Readers' letters: St Giles’ ceremonies were distinctively Scottish

Further to Mr Grodynski’s letter (15 September), I noticed several indicators of the recognition of Scotland’s distinctiveness within the UK, and respect for it, during the lying at rest in St Giles’.

The Queen's coffin was draped in the Royal Banner of Scotland, with the Scottish quartering, with the ancient Crown of Scotland placed upon it. The King and his sister were wearing the green sash of the (Scottish) Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, rather than the blue one of the (English) Garter.

This is all a far cry from the days when the English quartering of the Royal Banner was stubbornly imposed north of the Border until the restoration of the Scottish Parliament provided an opportunity to introduce the Scottish version. These gestures also compensate for the day shortly after the Coronation when the new Queen received the Crown of Scotland incongruously attired in an ordinary coat and hat; by some accounts, the encumbrance of a large handbag nearly caused her to drop the heavy Crown. Like the designation “Elizabeth II”, in apparent ignorance of its inappropriateness to Scotland or even a United Kingdom including Scotland, this distinctly informal garb was thought to be at the behest of Sir Winston Churchill. Certainly, it must have been difficult for the young Queen to gainsay the advice of the man who had won the war.

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But notwithstanding the odd bomb or two in pillar boxes bearing theoffending “EIIR” cipher things settled down, with Her Majesty usually referred to as simply “Queen Elizabeth” north of the Border. It was therefore disappointing to see, over the past few days, Scottish newspapers and Scottish politicians, who should know better, using the inaccurate and innumerate designation, some might add “disrespectful”,“Queen Elizabeth II”.

King Charles III attends the Vigil at St Giles' Cathedral following the death of the Queen

The Royal Household, presumably including the King himself, appears now to be well aware of these sensitivities, (although when William succeeds there will be another numerical headache) and of the importance of Scotland's place in its history, which is very much to be welcomed.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews, Fife

Time to teach

Your reader Anthony Mchugh says “My kids have no interest in hearing about the Queen” (Scotsman, 15 September). Is he boasting or complaining?

Be he royalist or republican he should at least take some responsibility for stimulating an interest in the world and its workings in his children and thereby allow them the option of reaching their own conclusions rather than blindly accepting inherited dogma.

Alastair Carmichael, Tyninghame, East Lothian

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BBC mourning

According to Sergei Loznitsa’s documentary State Funeral (Stalin’s), loudspeakers in the streets sought to make mourning compulsory. We don’t have to do that. We have the BBC.

Alastair McLeish, Edinburgh

Own goal

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It is rare for a Celt to be ashamed of their ancestry, we are by nature a proud people, but the disgusting mocking of Her Majesty the Queen’s death by Celtic fans with giant banners in Warsaw on Wednesday while other Celtic fans stood by and allowed it to continue, leaves me, and I am sure, many other Celts, ashamed of my ancestry today.

For a disgraceful insult like this, to a Queen who has served our nation magnificently her whole life, there can be no apology, and no forgiveness. I feel the only possible appropriate punishment is for Celtic FC to be expelled from the Scottish Premiership for these appalling actions.

Ian Mcnicholas, Waunlwyd, Ebbw Vale

Match point

I read with some sadness of the formal retirement of tennis great Roger Federer.

Using typically cool logic, Federer explains that he knows his body’s limits and that its message to him recently has been clear.

For me, this inevitably brought to mind our own Sir Andy Murray. In his pomp he briefly reached a similar level to Federer but surely, following serious hip surgery, he must know that he will never win another Masters Series or Grand Slam tournament and that to continue risks long-term impairment. Time to listen to your body, Andy.

David Edgar, Symington, South Lanarkshire

Energy folly

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Alba MP Kenny MacAskill claimed that fracking and nuclear aren't required or wanted in Scotland (Scotsman, 15 September).

