KEITH Howell’s opinion about the Queen's several interventions in Scottish politics is that they are fine with him (Letters, September 20). If Mr Howell ever thinks of the roots of the self-government drive in Scotland, then the monarchy is a reasonable place to start.

I was born in 1949 – around the same time as the “Scottish Covenant” was being promulgated. Many if not most, adult Scots signed this petition for a Scottish Parliament, only for it to be ignored by Westminster. At about the same time, the present monarch was being crowned with a title which was disputed by many Scots as inaccurate. Also at that time, it was normal in the print and broadcast media to describe the monarch as the “Queen of England” and Prince Charles as the “future King of England”. These small things accumulate in the minds of people, and help form opinion.

Fast forward and while we now have a parliament, it is still ignored, and the present royals, children and grandchildren, are nothing if not “England” supporters in sport, attending games and posing in kit for posterity. Absolutely fine, but I suspect that while an independent Scotland would maintain the Royals for some time, that they will be as irrelevant to our daily life as in Australia or Canada.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

KEITH Howell this morning writes that the Queen’s “hope that people 'think very carefully about the future' is sound advice about any subject at any time”, and he’s right. We should always think carefully about our future, though, given its inherent uncertainty, we may come to different views.

However, we now know for certain this was not a random statement, but that the Queen was specifically asked by David Cameron to “raise an eyebrow” a fraction of an inch. Yet, according to the British Royal Family’s own official website ( “As Head of State the Queen has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters”. Can it seriously be argued that to intervene even to this minor degree, in the Scottish independence debate is consistent with that claimed “strict” neutrality? What kind of neutrality is it when, with however much subtlety, she can make clear her preference on a vote of the utmost significance for her United Kingdom?

Still, should we be surprised? As monarch of two different countries, as Mark Smith makes clear, UK monarchy has always favoured the Union ("Alex Salmond is right – Yes support should be higher", The Herald, September 20). Indeed, even during the negotiations for the Treaty of Union, Queen Anne was wont to ask how negotiations were proceeding regarding “our United Kingdom”. But is that any excuse? The 1989 Scottish Constitutional Convention acknowledged “the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs”. Mr Howell and I may disagree profoundly on what that form that government might take, but it does seem clear that it is a decision for the Scottish people and not Her Majesty, who is supposed to be, lest we forget, “strictly neutral with respect to political matters”.

It is said that Her Majesty is “not amused” with Mr Cameron, but since she has been caught out behaving in a way which, at best, is inconsistent with what her own website claims, I would guess she would be.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

THE SNP lost the last referendum because it failed to make the case for independence, not because the Queen intervened in the debate. Not that that will stop the SNP crying foul, same old same old.

Bill Eadie, Giffnock.

THE First Minister chose to visit to Germany this week in the midst of Holyrood’s furore over her party’s handling of the NHS and the named persons fiasco. While in Germany she did not see anyone of any importance. The country’s leading newspaper, Der Spiegel, called her "populist’’ and Germans are rightly quick to be suspicious of populist politicians.

But again the trip emphasised her apparently incurable addiction for photo opportunism of any kind and with a dramatic drop in poll ratings, her advisers should now know that many would like to see her switch her attention to her day job.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.

THE new Debate Night programme on BBC Scotland (September 18) chaired by Stephen Jardine occasions my comment. There were no outstanding performances but certainly pass marks for decorum and restraint from all four party political representatives. Sadly not so on the part of the fifth member, Donald McLeod, described as an entrepreneur and musician. Not only were his rambling rants difficult to comprehend but his repeated invective comment "the lot of you are useless …" to his fellow panelists warranted a reprimand.

In fairness by this stage the platform party and studio audience had realised the incoherent panelist had activated the self-destruct button whereby any reasoned response would only add to the embarrassment.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.

I WAS sorry to see that the new series of Debate Night on BBC Scotland is continuing to be a platform for the SNP where, apart from the token non-political panellist, the other panellists, especially the Conservative ones, can expect to be contradicted and interrupted by Stephen Jardine mainly in an anti-UK government/ anti-Westminster fashion. I wonder whether BBC journalists who no doubt entered the profession with dreams of being seekers of wisdom and truth and taking the news to the people without fear or favour in the style of “publish and be damned” are content with the way they are clearly expected to protect the SNP from exposure to its many failures and shortcomings.

Donald Lewis, Gifford.

Read more: How can we ever again believe in non-political, independent monarchy?