PRINCE Andrew’s continued reluctance to meet with US law authorities regarding the Jeffrey Epstein scandal speaks volumes of how he regards himself as above the law and moral compass of other mortals.

The fact that his lack of compassion and concern for the victims of Epstein’s abuse is neither surprising nor shocking, demonstrating, as it clearly does, his arrogant belief that he has no responsibility for an association with a man convicted of recruiting and grooming young girls.

The Duke of York’s attitude throughout this unsavoury business certainly reveals the entitled mindset and superiority complex that lurks deep within the echelons of the British upper classes.

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Following a trail of royal family and Tory exceptionalism, Stanley Johnson decided to take himself off to Greece recently, via Bulgaria, to carry out vital repairs on his villa. It is clear from his many public appearances and utterances that Johnson senior regards himself as above the common herd and believes that rules do not apply to him.

His son, despite being asked about his father’s transgressions, predictably sidestepped the issue and failed to criticise him, much as he did with Cummings, Prince Charles and Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick.

We are at a stage in public life where this contemptuous exceptionality is becoming more prevalent than ever before and only an independent Scotland can rid us of these, frankly, embarrassing and archaic groups and institutions.

A Scottish republic has never looked so good!

Owen Kelly


IN response to Iain Mackenzie’s thoughtful letter, it is worth acknowledging that the present system by which we elect MSPs to our Scottish Parliament does fairly accurately represent their parties’ share of the vote in that election. It does not, however, fairly share out the work.

Our FPTP MSPs are burdened – over-burdened often, in fact –with constituency work. List MSPs appear to have no such responsibility and I would love to see records of surgeries etc from some of them. I suspect many of them spend much of their time in political jousting, not serving the electorate.

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I would prefer a system in which all seeking election stood in FPTP contests. If one counts the FPTP votes in the regions you will find it almost exactly mirrors in percentage totals the votes that were accumulated on the lists so a single vote system could readily be fashioned to provide the proportionality.

They way we elect our councils, for instance, has advantages. It provides a degree of connection to the area the candidate is seeking election to and in many areas provides a very productive degree of competition in the public interest when candidates of different affiliation are elected in the same ward. Sixty Scottish constituencies electing three candidates would do the job for me.

To Chris Sagan of Bute, I say: “An Alliance for Independence fighting a referendum is exactly the right thing. An Alliance for Independence contesting on the list against the SNP is a very bad idea.”

David McEwan Hill


GAELIC under threat! Is there anyone actually doing something about it? I’m one of those Duolingo learners since last year. I recall many years ago at primary school others being taught Gaelic, and I thought it would be great to be able to do so, but I didn’t get the chance. Wasn’t until it popped up via Duolingo that I got into it.

Since then I’ve searched and asked many questions on how to aid my learning and quite frankly it’s atrocious. Have a look on YouTube, and you’ll find very little in the way of courses. Yes, you may find some people helping out with some random words from their living room or someone with an Italian or Australian accent, but I wish to hear Scottish people speak so I can tell what’s correct and what isn’t.

You have web portals like, and yes they have a reasonable reference section and they also have small courses. You could say they’re a bit like Duolingo, but very much worse!

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Long before lockdown I was in touch with the Gaelic board (Bord na Gaidhlig) about learning material for myself and my family – and they provided nothing. The local council and college have zero resources available and local libraries aren’t any better. They have books, but forget wanting to listen as they don’t even come with audio. Unless you can find five children in your child’s same year in the same council area, then you have no chance of them learning Gaelic either. Even then you’re going to face a huge range of other massive hurdles.

The best material I’ve found (other than Duolingo) that is available is the 1990s programme Speaking our Language. Yes. Even this resource is limited as the BBC show it on iPlayer, but it is removed after a few weeks from when it is shown due to licensing laws. Why is this not available 24/7 via BBC learning or via funding by the Scottish Government? Why has the Gaelic board, in its 15 years, not commissioned its own series or courses?

So many failings and missed opportunities. Learning a language isn’t easy and it seems like there aren’t many people making Gaelic accessible to learn either.

Kenneth Sutherland