THE article by Gerry Hassan was extremely informative and thought-provoking (This is how we defeat the far right, June 21).The “far-right”description can be misleading – what do we mean by the adjective “far”, do we mean extreme, ultra conservative, fascist?

I understand it to be racist or fundamental religious in tone.

Of course it’s more complex than this depending where you are, but analysing Mr Hassan’s article it’s pretty much to do with the starting point of power, colour and sectarianism.

READ MORE: Gerry Hassan: This is how we defeat the far right

I have found a certain reluctance by newspapers including The National to “out” the Orange Order. While the article was well researched, I couldn’t find any reference to the Orange Order as being far-right as it pertains to Scotland. The Order has for decades been the so-called “defender” of the Protestant state.

One problem is that it has always been seen as a reflection of certain working-class Protestant views, and acted as a safeguard for the more affluent and institutionalised class structures in UK.

Scotland still has the shame of sectarianism within its culture, and the lessons of the positive Black Lives Matter movement must be followed. Silence is no longer good enough, in fact it makes you complicit.

D Gill
via email

I SEEM to remember that we were led to believe that any football club which initiated legal action against its governing body without first referring to the court of arbitration in sport would be banned from all official football leagues. Does this mean the end of Hearts and Partick Thistle as league clubs?

Raymund Madill
via email

IT was striking to note the recent independent review on the quality of learning for children with additional support needs (ASN). This highlights that it is an area overly reliant on “committed individuals”.

The report noted that that legislation designed to protect and improve the educational experience of ASN youngsters is not consistently implemented across the country and is not visible or equally valued within Scotland’s education system.

These are concerns we as a coalition have been raising for some time, and this situation will only worsen with rising levels of poverty and inequality, as the proportion of those with ASN is more prevalent in deprived communities.

An education learning expert has highlighted that the attainment gap between Scotland’s richest and poorest pupils will be made five times worse by December under current plans for combining school and home learning due to Covid-19.

For those with ASN we predict this situation will be even worse, reinforced by the fact that while the numbers of those with ASN has risen by almost a third since 2012, there has been a cut in spending of just under £1000 for each of these pupils.

If we are to give those children and young people with ASN the best possible start in life, to truly value them, this means putting our money where our mouth is as a society.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition: Tom McGhee, Chairman, Spark of Genius; Kenny Graham, Principal, Falkland House School; Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations; Lynn Bell, CEO, LOVE learning

THE World Health Organisation reports that Sunday past saw the largest rise in Covid infections, with the top three being Brazil (56,771), US (36,617) and India (15,400). This shows that in some countries Covid is just getting going.

India, with its high population density, will struggle to contain the virus with physical distancing, Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo with their favelas may also be a virus paradise. The USA is second in the list, and according to Mr Trump, who told his campaign rally in Oklahoma “it’s because they are testing more people than other countries”, this is fake news. The tracking data shows his claim to be false.

Using data complied by the Covid Tracker of John Hopkins University and comparing countries with population sizes above 40 million, the country with the highest testing ration per million is Russia, with 116,241 tests per million, next is the UK with 114,250 per million, then Spain.

The USA is somewhat further behind with 86,090 test per million population and 122,000 deaths so far. One of the early estimates for the USA was 150,000 deaths – this sadly looks to be an underestimate. Yet Mr Trump suggests they should test less.

Alistair Ballantyne
Birkhill, Angus