Readers' letters: Monarchy is no longer relevant in its present form

On a stunning September morning, the day before the Queen died, we watched as a helicopter carrying Princess Anne landed as we alighted from the Skye to Raasay ferry. Two American tourists ran straight for the princess while we asked what all the fuss was about. I have never been a royalist but I recognise that Anne has, like her late mother, worked hard for the multitude of charities she supports undertaking around 400 engagements a year, about a fifth of the royal family’s workload.

Such dedication largely goes unnoticed by the general public who are more familiar with the Harry and Meghan saga. It’s no wonder therefore that nearly two thirds of Scots aged between 16 and 24 would rather ditch the monarchy in favour of an elected head of state in an independent Scotland. Overall Scots are split, although nearly two thirds of over-65s favour retaining the monarchy, according to a 2022 YouGov poll.

When all the pomp and ceremony of next week’s coronation dies down it’s difficult to envisage the monarchy and Commonwealth, surviving in its present form. Britain stopped ruling the waves over a century ago and its empire, once a quarter of the world, now stretches to a few islands.

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With millions struggling to make ends meet, it’s time Charles realised the need to reform the royal family by abdicating in favour of the more popular Prince William, streamlining it to include only immediate siblings and dependents and allowing the state subsidised royal palaces and their contents to be sold for the nation. The royal family would rent their dwellings just like many of their “subjects”. Failure to reform will mean a republic by 2030, by which time Charles will be over 80 and less effective relative to William.

Bakers in London apply the finishing touches to Coronation-themed biscuitsBakers in London apply the finishing touches to Coronation-themed biscuits
Bakers in London apply the finishing touches to Coronation-themed biscuits

​Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Damp squib

I agree with Brian Monteith (Scotsman, 24 April). Devolution was a damp squib between 1999 and 2007, a major reason why Alex Salmond’s “new type of politics” won that years’s election. But the writing was on the wall when the Scottish Executive became the Scottish Government, made worse by Gordon Brown's fag-packet “Vow”.

It seems incredible pro-UK party leaders haven’t at least said Holyrood needs a drains-up review and that they would create an all-party commission, including outside experts from the UK and abroad, to investigate, report and recommend improvement to powers, processes and accountability.

They wouldn’t lose votes by doing so. More likely, whoever stepped up to the plate would gain support from the thousands sceptical of the whole project and those who support devolution but want it fixed and improved.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Comedy gold

Though doing very little else for the wellbeing of the country, various senior SNP and Green politicians are at least giving us a laugh.

Keith Brown is the latest in a lengthening line with his “most transparent” parties in the UK claim. He is probably right to say, though, that membership of the other main political parties in Scotland or the UK remain unclear but he and other senior SNP MPs and MSPs had no clue about their own membership until such time as the now departed CEO was forced to reveal the true number – a comedy which, incidentally, led to his resignation.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Keith Brown and others to stop coming out with their ludicrous claims and statements. I’m perfectly happy to see them for the comedians they are. How many more revelations similar to motor homes, auditors, salary top-ups and finances have yet to be revealed?

I hope Mr Brown is preparing his script for these now. It would be the ideal basis for a stand-up turn at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe now that his idol will not be taking up her usual slot. A double act with Ross Greer might be a real hit and could help them top up their party funds.

Ken Currie, Edinburgh

Strange claim

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The assertion made by SNP Deputy Leader Keith Brown that his party is one of the most transparent in the UK doesn’t add up.

We know that no UK political party is totally transparent but virtually not a day has gone by without some media reference to the SNP government’s lack of openness and secrecy, with even the former leader Nicola Sturgeon acknowledging the need for more transparency, although nothing seemed to change.

With Mr Brown not even knowing that the SNP auditors had left and Humza Yousaf announcing a transparency and governance review, it would seem that things in the SNP garden are not as rosy as Mr Brown would like to portray.

For a party that urgently needs to rebuild public trust, Mr Brown’s lack of candour about the current state of the party will do nothing to bolster the SNP's electoral prospects.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirling

Military bearing

In spite of everything we’ve seen unfolding in Scottish politics over the past few weeks, and, indeed over the past few years, Keith Brown had the gall to stand up on TV and tell us that the SNP is the most transparent political party in the UK.

I've known a few Royal Marines Commandos in my time – straight-up, totally reliable chaps who tell it as it is. I’d love to hear what his former comrades think about the guff he spouted.

D Mason, Penicuik, Midlothian

Ditch the Greens

At a stroke, Scotland’s First Minister could show personal courage and determination, steer his party back on to somewhere approaching the middle ground, discard obsessed dogma – in particular gender and oil and nuclear policies and "a brain needs to be 25 years old to understand right and wrong” and so on and perhaps even invoke some admiration.

What’s the answer? Ditch the Greens. Run the administration as a minority, issue by issue. The mere act of jettisoning the Greens would be enough to bring a fair bit of credit. As it is, every time a Green spokesperson speaks publicly another chunk of votes disappears.

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But, apart from any party or personal boost, it would benefit most of all the country he and his party profess to love.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Wellbeing is key

In making the case for independence, Business for Scotland and its sister campaign organisation Believe in Scotland, have long promoted “Wellbeing Economics”. Both organisations are led by the highly respected economist, campaigner and Chief Executive, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp. This form of economics is practised in Scandinavian countries, including Finland and Estonia, along with New Zealand and many other small independent nations, all of whom are successful.

So what is Wellbeing Economics? It is in essence where economic growth encompasses quality of life, fairness, happiness and health.

Since the focus of any national economy should be to serve the needs of its people, economic success should be more equally shared, resulting in better growth, employment and greater revenue to governments.

The immense resources and many talents of Scotland must be utilised fully for the benefit of all the people who live, love, work and play in Scotland. This is the very ethos of a Wellbeing Economy.

The disastrous economic impact of Brexit followed by the Covid pandemic has definitely shown that the UK Government’s austerity policy has failed. With economic growth non-existent, society is harmed, resulting in further poverty and susceptible to an economic crisis. As MacIntyre-Kemp writes: “You cannot have a thriving economy without a thriving society and you cannot have a thriving society without a thriving economy.”

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland

Life lesson

I am currently reading Common Ground – a Political Life by Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. Writing of the re-marriage of his mother after divorcing her husband, Pierre Trudeau, he says his father asked his ex-wife not to get married again in church as his personal faith held “what God has joined together let no man put asunder”. This despite him having modernised Canada’s divorce laws in the 1960s. “The lesson he taught me about the distinction between private faith and public responsibility was one that would later guide my own thinking about leadership.”

What a pity others hadn’t read the same book!

David Arnott, Peebles, Scottish Borders

Ad break

Currently Channel 4, ITV, and Channel 5 are restricted to seven minutes of advertising per hour and other broadcasters limited to 11 minutes per hour under Ofcom rules. Now Ofcom are proposing to increase that further. There was a smilar proposal in 2011 which Ofcom ruled against because it was not in the viewers’ interest and would reduce quality and content. So what’s changed?

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Actually, we need fewer adverts, not more, and there should be a limit on the number of times an advert can be screened. Some adverts must be repeated thousands of times.

There is one particularly irritating about buying gold which has been broadcast for over a year. Don’t advertisers realise that scunners viewers?

William Loneskie, Lauder, Scottish Borders

Listen and learn

I’ve heard a rumour that Nicola Sturgeon’s driving lessons are not going awfully well. It’s said that every time her instructor points out an error, she responds with, “I’ll take no lessons from someone who...”.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Scottish Borders

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