Could Scottish successes in sport make a Yes vote more likely?


LEGEND has it that a factor in Harold Wilson’s defeat in the 1970 General Election was England’s loss to Germany in the World Cup quarter finals a few days earlier. Tony Crosland, Wilson’s local government minister, was in no doubt. He blamed the defeat on a mixture of party complacency and “the disgruntled Match of the Day millions”.

It is an interesting question as to how far a country’s successes or failures in sport, and in other fields, spill over into voting behaviour. I sometimes think the result of indyref1 might have been closer if it had occurred right after Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win of 2013. It may well be that the achievements of the likes of Murray, and of actors like Sean Connery and Brian Cox, have been national confidence boosters in the long term. No doubt a sustained run of success from our football and rugby teams might help the indy cause.

READ MORE: Steve Clarke out to make more Hampden history as Scotland bid to become national heroes

In respect of national confidence, it can surely do no harm to blow our own trumpets when it comes to sporting and artistic success. In this, I fear, we are frequently remiss. Karen Cargill of Arbroath often stars at the Royal Opera House and the New York Met. Catriona Morison of Edinburgh recently won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Steven Osborne, who once attended Linlithgow Academy, is one of the world’s finest classical pianists. It is a pity such achievements have been largely unnoticed in Scotland. Morison is more highly thought of in Germany than here.

In sport, the same could be said of Robert Millar, who was King of the Mountains in the 1984 Tour de France. I even think Ken Buchanan’s magnificent run of wins at Madison Square Garden never commanded the respect it so richly deserved. The same could be said of Martin Laird of Glasgow who, just over a week ago, won the Shriners Tournament on the USPGA Golf Tour. It was Laird’s fourth win on the tour, having been the only foreigner to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational (2011). His recent win in Las Vegas was something of a comeback after two relatively barren years. Sad to say, there was hardly any recognition of his feat in Scotland’s media.

These kinds of achievements are few and far between for a small country like ours. If they were publicised much more, they might well create more of a national feel-good factor. Who knows?

Alastair McleishEdinburgh

ON Thursday night on Question Time, Douglas Ross once again stated that the NHS is not on the table for any trade deals.

How is it, then, that contracts were given to private companies for Test & Trace, given to Deloitte, Serco etc under the leadership of Dido Harding (wife of a Tory MP and failed phone company leader, who got Cheltenham Races in before lockdown). This was in preference to financing public health in England and Scotland. I cannot understand why they are allowed to call it NHS Test & Trace – it is private contracts running the show.

Now realising their horrendous mistake, they are putting much smaller sums of money into local action and local public health, where there is the experience and the knowhow to do the job.

READ MORE: Question Time: Douglas Ross humiliated as Kate Forbes corrects his funding claim

We can look at the monies wasted with contracts given to friends and allies when it was obvious the companies concerned could not fulfil the brief and of course no tendering process was entered into. Remember the contract for ferries to a firm with no ferries, the PPE contracts that produced unusable products etc.

When an enquiry finally looks into the actions of this Tory government it will be too late to do anything about it, and we taxpayers will continue to pay for decades.

I for one would be prepared to pay for decades to support all those who have lost their jobs or are in danger of doing so – the furlough scheme should be extended for as long as necessary and serious support should be given to all those who have fallen through the net, as is being done in many other European countries.

This action on its own would greatly improve the mental health issues caused by worry and anxiety that are being experienced by many families at the moment.

Winifred McCartneyPaisley

LESLEY Riddoch clearly doesn’t know her Celtic cousins in Wales very well (All quiet on Welsh front despite declaration of border warfare, October 15). She argues that our institutional distinctiveness has been effaced by centuries of English domination!

Our language is the key vector by which Wales has resisted assimilation (not just confined to remote rural areas, but spoken on a day-to-day basis throughout the country). That together with our innate argumentativeness and respect for education.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: Where’s the Unionist uproar over the Welsh border announcement? 

The culture within the chapels formed much of the infrastructure to ensure this. This has paved the way, for instance, to a vibrant creative industry making films – some, like Hinterland, broadcast on BBC4 partly in Welsh. Rivalry with (and a certain contempt for) the English in sport and literacy is prevalent even in the most conservative circles.

We’re no “timorous cowering beasties”.

Cathie LloydEdinburgh

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