SCOTLAND is today one of the few nations in Uefa which resists strict liability (the policy which would see clubs hit by points deductions, a heavy fine, a closed stand or a match played behind closed doors for incidents such as the Palestinian banners at Parkhead or the flares at Dens Park).

The Morrow Report (2015) said Scottish football was riddled with secretive and dysfunctional institutions and a deeply-embedded culture. The report,while primarily concerned with sectarianism, remarked that the primary concern of the game's ruling bodies was to avoid responsibility rather than take action.

The Scottish football authorities had been collating evidence of unacceptable conduct at football matches (sectarianism, pyrotechnics and more since 2017, but only passed the data to the Scottish Government and Police Scotland on condition it was not published. It confirmed the utter naivety of repealing the Offensive Behaviour At Football Act(2011).

I recall the panic in 2017 when a very able Scottish Government minister, Michael Matheson, said he was considering imposing strict liability. He meant it too. the concern of the football authorities was only matched by the panic of the Scottish Government and Humza Yousaf was given the Justice brief. Faced by the Old Firm Opposition, Mr Yousaf did what he does when confronted by a difficult decision; he caved in.

Today we should emulate Uefa, which has successfully clamped down on pitch invasions,throwing coins and bottles, lighting flares, offensive banners and chanting, violence, vandalism, bigotry, sectarianism, racism, sexism, ageism and homophobia. Scottish clubs only fall foul of the policy in a European competition. That has to change.

The rest of the UK adopted it in 2014, it has the support of 58% of the public and is a massive success in the Netherlands.At Dundee, after the dangerous mayhem of hundreds of pyrotechnics being set off, not one arrest was made. The incident has already highlighted the inadequacy and irrelevance of Scotland's new pyrotechnics legislation. As one football chairman has remarked; only the Glasgow giants are immune from police action in an occurrence of this magnitude.

John v Lloyd, Inverkeithing.

Will Yousaf be punished?

SO Humza Yousaf has been accused of misleading parliament - opposition parties question his claim to have first been asked to provide WhatsApp messages to the UK Covid inquiry in September when it appears evident that the request was first made in November 2022. But what will be done about this?

Perhaps we'll have another futile Holyrood committee inquiry in which, following a precedent set by his predecessor, Mr Yousaf will likely respond: It's difficult to recall with certainty, "I honestly can't remember", and "my recollections aren't clear". And the majority SNP committee will reach its (of course) entirely impartial and unbiased, so pathetically inevitable, conclusion.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

Read more: Boris Johnson and co must not be allowed to get off scot-free

Matheson must back NHS staff

WITH winter approaching it's a matter of great concern that the performance of the country's A&E departments has fallen to a six-month low. The disastrous effect that Covid had on our hospitals should be receding to some extent but this does not seem to be reflected in our A&E departments with too many people still not being seen within the stipulated fourhour period.

The Scottish Government has failed to make any decent headway into bringing the figures down and one can only hope that the winter will be relatively benign otherwise people will die unnecessarily. Health Secretary Michael Matheson has a monumental task ahead of him and the onus is on him to give the hardworking NHS staff the support they need.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

The PMs we should have had

AS we go through a tedious stage of underwhelming Prime Ministers and their successors, every one of whom has left us with the loss of the will to live, I cannot but reflect on the candidates who would have been the best PMs we never had.First up in my lifetime was the astute Rab Butler who deserved a shot at the top job but was cast aside by the grandees of his party as "not one of us". That was a great loss to the UK.

Next up in that category was Denis Healey who did not suffer fools gladly and so put himself out of the running by offending the sensitive souls in his party by being too blunt with them. How different our history would have been with his great man in Downing Street.

Again the Tories blotted their copybooks by not elevating Ken Clarke to the leadership of their party and propelling him into Bo 10, all because he was too much of a Europhile.

Last but not least was John Smith, who suffered a fatal heart attack which took him out of the running in 1994 to become the most serious contender Labour had had for that pole position since the time of Mr Healey.

All of those men were serious contenders who would have taken us in a comprehensively serious direction to keep the country on an even keel. There would then have been no space for the imposters and charlatans who have dragged us down and taken us out of the EU.

We all know who I am referring to and I will spare them the embarrassment of being named. History will not be so generous to them.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Ukraine is Europe's crisis

THE defence of Ukraine is the defence of democracy and freedom on European soil.

Europe must before long take a leading role in defending itself. There are competing crises in the world, and this is our crisis.

Practically this means we should accept higher tax and release more weapons and ammunition than ever into the conflict.

The continual sacrifice of Ukrainian lives will not be enough without magnified and multiplied support from us.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.

Church must speak up

THE Church of Scotland is in partnership with both the the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and with the Diocese of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, each of which have in their care their Palestinian congregations.

Furthermore the Kirk has a congregation in Jerusalem and another in Galilee and supports two Mission Partners in Israel and Palestine throughout which it works with and supports a number of projects working for peace and justice.

I therefore suggest that given these partnerships the membership of the Kirk in Scotland ought to have a particularly vociferous, active and prayerful concern for the fate of the Palestinian populations of both Gaza and the West Bank. Within that concern we must never forget all innocents caught up in the current war, nor those putting themselves in danger in order to rescue those innocents from constant danger. We must also pray that the peacemakers be granted the necessary courage and wisdom working relentlessly as they are in the name of our humanity.

Surely all people of faith ought to come together, with others of goodwill, in the spirit of Him who those of us in the Kirk recognise as being the embodiment of Love to work for peace and justice in the Holy Land.

John Milne, Uddingston.

Read more: Nearly £1m in bonuses paid out to three Scottish Water execs

Scottish Water bonuses are a disgrace

WE all know the NHS is struggling, the main cause being staff shortages throughout the system. Why ? Training costs, working conditions and above all pay rates seem to be the main factors.

All those employed are doing their very best in challenging circumstances to care for us while being told there is no more money for NHS.

So what makes three executive directors of a state-owned company think it is acceptable in these economic times to share almost £1 million in bonuses - despite rules suspending such payments in the public sector ("Union’s outrage as chiefs are paid nearly £1m in bonuses", November 5)?. Do they have neither morality nor conscience? They earn six-figure salaries to start with.

This bonus/greed culture is so unacceptable on every level right now, but even more so when it breaks the rules. They should be made to donate the bonus money to the NHS. After all, they will definitely age like the rest of us and may have to call on NHS services one day.

Sue Wade, Ayr.

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Satan is no deity

GEMMA Clark (Letters, November 5) made an odd comment: "Satan, being a Christian deity, is not recognised by pagans." I have never heard Satan referred to as a god or deity in any church. First John Chapter Four has opening lines which define how believers are to discern between good and evil spirits. Recognising Jesus as Lord and God defines New Testament faith. The difference between light and darkness is surely very plain, whether in physics or spirituality.

James Hardy, Belfast.