LESLEY Riddoch's diatribe on the Coronation ticks all the boxes of "right-on" progressive ("SNP is still only game in town for Yes supporters", The Herald, April 10). For sure a constitutional monarchy has many faults, but it has one huge advantage: there is no dispute about succession. Ms Riddoch overlooks the current contradictions and difficulties faced by the SNP in its succession issues.

Like most polemicists Ms Riddoch also overlooks history and does not ask the fundamental question: if Scotland had not been part of the Union, what would it be like now? Scotland, whether you like it or not, has been in union for 300-plus years, and apart from some early succession unpleasantness has been at peace ever since and, in world terms, prosperity. Contrast that to the 300 years prior to Union.

The SNP may or may not be the only route to independence, but Ms Riddoch does not point out that at present the SNP has no influence at all despite a strong presence at Westminster. Whereas the SNP constantly stresses Westminster is the seat of all evils and all power, the SNP fails to exert effectively what power and influence it has. That is its choice, not an inevitability, to Scotland’s cost.

The various quoted EU states that are or have been republics have in living memory been totalitarian, despotic, at war, few if any have a constitution longer than a lifetime.

The recent "transparency" issues raised in the Alex Salmond, ferries, and Peter Murrell crises highlight the deficit in institutional checks and balances in the Scottish body politic.

All citizens of the UK are British, whatever their chosen national appellations, and all therefore have an interest in the constitution of which the monarchy is a part. It is our only protection against tyranny.

Gavin Findlay, Boghead.

Controlled by the rich for the rich

I CARE not a jot about Scotland’s history or that of any other country as it is irrelevant to the here and now. I’m worried about the future.

I look at the path taken by the UK over my lifetime and it has been downhill economically and socially. The future for my children and grandchildren looks bleak in a Union that despite appearances is undemocratic and controlled by the rich for the rich. The whole tawdry situation can be summed up by the fact that while the majority of the country is experiencing increasing economic hardship, children are going hungry and our life expectancy is reducing, one man through an accident of birth will travel in a horse-drawn coach made of gold and be proclaimed king. He will act as the linchpin holding together a system of inherited wealth and power that hasn’t changed in a millennium.

Why is front page news all about unaccounted-for SNP donations yet no mention of the £36 billion that disappeared on Track and Trace or the cesspit that was PPE fast-tracking at Westminster? How much of that money ended up in your pocket? If not, where did it go?

Politics north and south of the Border is rotten and is simply a well-paid form of crowd control directed by the Establishment. I despair. We should be looking at what is happening in France and emulating them.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

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Read more: Troubled SNP is the only game in town for Yes supporters

Frankness and honesty needed

WHEN the SNP first came to power in 2007, it wanted to show it could offer a safe pair of hands in government. From 2011, a single-issue obsession started to undermine whatever good had been done before. After 2014, the rot really set in as too much power in too few hands produced a cult of self-serving arrogance. This saw all criticism dismissed out of hand, and an overwhelming sense of “we know best” amongst a small leadership circle who preferred making grand pronouncements to facing up to their part in Scotland’s harsh realities.

For too long the SNP leadership has used political spin to deflect the truth and has questioned the loyalty of its critics, whether from within their own ranks, or from others, so often accusing them of “talking Scotland down”.

Under Alex Salmond and then Nicola Sturgeon, it was made clear that they and the SNP were to be viewed as the same as Scotland as a whole. If you did not believe in them and their vision, then you must be against Scotland itself. The last many weeks has started to reveal what can fester beneath such a cloak of self-entitlement. There is doubtless more to come. What Scotland so desperately needs right now, no matter the party in government, is a leadership prepared to take responsibility for setting our many problems right. Frankness, honesty and realism are needed now, rather than political guile and pretence.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

A pro-Union coalition is a must

A SIMPLE analysis of how Scots vote proves that if the SNP (or successor nationalist group) ever gains power again in Scotland it will be because the unionist parties have been too selfish, too hidebound, too narrow-minded, too tunnel-visioned, or in plainer words, too thick, to realise that the separatists are an electoral minority and so can only gain power by dividing the pro-Union electoral majority.

In terms of realpolitik "my enemy’s enemy is my friend" must be observed if our Union is to be saved from the wrecker’s ball. The way to do it is for the statesmen and stateswomen in the unionist parties to take the initiative and agree an election pact that enables only the unionist party most likely to win a given constituency to contest it. That a pro-Union coalition will then govern Holyrood will require plenty of grown-up and probably uncomfortable collaboration and adaptation, but the prize will be the easing of that pain and the gratitude of all sensible Scots will be the icing on the victory cake.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian.

Read more: What on Earth have we done to the Declaration of Arbroath?

Compare Holyrood to Westminster

ROBERT IG Scott (Letters, April 10) is quite entitled to his view of the possibilities of Scottish independence. It is a matter for the future which is always uncertain and thus to some extent uncertain.

However, when he criticises “replacements initially for Alex Salmond a few years ago, and now Sturgeon and Swinney et al [who] are hardly inspiring”, could I remind him that there will be at least one televised debate between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and leader of HM Opposition Sir Keir Starmer in the UK General Election to be held no later than December next year? Does he not agree with me that this will be so exciting that it could be a new aid for getting to sleep?

Mr Scott should remind himself of the old saying that “in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king”. We always need a comparator to make the sort of judgments Mr Scott makes.

If we compare Holyrood to Westminster then while recent events point to problems here, the latter lost £16 billion alone on Covid loans due to fraud and error. That comparison shows that what has happened in Scotland in the last few days is no more than small change in comparison.

Another pertinent adage that Mr Scott might learn from is that “the other man’s grass is always greener”. We often find though that this judgment is often purely optical.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Importance of the Declaration

I FEEL that Mark Smith underestimates the significance of the Declaration of Arbroath ("What have we done to this ancient document?", The Herald, April 7). In a key passage the Scots nobles told the Pope that had Bruce failed to protect them from the tyranny of Edward they would have got rid of him and chosen another king to do the job. This was completely at odds with the central values of Anglo-Norman feudalism with its emphasis on the absolute power of a God-given king. It was an idea that might have had its roots in the original practices of the ancient Gaelic Kingdom of Scotland and it can be seen as a forerunner of the democratic idea that a failing government can be changed by the will of the people.

Something very similar crops up in the American Declaration of Independence, 456 years later. Governments are instituted among people to promote and defend their rights and if the government becomes destructive of these rights it is the right of the people to do away with it and replace it with something better.

Scots were prominent in the independence movement in America, notably the scholar John Witherspoon of Princeton University. Witherspoon's reputation may now be somewhat tainted by associations with slavery but this does not negate the likelihood of Scottish influence, going all the way back to Arbroath, on the Declaration of Independence.

Ronald Cameron, Banavie.