GOOGLE tells me that the Operation Golden Orb Committee set up to organise the Coronation estimates that the cost to the taxpayer will be about £100 million. If this is what the new King and Queen want, they should fund it themselves. I would prefer that my taxes were spent stocking food banks for the hungry and offering cheap heating and lighting to those who have not the money to be comfortable.

Apparently Scotland is also to be allowed to pay for a second ceremony ("King Charles coronation: Special Scottish service planned", heraldscotland, April 23) and again, I would be happy for the new King and Queen to pay for it or, better still, do without the pomp and ceremony and give the money to some of the many charities that fund housing for the homeless or feeding and heating for the cold and hungry.

We know what the King and Queen look like so we don’t need to see them parading about in fancy dress, the price of which would keep quite a few families warm.

A purely decorative head of state is an expensive frivolity that we cannot presently afford. Most countries have settled for a modest monarchy or a useful president chosen by the people.

Seems good to me.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh.

Remember Hillary

IN June 1953, as a member of a contingent of Scouts from Scotland, I was among those who lined the approach to Westminster Abbey on the day of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

The excitement of that day was added to by the announcement that the summit of Mount Everest had been reached for the first time by the New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay as part of a very large team led by John Hunt.

Hillary and Hunt were subsequently knighted and Tenzing Norgay received the George Medal.

Hillary, and his family, retained a lifelong connection with the people of the Himalayas, being committed to improving the living conditions of those living in that region through the building of schools and hospitals and ensuring adequate employment standards for those supporting future climbing expeditions.

He founded the Himalayan Trust in 1960 to ensure that his work would continue and also encouraged young people in his home country to embrace outdoor activities, in a way not dissimilar to the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme in the UK.

Tragically Hillary's wife, Louise, and their daughter Belinda, were killed in a plane crash near Kathmandu in 1975.

It would be good to remember and to pay tribute to this gentleman, mountaineer and "very fine knight" during this year's Coronation.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

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Read more: Politicians must honour the promise they made to rural communities

Limit presumption of innocence

ALEXANDER McKay (Letters, April 22) justifiably criticises the SNP’s inconsistent application of the "innocent until proven guilty" principle in relation to misdemeanours within the party.

The presumption of innocence is an eminently sound legal principle which works extremely well within the confines of a court of law. If the prosecutor fails to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a judge or jury, the accused person is acquitted; no ifs, no buts, no maybes. Even our controversial "not proven" verdict in Scotland reflects the same principle.

While the criminal justice system is not without its flaws, its presumption of innocence principle is indisputably sound. But when it is invoked outside of the disciplined environment of a court of law – such as examining the way a political party deals with miscreant members – it becomes so nebulous as to be worthless. Unlike a court of law, the so-called court of public opinion is unregulated, subjective and fickle. Allegations are often little more than conjecture. Fundamental but unanswerable questions abound. What standard of proof is to be applied, and by whom? Who should be the judge or jury? In the event of a guilty finding, what should the punishment be? Speculation, prejudice and the sheer volatility of the debate are so disruptive that any pretence of applying the presumption of innocence simply collapses.

Consider the case of the late Jimmy Savile. It seems certain that the man was guilty of the atrocities alleged against him. But he died too soon to be proved guilty in a court of law. Does the presumption of innocence therefore dictate that he is innocent? The only alternative is that our court of public opinion gets to modify the principle selectively and subjectively, according to how we categorise the offender. Innocent until proven guilty – unless you’re dead? Innocent until proven guilty – provided we like the look of you?

We are all entitled to our opinions on matters of interest such as alleged transgressions by public figures or organisations. But let’s not pretend it has anything to do with the presumption of innocence. Leave that to the courts where it is correctly understood and applied.

Iain Stuart, Glasgow.

Please don't increase TV ads

CURRENTLY Channel 4, ITV, and Channel 5 are restricted to seven minutes of advertising per hour and other broadcasters limited to 11 minutes per hour under Ofcom rules. Now Ofcom is consulting on whether to increase that further. There was a similar proposal in 2011 which Ofcom ruled against because it was not in the viewers' interest and would reduce quality and content. So what's changed?

Actually, we need fewer adverts, not more, and there should be a limit on the number of times an advert can be screened. Some adverts must be repeated thousands of times. There is one particularly irritating one about buying gold which has been broadcast for more than a year. Don't advertisers realise that scunners viewers?

William Loneskie, Lauder.

Oversight that boggles the mind

DENNIS Fitzgerald's mention of SpaceX rocket's rapid unscheduled disassembly (Letters, April 24) leads me to ask how many readers find their mailboxes filled with gobbledegook.

I have been reached out to by professional people from whom I am happy to keep my distance, a bank is still overcoming challenges in coordinating (sic) the issuing of statements, my concern has been escalated to a manager, and I have an apology for being impacted.

Perhaps this takes the biscuit: " There is oversight through ongoing oversight of those same processes by the Bank's risk team". Eh?

I assure you that this letter is not intended to be world-class, awesome, or groundbreaking.

David Miller, Milngavie.