IT has startled so many that King Charles has developed cancer ("He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty’", The Herald, February 6).

A wave of emotion is sweeping through the nation at this news. Even those of a republican persuasion have found themselves caught up in the pain of the moment.

It is at moments like these we see the impact the monarchy makes upon the life of the nation.

This golden thread which epitomises the continuity of tradition eclipses any thought of the abolition of the monarchy and replacing it with a presidency.

The emotion invested in the monarchy would evaporate with its replacement by an elected presidency which would not and could not command the devotion surrounding a hereditary monarchy with all its history, pomp and pageantry, all of which not only enrich the nation but also boost tourism and bring in so much money to our shores.

Let us hope that the wave of emotion sweeping through the nation at the news about the King will drive out any idea of converting our country from a monarchy to a republic.

God save the King and long live the monarchy with its ideal of total dedication to public service.

We would be doing such a great disservice to our nation by ditching the monarchy to elect clapped-out politicians who do not command the respect which comes from the valued tradition of an hereditary monarchy which rises above partisan politics and devotes itself unstintingly to providing lines of public servants to the nation.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon's treatment at Covid inquiry was a disgrace

Forbes is right to differ

AMANDA Baker (Letters, February 6) has weighed the proportions wrong. Disunity is not the problem in Scotland’s governance. The problem is a phalanx of fashion victims pretending in faultless unity to be a governing party.

There is nothing self-serving about Kate Forbes’ pressure on the Government of Scotland.

She has the impatience of a capable person watching week after week of incompetence and catastrophe.

Humza Yousaf would never have had any ministerial job without the patronage of his unravelled predecessor.

The public know that but his party has yet to realise.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.

Matheson has to go

SNP spin has made everyone in the Scottish Government dizzy. Claims of a 1.3% increase in real terms for the Scottish NHS budget in 2024/25 have been challenged by an Institute of Fiscal Studies report suggesting this will actually be a 0.7% decrease ("Scots ministers ‘misleading’ over spending rises in budget", The Herald, February 6).

Our NHS is reeling from huge A&E waiting times and horrendously long queues for diagnosis and treatment too. Over 80,000 Scots have waited at least a year to be seen. In light of these catastrophic failures just why is Humza Yousaf even waiting for the outcome of Health Secretary Michael Matheson's iPpad debacle? The time for Mr Yousaf to act is right now.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

The Herald: Michael MathesonMichael Matheson (Image: PA)

The important messages

WHEN the UK Covid Inquiry was in Scotland the BBC and almost all of the UK mainstream media chose to focus on missing WhatsApp messages (that apart from Alister Jack’s deletions probably contained little salient information that wasn’t presented among formal communications, including detailed Scottish Cabinet minutes), but some lessons should already have been learned besides the fact that it is critically important that we are much better prepared in future and it would be helpful if ahead of the next pandemic more rigorous governmental procedures around informal messaging have been adopted across these islands.

During the Covid pandemic comparisons of NRS and ONS associated deaths persistently showed relatively fewer resulting in Scotland but seemingly in order to diminish the apparent positive impact of decisions made by the Scottish Government, some have since sought to undermine these numbers by quoting selective time permutations of excess deaths. However, figures presented as evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry from the UK’s national statistician, Sir Iain Diamond, revealed that the more definitive Age-Standardised Mortality Rate for deaths involving Covid-19 was 124.9 for Scotland, 145.0 for England (16.1% higher) and 144.6 for Wales (15.8% higher). (The significantly higher mortality rate in England was confirmed by Professor Thomas Hale of Oxford University, who presented statistics on comparative deaths per capita.) This information not only indicates that thankfully several thousand deaths were probably averted in Scotland but that a more collegiately-devolved approach (both in terms of decision-making and access to support funds) across the UK from the start of the pandemic might have saved tens of thousands of lives, which hopefully will be an important lesson learned for the future.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.

So much for transparency

AS the Scottish Information Commissioner launches an official investigation into the SNP's widespread deletion of WhatsApp messages documenting Covid-related decision-making ("Probe over SNP Covid informal messaging", The Herald, February 5), we learn that George Adam, the SNP minister responsible for transparency and accountability, deletes all his WhatsApp messages after 24 hours, irrespective of their significance ("SNP ‘transparency tsar’ Adam deletes his Whatsapp messages after 24 hours", The Herald, February 6). Welcome to the SNP's Orwellian world of openness and transparency.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

Read more: Michael Matheson 'putting lives in danger' by hanging on in iPad row

An unfair claim

KEITH Howell (Letters, February 6) likens the SNP Government’s attitude to Freedom of Information requests to insurance companies rejecting claims out of hand.

Gratuitously insulting to most insurers, I would have thought. In my professional claims experience most insurers consider claims fairly, openly and settle most.

If the SNP Government actually had retained and released information like WhatsApps as openly and fairly, the Covid Inquiry could have packed up and left Edinburgh long before it did.

Alasdair C Sampson, Stewarton.

Spot the difference

I LISTENED to Sir Tom Hunter, the renowned businessman, say recently that Scotland was heading for a £30 billion deficit and Ireland was heading for a £60bn surplus.

Ireland and Scotland have similar populations and abilities so that seemed odd to me. The only major differences I could think of are that one is independent and in the EU, and one isn’t.

George Archibald, West Linton.

• IT is entirely possible to travel round all parts of Scotland yet when you peruse the local paper over breakfast of a morning, whether it be in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh or elsewhere, find a group of writers penning letters to complain about about one or other aspect of life in Scotland, usually taking the Scottish Government or the Scottish National Party to task.

All well and good; it wouldn't do for us all to hold the same opinion. However, I do ask myself why is it that these self-appointed arbiters never appear to see anything at all which gives rise to concern about the way in which all manner of matters are handled by those who sit in power at Westminster? Not one scintilla of adverse comment.

Strange indeed when the scope for comment is of a significantly higher dimension. It would lend credibility to their endless concerns if, on just a few occasions, some of them would let us know that they are aware that all is not well in the garden of roses, white or red, south of the Border.

Archie Hamilton, Glasgow.

The high price of PFI

MARK McGeoghegan's pillars of legitimacy input and output ("Legitimacy crisis looms over politics", The Herald, February 6) is exemplified by the price our communities are paying because successive governments failed to listen to objections to the use of PFIs to upgrade the public estate.

John Major introduced PFI (Private Finance Initiative) and Tony Blair and his Chancellor Gordon Brown and his successor continued with it big time. It could be relabelled as a Public Fleecing Initiative; the output for us is £10 million a year being sucked out of our local authority, Clackmannanshire. It is hard to see how any party associated with this money-making venture can “re-establish faith that the Government acts in the people’s interest”.

“PFI being the only game in town” was the mantra of the Labour Party throughout its time in power and we have inherited the consequences of its tunnel vision.

The irony lies in former MPs - who supported PFIs - being feted by the media, while communities suffer the consequences of their folly. Across the UK cuts to local services are depriving people of community services, staff and facilities. The rising price of PFI repayments is also creating a “legitimacy crisis looming over (local) politics”.

Daphne Hamilton, Alloa.