THE events of the past week have made the people of Scotland proud to be Scottish.

Queen Elizabeth loved Scotland and its people. In her last published photograph, with Liz Truss, she was shown at Balmoral, wearing tartan. King Charles wore tartan whilst in Edinburgh, at St Giles’, when he stood with the Royal Company of Archers who were guarding the Queen’s coffin.

Scotland shone and the world was watching. Our land of beauty and the story of our history was magnificent. This is a pride that I have not felt for a long time. The joyless Nicola Sturgeon and her separatist ideology have given the world an impression that we Scots want nothing to do with England and the UK.

The Saltire, our national flag and an intrinsic symbol of Scotland, has for many years been hijacked by the SNP. Wearing a Saltire badge no longer conveys a person who is proud to be Scottish. Instead, it is usually interpreted as someone who no longer wants Scotland to be part of the union: an SNP supporter.

What have Sturgeon and her party done for Scotland? We have a failing education system – remember that Sturgeon declared that she would be judged on education. The ongoing, scandalous ferry fiasco. Still no decision on currency should Scotland become independent. No answers to fiscal independence – we rely on money from Westminster. A tax system that punishes a taxpayer who resides in Scotland rather than England.

In 2022, responding to the energy crisis, Ms Sturgeon suggested that the solution would be to nationalise energy firms, yet in 2017 she pledged that she would set up a state-owned energy company to provide cheap domestic fuel.

She has said that she will see Liz Truss off, as she did her predecessors. But – to be clear – Boris Johnson was “seen off” by his own party. Because that can happen in a democratic party – challenges for leadership, from within.

Despite Ms Sturgeon continually talking about democratic rights, democracy does not show itself in the SNP. It is generally acknowledged that challenges to her from within the SNP are not permitted.

I believe that Scotland deserves better. A new movement needs to be established. A United Scotland Party, where we can be proud to be Scottish, whilst benefitting from being part of the Union.

A political movement that would be transparent and deliver for the people of Scotland. Something so much better than what Ms Sturgeon and the SNP have offered.

Mark Gray, East Kilbride.



AS Adam Tomkins so wisely said (“Monarchy may not be logical but that doesn’t diminish its appeal or legacy”, September 14) “our monarchy is not a tyranny”. In fact, it is more than that – as a constitutional monarchy it is a defence against tyranny.

It works in a way that does not occur to most people, by blocking potential tyrants from occupying key posts on the path to tyrannical rule.

In the first place it blocks a ruthless politician, even a Prime Minister, from gaining the respect and popular adulation due to a head of state.

You can see this being acted out in the procession to Westminster Hall. The principal positions of honour were occupied by our new king and his heirs. Senior politicians and our new PM were discreetly standing to the side.

This is a form of “separation of Powers” as built into the US Constitution. However, even there they have problems where the roles of President and PM are combined, so that Donald Trump, a demagogue with tyrannical instincts, nearly overthrew Congress on January 6, 2021.

Another key safeguard is the role of the monarch as head of the armed services. Once again it blocks others. The instinctive loyalty of the armed services is to the Crown.

By contrast, think of what happened in Germany when Adolf Hitler moved from being Chancellor, a political role, to Fuhrer, when he demanded a personal oath of loyalty from members of the armed services.

People have asked why the royal family in Wednesday’s procession were wearing military uniforms (letters, September 14).

The answer is that they are demonstrating what is often a very close and lifelong relationship with a particular service in support of the monarch.

This is why constitutional monarchy, based on a family dedicated to service, is so important.

Peter Gray, Aberdeen.



AS a Scotsman living in Canada, it was with total embarrassment that I watched Wednesday night’s Shakhtar Donetsk-Celtic game and witnessed the incredibly shameless banners of the visiting Celtic supporters.

Such a sorry day for decency.

Ian Innes, Ontario.

* PRESUMABLY the Scottish Football Association and Celtic FC will take action against the so-called fans who displayed the insulting banners at the away Champions League tie.

Their actions embarrassed Scotland and, I am sure, the majority of Celtic supporters and officials. Even if they do so there is a chance that UEFA will also take action against Celtic.

Although not all of us are royalists, there are rules of decency that even the most ignorant of us should comply with at these times.

W.MacIntyre, East Kilbride



HOW glad I am that Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Greens and a coalition partner of the SNP in the present administration running Scotland, is so much in favour of the UK being broken up.

As a pro-UK observer of the political scene in Scotland, to be in agreement with such a person would shake my faith in my own judgment.

Mr Harvie’s attention-seeking performance and apology for a speech during the visit of the new King to Holyrood earlier this week reached new lows in, at times, downright nastiness (“Green minister Patrick Harvie tells new monarch life is not all about ‘status or title’”, September 13)

He is of course entitled to his views and I am entitled to mine.

However, it would be unwarranted to speak in such a derogatory fashion at anytime, of anyone.

But on this occasion it was not only insulting to a man who was mourning the recent death of his mother; for the lack of basic decency and good manners it shamed us all.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.




MY only issue with Gavin Tait’s idea that well-off people should pay for elective surgery (“What happened to the SNP stance on ‘free’, elective NHS surgery?”, letters, September 14) is that he has no suggestions for easier ways for people to pay, for example to re-introduce National Insurance payments for pensioners.

This could be extended to cover old-age care.

For many years the former Social Security Secretary, Peter Lilley, has been advocating a public not-for-profit company, owned and guaranteed by the state.

It would offer everyone approaching state pension age the opportunity to take out insurance against the need to sell their home or other assets, and to pay for social care if and when they meet the official conditions for such care.

The amount talked about was a one-off £16,000 payment. This is effectively a bet against me having to go into care and I’d happily pay double that amount to enable me to pay my dues and leave a decent amount to my children.

The problem, as we have seen from the recent Conservative leadership election, is that the party membership might suffer an interventionist government that builds up a huge debt in their name, but they don’t expect to pay taxes or upfront insurance fees, even if it protects them from the risk of paying upwards of £70,000 a year in a decent old folks’ home.

And given the vagueness and timidity of the SNP’s social-care reforms, devolved Scotland is even more unlikely to lead the way.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.



WITH the news of a formal reprimand issued around John Mason’s conduct, surely the question must be asked: are his attitudes towards abortion compatible with his role as MSP, given that women were, after all, simply exercising their legal right to secure NHS services (“SNP MSP disciplined over claims abortions are pushed on women by NHS”, HeraldScotland, September 15)?

I would have thought at least it should be subject to debate when the salient SNP members’ group next decide on who represents them at Westminster.

Not John Mason surely?

Alistair Richardson, Stirling.