ONE significant feature of the coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s passing has been the sheer volume of sub-standard reporting and commentary in the media. Most of this has been of a fairly anodyne and vacuous nature and thankfully won’t last long in the memory. Sadly, some of the commentary did stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Sir Tom Devine was correct in calling out the offensive comments made by the BBC’s Martin Geissler and historian Robert Lacey during the coverage of the cortege’s journey to Edinburgh ("Devine enters row over ‘clearing Catholics’ complaints to the BBC", The Herald, September 17). To be quite as crass as to think that "clearing Catholics out of Scotland" could be a source of humour, aside from the offence caused, defies belief especially for a broadcaster of Geissler’s experience. That they should think this type of exchange acceptable is worrying for anyone concerned with how we overcome discriminatory and prejudicial attitudes in 21st century Scotland.

There is, however, a wider context to this. One of the new King’s first duties was to swear an oath to "maintain and preserve the Settlement of the true Protestant Religion… " in Scotland. There may well have been a logic behind this at the time of the Act of Union in 1707, but it does seem somewhat archaic when viewed in the context of the secular state that we have become in the 21st century. Regardless of the monarch’s lack of any formal position within the Church of Scotland, there is a perception in some quarters that the monarch is the head of the Protestant church in Scotland. The oath does, in my view, serve to reinforce this perception.

Next year sees the centenary of the publication of the infamous report to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, "The Menace of the Irish Race to our Scottish Nationality". This report set the template for many of the modern-day manifestations of sectarianism, already quite deep-rooted in some parts of Scotland at that time. The Church of Scotland has since repudiated the report and apologised for the role it played in fomenting bigotry and discrimination. It is sad to say that, without too much effort, it is possible to draw a direct line from the attitudes that gave rise to that report to the offensive conduct of Geissler and Lacey.

It may be some time before we see another monarch having to swear such an oath again but, in the meantime, this might be a useful opportunity to unpick the constitutional anomalies that continue to underpin bigotry and discrimination. The BBC might also want to review how it ensures that those in its employ can reflect attitudes and values better suited to 2023 than 1923.

Andy Crichton, Ladybank, Fife.


THE usual suspects (among them Herald letter writers) came out with predictable outrage about Celtic supporters' protest banner at last weekend's match in Paisley.

What Jill Stephenson and Alexander McKay (Letters, September 20) conveniently failed to address were the reasons for many Celtic fans' contempt for the monarchy.

While people in the UK are facing untold hardship, royals are raking in countless millions from the taxpayer. God only knows what was spent on that funeral.

Also, the majority of Celtic's support is made up of Irish immigrant origin. Britain's involvement in the oppression of Irish people is, I am certain, well known to anyone who studies history, even at the most elementary level.

Some of your letter writers would do well to consider all aspects of such matters before penning their righteous fury.

Kevin Orr, Bishopbriggs.


I AM utterly appalled by the revolting message conveyed by some fans of Celtic FC at the recent match against St Mirren on a banner inscribed "If you hate the Royal Family clap your hands".They are self-evidently entitled to their views on the monarchy but to carry out this enormity when the late Queen’s family were deeply grieving the death of a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother offends against all human decency.

Celtic fans have traditionally adopted the moral high ground in relation to their Glasgow rivals and the bigoted singing which often pours from the terraces at Ibrox. Where stands that position now after that despicable message on a day when the family mentioned was in deep mourning?

Also unacceptable is the incomprehensible silence to date of the board of the club, the guardians of its reputation, about this affair. I very much hope that the vast silent majority of decent Celtic fans will make their voices heard about these actions and inactions which have brought national and international dishonour to a great institution.

Professor Emeritus Sir Tom Devine, Hamilton.


JILL Stephenson asks why does the Scottish Football Association allow this manifestation of hatred to continue without penalising the club [Celtic]. The answer is quite simple – there are equal expressions of hatred emanating from the supporters of Rangers Football Club. It is an inbred feature of football rivalry between Celtic and Rangers. As in a Frankenstein movie you get horror, so in an Old Firm match you get bile and hatred emanating from the stands.

If you are of a squeamish disposition do not watch horror movies, and if you cannot tolerate the hatred which comes with the Old Firm then support Partick Thistle (other teams are available).

Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh.


IN her long and eventful reign, Elizabeth Queen of Scots, with due deference to her in Scotland, commanded universal respect and was a cohesive force for good. However, her passing finally severs an imperial connection to that Anglo-Britain of the past.

The days of mourning and royal pageantry in Edinburgh emphasised that Scotland as a nation is not necessarily opposed to the monarchy, but is opposed to the British state which the monarchy represents.

The proclamation of King Charles III and his firm affirmation of the independence of the Church of Scotland confirmed the sovereignty of Scotland and that of its people. This was guaranteed, along with Scotland’s separate judicial system, by the 1707 mutual Act of Union between Scotland and England. Hopefully in Scotland Charles will be known as Charles, King of Scots in respect of his mother.

In these very difficult times, with a weak new PM, Charles has become King of a United Kingdom in transition, where human rights and democratic leadership will be paramount.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.


I SEE that the Scottish Parliament has set aside time to debate and pay respects to the contribution made by the Queen to this country ("MSPs gather in Holyrood to pay final tribute to late monarch", heraldscotland, September 20), but surely that is what the last 10 days have been about, and even those of us who generally support the monarchy know that it is time to move on.

As usual, you have to be suspicious of the motives of those in the Scottish Parliament. So, is this 1, just another reason not to be doing anything, or 2, the opening salvo of a monarchy vs Scottish republic debate, which couldn’t wait for more than a day after the Queen was buried?

Almost certainly, a bit of both. If our MSPs really wanted to honour the Queen, they would use their powers to try to help the people they claim to serve, and not just use the events of the last two weeks as an excuse to sit around and value-signal and prevaricate over the things that they should really be doing. King Charles will already be dealing with business again. So should they.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy.

• IF only we British could run our schools, health service, social care, transport, housing, economy – and our own lives – as brilliantly as we organise our royal weddings, funerals and coronations we'd be the best, happiest country in the world.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


COUNTRIES, religions, political parties, organisations and all types of bodies have figureheads and/or leaders. However I doubt that many, if any, have seen someone who committed themselves to their responsibilities, obligations and duties with such selflessness as did our recently-departed Queen Elizabeth.

Her ready smile and disarming manner evoked warmth and obviously love from many who met her over the years and even from those of us who have just observed her from afar. The warm sentiments expressed by people of various countries, races and backgrounds over the past few days clearly demonstrates her broad appeal.

You don’t have to be a royalist to conclude that we are unlikely to see her likes again.

W MacIntyre, East Kilbride.

Read more: Celtic fans' show of hatred ought to be punished