IN his letter (July 9) about David Olugosa, John V Lloyd comes out with the sweeping unfounded statement of “the monarchy’s value to social cohesion and international relations”.

On the point of “international relations”, there are 195 countries in the world, only 43 have a monarchy and King Charles III is the monarch of 15 of them. Does the monarch talk to himself when these 15 countries interface on international relationships? Of the 57 Commonwealth countries most have already ditched the monarchy as head of state with many significant others considering following suit. How do the other 152 countries manage to survive without a king?

I would be interested to know just what major invaluable contribution Mr Lloyd feels the monarchy has played in international relations as in my lifetime I can think of none; nothing other than periodic flying visits abroad to keep their collective image in the printed media and on TV. These visits cost the host country to organise and they gain absolute zero, neither does the UK taxpayer. We have an elected prime minister charged with that task, no need for duplication.

As regards social cohesion, does Mr Lloyd refer to the fact that the monarch is the apex of an ancient and anachronistic social order which has its roots in the robber barons of the Middle Ages and which by virtue of inherited wealth and status keeps the majority of the population in “its place”? If so, I agree with him. But it is a “social cohesion” that allows those with no qualifications other than an accident of birth to flaunt their self-accorded inherent superiority as they did recently in Edinburgh at an event paid for by the taxes of the general public at a time of increasing levels of poverty and as you mention in another part of the paper, more Scots are being admitted to hospital with hypothermia simply because they cannot afford to heat their homes ("1,200 more Scots were treated for hypothermia during energy bills crisis", July 9).

If that is the “social cohesion” Mr Lloyd alludes to then we need to dissolve it.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

Read more: So farewell, SNP. It's time to unite behind a non-party indy movement

Cluster of perils from the UK

AS Tobias Ellwood has pointed out, cluster bombs are banned by most civilised nations because they leave "deadly ordnance" – unexploded bombs – scattered over a wide area, long after they are dropped. International condemnation has followed the US decision to send these immoral weapons to Ukraine. The UK Prime Minister contributed some weak words about "discouraging " their use ("Sunak affirms UK’s view on cluster munitions", July 9).

Neither of these Westminster politicians, nor any of their colleagues at Westminster, had anything to say about the cluster bombs, live and inert, that were fired into Luce Bay in Wigtownshire 20 years ago, and abandoned.

Like the depleted uranium missiles exploded at Kirkcudbright, the spent nuclear fuel dumped on Caithness beaches, the rotting nuclear submarine waste at Rosyth, these Luce Bay cluster bombs, internationally condemned, represent the continuing, shameless abuse of Scotland's land and sea – and people – while we remain at the mercy of London rule.

Furthermore the extreme cynicism, the total lack of irony with which Rishi Sunak and his Westminster colleagues now pontificate –even so weakly– on the US cluster bomb decision are surely confirmation of the repulsive, crude expression of attitude by Alister Jack when he told Deidre Brock MP– representing our Scottish Government's right to be consulted by Westminster – to "suck it up".

That repulsive, revealing remark should be a red flag to all of Scotland about the danger of further submission to London rule: Tory, Labour and/or LibDem. Learn from the past so we can protect the future. The cluster bombs abandoned in Luce Bay are only one lesson. In my lifetime, the London proposals to destroy Orkney's West Mainland by turning it into a uranium mine, to turn Galloway's hills into a nuclear dump, the London imposition of a Poll Tax on Scotland and the London enforcement of this disastrous, racist Brexit and associated power grab from our Holyrood Government are appalling proof that Scotland has indeed been made to "suck up" one horrific abuse after another.

In this way, the weasel words from Westminster about cluster bombs, Mr Jack's degrading and ugly behaviour, along with such awful history of environmental, economic and social abuse are a dire warning.

At the next General Election, the only safe route for Scotland is independence.

Frances McKie, Evanton.