One could argue against fracking on the basis that it unearths a fossil fuel, although of course such fuel is only a problem when someone burns it without safely disposing of the CO2. True, some greenhouse gases will be emitted in the fracking process, but that applies to all industrial operations. In fact it’s doubtful that much methane can be extracted via fracking.

More nuclear power may not be wanted by some but it is certainly required as an environmentally-friendly way to provide base load electricity. Alba’s and the SNP’s opposition to nuclear is incomprehensible. The idea that it is expensive is a myth. Its cost is competitive with other forms of electricity generation and its system costs are very much lower than for intermittent renewables. The cost of decommissioning and waste disposal is included in its overall cost.

The claim that 97 per cent domestic electricity consumption here came from renewables is misleading. The Scottish Government estimates that, in 2020, only 56 per sent of the electricity consumed here came from renewable sources (30 per cent was from nuclear and 13 per cent from fossil fuels). Mr MacAskill's claim that we can “supply ourselves almost entirely from locally sourced renewables” is sheer fantasy.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh


I wish to take issue with Dr Richard Dixon, who says that fracking uses toxic chemicals, creates poor health, low birth weights, poor health and childhood leukaemia and a risk of earthquakes (Scotsman, 15 September).

The public have been brainwashed by the anti-fracking brigade and Friends of the Earth (FoE). FoE was accused of scaremongering and making false claims in a leaflet campaigning against fracking, saying fracking used toxic chemicals, caused cancer, caused water to catch fire, poisoned underground water, increased radioactivity and caused “earthquakes”. The chemicals used can be found under every kitchen sink. Liverpool University equated the tremors experienced during fracking trials as equivalent to sitting down heavily on an office chair – not exactly earthquake material.

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The Advertising Standard Authority ordered FoE to never again make such unproven and scaremongering allegations so why was the charitable status of FoE not removed? Friends of the Earth, a registered charity, avoided this by claiming that the anti-fracking campaign was carried out by a non-charitable company called Friends of the Earth Limited.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Distorted reality

Separatist Marjorie Ellis Thompson dismisses other correspondents’ views as being a “distortion of reality” (Letters, 15 September). Ironically, her own arguments can only be described as contradictory in the extreme.

Ms Ellis Thompson wants to dismember the UK because we are “still under the thumb of a Westminster Conservative government despite having not voted that way since 1955”.

So presumably the Union would still be an acceptable arrangement had the Tories been in permanent opposition from then on? What about all those Labour Party election victories over the last few decades?

Ms Ellis Thompson can’t resist taking a swipe at colonialism, implying that blameless Scots played no active part in this process or else were dragged unwillingly into the imperial project.

She clearly suffers from referendum amnesia

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Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Final Straw?

Has the death of the Queen precipitated the demise of Scottish nationalism?

The divide in the Scottish Government could not be clearer, with Nicola Sturgeon in favour of King Charles whilst Patrick Harvie is against. Ms Sturgeon relies on the Greens to keep her in power so there is a real problem for her here.

The whole idea of independence is beginning to look jaded. Keep the pound sterling or not, keep a hard border with England or not and even keep the monarchy or not? These issues have, so far, been brushed under the carpet along with almost all the rest. The extreme lack of detail about the next independence push is obvious. All we have is the date. That says it all.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Stacking the odds

One of the recognised tactics of the separatist camp is the suggestion that there is some doubt about the status of the Union. This is part of the ongoing attempt to have a second shot at a referendum, despite the separatists losing handsomely in 2014.

However, there are several points that cannot be understated. First is the fact that the SNP had to get Government permission to hold it. Second, that the SNP were allowed to choose the question, which we all know was favourably inclined to leaving the UK by being a positive option. Third, they were able to enfranchise children of 16 and over to vote and disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Scots living elsewhere. They were also allowed to choose the date, the anniversary year of Bannockburn.

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The result was unequivocal with almost 24 per cent more voting to remain in the UK than to leave, despite the odds being stacked against that proposition.

Andrew HN Gray Edinburgh

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