenue raised in Scotland was spent outside Scotland, negatively impacting Scottish employment and contributing to a continuous stream of emigration. Today it’s worse. London keeps even more of our revenue and charges us billions for a UK, not Scottish, debt.

Then came North Sea oil. The 1974 McCrone Report concluded that “an independent Scotland could expect to have massive surpluses” that “could last for a very long time into the future”. It was kept secret because if the Scottish people had known about it, support for restoring independence would have surged. If Scotland had been independent, it would now have £773 billion in a sovereign wealth fund.

The North Sea oil steal is being re-enacted with our renewables. The privatised National Grid grossly overcharges Scottish renewable companies but generously subsidises companies in the south-east of England.

And then there’s Brexit: enough said.

The Union has "delivered" lower investment, higher unemployment, weaker economic growth, falling living standards, net economic migration and rising poverty and inequality.

Scotland, a highly educated nation of five million, with an advanced economy and more than a third of the UK’s natural wealth, would thrive outside the UK. Lord Dunlop knows it, which explains his tortured efforts to convince us otherwise.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

* I READ with great interest Andrew Dunlop's column. I did not agree with all of it but that's good. It was interesting, challenging and informative.

I read it, though, with real sadness. In these increasingly difficult times it would be helpful if the political commentators and politicians who shape much of our discourse on public life did so with a degree of grace, kindness and civility. It should be possible for a skilled communicator to hit home hard with their opinion in a mannered way. Perhaps I am simply getting old and tired.

Charles Coull, Troon.


IT would be a good idea if all MPs and MSPs had an outside job, as this would give them a better grasp of what actually goes on in the real world, as opposed to their own disconnected talking shops.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.


THE Rail Accident Investigation Branch, investigating the accident at Carmont reports that a number of trains travelled at up to 100mph instead of the 40mph emergency speed restriction that was imposed on the day of the crash ("Rail bosses are ordered to make speed limits ‘clearer’ to drivers", The Herald, November 16).

I find it astonishing that in this case, a bit of paper stuck on a notice board was the only form of warning available to drivers.

Given the sophisticated nature of modern trains and signalling, surely an airliner-style audible warning could sound in the cab if a driver went above a speed restriction, or a device to automatically reduce speed could be fitted to all trains.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.


ROBIN Johnston's letter (November 15) brought to mind a lesson taught by a friend of mine. He told the class that he strongly disliked the word “get”. “You didn’t get out of bed, you rose out of bed. You didn’t get a present, you received a present. You didn’t get ill, you became ill. You didn’t get on a bus, you boarded a bus.”

Turning to the class, he said: “Right then, that is enough writing by me. Time for you to start. Get out your jotters and note what is on the blackboard.” The class burst into laughter; end of lesson.

Iain MacInnes, Glasgow.