The National:

THE royal family are a part of Scotland’s history and present day. Visits to Scotland from royal family members conducting their duty is an unspoken expectation of the tradition.

Therefore it is completely understandable that the arranged secret meeting between Prince William and former politician and Prime Minister Gordon Brown is receiving scrutiny and expressed views of concern from the Scottish public.

When it comes to matters of our nation's constitution, the royal family should show no favour or opinion - so why all the secrecy?

Regardless if you are for an independent Scotland as a Republic or with a Head of State, Scotland is in a period of transition as we move towards recovery from Covid 19. Since 2014 there have been significant changes which have shown the difference in subcultures, norms and values for the people of Scotland and is reflective in our political priorities, approaches and elected members we as a nation have chosen.

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We have seen the continued damage Brexit is having for families, cost of living, our industries and the vulnerabilities it is causing for our economy.

We have seen a UK Tory Government - now in a position as a majority - continually undermine the views and concerns of our First Minister as well as on issues continually raised by our SNP MPs in Westminster.

If they don’t like the question? Just call us all separatists and ignore the growing infliction of austerity on the people in our communities. A kick in the face to the people in Scotland from her Majesty’s Government.

So I ask again: why all the secrecy in this meeting?

Surely, if the likes of Gordon Brown want to showcase the strength and benefits of being in the Union, it requires transparency and the No campaign demonstrating why this is the best for us all.

Given this tour of Scotland was an official visit - why was there no interest to engage in such meetings with our newly elected Scottish Government, rather than a former prime minister who has no sustained relevance to the acute changes of Scotland's political priorities?

Brown, who has avoided taking any responsibility for failing to deliver Scotland in the Union with a voice that is equal.

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In Scotland we have a parliament which has a majority of members who are for independence. The SNP received a record number of votes and, following the publication of the Social Justice and Fairness Commission report, there is much to be discussed as to Scotland’s next steps forward at this crucial time of change for our nation.

If the No campaign continues to attempt to spread fears and falsehoods rather than build a positive case to continue in the Union, they are doing a disservice to their own supporters. They are making them ill-prepared for the collaborative and constructive voices and leadership which will be required in the historic makings of Scotland as an independent nation.

We are ready. The question isn’t why all the secrecy, but what did you think this would achieve?