Westminster failures do matter

I REALLY cannot agree with Dr Gerald Edwards' rather peculiar statement in his letter of July 9 that Westminster's failings are "irrelevant" to Scotland'. The reason for my disagreement is simple – the SNP has been in power for 16 years. Thus its record, which I agree has been abysmal of late, is there for all to see and judge. But we have no reliable way of judging how well the Conservative or the Labour Party would, in today's political climate, fare in Holyrood.

The only way we can judge them is by looking at their record and decisions Westminster, and this too is abysmal. A Tory Party that wrote off £8.7 billion on useless PPE, had its leader fined for ignoring lockdown, tried to change the rules to prevent a Tory MP from being suspended, and a Labour Party with a leader who ignores with gay abandon pledges made to the electorate, and at the same time has cornered the market in U-turns. It is now more right-wing than Macmillan's administration in the 1950s and 60s.

The record of the Conservative and Labour parties in Westminster is not irrelevant to Scotland. This record is the only way we can judge if they will run Scotland with probity and honesty. And so far, there is no sign that they will do any better than the SNP.

I will be keeping eye on the risible happenings and inept decisions made in Westminster, as they are anything but irrelevant in Scotland. Because of this, with a heavy heart, I will probably abstain in 2026.

James Gracie, Sanquhar.

Read more: There is no inevitability about joining the Euro

The toxicity of Parliament

MHAIRI Black is to be congratulated for quitting the toxic workplace of Westminster, not sneered at by Kevin McKenna ("Black affronted by toxic atmosphere? That’s rich!", July 9) who, if anyone has milked and enjoyed the fruits of the independence “gravy-train”, it would be himself – he writes of little else. Ms Black's views on Westminster are shared by the vast majority of women who work there, and no matter the repeated reports by senior figures (Gemma White et al), nothing has been done to control or expel the dozens of men who harass, bully and abuse women.

No doubt “women’s sex-based rights” are every bit of an oxymoron to them as they seem to be to Mr McKenna.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Time to ban barbaric boxing

I COULDN'T agree more with your correspondent (Letters, July 9) pointing out the complete disconnect between those campaigning to highlight the dangers of head trauma and consequential brain injuries in sport, and the continuing widescale support for boxing and its associated manifestations.

The question is: why on earth in 2023 are we apparently supposed to enjoy the prospect of two protagonists attempting to inflict physical harm on one another to the extent that one of them eventually falls down unconscious from sustained blows to the head or cuts to their eyes? Is this really what we want to call a "sport"?

But it is deemed to be so and is actively endorsed by large sections of the sports media who promote this brutality in the name of entertainment, to the extent of it even attracting premium viewing costs.

And let's not forget that in pursuit of the ever-present mantras of inclusivity and equality in sport, it's only right nowadays that women should also have the same opportunities to brutalise one another in the boxing ring or fight cage. What a great message that must send to the victims of domestic abuse.

This so-called "sport" is apocryphally one of the most financially corrupt and has been so for centuries, having its origins in Ancient Greece where it was introduced as a component sport of the Olympic games in 688 BC, though no doubt the ability to dominate a fellow human being by battering them into submission (usually so that someone could benefit financially from the outcome) was something that appealed at the most base levels of civilisation well before then.

It originated in the far barbaric past. Let it be consigned there along with bullfighting, bearbaiting, hare-coursing and the other forms of degrading butchery which our alleged "enlightened" society once condoned.

Stewart Sutherland, Gourock.

CO2 is not a pollutant

PAUL Dobson's article ("Edinburgh financial giant contributes to five million tonnes of climate pollution", July 9) incorrectly refers to the emission of carbon dioxide as pollution. While it may be very undesirable to produce more of it, it is still a normal component of the atmosphere and is no more a pollutant than would be nitrogen, oxygen, argon or water vapour. To describe it as a pollutant is a misuse of the language which, although it may arise from simple ignorance, is unnecessarily misleading.

Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh.