Abandon this futile debate on monarchy

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Does the Yes campaign for independence have no greater priorities than introducing a largely futile debate about the role of the monarchy (your report, 29 July)?

This is a time when large swathes of the public are crying out for more clarity on a range of issues.

Yet Yes campaign chairman Dennis Canavan and others want us to spend time on a matter that seems to have well served other independent countries – Australia, Canada and New Zealand, among others – for a century or more.

It is not worth challenging an institution that seems to have broad support in the community.

Why? Because the powers of the monarchy are already limited.

What an elected government does is largely a matter of political will. The prime minister of the day writes the Queen’s Speech and there is really no matter the monarch can block, provided there is enough determination by the administration to see a matter through.

The real priorities ought to be telling us all how the government in an autonomous Scotland would be able to tax and spend – a Treasury facility. It ought to be telling us how the country would be adequately defended and how the armed forces would operate.

It ought to be about clarifying the question of citizenship, and the validity of passports if independence comes about.

It ought to be about determining whether oil revenues, or a proportion of them, could help underpin the economy into the future.

The debate about the future of the monarchy, its powers, its size, its influence in the media age, is one that can wait until a new state functions, and is seen to function, well.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court


I do get somewhat weary of the constant refrain from the Yes campaign complaining about the negativity of the unionists.

Even Lesley Riddoch, in her otherwise excellent article, “Norway’s monarchy a line to follow” (Perspective, 29 July), cannot resist the temptation to have a sideswipe at the “expert hands of scaremongers”.

If “negativity” and “scaremongering” are having the desired effect, as they seem to be, why should the Better Together campaign not continue to use such successful tactics?

Its members are, after all, defending a constitutional arrangement which, whether for self-serving or idealistic reasons, is of profound importance to them.

The only way for the First Minister to reduce the current gap in the polls is for him to follow the advice of people such as Lesley Riddoch herself and, of course, George Kerevan (Perspective, 26 July) and “dare to set out a vision” of a Scotland fundamentally different from a seriously dysfunctional UK, which he seems to wish to do no more than replicate.

John Milne

Ardgowan Drive

Uddingston, Lanarkshire

Most people in Scotland are neither political idealists nor romantic dreamers and simply want society to work as well as possible so they and their families can lead decent lives.

The run-up to the referendum provides plenty of time for them to reflect on the effort and money being spent on something that, in the event of a Yes vote, is unlikely to deliver anything radical.

Anyone who doubts this should examine the experiences of new administrations in delivering real change; there is little room to manoeuvre when it comes to running a modern state.

What’s certain is that the effort and money spent on the referendum will be small change compared with that required to get an independent Scotland on the road, and we’ll be paying for it.

The First Minister desperately wants to be remembered as the person who delivered Scottish independence. When hard reality has swept away idealism and romance, the tenor of his memory might not be what he hoped.

R A Wallace

Kincardine on Forth