IN his article ("The gender McCarthyism over women’s football is a threat to the integrity of politics", The Herald, April 11), Stuart Waiton placed the ball squarely in the centre of the net. What a succinct summation of what ails contemporary political discourse. There is today a sophistry in politics which, although fascinating to party hacks and political pundits, totally alienates the wider public. In a desperate desire to score points off rivals and to curry favour with those of their own persuasion ambitious politicians are forever alert to the possibilities afforded by the verbal slips and trips of their opponents.

Recently, in an effort to lend support to a sister politician who was being abused both racially and misogynistically on social media, Amber Rudd ill-advisedly used the term coloured when referring to Dianne Abbott. For this Ms Rudd was lambasted throughout the media and also by Ms Abbott for this truly “terrible gaffe”. However, in the real world I am sure that most ordinary folk would have felt some sympathy for Ms Rudd, whose intentions were laudable. Many people would also be confused, wondering why “coloured” is wrong, while “person of colour” (Ms Abbott’s own words) is perfectly alright. It is a minefield out there for the uninitiated. This matters because this sort of point-scoring totally scunners your average voter and, I believe, gives comfort to genuine racists.

We now seem to live in a black and white world with no shades of grey. Where a smack on a child’s hand is assault, where a compliment paid to a person of the opposite sex is deemed harassment and where a devout Jew who questions Zionism can be classed as an anti-Semite.

Jim Meikle,

41 Lampson Road Killearn.

OKAY, so Dr Stuart Waiton, a senior lecturer in sociology and criminology at Abertay University, is “not a fan of” and “not particularly interested in” women’s football (“The gender McCarthyism over women's football is a threat to the integrity of politics”, The Herald, April 11).

Fair enough. His opinion, the expression of which should not result in him being “damned” – as he put it in reference to a “pre-script” supposedly followed by people who hold the opposite view.

But coming three days after Scotland secured a famous victory over Brazil, a team ranked 10th in the world who were unbeaten in eight matches; three weeks after it was announced that Scotland would play their first fixture in seven years at Hampden in their final warm-up for the World Cup in France; and two months before they kick-off said campaign against England – surely a more favourable opinion piece should have been sought by The Herald.

To pick up on a few points, Dr Waiton mentions that he rarely watches women’s football and suspects “this is the same for most people”. On the contrary, match attendances are rising; as are viewing figures.

He bemoans the BBC for attempting to “shoehorn in a story about women’s sport” on the grounds of there being “limited interest”. To follow this logic, all references to Scottish sport (whether that be male, female or mixed) in UK-wide bulletins should be relegated from its current shoehorned status to the sound of silence as England audiences outnumber Scottish audiences tenfold and no doubt find Scottish sport of “limited interest”.

For years, for decades, forever, women’s sport has played second fiddle to men’s. In particular, women’s football. It was played by men, managed by men, governed by men and reported on by men. Girls were told to play hockey or study home economics.

Well, times they are a-changing. And though Dr Waiton is entitled to his view and should not be “damned” for expressing it, given the increasing popularity and success of the women’s game in Scotland and beyond, it is disappointing that The Herald should run with such a negative opinion piece.

Dr Waiton ends with a quote from Oscar Wilde. As shall I: “Football is all very well as a game for rough girls, but is hardly suitable for delicate boys.”

Peter Alexander,

41 Park Avenue, Falkirk.