My sons used to play badminton. When I watched them I used to see the daft things they did…I never lost a match.

We all know folk who have all the answers – at least while they are sitting on the sidelines. “This is not right,” they say. “Why did you do that?”

They are the nit-pickers of this world, who always want to be negative. They throw cold water on every good idea.

The Covid crisis has proved that we need one another. It has also shown each one of us how my disregard of advice can affect you.

I have always had a huge concern over the divides that exist in society in the west of Scotland. But those divides are not just about football, and not just about religion.

In the west of Scotland, as anywhere, we find men who have a problem with women; women who have a problem with men. White folks against black folks. Black folks against white.

One of the great challenges facing our society today is that of diversity. But what a dreary, drab world this would be if we all looked the same, talked the same, and thought the same. Each of us is precious. So we should respect the differences between ourselves and others.

I have been privileged to know so many wonderful people but let me tell you about one of them.

His name was Ernie. He was a character, with a great sense of humour and fun. He loved playing tricks, he loved singing, was talented musically, took a great pride and interest in his grandchildren, and spent endless time with them.

He was also the most devoted husband to his wife Beatrice, who suffered her whole life with arthritis.

Ernie never complained. He was a most dedicated carer. He also had a great ability to see good in folk. I never heard him miscall anyone.

He refused to be angry about anyone who might have done him an injustice. He sought to make excuses for folk who did not deserve it.

Ernie was one of those guys who did simple things and made any community he belonged to a better place.

The fact that he was my father maybe makes me, perhaps, a little biased.

He knew his Bible pretty well, but much better than, that he lived his Bible.

We all know folk who could cause an argument in any empty house – those who delight in pointing out the faults whilst sitting on the sidelines.

Ernie was the complete antithesis of that. I wish I was more like him.