TOMORROW on Christmas Day I shall be religiously maintaining the closest thing we have to a Christmas tradition in my family, carefully avoiding the Queen's platitudes, sorry, “speech”.

I have the notable achievement of getting to the age of 59 without ever once in my life having seen the monarch deliver her however many minutes it is of meaningless piffle - which is breathlessly reported by the BBC as though she'd just solved the mystery of disappearance of the crew of the Mary Celeste and had proven that for a change it wasn't one of her relatives who was responsible.

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It would be nice if we could look forward to a 2022 during which our collective intelligence was not insulted by the sycophantic drivel which passes for reporting on the British royal family. It is reporting which carefully avoids anything approaching even the mildest of criticism of an immensely wealthy family which benefits to the tune of millions annually from the public purse - and whose members shamelessly intervene in legislation to give themselves exemptions from any measure that might have even a slight impact upon their already eye-watering wealth.

I'll still be avoiding the Queen's Christmas speech even though, considering her extremely advanced age, it's statistically likely that there won't be many more of them. I hope that she has many more years ahead of her - if only for the entirely selfish reason that I'm not sure if I could cope with the paroxysms of wall-to-wall compulsory sycophancy and toadying with which the media will treat her demise.

The National:

The death this year of her spouse is a foretaste of what we will be in for. The demise of the Queen will be the same, but on steroids. The non-stop, all channel coverage on the TV of the death of Prince Philip could only be escaped by fleeing to the furthest corners of the EPG in search of reruns of 14-year-old episodes of Judge Judy and Nazi Alien Bigfoot Ghost Hunter shows on Discovery. Nevertheless it managed to avoid discussing those things that we all knew about the late prince, his long history of making racist and otherwise grossly offensive remarks, which were quickly dismissed as evidence of him being "frank speaking" and a "joker", and the fact that it has been widely rumoured for many years that he and his wife had led separate lives since at least the 1950s.

For a valuable corrective to the starry-eyed hagiography that will inevitably follow the broadcast of the Queen's Christmas message, you could do a lot worse than to read the recent book "And what do you do? What the royal family don't want you to know" by the former LibDem cabinet minister Norman Baker.

The book details the many and varied ways in which the Windsor clan ensure a constant flow of public funds to support their lavish and privileged lifestyle and how the often ugly reality of the royal family is carefully shielded from public view with the connivance of the media, and in particular the BBC, ensuring that the public who fund their extravagant lifestyle doesn't get to learn about the dubious behaviour of members of the family.

The chapter on the highly questionable activities of Prince Andrew is alone sufficient to turn you into a republican, although the question of a Scottish head of state is one for after independence.

Here's hoping that in 2022 we can begin to have a grown-up discussion about the role of the royal family in our public life, but I won't go holding my breath. In the meantime, here's hoping that you and yours have a merry Christmas and a safe, healthy and happy New Year in which we build a solid majority for an independent Scotland.

This piece is an extract from today's REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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