Readers' letters: Religon should have no place at Coronation

The religious pomp and ceremony planned for the Coronation on 6 May is bad enough, but now we hear that “two shards of the True Cross” (is there a “False Cross”?) will be carried in the Cross of Wales that will lead the coronation procession (Scotsman, 19 April). The shards have been given to the King by Pope Francis.

Can he spare them or has he got a lot of them? John Calvin pointed out that if all the extant fragments of the True Cross were put together they would fill a large ship, an objection regarded as invalid by some Roman Catholic theologians who claimed that the blood of Christ gave to the True Cross a kind of material indestructibility, so that it could be divided indefinitely without being diminished.

Such beliefs resulted in the multiplication of relics of the True Cross wherever Christianity expanded in the medieval world, and fragments were deposited in most of the great cities and in a great many abbeys. Reliquaries designed to hold the fragments likewise multiplied, and some precious objects of this kind survive.

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Tradition has it that fragments were found by St Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land about 326. The idea that any part of Jesus' cross would be found 293 years after use is of course ludicrous. It’s a triumph of superstition over common sense and only adds to the inappropriate religious aspects of the Coronation. A secular UK would have neither a monarch nor religious interference in state affairs.

The Cross of Wales, which will lead the coronation procession at Westminster Abbey on 6 May, incorporates a relic of the True Cross gifted by Pope FrancisThe Cross of Wales, which will lead the coronation procession at Westminster Abbey on 6 May, incorporates a relic of the True Cross gifted by Pope Francis
The Cross of Wales, which will lead the coronation procession at Westminster Abbey on 6 May, incorporates a relic of the True Cross gifted by Pope Francis

​Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Faith in schools

Archbishop Leo Cushley is in a panic about proposals from elected councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder to withdraw the council-given concession of voting rights from unelected religious nominees on Fife Council’s education committee. He cites “a serious threat to the identity and Catholicity of our schools” and fears, “a first step in the process to remove faith education altogether".

What does he mean by “the Catholicity of schools”? The teaching of unscientific ideas to children? The privilege that is taking taxpayers’ money but where children can be admitted on the basis only of their parents’ declared religious beliefs? Where staff can be refused employment on a similar basis? The flagrant sidestepping of equality legislation when it comes to representing LGBT issues?

That these religious representatives can vote yet cannot themselves be voted out is a gross violation of democracy. We teach sports but we don’t have unaccountable footballers sitting round the table.

If Mr Cushley wants more of his god in schools he should stand for election on that ticket like everyone else and we would support his right to do so.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society

Roadside rubbish

I so agree with Stephen Mcilkenny in his column on rubbish left at beauty spots (Scotsman, 19 April).

I travel by bus to West Lothian daily and am horrified to see the rubbish discarded by drivers at roadsides and roundabouts on the way to the A71 coupled with unkempt grass and dandelions. I suspect other entries to the city are the same and it makes me so ashamed of careless drivers and the equally careless council letting this happen at a time of soaring council tax charges.

G Cornelius, Edinburgh

Long view

Given its level of competence and probity, those who seek independence for Scotland may need to find a replacement to the SNP.

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In these matters it is always important to take a long view. After ravaging this island and executing his king, picture Cromwell’s amazement on seeing a prosperous, independent Ireland, a member of the EU. And England still a monarchy.

Jim Neary, Buncrana, Co Donegal, Ireland

Rural neglect

The letter by Prof R Macdonald OBE (Scotsman, 20 April), the article by Murdo Fraser (Scotsman, 19 April) and the article by Brian Wilson (Scotsman,14 August 2021) all add up to the conclusion that an SNP government in Edinburgh, focused only on those living in the Central Belt, has resulted in a failure of devolution in Scotland.

The rot set in around December 2020 – just prior to the May 2021 election for the Scottish Parliament – when Aileen Campbell, the former Communities Secretary, made a pledge on behalf of the SNP that the party would support a speedy implementation of the draft Bill put forward by Andy Wightman and the Green Party that planned to devolve major powers out of Holyrood on to local councils, giving them European-style safeguards which would have resulted in such powers being incorporated into Scots law.

