Scots should reduce salaries and invest in youth
What would you do to make Scottish rugby succeed?
I write this, as we get ready for a Sport Nation debate on the health of Scottish sport to be held at BBC Scotland HQ. On the panel are former athlete Liz McColgan, top cyclist Graeme Obree, Scottish Rugby chief executive Gordon McKie, and sportswriter Tom English.
And the temptation is to be negative, as that's arguably a Scottish trait. But should we be negative about the state of Scottish sport and in particular rugby?
Because, when it comes to sport, despite having the most clueless politicians and local authority heads perhaps in the world - yes, there's just a 27% success rate in reaching the minimum two hours of PE for Scottish schoolchildren, which was set as a national target over five years ago - we are ranked ninth in the world in rugby. It was sixth.
The older I get the more I think that, actually, politicians don't deliver anything. Rather it's civil servants who steer politicians and, frankly, civil servants don't give a monkey's about sporting targets.
So let's forget about politicians and move on ourselves.
Scotland endured another miserable Six Nations campaign
With Scottish rugby boasting under 40,000 players as opposed to England's 2,000,000, Ireland's 153,000, France's 300,000 , and Italy's 66,000 then, on the face of it, finishing above Italy should be the realistic target.
Welsh rugby, surprisingly, has just 50,000 or so players.
I like realism. Realistically, Scottish rugby over-achieves at times. It would be preposterous for us to beat England, or ever win a Grand Slam.
And yet we have. Oh, we may get depressed - as I do - at Glasgow and Edinburgh's results, but is it really surprising?
Iain Morrison, writing in this weekend's newspapers, has put forward a few of his suggestions as to what we should do to help rugby thrive. Here are mine.
1. Lobby the lazy civil servants and local authority heads in Scotland to get more sport in school. They are allowing a generation of kids to leave education unable to run, jump, or catch anything except a bag of chips or a heavy cold.
I know it's mostly a personal choice and we can't rely on a nanny state, but it's a disgrace that allow so many young Scots to leave school so out of condition.
2. Rugby in Scotland has a disproportionate amount of lads in the national team who come from fairly well off backgrounds. Not all of them, that's not what I am saying, but my first point leads on to the second in that we need more sport in the state sector.
As Iain Morrison said, we need to reduce the emphasis of the private sector in rugby, as I am sure that there is a pro football bias in the media that, in some quarters, makes rugby an unfavourable investment as the "toff's game".
3. Reduce the salaries to Scottish professional players at the top level. I think some are over-paid. There are players who have basic salaries of between £100,000 and £200,000 a year.
I am sorry, but despite that not comparing to English or French money, I think that generates a level of comfort and players who want that income should be paid for by English or French teams.
The money should be much more bonus driven - if you beat England, sure, have a whopping dollop of cash. But not just to turn up.
4. Invest the bulk of the money into the 14 to 18 age bracket where players really develop.
I remember interviewing Professor Mike Stone, who was in charge of the US Olympic strength and conditioning programme. I asked him if it was too early for boys to start weight training aged 14. "No," he said. "It's too late!"
5. Make the club game more vibrant. I still love our club rugby, and it's clubs, actually, who find players in the first place and it's club people who watch the big stuff.
Look, I don't want to be negative, but I think we should only keep the players we can afford to keep in this country, we should tighten our belts when it comes to the professional teams, we should give new coaches and players their chances in those arenas, and we should continually aim higher than our resources suggest we might reach.
What would you do to make Scotland a better rugby nation?