I REFER to the article “More ministers in selection battles” by Andrew Learmonth (September 25).

In the last sentence he writes: “It is not unprecedented for a sitting SNP MSP to be defeated in a selection contest. In 2016 Mairi Gougeon took the nomination from Nigel Don in Angus, while Toni Giugliano replaced Colin Keir in Edinburgh Western.”

READ MORE: Fergus Ewing and Shirley-Anne Somerville in selection battles

Mairi Gougeon became an MSP, while Toni Giugliano lost the SNP seat with the biggest SNP majority in Edinburgh to the Liberals, also losing our parliamentary majority.

It was an unpleasant contest overshadowed by a series of comments from an “unnamed SNP activist” highly critical of Colin Keir in the Edinburgh Evening News.

READ MORE: Holyrood election: Shirley-Anne Somerville and Fergus Ewing to be challenged

It was not realised by the cabal against Colin Keir that an attack against an MSP was also an attack against the SNP, but the poisoned boomerang took out the seat. The Liberals latched on to this, hammered it through the election, and are doing it to this very day. Yesterday they put out a leaflet ostensibly relating to Edinburgh Zoo, but including “Lib Dem 41%, SNP 34% Con 14% Lab 9%”.

Tak tent!

Jim Lynch

IT is very good news that young people in Scotland are learning more languages. Research has shown the the effort of learning a language, even when you do not manage to speak it very well, is of great benefit to the brain and thinking skills at all ages, and certainly improves performance in all other areas of learning.

The integration into the Curriculum for Excellence of Scots, and the work in primary schools, will encourage the people of Scotland to return to their previous strength in other languages. Many any are already partially bilingual in that they speak Scots.

READ MORE: Why it’s great Scotland is bucking the trend on learning languages

The Scots language could have figured more prominently in the article. Paul Hare mentions that Scotland “has other native languages” and comments on the 2011 census which stated there are 57,375 Gaelic speakers. However he omitted to say that nearly two million people “know Scots”. The question of whether people “speak, read, write Scots” took 30 years to get on the census, and this result means that support per speaker in Scotland is about 35p, much less than in Northern Ireland, where Scots is less politically sensitive than Irish Gaelic.

Gaelic has excellent schools, BBC Alba and a Bord, and status as a second language in Scottish Government – which is as it should be. We look forward to a time when there is an equivalent Board for Scots, a greater recognition of its due status, and encouragement for people to use Scots, spoken and written, in daily business.

Susan FG Forde

MANY National readers will have been moved by the recent episode of Simon Schama’s series The Romantics And Us, where the life and works of Robert Burns received warm praise for “saving” Scottish identity after the Union. In particular, Scots Wha Hae, reverently presented and beautifully sung – although, as usual, a wee bit slow. Schama clearly admired it, and Burns, hugely, and described the song as “Scotland’s unofficial national anthem”.

Without going into the dispiriting business of listing all the others which have laid claim to that title yet again – not least the current dirgelike kitch – It is high time SWH was declared Scotland’s national anthem. Those who worry that it is too “anti-English” should get a life, frankly. Many of the great national anthems hark back – sometimes hundreds of years, after all – to their nation’s struggle against an oppressive colonial overlord or invader and nobody imagines they will, today, inspire any emotion but patriotic pride.

A tune probably played at Bannockburn, words by one of the world’s greatest and best-loved poets ... for heavens’ sake, let’s get on with it.

David Roche

MOST sports fans take an interest in international events. This is a good thing, affirming common connections and values across borders and providing a counterweight to our more obviously divisive affiliations here at home.

So I was more than happy to read the Sunday National’s extended reports about the golf in Ireland, Formula 1, Dutch success in cycling and racing down south, whether there is a Scottish link or not. However, the pages began to fray as I searched in vain for news of boxer Josh Taylor’s stunning first-round KO in defence of his unified world titles. This is a guy who is going to go down as Scotland’s greatest boxer, of that I have no doubt.

Yet zip.... nada ... nane. Not a mention. Now I know it was a 10pm bout, and appreciate sports pages don’t have the same flexibility for breaking news as the front pages.

But surely the advance knowledge and the fact that the fight was on the telly meant that some space could have been set aside and filled with the minimum of fuss. It is made worse by the fact that he will fight two or three times a year, not weekly like most other sports.

Sadly, Taylor is simply not getting the recognition he deserves.

Kevin Dyson