However, the minute the May 2021 election ended, the pledges given by all parties at Holyrood to the people of Scotland were ditched and we now see proposals for the desecration of the Flow Country with 20GW of windmills, an unbroken line of pylons stretching from Caithness to Stirling to destroy the scenic beauty of Scotland simply to transfer energy from the Highlands to keep the lights on in the Central Belt.

What is worse is that even Audit Scotand (Scotsman, 20 April) appears blind to the fact that the 58GW of windmill output is unreliable and inefficient.

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway

Population decline

I write to question the notion that the Highland population has recovered in numbers after devolution (Fraser Grant, Letters, 20 April). It has not; since the SNP took over at Holyrood depopulation has continued in northern Scotland, except in Moray and Orkney, areas which jib at being thought of as “Highland”. I know, as a sometime Banffshire resident.

And blaming “Westminster” for the state of our roads, bridges and ferries can only be considered to be a joke in bad taste; they have always been the unfettered responsibility of the ScottishGovernment.

The scandal of the ferries brings to mind the Irish acronym coined by Conor Cruise O'Brien in 1982 after an utterance by the financially interesting Taoiseach Charles Haughey – GUBU, meaning “grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre, and unbelievable”.

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In light of the frequent comparison with other small European countries made by SNP supporters, it is surprising that GUBU has not yet been used to describe the current high- profile financial investigations into their party as well.

Hugh Pennington, Aberdeen

Brexit rethink

Consumer Price Index inflation continues to stay stubbornly high at 10.1 per cent with food inflation at 19.1 per cent, the highest since 1977. While shoppers have seen staples like milk, cheese, margarine and eggs incur huge price rises it’s not just dairy products but all food requiring fertiliser or animal feed seeing huge increases that can’t be blamed just on the Ukraine war as the UK Government initially claimed.

Competition from Europe has been curtailed by Brexit, with food imports costing more and as former Bank of England governor Mark Carney predicted, Brexit has served to shrink the UK economy and its capacity to produce goods. This is partly through the UK’s inability now to attract cheap EU labour and partly because it is more expensive to export goods to EU markets. Mr Carney claimed last year that the lack of economic capacity caused by Brexit would add to inflationary pressure and cause interest rates to rise when the economy faced recession.

Down the supply chain some producers and wholesalers are making a killing just as oil companies make billions in profits from over-charging for energy that feeds down to households bills. Buying in bulk, switching to value brands, shopping around and buying less may help but it is the poorest that suffer, more especially the one on four Scots children living in poverty and facing malnutrition. Boys in Glasgow, for example, are expected to live shorter lives than their counterparts in Algeria.

Adverse health and poverty continue to grow as a result of economic and political mismanagement. Analysis shows most voted for Brexit to advance sovereignty and stem immigration. Now Brexit has failed politicians should swallow their pride and think again.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Who pays price?

While I completely sympathise with the Federation of Independent Retailers’ demands for compensation from the Scottish Government for the expense and inconvenience of Deposit Return Scheme (Scotsman, 20 April), why should taxpayers like me pay for this ludicrous situation?

We were told it would be a doddle because loads of other countries had done it, but yet again we have another exhibit for the SNP Green Museum of Screwed Up Policy and Delivery right up there with GRR, named person, the ferries, farm payments and the social security debacle. The poiticians and civil servants responsible should be sacked, simple as that.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Keep on truckin’

In response to the delay in our proposed recycling project I wondered if anyone in the Scottish Government had analysed how many extra journeys will now be made taking bottles and containers to the nearest recycling centre?

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I’ll certainly be saving them all up and then getting in the car to head off somewhere to do so, probably later in the evening when the queues have died down. That’s one extra trip.

I’ve got an idea though… why don’t we get the bottles and containers picked up from the house by a big truck? It can do the whole neighbourhood in a oner so no extra trips are required.

J Lewis, Edinburgh

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