DAVID Cameron got it right yesterday when, speaking on television, he described the Queen, whom he met on a weekly basis when he was prime minister, as the world’s greatest public servant.

Prime minister after prime minister came to appreciate her wisdom and sage advice. It is testimony to the length of her reign that her first such encounter was with none other than Churchill, during his second term in office.

I think the Queen’s political knowledge and expertise, built up over many decades and strengthened by her diligent reading of her government papers, will be the thing that will be badly missed by Liz Truss and her successors.

We have lost so much with the death of the Queen. Our political leaders have, too. The tributes from leaders across the Commonwealth and the wider world show that this sentiment is felt far outwith these shores.

S Williams, Glasgow.


THE BBC’s coverage of the passing of our monarch was, on the whole, well-researched and heartfelt. I sadly can’t say the same for yesterday’s coverage of the journey from Balmoral to St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

The commentators had done little or no research and didn’t know Ballater from Banchory. Martin Geissler, the BBC Scotland presenter, admitted that this was an area he was not acquainted with. So why use him?

Robert Lacey likewise, talking about everything and anything, other than giving details of the crowds and towns and villages being passed through.

It should have been the time to bring on the old guard who knew what they were talking about.

Be assured that when the late Queen Elizabeth arrives in London, everything down to the last detail will have been rehearsed again and again, and the BBC will be on firmer ground.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.


THIS is how it was for me. Early in the 1990s, in a sombre mood, returning to the parental home having just registered the death of my father at Haymarket Registry, and driving along, I think, Melville Street, in Edinburgh, the eastbound traffic ground to a halt. The opposite, westbound, lane was devoid of traffic.

Police sirens were heard and motorbike outriders hove into view. Then followed a limousine, not open-topped, but the passenger in the forward-facing back seat was easily identified as HM The Queen. She was graciously acknowledging the waves and greetings from pedestrians on the far pavement.

I gave the horn of my car a toot, whereupon HM, at first startled, turned towards the noise of my horn, to be greeted by my “palm out” wave of greeting. The startled expression gave way to a huge smile.

“Oh, look”, she said to the other occupant facing her in the limousine, “there’s Eric Arbuckle!”

(Ps, that’s how it was. However, I confess to having employed an element of conjecture in my last sentence).

Eric Arbuckle, Largs.


REPEATEDLY, in recent days, BBC News, ITV News and Sky News have told us that it is hard to come to terms with the death of the Queen because none of us has ever known anyone else on the throne.

Excuse me: what has happened to the more than nine million of us who were alive before February 6, 1952?

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife.


OVER the years, I have often criticised the First Minister for her lack of dignity and grace.

I found her body language when with Boris Johnson or members of the royal family stilted and embarrassing, and obviously playing up to her party’s extremist fringe.

I also thought that the SNP’s attitude to the free book that was produced at UK level for children to mark the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth’s accession to the throne was churlish and totally unnecessary.

However, in the wake of the Queen’s death, may I say the First Minister has acted to date in exemplary fashion.

Being dignified is not as hard as perhaps she thought.

Maybe she will now realise that being pleasant and courteous and graceful is easier than being churlish and spiteful and does not diminish political views in any way – in fact, much the opposite.

It is a pity for Scotland’s image that she could not have learned this a long time ago.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


I SUSPECT that Paul McPhail (“Is Scotland now North Korea-lite?”, letters, September 9) is not a fan of First Minister Sturgeon. I could be wrong.

Do we detain people here because of politics, sexuality, religion or hair colour? Are we striving hard to be a nuclear power? Is our average income estimated at $1,800? Do we refuse to allow foreign travel, do we dictate what job you can or cannot have, do we imprison whole families in slave-labour camps if one member steps out of line?

We democratically elect our leaders to make popular or unpopular decisions and our press systematically queries all that we do.

Mr McPhail, you may have an argument against this government (they are not always flavour of the month for me either) but it is best to use a credible one.

Alastair Clark, Stranraer.


WHAT do John Harrison (letters, September 9) and others not understand about the difference between “is” and “will be”?

When Alex Salmond said that the referendum “is a once-in-a-generation” event, he was talking in the present tense, ie, the situation at the time he was speaking and, for all those who have died since, it was exactly that. To have been making a promise for the future, he would have said “will be”.

No-one, after his statement, repeated it in the future tense, except the unionists, who have never ceased to twist it to their advantage.

Moreover, the No vote was achieved on the pledges in “the Vow” and a number of other promises, such as devo-max, the nearest thing to home rule, the legal permanence of Holyrood and all its powers and, most importantly, to a majority of Scots, guaranteed membership of the EU. None of these have been fulfilled.

In any case, since seven years was considered by Westminster as a suitable period for Northern Ireland to hold another referendum and perhaps change their minds about reunification, Scotland has now exceeded that time lapse.

Is it perhaps time for The Herald to demonstrate impartiality when this tiresome fallacy is repeated, to add an editor’s note to correct it?

L MCGregror, Falkirk.



AS winter approaches may I commend Jill Stephenson (letters September 10) for advising we should invest in sweaters rather than kettles. However, she is apparently unable to advise why, as part of the UK, an energy-exporting Scotland pays more for electricity than London. Fur coat and nae knickers?

Alan Carmichael, Glasgow.



AS is now common knowledge, the SNP is desperately attempting to make a case to hold a second referendum on the issue of Scottish independence.

The Lord Advocate of Scotland has submitted a written case to the Supreme Court, setting out both sides of the argument. This has to be seen as the statutory role of a law officer acting in the public interest.

But, as one might have expected, that could never be sufficient to satisfy the belligerent minority SNP administration. They have made every attempt to get permission to be legally represented by lawyers in person at the Supreme Court hearing – without success.

And, as is widely known, any constitutional matters are reserved to the UK Government. Quite simply, they are not within the powers granted by Westminster to the original Scottish Executive – now, it seems, referred to as the Scottish Government – under the Scotland Acts 1998.

Let us just hope that justice will prevail, and that any attempts by the SNP to undermine the status quo will be finally thwarted.

The fact still remains that the majority of Scots voted against Salmond and the SNP’s cause in 2014 and nothing has changed. Why, therefore, do we Scots have to be put up with the constant acrimony caused by the SNP?

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife.