WHEN there is such a great range of sports taking place across Scotland, some of which Scotland are actually pretty good at (such as curling), why is it that our newspapers and websites seem to provide minimal to no coverage, unless it is male football or rugby? Surely if we are looking to build a more inclusive and diverse nation then we could do worse than to include a more diverse range and coverage of the sports being undertaken in our country.

For those who do not realise just how dominant male football and rugby coverage is in Scottish sports websites, I have included some figures from a sample of websites below, taken on Sunday, during which the Scottish Premiership football competition is on its “winter break” (ie you would expect there to be less football coverage than usual):

On the BBC Scotland Sports website, of the first 17 sports stories, 12 were about football, three rugby, one tennis and one darts. They were all relating to male competitors, with none discussing female sporting competitions.

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Of the first 20 stories appearing on the STV Sport website, 17 were about football, one rugby, one darts, and one Olympics (canoeing). All related to male competitors, and none discuss female sporting competitions.

Even on the otherwise fantastic National website there is a lack of diversity when it comes to sports coverage (although it does better than BBC and STV!) – of the first 20 sports stories 12 were about football, one running, one Olympics, one golf, and five rugby. Two out of the 20 related to female competitors.

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Interestingly, none of the main sports websites in Scotland cover some of the sporting events that took place in Scotland over the weekend, including the international curling competition in Perth (won by Scottish teams for both men and women events).

Other countries are much better at providing more diverse coverage – for comparison, in Canada, where I have previously lived, the CBC Sports (their equivalent of BBC Sport) website covers a much wider range of sports and better representation of female sports, with the first 18 stories on Sunday including: five stories on ice hockey, three on skiing, three on bobsleigh, two on curling, two on tennis, two on American football and one on basketball. Seven out of the 18 stories were about female athletes. If other countries can better represent the sport in their country, then why not in Scotland?

Peter Clark
via email

AS we enter a new decade with yet another Conservative government in control of the UK, it is worth remembering the days when George Osborne was Tory chancellor.

It was he who rebranded the Minimum Wage the Living Wage in 2015, assuring us all that it would rise to £9 per hour by 2020. Here we are in 2020 and the so-called Living Wage remains a paltry £8.21 per hour, and even that only applies to workers over 25.

In 2014 the Scottish Socialist Party launched a petition to the government for a real Living Wage; a rate of at least £10 per hour for all workers (based on government figures) and an end to zero-hour contracts. Sadly our campaign continues to be necessary today, though happily it is more popular than ever with the people we meet on the streets of Scotland. However, some people ask: "Where will the money come from?"

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In the early hours of Monday the BBC reported that by tea time the bosses of Britain’s FTSE 100 companies would have earned as much in the first three working days of 2020 as an average employee would earn in the entire year.

The report went on to say that the average earnings of these bosses worked out at an hourly rate of £900. At eight hours a day that comes to £21,600. A worker earning £10 per hour for a 40-hour week meanwhile would earn £20,800 over the next 52 weeks; £800 less for a year’s work than their boss makes in three days! That’s where the money will come from!

The workers in these companies – such as JD Sports, Tesco and Just Eat – are the real wealth creators in our economy. No company could function without the drivers, the shop floor and warehouse workers, the cleaners and catering staff – and these workers are due a decent remuneration for their work.

It’s time to end poverty pay; it’s time to end zero-hours contracts and age discrimination. It’s time for a real Living Wage for all workers.

Michael Davidson
Scottish Socialist Party

AT the end of this month, people in Scotland are going to lose their EU citizenship and the right to travel, work and settle freely throughout the EU.

Whatever your views about the EU, Scotland voted heavily in favour of retaining our status as European citizens, yet that is being stripped from us. If we are to lose the status of European citizens, democracy demands that it should be as a result of a decision made by people in Scotland. But that’s not what is happening.

People in Scotland are losing the status of European citizens because people in another country voted to make it happen. We’re not leaving the EU, we are being dragged unwillingly out of the door while our protests are ignored.

And for what? A blue passport? That, unfortunately, is what passes for democracy in an unequal union.

Keith Johnston