JUST having read the letter from Councillor Kenny MacLaren (Sunday National, January 6), he states very clearly what I have believed for years. In fact ever since, way back in the late 1950s in the RAF, I was forced to drill for weeks, along with other hapless six-footers, to parade before the then Duchess of Gloucester, who was presenting new colours.

The insignificant wee woman dressed in high-rank RAF uniform (complete with medals!) walked up and down the lines, accompanied by four or five gentlemen with scrambled eggs all over their peaked caps, not stopping to speak to anyone.

READ MORE: Letters, January 6

Immediately after the ceremony, we had to change out of our new barathea dress uniforms and get back into the normal rough, prickly serge battledress. We were allowed to purchase copies of the ceremony photographs at our own expense. I failed to find one with a clear picture of myself and had to be satisfied with a partial image, though every photo clearly showed the duchess.

It was at this point in my life that I began to question the set-up. What was the royal family for – and who are all the hangers-on, duchesses, ladies-in-waiting? Why do so many people listen to a speech from the monarch, at Christmas of all times?

The next royal speech after that was such a load of drivel that I have never listened to one since. This huge tribe of so-called Windsors (properly Saxe-Coburg-Gothas until the convenient name-change at the start of World War One) are at the peak of the UK privilege pinnacle, wealthy and powerful beyond our wildest dreams.

Then you have the royal opening of parliament, the so-called honours list, the knighthoods and, more dangerously, the privy council (what’s that all about? – I am sure they do not meet in a privy, anyway!). Then as Kenny mentions, there is the unelected House of Lords, far too many of them. At Westminster we have a first-past the-post electoral system, which is not, cannot be democratic, since it leaves many constituents’ views unrepresented or inadequately represented.

In Scotland we do have proportional representation, at local council and national parliament level, but the purse strings – and real power – we now know, if we did not know before, is held in London. This renders the Scottish, democratically elected parliament the status of a colonial administration!

Lastly, we have no written constitution – and we are about to lose our protections under the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights, against the wishes of the Scottish electorate. That is NOT democracy. It would be relatively easy to set up a properly considered Scottish system of government, if the populace voted for it, but the UK system is a much tougher nut to crack. Things that need to happen include: removing the royal family from any and every role in politics/government; replacing the House of Lords with an elected Senate, with maximum and minimum age limits and 200 salaried members; closing the private schools and stopping charitable status. There is more ... but I am so tired of those who will not see how they are being used. Sorry for this late response to such an important letter.

Andrew McCrae

I HAVE just read Caroline Campbell’s “first ever letter” to a newspaper (February 10), and must congratulate her on her suggestion of “Scotland is Now” (borrowed from the Ottawa reception with Nicola Sturgeon in attendance) as our new slogan for the next independence campaign. With some others I rather like the irony of “taking back control” but let’s face it, it hasn’t worked very well for them, has it?

Mary Edward
via email

READ MORE: Letters, February 10