DEAR Scotsmen and women, I am writing to you from a small town near Düsseldorf. My intention is simply to say thank you. Thank you for turning our country into a volcano of joy. You have come to us with open hearts, a love of football and a desire for a good time. With you, we were once again able to be people who sing, dance and live together respectfully, which is not always easy for Germans.

2018 was a tournament with the handbrake on. Corona killed any joy in 2021, and I’m not even talking about money-making show that was the World Cup staged in Qatar.

And then in June 2024, a bunch of enthusiastic people are coming to our country, our cities and our neighbourhoods. We Germans are carried away by the sound of bagpipes and the unbridled joy of countless people who love their country, which has never made it past the group stage. But we also let ourselves be infected by their enthusiasm that football is finally back. Life again at last. People celebrating with people. Two Scotsmen help a frail man from Cologne through the rain. A neighbour drops beer bottles onto the Tartan Army from his balcony. So many videos, so many stories full of respect and the simple joy of finally being together again.

No Scotland, no party. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for showing us that a summer together can be so much more fun than a time alone. You have filled my heart and soul with joy and restored my faith that humanity is not yet completely lost. Except for the English, who are lost. But something is always lost.

In 2028, the football festival of Europe will be hosted by Great Britain. We’ll come to Scotland, we probably won’t make it to the stadium. But we want to bring back some of the joy of life that you brought to Germany to the streets of Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Cockburnspath (it really is called that).

Thank you for your joy. Thank you for your fun. Thank you for your songs. Thank you for your voices. Thank you for your music.

Thank you, Scotland.
Best regards,

Christian Gehlen, 47906 Kempen,  Germany.

‘Magnificent’ supporters
I AGREE with Denis Bruce (letters, June 25) that we should all celebrate the fantastic achievement of the Glasgow Warriors in winning the United Rugby Championship, but I feel that he has been just a tad ungenerous to the part played by the Tartan Army in Germany; we didn’t win at football, but the Tartan Army won the hearts of the German people and charmed others from all across Europe. 

I’m very sorry for our footballers, their mothers and their manager. They must be devastated, and we all share their pain. But they  took us to the Euros, and now we’re back, and at least we can take comfort in the magnificent Tartan Army, the kilts, the pipes, the good humour, the loyalty, the singing and the Saltires. And as R Matthews points out “there’s always next time”.
Ruth Marr, Stirling. 


The Scottish blame culture
IN an interview after the disappointing defeat to Hungary, Scotland player Scott McKenna said, “It wasn’t meant to be”. No, Scott. You’re wrong. Our fate wasn’t being decided by some greater force (although, c’mon VAR; it was a stonewall penalty).

If Scotland goes into any endeavour, we should expect to win. Not give performances that aren’t good enough because “we can’t play with the big boys; our fate isn’t in our hands”. And so with football, as with politics. We are content to accept the status quo. It is what it is. We can’t change it. We need to start taking responsibility for our own actions and that can only be done through independence.

Let’s consign statements like Scott’s to the dustbin and throw off the blame culture that permeates Scottish political attitudes. It’s only Westminster we are referring to here. Not some ethereal force. The power to change it is in our hands. It isn’t “meant to be”.
William Thomson, Denny.


Why Gaza is an election issue
WELL said, Henry Maitles (“Enough’s enough: time to end the war in Gaza”, Agenda, June 25), I would normally vote for Labour but I have a number of reservations about voting for Keir Starmer’s party. The most significant reservation is his attitude to the events in Gaza and on the West Bank. I acknowledge that he has moved on from his earlier unquestioning support for the extremist Israeli government, but not far and quickly enough. The passing of each day brings more death and suffering to the innocents.

He must recognise that in Gaza Israeli obliteration of Palestinian schools, universities, museums, mosques, historical and archaeological sites are part of the process of obliterating the very existence of Palestine, its heritage, its place in the world. When will Starmer (and Joe Biden) appreciate that the demolition of a culture as is happening in Gaza and the West Bank, assisted by the West, is a crime in itself?

Events in Gaza overshadow those on the West Bank which, in terms of numbers, are apparently less tragic but in terms of their implications for the future of the Palestinians in the so-called “Holy Land”are every bit as serious. Netanyahu and his fanatical colleagues in government have no interest in bringing the process of cultural genocide or ethnocide, a work in progress which started in 1948, to an end.

I ask Starmer in particular if he is aware of Israel’s far-right finance minister Bezalel Smotrich’s determination to annex the West Bank to Israel.

The citizens of each country in the West must put pressure on their representatives in government to use their influence with the Israeli government. Arming the likes of Netanyahu and Smotrich makes us accessories in ethnocide. Events in Palestine may seem to be of little relevance to UK voters in the midst of a General Election campaign. The reaction of our representatives to events in Gaza and the West Bank reveals much about their humanity.
John Milne, Uddingston.


BBC’s idea of news
HAVE we gone completely mad? I switched on BBC television news on Monday afternoon to find its lead story was Princess Anne being injured by a horse. Let’s forget Israel’s latest attacks that have killed dozens more innocent Palestinians, and the lies politicians continue to propagate ahead of the elections.

This is the state broadcaster we all fund through our licence fee. I would rather pay for rubbish by helping my local council pick it up than the BBC put it out.
Andy Stenton, Glasgow.