I FLICKED on the telly on Sunday night around 7pm to find the score at Wembley was England 1 Germany 1 and they were into extra time ("Kelly and Co living their dream as England win Euros", Herald Sport, August 1). So I watched. After Alessia Russo’s superbly improvised back-heeled nutmeg in the semi-final I had thought that the ladies’ version of the beautiful game was altogether superior, lacking in petulance, bad temper, and melodrama. Alas, I was disabused.

It is exactly the same as the men’s game. Taking a dive, rolling in agony, aggression, foul language (the commentator said you didn’t need to be a lip reader), shirt pulling and indeed, after the winning goal was scored, shirt removal. Then with about 10 minutes to go, England took the ball to Germany’s left corner line and footered around, letting the clock run down. No more open play; they shut the game down. When the final whistle blew, Wembley erupted. England was over the moon and Germany sick as a parrot.

A pyrrhic victory, if you ask me. What shall it profit a woman if she gain the whole world, and lose her own soul? But why is it that sport at a high level has become so deadly serious? So deadly.

The answer is money. Where there’s muck, there’s brass. Now that the Big Sponsors see the woman’s game can fill Wembley Stadium, the movers and shakers will converge, more broadcasting rights will be assigned, and television deals struck. Already this Euro final is being cast as a game changer, a pivotal moment, and an inspiration to all young girls who want to play football. Dare to follow your dream. You too can be a histrionic shirt-puller.

Dr Hamish Maclaren, Stirling.

• WELL done to the English women’s football team for winning the European championship. They were outstanding and all in all the tournament was a pleasure to watch.

Some time ago I became hooked on the women’s game and, like watching women’s tennis, it is at times quite superb entertainment, especially at the higher levels. The skill level can be breath-taking. The days of scoffing should have long ago disappeared. This is now a tough and highly physically demanding sport for women and we in Scotland should embrace it even more than we have done to date.

Rather than the usual churlishness, Scots should be inspired and try harder to emulate, not denigrate, such success for our southern neighbour.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


A FEW weeks ago, the deputy chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service gave evidence about gender recognition for trans people to the Scottish Parliament's Equalities Committee.

He explained that decisions about whether to house the very small number of prisoners who are trans in men's or women's accommodation are not taken on the basis of whether the prisoner's gender has been legally recognised, but are based on an individualised risk assessment, taking into account the welfare both of the trans prisoner and of other prisoners.

That is the right basis for such decisions. The position proposed by the organisation Keep Prisons Single Sex, about which you report today ("New purpose-built women's prison may be used for transgender prisoners", The Herald, August 1), is that all trans prisoners should be required to be housed in accommodation according to their original birth certificate sex. That would prevent the current careful and considered assessment, would cut across service and welfare provision for prisoners, and would increase harm.

Prison policy should be based on careful consideration and review, and not on dogmatic views about the claimed "immutability" of sex.

Tim Hopkins, Director, Equality Network, Edinburgh.


DO you ever stop to wonder why Prince Charles chooses to dress like a poor Harry Lauder impersonation act when he visits Scotland? I can’t remember the last time I saw a man in a kilt during daylight hours who wasn’t going to a wedding or a masquerade ball. Does the Prince and his advisors think that dressing that way makes him more relevant to ordinary Scots, somehow one of us rather than a complete stranger from the tip of a very distant Establishment pyramid?

I read in your article that accompanied the photo ("Charles returns to Wick oxygen therapy centre 15 years after royal opening", The Herald, July 30) that the Duke paid a visit to a local food bank and from another source that he made a donation to it; this begs the question of who covered the expenses incurred by the Prince and his entourage for the trip: was it the very same taxpayers who are forced by adverse economic circumstances to use that food bank? As regards the donation he made, perhaps it was from the £1 million donation he received from the bin Laden family ("Charles ‘accepted £1m from bin Laden family’", The Herald, August 1) for charitable fund or the suitcase full of cash he accepted from the former Qatari prime minister. We will never know.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.


I NOTE the discussion regarding Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns (“Down with Rabbie! And up with Walter!”, The Herald, July 28, & Letters, July 29). There have been several great Scottish writers. Burns and Scott were popular writers, and some of Burns’ versification remains popular to this day.

However, I think it highly unlikely that anyone has in the last 100 or so years succeeded in getting through a Scott novel, unless you count those of us who had to pretend to have read his stuff when “doing” the Scottish 19th century. I have a leather-bound set of his complete poems and novels, and couldn’t ask for anything more splendidly befitting my glass-fronted bookcase.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


THELMA Edwards' memories of Prescot, Lanarkshire (Letters, July 30), are moving. The Victorian nonsense poet, Edward Lear, was a resident, and one of the few poets to write mockingly about himself. Lear wrote:

"He reads, but he does not speak, /Spanish,/ He cannot abide ginger beer;/ Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish,/ How pleasant to know Mr Lear!".

It is heartening to know that Kelso has some good wee shops, too.

David Miller, Milngavie.