Readers Letters: Platinum Jubilee gave UK party we deserved
Listening this morning to many miserable Scots badmouthing the Platinum Jubilee celebrations I was tempted to turn off my radio.
Although not an ardent royalist, I was very cheered to see the scenes of thousands of people in London and across the UK using the Jubilee weekend to be happy and to enjoy being together after the two sad, lonely years of the pandemic. This was a unique opportunity to celebrate the 70-year rule of a dedicated, hardworking non-political head of state and provided a temporary, much-needed distraction from thinking about the brutal war in Ukraine and the grim cost of living crisis.
While our monarch has many detractors because she is very rich, the same affliction is shared by many UK politicians and indeed other heads of state around the world.
Personally, I dread the possibility of Nicola Sturgeon, or her ilk, retired from politics, becoming the head of state of a republican independent Scotland. This would provide me with much less motivation to participate in a celebratory picnic in Princes Street Gardens!
Sally Gordon-Walker, Edinburgh
It's a sign of the small-mindedness of the SNP government that it didn't organise a Platinum Jubilee dinner for all MSPs of whichever Party. Such an event would not have compromised SNP principles in any way. Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom, whether the SNP like it or not, but it's always been unrealistic to expect any level of graciousness from Nicola Sturgeon and her Blue Meanies.
Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife
I agree with Tim Cox (Letters, 6 June). Those in favour of a British republic should carefully consider what they wish for: President Tony and Cherie Blair? President Boris and Carrie Johnson? President Nicola Sturgeon? All had enough votes to win a presidential election. Or would they prefer a President Robert Mugabe? A President Donald Trump? Or any of the EU’s five popularly unelected presidents? A constitutional Monarchy in which the nominal head of state “reigns but does not rule” has many attractions. We could do worse than learn from the Scandinavians in this matter. As a soldier I vowed to fight and perhaps die for Queen and Country; but for President Wannabe and Career Politician? Nah.
Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian
There is a bit of debate at the moment, instigated by the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, about whether we should have a constitutional monarch versus an elected head of state, with legitimate arguments on both sides.
The attraction of a constitutional monarch (with no political power), is that party politics are not involved, with the division this can bring. Had we an elected head of state, ie, a president, eg President Blair, Cameron, Johnson, this could be divisive stuff. A monarch can be a unifier (albeit, there can be bad monarchs).
Given the poor performance of our elected representatives, ie putting party before country, both at Westminster and Holyrood, our monarch puts them all to shame as a leader - she puts country first.
William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian
Ross is the man
I would like to see a young, honest Tory MP emerge in a leadership contest to replace the Prime Minister. The obvious choice to me is young Douglas Ross MP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives. It is time to pass the baton to a new generation. Young and energetic, Ross is obviously honest dependable and believes in what he is trying to do. Let's face it, that is a refreshing change for an increasingly jaded Westminster.
Cllr Nigel Boddy, Darlington, Co. Durham
There is a distinct whiff of scandal about the SNP. Their government is planning to cut 17,000 public sector jobs and maybe as many as 30,000. The reason, it seems, is that they can't afford them. I don't understand why not.
If they were not spending an estimated £150 million on the late census, which they could have held along with the rest of the UK last year, that money would be available to fund the cost of these people. If you add in the expected £400m spending on the ferries and £40m (and counting) of Prestwick, plus £20m for the illegal second referendum, a cost of £30,000 per annum for each of the 17,000 would be more than adequately covered.
If the SNP understood where money comes from, they might even manage to do the job that some people elected them for. Clearly, their voters think that they have a magic money tree. Oh, wait – of course, they do. They have the Barnett Formula with lots of lovely money generated by the City of London to fund their excesses on a platter.
Unlike the Tartan Gnomes, some of us have to work for a living.
Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh
Single issue parties such as SNP, UKIP etc are just that, and can't be expected to deliver on anything else, such as the economy. Thus Scotland has gone downhill since the SNP regime started, and the UK likewise since Brexit, as the consequences of achieving their respective aims are and were not relevant.
The SNP will never produce a costing for an independent Scotland, as it simply doesn't matter to them what happens economically if independence is achieved.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross
The SNP administration’s response to the need for spending cuts is… fanfare: to blame Westminster. Why would anyone be surprised by that? Various SNP ministers and MPs tell us that the Scottish budget has been cut by 5.2 per cent this year, compared with last year. That is true, as far as it goes. But why has it been cut? Because in the years 2020-22 Scotland received substantial extra funding to support it during the Covid crisis. Perhaps everyone has forgotten about furloughing and business support measures. It is dishonest to claim the extra Covid funding as part of a budget baseline.
With this 5.2 per cent ‘reduction’, the core resource funding at the SNP administration’s disposal is higher in 2022-23 than it has ever been, in real terms. With this degree of chicanery in the SNP spin on funding figures, I don’t know how anyone imagines that the SNP can provide in its projected separation figures any realistic view of Scotland’s financial prospects outside the UK.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh
I very much hope that Edinburgh’s new council administration will take forward the SNP’s manifesto plan to introduce a Tourist Tax in Edinburgh as a matter of urgency.
At a time when public services have been under such strain and faced with the grim prospect of yet more austerity to come, then surely now is the time to add to the funds available to our local authorities in a way that does not add to the burdens already being carried by taxpayers in Scotland.
Visitors spend millions of pounds during their time in Edinburgh but much of this is collected as VAT and is paid direct to the Exchequer in London. While our visitors are, of course, very welcome, how much direct financial benefit is there for the council? Surely it would make sense to apply a Tourist Tax which would be a direct contribution to the city’s finances? The application of a Tourist Tax is a widespread practice in other countries so why not here in Scotland? My wife and I have been fortunate enough to have visited several overseas countries, including Japan to visit our family in Tokyo. Wherever we have travelled it has been standard practice for the hotel bill to have a City Tax or Tourist Tax added for each night of our stay. The sum added is no more than the price of a cup of coffee.
With over 12 million visitor nights per year in Edinburgh in pre-pandemic times, such a modest charge would raise a considerable sum for the city – as much as £24 million if the charge were £2; £36m if it was £3. It has been claimed that such a tax would discourage visitors from coming to Edinburgh. I simply cannot accept this as an argument. The addition of such a tax on our overseas hotel bills has never been seen by us as a deterrent. Visitors will continue to flock to Edinburgh in very large numbers.
Can we seriously afford to ignore such an obvious source of revenue in these challenging times?
Eric Melvin, Edinburgh
Stuart Smith wonders what would happen should there be a referendum on England becoming Independent (Letters 4 June). Constraint payments of £1 billion have been paid over the last ten years to the foreign owners of wind turbines located in Scotland. So they are paid to produce electricity and they are paid not to produce electricity. Nice work if you can get it. If the energy payers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland ever find out that their bills over the last ten years included a surcharge of £1 billion and that another £100 million will be levied every year then it is they who will demand independence from Scotland.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian
If, as seems certain, there is no referendum next year, what will the SNP do with the £20 million of our taxes they have set aside for it? They could, I suppose, build another couple of pretend embassies, say in Outer Mongolia or the Sahara desert. Or fund some more jaunts overseas for their leading figures to grandstand.
What we can be certain of is that it will not be used for helping reduce drug deaths or our pot hole-ridden streets or alleviating the problems of the poorest Scots.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
Write to The Scotsman
We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line. Do not send letters submitted elsewhere. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.
Subscribe at www.scotsman.com/subscriptions
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.