SO, we stole London’s thunder!

I was touched when I listened to the radio broadcasts about the Queen’s cortege passing through Scotland, and later watched the service at St Giles’ and her final departure from Scotland. So, the TV teams and news-gatherers from all over the world, from Poland to Australia, had to camp outside St Giles’. London was for once not the centre of the universe, and we got pieces of little-recognised Scottish history: the Scottish Heralds were first commissioned by David II, and the Archers by Charles II, though from a very much older tradition. And we watched our own Regiment of Scotland.

Kevin McKenna’s Wednesday article calls all these things a “grotesque panto”. His language takes me back to the 1970s. We had acquaintances then who were also beginning to lose their sense of humour: their lark was to nip over to Northern Ireland and “help Bernie”. Their kudos was to travel to Europe and attend the meetings of international socialism. The IRA had become something rather different to what it had been a generation before, religion was being replaced by politics.

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There were of course outstanding injustices which needed to be sorted in Northern Ireland, including gerrymandering and blatant discrimination against the employment of Catholics. But Marxist and secularist beliefs do not leave people prone to ready laughter, and certainly not to forgiveness.

No, the coverage of the Queen’s cortege and lying in state was not, in Mr McKenna’s words, “a pantomime”. Much of it showed the BBC and their cameramen at their very best. We watched from the comfort of home, but thousands of people queued all the way to St Giles’ from as far as the Meadows, on a long, cold night. As happens so often, when someone we know dies, we see them for the first time, and perhaps the last, as they really were.

Lesley J Findlay
Fort Augustus

I HAVE not always agreed with some of the content in Kevin McKenna’s articles, indeed on occasion I have written to the paper criticising them, but I must applaud his piece on Wednesday which was so truthful and courageously opposite to what we are at present witnessing from the royalist right-wing press – views of lickspittles, sycophants and nonentities.

Well done Kevin, and thanks to The National for publishing it.

Bobby Brennan

IN response to James Duncan and his letter in Friday’s edition where he expects a balanced and unbiased report surrounding the royalism throughout the whole of the UK, I would suggest that is exactly what The National was doing by presenting an alternative opinion. Support for the monarchy among SNP voters is only in the high twenties so they are right to reflect that.

I am neither for a monarchy or against it as it is something I have no control over. Do I wish them harm? No, I don’t. My only concern is to be known as a citizen rather than someone’s subject.

It would appear any negative comments about a monarchy at the moment have to be shut down.

I thought it was only places like North Korea where criticism of the state establishment was forbidden, not here.

The National has a right to reflect that not everyone admires a monarchy in Scotland and that is exactly the point of a free press in a free society.

Bryan Auchterlonie

ANOTHER excellent article from Kirsty Strickland which captured just how I have been feeling (Grief can be a quiet thing ... it doesn’t need to be a performance, Sep 19).

I do respect folks wanting to acknowledge the Queen’s passing, but I abhor the hypocrisy of the establishment, the Tory government, the bankers, the corporate bully boys – all who have for months tried to justify the cost-of-living crisis and told us repeatedly “there’s no money”.

Yet the Queen dies and for the past two weeks we have witnessed pomp and ceremony that must have cost millions or nearer a billion! The troops, the police, the security, the flash cars, the designer funeral gear all on display, and all of it more than rivalled the precision processions we see in North Korea and Russia.

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The royals lead luxurious, pampered, entitled and privileged lifestyles but we don’t talk about their excesses as any criticism is swiftly shut down. The royal TV channel aka the BBC and many of the others would have us believe that for 14-plus days there has been no other news from around the world.They have relentlessly bombarded us with a sycophantic diatribe 24/7.

Am I missing something, because I just don’t get or understand why we as a society tolerate this class division which allows the wealth of our nation to remain in the hands of so few? That is the issue which defines broken Britain.

Scotland we can do this differently and build a fairer, more equal country that’s for all of us.

Jan Ferrie