Royal charm offensive won’t ‘save’ the Union - Readers' Letters

The recent UK Government- motivated Royal charm offensive in Scotland threw up, for me, a few rather puzzling questions, the most obvious being, why would those in favour of independence be in any way persuaded against it by the public exposure of a medieval dynasty who look upon us as “subjects”?

The Earl and Countess of Strathearn attend a Beating of the Retreat at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on during their visit to Scotland last week
The Earl and Countess of Strathearn attend a Beating of the Retreat at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on during their visit to Scotland last week

It’s going to take rather more than a feeling that they seem like nice people to dissuade those who wish to take one of the most profound political decisions in the country’s history. Maybe Boris Johnson feels that we are a nation with heads full of sawdust and straw poking out of our ears and all it will take is a couple of smiling princes and princesses to whom we can bow and scrape, to to set us back on course.

Another question concerns the Royals’ supposed political impartiality but their widely reported “clandestine” meeting with arch-unionist Gordon Brown shows that to be a total fallacy.

Finally, can a nation that wishes to be seen as “modern” still have princes and princesses, refer to them as his or her “majesty”, walk backwards out of any room they are in while elected politicians are expected to kiss their hands? If it wasn’t the reality it would be the subject of a Grimm’s fairy tale.

I would like to see Scotland as an independent international nation, most importantly back in the EU again, but I’m not convinced we are ready quite yet. However, the recent Royal shenanigans have nudged me just a little further towards it.

D Mitchell

Coates Place, Edinburgh

A political mess

You don't have to be old to be disillusioned with the UK political situation, but I do find it helps.

I have read with a mixture of disgust and despair the stories of lies and corruption that have been leaking out of Westminster these past couple of months. Nor should we be patting ourselves on the back at the situation up here. Last year and into this year we saw an independent inquiry set up to investigate SNP incompetence in the internal investigation of the Salmond affair which cost the Scottish taxpayer over half a million pounds. How many of us believe that the whole truth came out of this entire, sorry affair?

Last week Dominic Cumming told us that Boris Johnson isn't fit to run the UK. A few months ago it was Alex Salmond telling us that Nicola Sturgeon isn't fit to run Scotland.

The 18th Century French Philosopher Denis Diderot is credited with saying, in the context of affairs in 1760s France: "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." If he were around today, looked at the standard of political activity right across the UK, and saw that someone had taken his former statement and substituted "untrustworthy politician" for "king" and "untrustworthy civil servant" for "priest" I don't think he would be too upset.

We deserve better than this.

D Mason

Pomathorn Bank, Penicuik

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Freedom fighter

As a founder member of the ‘Freedom on the Roads’ campaign I am encouraged by the efforts of a significant and growing minority who campaign against Covid restrictions. I hope that their brave stance can be mirrored by car drivers.

Since 1966, when road deaths numbered 8,000, there have been increasing government-implemented restrictions, most notably compulsory seat belts, speed limits and Draconian limiting of alcohol consumption. Now that road fatalities are down to an acceptable level of 1,800 per year, surely it’s time to relax freedom-inhibiting restrictions and give motorists back their right to choose.

Anyone who has driven in other countries of the world know that driving on the right is sensible, and it is no wonder that some guys in Civics and Beamers have made that choice here.

Perhaps we could begin with a system of designated areas where certain driving practices are mandatory, for example driving as close as possible to the car in front, clipping double white lines and using mobiles to text your loved ones. Let’s follow the Covid freedom fighters and put the foot down for a better future.

Bill Clark

Hill Street, Crieff

Radical Biden

Opposition parties have lost touch with radicalism (radicalism involves having policies which get to the root of problems). But President Joe Biden, by contrast, has focused on the fact that trickle down economics has not worked to justify his interventionist policies. “Trickle down” is the mantra of neoliberals. They repeat it endlessly even as we see the opposite happen ever since the Reagan-Thatcher years. Growth has been a casualty. Wages and conditions have deteriorated, productivity has fallen. We have had trickle up, not down.

A historical trend shows why there is such a divide between London and the regions. Investment tends to travel along well-worn paths. The big money goes to profitable companies. Neoliberals have tried to solve the problem by freeing things up. Zero hours contracts can save companies a bob or two but the result is a race to the bottom. Brexit is their last fling. Failure is only a few years away. So we need to rediscover radicalism.

The solution is quite obvious – we need a mixed economy, big government, investment banks and yes even nationalisation.

Why can I claim there is a historical trend? Consider how Scotland was slow to develop a car industry after World War I. Investment took the path to our old inefficient family-based industries such as shipbuilding. Such industries were in decline but still profitable right through until the 1960s.

It’s time for our decent politicians to get radical. Oh for a President Biden over here!

Andrew Vass

Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh

Cash payments

As I was about to pay with my debit card in the supermarket yesterday, a member of staff came on the loudspeaker to apologise that all their card machines were down, so customers would need to pay with cash. I had cash and was at one of the three self-scan terminals which accepted it, so I was OK. Shoppers who just had a payment card or their smart phone were not so lucky, nor were those at the seven terminals which didn’t accept cash.

Fortunately, this problem was limited to one branch of one supermarket, but what happens when something like that happens across the country? Or even across Europe, as happened to Visa in 2018?

The rush by retailers and banks away from cash is stripping resilience out the system.

The law requires buildings to have fire extinguishers, cars to have insurance and boats to have life jackets. Retaining the ability to pay with cash should be viewed similarly.

Otto Inglis

Ansonhill, Crossgates, Fife

Net zero hour

As the astronomical costs of net zero plans become more evident, Europe’s leaders face the prospect of discontent and revolt over the relentless rise in energy prices and the inconvenience of an unreliable consumer supply.

Green charities and the leftist media have assured everyone that “renewables” will make energy cheaper, but politicos will soon be forced to concede that these plans will actually hurt consumers very badly.

The EU Commission is proposing a series of far-reaching measures that will drive up the cost of running our cars and heating our homes.

If it goes ahead, households will have to shoulder not only rising energy bills, but also the rising cost of Europe’s record carbon price in their heating, lighting and fuel pump prices. Eastern Europe has already shown the political upheaval which occurs when the pain of net zero is felt by voters.

Dr John Cameron

Howard Place, St Andrews

Unjust criticism

David Hollingdale (Letters, 28 May) has clearly been stung by my letter criticising the veracity of his earlier letter which he describes pompously and a little arrogantly as "impertinence. He says he's entitled to his opinions and that's fair enough. I don't object to people expressing contrary views, but I take issue with blatant distortion of the truth.

Here's the fact of it. The SNP councillor at the centre of this issue tweeted "We hate the UK too". Mr Hollingdale wrote "Rhiannon Spear, SNP councillor, having expressed hatred of the English". This can be dressed up in any amount of euphemisms, such as a distortion or disengenous but the simple truth is Ms Spear didn't mention the English at any point and Mr Hollingdale has no right to present an untruth as an opinion.

Gill Turner

Derby Street, Edinburgh

Bad losers

I was saddended to see some of the beaten Manchester City and United players in last week’s European finals taking off their medals immedaitely after they had beem presented to them. Surely this in not only an insult to UEFA but also to their opposition. A sign of very bad losers.

Jim Reilly

North Bridge Street, Hawick

Dissent silenced

If Susan Dalgety (Scotsman, May 29) could take off her Union Jack spectacles for just a moment, she would realise that gender self-ID is a development which also worries a great many supporters of independence.

Gender self-ID is not a winnable argument with the general public but those who support it are set on pressing ahead, at the expense of women's rights, and are prepared to resort to the shutdown of free speech and legitimate protest to have their way.

This intolerance was one of the major drivers for the establishment of the Alba Party. I wonder if Susan can make a connection between the news blackout of Alba and the behaviour of the police towards the women who put a few stickers on lampposts? If you believe in democracy you cannot pick and choose who you will “platform”. If you do, eventually you will be on the receiving end.

Jim Daly

Comiston, Edinburgh

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