Readers' Letters: Coronation was about patriotism not nationalism

Royal fans pose with a Union flag incorporating King Charles III along the Coronation procession route in London this weekend (Picture:  Marco Bertorello/AFP)Royal fans pose with a Union flag incorporating King Charles III along the Coronation procession route in London this weekend (Picture:  Marco Bertorello/AFP)
Royal fans pose with a Union flag incorporating King Charles III along the Coronation procession route in London this weekend (Picture: Marco Bertorello/AFP)
In terms of negativity, the letter from Stan Grodynski (6 May) takes some beating; has he nothing positive to say about Britain at all?

Two points; firstly, the Coronation is not a celebration of British nationalism, British patriotism, yes, patriotism being love of country, as opposed to nationalism, which always seems to dislike someone else.

Secondly, as for the Empire, and the sins there, which did happen, it is wise to remember that we Scots more than played our share in this!

William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

Royal benefits

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Stan Grodynski obviously lives here by his own choice or that of a very near ancestry. If the UK is as he claims such a vile place to live that was surely a very poor error of judgment. His phrase “escapes rigorous accountability for gross incompetence...” of course is in tune with recent happenings in Scotland, but was it only a few wealthy barons who enjoyed the benefits of Empire? The wealth of Scotland as a whole grew tenfold in the space of a century, mainly through gaining access to that Empire through the Act of Union of 1707. I am no enthusiastic monarchist but there are obviously plenty of people, many millions in fact, who did have the time to watch, and even travel from abroad to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime bit of pomp and ceremony which, by the way, may have cost a lot on the day but will no doubt be repaid in tourism cash, diplomatic benefits and trade.

May I remind Mr Grodynski that the now King a few years ago provided/raised the money (£45 million) to purchase the decrepit Dumfries House, its land and contents for the nation. That refurbished property is now a profitable enterprise employing something like 300 people and the nearby run-down ex-mining village of New Cumnock has had a new lease of life, even having its own swimming baths (refurbished recently, as I recall, at the expense of HM).

A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries

Lives made cheap

I do not think that the hundreds of thousands of men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during the conflicts in the last century, whom Neil Anderson mentions in his letter in yesterday’s Scotsman, did so so that a very small group of people could attempt to spoil a national celebration for millions of others. Rather, were they still alive I suspect these men and women would be joining in the celebrations.

The right of freedom of speech is fundamental to Britain and our way of life. With rights, though, come responsibilities, and the recognition that other people, in this case a significantly large number, have the right to participate in the Coronation by their enjoyment of this unique event.As for Neil Anderson, invoking the sacrifice made, he cheapens the memory of those who made it.

John B Gorrie, Edinburgh

Sad celebrations

After the glossy and highly paid journalists and celebrity guests in studios commented on the archaic ritual within Westminster Abbey there were brief cutaways to “the people” meant to be enjoying neighbourhood gatherings the length and breadth of the UK, in care homes and community halls which, taken collectively, were rather sad. Like the diehards and tourists camped on the Mall they all shared the same rather tacky Butchers' Apron napkins, paper plates and crowns. It was all a bit cringeworthy, contrasting corporate Britain with the plebs, culminating with members of the Royal Family out and about in Surrey greeting people.

Some of them are dab hands at it but anyone who saw the new Duke of Edinburgh standing three feet from people and waving at them will know how awkward and pathetic such situations can be. The real beneficiaries of this class structure were likely watching from the comfort of their clubs or weekend homes, safe in the knowledge there is no threat to their position or their place. However, it is the words of the Roman satirist Juvenal we should recall: “Already long ago from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions – everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” How very apposite.

Marjorie Thompson, Edinburgh

Be grateful

Despite recent complaints, we do live in a democracy. That means we get to vote for those we want to represent us and the policies they enact. We have a monarchy, as a republican party has never been in power.

Those protesting against the monarchy are really complaining that most people do not share their views. Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion should be grateful for the limits of our democracy; if the will of the majority was enacted they would be facing much harsher punishments for their silly stunts.

SJ Clark, Edinburgh

Money, mouths

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The anti-monarchists claim the UK isn’t democratic, so let’s test that with a national referendum for Head of State and national figurehead between King Charles and Queen Camilla and, say, President Tony and Cherie Blair or President Boris and Carrie Johnson.

Who is your money on?

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Smarten up

I understand that the King is to attend the High Kirk of St Giles’ later this year, where he will receive the ancient Honours of Scotland: crown, sceptre and sword.

For such a solemn ceremonial occasion I sincerely hope that he will be better advised than was his late mother, and not be attired as if he were just off to do the messages.

Might I also suggest that Cedric Thorpe Davie’s “Royal Mile” Coronation march be revived for the occasion?

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews, Fife

Not adding up

In the aftermath of the English council elections, many commentators have noticed that while the Conservatives may have lost a lot of seats, Labour’s gain was a lot more muted. From this, people have deduced that perhaps they are not set for a general election win after all, and maybe we will be in hung parliament territory again.

Predictably, in Scotland that has started the discussion around Labour/SNP coalitions, and the tedious analysis we always see around this. However, the English council elections also suggest that the Lib Dems may well make a significant comeback, and at a UK level they certainly have the potential to quickly overtake the SNP in numbers of seats, especially if the latter are going backwards, which now seems inevitable. The Lib Dems’ sister party, the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland, are also likely to pick up a few seats, and Labour’s sister party the SDLP will pick up a few as well.

So, if a coalition is required, there are all sorts of ways of getting the numbers, and the SNP are not the only show in town. Indeed, Labour will look on all the others as preferable, as in addition to the known problems with associating yourself with the Nationalists, there are now the unknown risks of what might be thrown up as well, which might potentially pull down a future government.

The numbers don’t add up for the SNP, in all sorts of ways.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Forced marriage

C Lowson blames Scotland for the Darien scheme’s failure (Letters, 8 May). In fact, England sabotaged the project from the beginning. 17th-century England was continually at war, mainly with Holland and France. This impacted Scotland because France was Scotland’s largest trading partner but England’s biggest rival.

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After the 1603 Union of Crowns, England revoked trading privileges between the Scots and French, severing the largest component of Scottish income. The 1660 Navigation Act barred Scotland from trading with the American colonies, and England raised the tariff on Scottish linen imported by England. As a result, Scotland had no choice but to create new trading outlets.

William Paterson, a well-respected Scottish merchant and Bank of England founder, conceived of and carefully planned the Darien scheme to break the monopoly of the English East India Company by establishing a Scottish port linking the Atlantic and the Pacific that would be open to all European traders.

Paterson’s plan, deemed sound, was approved by London’s elite. What wasn’t anticipated was sabotage by England. Westminster discouraged investors and William III ensured that no governor in the region would trade with or aid the Scots.

England threatened Scotland with land and sea invasion if it didn’t sign the Treaty of Union and it bribed the signatories.

The sovereign Scottish people are realising they have the power to end a union that has subjugated them for centuries. That power is what England fears most.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

Bad medicine

The Scottish Government's delay in recruiting 1,000 mental health specialists will do nothing to help those in need of urgent mental health support, whose numbers seem to have mushroomed since the pandemic.

Social media pressures and the isolationism during lockdown are just some of the factors preventing many of the most vulnerable people in our society from coping with the strains of modern living. To deny them adequate mental health support is neglect and must lead to some unnecessarily taking their own lives.

Coupled with the looming prospect of a junior doctors' strike, it appears that our ailing NHS is far from safe in First Minister Humza Yousaf's hands.

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Stirlingshire

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