AS neither a royalist nor an anti-royalist, it matters not a jot to me whether we have a monarch, king or queen, a president, a Prime Minister or a Chancellor as our head of state.

It is of no interest to myself or many others whoever the High Heid Yin might be, but we can be sure of one thing – we will always have an elite tier of the hierarchy that will have a privileged position in our society as our head of state and will represent us on the world stage.

Our present Queen has done this for 70 years and is held in high regard around the world by other nations, so it seems odd that in Scotland we see next to nothing by way of celebrating her carrying out those state duties in a diplomatic and dignified manner on our behalf around the world.

Why, we may ask ourselves, do we not see more bunting and Union Flags at more doors and windows in Scotland? Unfortunately, I think we all know the answer to this.

In present-day Scotland the political misappropriation of our beautiful Saltire flag, now often defaced with political symbols and the stars of EU nationalism like a Confederate flag, means that the display of any other flag is not tolerated and is shouted down.

There may also be other consequences, as we witnessed during the 2014 referendum. This is why we do not see the Union Flag on public transport, cars, gardens, windows or the celebrations that others in the UK express freely.

Such is the divisive nature of nationalism; within families, friends, neighbours and workmates, it is damaging, like a cancer that kills its host.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire.



Attitude towards sex work

THE Scottish Government has had a dictatorial attitude towards sex work.

For it to have an objective to “tackle demand from men for prostitution” is to engage in discriminatory behaviour from the outset.

For consensual sex work there is no need to “tackle demand”. In no other setting would one get away with demonising an entire group of people. Also, it victimises clients with disabilities.

The same subjective arguments against consensual sex work could equally be used against condoms, homosexuality or Fifty Shades of Grey.

In a survey, 98% of sex workers in Northern Ireland were against criminalising their clients.

They can make their own decisions and don’t need them second-guessed by the state.

During the recent pandemic there was reduced demand and the consequences were not good for sex workers. They had to take more risks, such as engaging in unprotected sex, in order to obtain custom.

Additional dangerous state interference is in trying to ban adult websites which are an aid to escorts and help keep them safe.

Since sex work was criminalised in Ireland, crime against escorts has increased.

Much is made of sex workers being in the profession to avoid poverty. In reality most people work to avoid poverty. Many aspects of the job suit escorts quite well.

The reasons for criminalisation are as flawed as those given were for going to war in Iraq.

Niamh McGrath, Dublin.



No honour, no glory

IT has been suggested (letters, May 27) that Scotland and Wales should step aside in the World Cup qualifiers and let Ukraine win.

I am not a football fan. I have absolutely no interest in football, whether it be my national team or the World Cup. I do, however, think that letting Ukraine win in such a manner would be absolutely the wrong thing to do.

How can there be any honour or glory in “winning” when you know that the opposing team has simply stepped aside and allowed it to happen?

I cannot claim to know the minds of the Ukrainian people or their national football team but I wouldn’t think that they would feel any pride if they were allowed to win in such a way.

David Clark, Tarbolton.


Litter-picking national service

IT really is tragic that the human race is letting itself pollute our lovely planet, as the letter from Ms Monsey of Boulder, Colorado, highlights some of the “horrible mess” she and her husband found as they walked along part of the Forth and Clyde canal (letters, May 27).

The photo of the graceful swan sitting on its plastic-covered nest makes one want to weep.

In the late 1950s, my then future-husband and I, hopefully doing something as pleasurable as Ms Monsey had hoped to do now, , were walking along what was known as “the Cast-iron Shore” at Otterspool, near to Liverpool.

I had hoped to see swans but Jim said to keep an eye open for those renowned “Mersey trout” which appeared now and again. I had no idea that the trout were “floaters” of human waste.

As we walked, Jim, being allergic to cats and horses, discovered that he was also allergic to the privet flowers, so we had to leave quickly. We drove the eight miles back home with Jim’s foot on the accelerator and my hand on the steering wheel – a very risky operation.

If I was brought home later than 10pm my mother would have greeted us at the door with her hair in curlers and probably a rolling-pin in hand. I was 19 then and Jim 30, but rules were rules.

What a pity we cannot have such stringent rules for litter louts nowadays.

Maybe a form of “National Litter-picking Service” for every healthy human could be the thing: so many days each year to keep your part of the planet looking safe and pleasant enough to dwell in for the other animals and birds with which we share it. I recently looked up “polyurethane” in the dictionary and scared myself to death.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

* MY local canal is generally tidy and well-kept, but a couple of car-parks and the foot of one of the bridges are a magnet for fly-tippers. Bags of rubbish are often dumped. Last autumn I saw rolls of linoleum, and an old settee, and some concrete lumps.

I know funds are scarce, but CCTV would surely deter these vandals.

S Matthews, Glasgow.


Money at end of the tunnel

PETER Dryburgh (letters, May 28) refers to money not being spent on another few metres of tunnel for London. The American actor/writer John Quinton wrote that politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy more tunnel. Quinton died in 1951.

Plus ca change...

David Miller, Milngavie.