Readers' letters: Criticism of coronation is royally unfair

I read Joyce McMillan’s musings on the Coronation with some sadness (Perspective, 12 May).

Her central point seemed to be: “The spectacle was far from joyful, given the sorrowful countenance of the grumpy 74-year-old at the centre of events and the weirdly tasteless display of wealth at a time of major economic crisis for millions of families.”

She could have written a similar article after the last coronation when the whole country was on rationing, poverty and bombed buildings were everywhere and many families had lost their loved ones. Yet from my memory it was a wonderful celebration of the continuity of a King and Queen who had led this country through a terrible world war. It was also an occasion where a young lady in her early twenties pledged her life to the service of the people of this country, a pledge she carried out without fault for the following 70 years. This was the same pledge given to us by King Charles.

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The spectacle at the Coronation, as it was at the late Queen’s funeral, was quite extraordinary. No country can produce pageantry better than we can.In taking the oath the King’s demeanour was one of solemnity – to call it grumpiness is frankly rather childish.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave to the crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave to the crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave to the crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

There were, it is true, a number of people who, like Ms McMillan, disapprove of the monarchy. That is their right in a democracy. The question is: who would you rather have as Head of State, someone who has served a 70 year apprenticeship in the job, who has been steeped in the British Constitution since he was born and who has pledged solemnly to serve the people of this country for as long as he shall live, or someone who takes the job for five years, whose sole interest is themselves?

Mark Tennant, Elgin, Moray

Children failed

It is now just over 13 weeks since Nicola Sturgeon announced her intention to resign her position as First Minister. In that time, every effort has been made by her acolytes to construct a positive “legacy” for her time in power. However, their abject failure to do so has been highlighted (should highlights have been needed!) by the devastating comments of the outgoing Children’s Commissioner, Bruce Adamson.

He claims Ms Sturgeon “absolutely” failed Scotland’s young people. Mr Adamson is independent of the Scottish Government and so can speak without fear of recrimination. His honesty should be applauded but at the same time, contrasted with the complete lack of action taken towards improving the lives of our most vulnerable children. Empty words and promises add to whatever “legacy” has been left by Ms Sturgeon. She should be ashamed.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

New approach

Scotland’s future relies upon Scottish talent, yet the SNP’s management has led to 14 wasted years during which educational standards have retreated rather than advanced. Bruce Adamson offers a few recommendations, but in my opinion there has to be a significant sea change in how children are taught.

My suggestion is that we start by imitating the best practices of our NHS: providing individualised medicine (ie. curricula and methods) rather than the still largely, one-size-fits-all approach. Needs vary and so must the tuition.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Emerald dreams

Alex Orr lauds the success of Ireland’s economy (Letters, 15 May). He mentions the “rocketing corporate tax receipts” they are gathering, but fails to say that this is because they are undercutting all European corporation tax rates and only charge 12.5 per cent, less than half the UK rate, so attracting the likes of Apple, Google, IBM and Aldi. They also attract wealthy individuals to take up residence with a top rate of tax at 40 cent

Wasn’t there someone recently briefly in power south of the Border advocating a similar tax regime for growth? I don’t remember any Nationalists supporting Liz Truss.

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Indeed, most nationalists seem to favour very high Scandinavian tax regimes. It is perhaps hypocritical to praise the Irish example whilst advocating a very different fiscal environment for Scotland. Eire does seem to show the veracity of the old adage that lower taxes often bring in more revenue than higher ones. I think Nationalists would garner more support if they acknowledged this.

By all means let us build Ireland’s emerald and pleasant land here, but you won’t without a similar fiscal environment, even if we were to be back in the EU.

John Scarlett, Gorebridge, Midlothian

Up the creek

Lorna Slater of the Scottish Greens has been criticised for using a private ferry to take her to the Isle of Rum. One TV news programme also showed a photo opportunity (?) clip of her in a canoe. I assume that the paddle was scanned in as an afterthought.

Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh

Friends united

Steuart Campbell (Letters, 10 May) attributes to me “a major historical mistake”, because I wrote that the union of 1707 created the United Kingdom (“Why monarchs do not need to be crowned in Scotland”, 6 May).

He should have checked the text of the union itself, which said that it was instituting “the United Kingdom of Great Britain”. The union of 1800 created the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland”, but this was not the first “United Kingdom”.

My article identified some ways in which the union of 1707 shapes the character of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, the current iteration.

Alasdair Raffe, Edinburgh

Forget nuclear

Gregor Poynton attempts to justify the Labour Party’s apparently unquestioning support for the Tory Party’s desperately flawed “Great British Nuclear” project (Perspective, 12 May). In doing so, he has ignored the 60-year history of nuclear power reactors throughout the world – uneconomic, unreliable, plagued with insoluble problems of internal corrosion and waste disposal.

In March this year, the French Nuclear Inspectorate ordered EDF, the nationalised French Energy Company, to “revise its strategy” for repairing nuclear power plants because stress corrosion has caused new cracks at the Penly 1 Reactor near Dieppe. This came after a disastrous year in which corrosion problems have closed down so many of France’s nuclear power stations, including Penly, that production hit a 30-year low.

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On 15 April, when Germany closed down its last nuclear reactors, the German government declared “The nuclear phase-out makes Germany safer and avoids additional high-level nuclear waste.

"The risks of nuclear power are ultimately unmanageable. No insurance in the world covers the potentially catastrophic extent of damage from a nuclear accident.” The corrosion problems in France and the German government’s decision are affirmed by the refusal of private companies to participate in nuclear power without government guarantees of indemnity and funding. Two of Westminster’s nuclear projects – at Wylfa and Moorside – have already been cancelled for those reasons.

The UK Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act Mr Poynton applauded was driven through Westminster by the Tories last June, burdening Scotland with a share of the incalculable costs of their panicked return to the infamous nuclear lobby.

Frances McKie, Evanton, Ross-shire

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