ON Tuesday we had Huw Edwards, of the BBC, hosting the show “State Opening of Parliament”. A one-hour-and-forty-five-minute spectacle of serious pomp and major ceremony – staring, at the top of the bill, HRH the Prince of Wales, his eldest boy and his eldest boy’s stepmother. The cast, also, included a company of Six Foot Garden Gnomes, in their best red tunics and genuine, very expensive, black bearskins, as well as, to line a staircase, assorted members of the Piccadilly Cowboys with shiny breastplates and sabres drawn.

We saw how serious deference must be accorded to a selection of, very expensive jewellery and a red velvet bonnet and how the models for a certain brand of London dry gin are tasked with looking to the security of these items. (After all, the items did arrive in their own chauffeur-driven limos!) We got to see the Saxe-Coburg-Gothe group arrive, with Charlie looking like he had auditioned for the lead in The Prisoner Of Zenda but lost the part because he’d overdone the costume!

And what was the purpose of this, highly ritualised pantomime? Was it to boost tourism? (The usual excuse for such “pageantry”!) Was it to expand “British democracy”? Or was it to apply further cement to the pyramid of privilege that the Saxe-Coburg-Gothes sit atop while the ermine-clad, sycophantic freeloaders of the Lords and the mendacious mountebanks of a Tory government are only too keen to exploit?

This whole, useless and extremely expensive, ritual is, we are told, so the governing party of the United Kingdom can present their wishlist and have it voiced by the head of state!

What a monumental waste of money at a time when, because of prevailing events and the excessive incompetence of the junta in power, the people who fund this panoply of extravagance are suffering financial hardship, now, with the forecast it will only get worse for them in the future!

I can’t wait: I hope I’m alive to see the day when an independent Scotland ceases to carry the burden of such a waste of taxpayer’s revenue and walks in the sunlight of a proper, modern democracy!

Ned Larkin


THE ceremony of the State Opening of Parliament by Prince Charles finally opened my eyes to the contribution this and other similar occasions contribute to the economy. Rather than my original thoughts that they were all a pantomime on a grand scale.

The industries involved, such as Bespoke Shoemakers,with constant repairs being required (an industry in itself). Stylish garments made to measure in all shapes and sizes, for somewhere near one thousand people, all of one special colour (another industry). Then there is the furriers who provide the decorative elements of the above mention garments, and the suppliers of said furs (hunters or farmers).

If one includes the goldsmiths required for decoration of one or two of the participants, then the assisted fitting and dressing of all of the participants, it is obvious that events like this are an asset to the economy.

It would be useful if young people looking for work could be included in this industry learning to fetch and carry and serve to their elders. This would require a suitable outfit for these occasions (a further contribution to the above garment industry).

It would appear that these ceremonies and other events of this nature are the answer to all economic problems, and we should have them at every opportunity – such as food bank ceremony rent ceremony, price rise ceremony, etc.

The garments, shoes, furs and all of these things would wear out in no time and all of the needing renewed would enhance the economy again!!

James Ahern

via email

I THOUGHT that Prince Charles looked far better wearing a uniform than he would wearing a gown and crown and rather hope that he will continue to do so when he becomes King. Ian Lawson says that modern monarchies dress in a suit but that is not always so. In Norway and Spain, the monarch wears a uniform while in the Netherlands it is a morning suit, while the Queen follows the custom of the former Queens Regnant by wearing a full-length dress and hat.

All monarchies, even egalitarian ones, have some pomp and ceremony and in Sweden and the Netherlands the monarch travels in a coach to the opening ceremony.

I agree with Ian Lawson about the venue. It is ridiculous that most of the members of the Lower House can’t even get into the chamber, and it would be far better holding the ceremony in Westminster Hall. The opening of the Dutch parliament doesn’t take place in the chamber but in the Hall of Knights, the original meeting place of the parliament. I would like to see the opening ceremony of our Parliament take place in Parliament Hall, where the Three Estates met. And I look forward to seeing a Scots monarch travel there in the Scottish State Coach to open the Parliament of our independent country.

Louise Bradley

via email

ANOTHER car-crash interview from Michael Gove.

It would appear that the Johnson administration battles with one and other to determine who can deliver the least intelligent, most garbled and the most tortuous piece of English when speaking before the press!

They are all the product of an education system that will keep children on at the school regardless of scholarly achievement, providing of course that the fees are settled on time. What we see paraded daily in front of the cameras speaks volumes for that practice and leads to re-enforcing a better than speculative idea to do with their rather cloistered upbringing.

The effects of that life gets further cocooned as they attend university and the result is as we see in the group, the gaggle, the flock squatting around the table in the cabinet office of No 10. They are completely disconnected from the reality of life as we experience it in a Tory UK – post-Brexit and post-pandemic.

Further here in Scotland, we have those that would have us told that the Tory, the Laborite, even the LibDems, have our best interests at heart, which is simple stuff and nonsense. I cannot emphasize it enough just what an outstanding result the council elections were for the cause of independence. With that result we have an excellent foundation from which to embed our start point for the second independence referendum so let us not count the days instead make the days count.

The Union is in terminal decline assailed from all sides as it is by competent and able political parties. Yet it finds itself unable to muster any defence other than the rather pathetic whine of the so-called elite. They after all can read the writing on the wall.

Just as we know and understand that our future is bright, independence is right.

Cliff Purvis

Veterans for Scottish Independence 2.0

SNP Armed Forces and Veterans

THE first time I encountered the word Gove was many years ago when an old neighbour was describing the affect of a severe head injury sustained by her brother. Which had left him “fit fir nae mair nor tae sit bi the windae aw day an GOVE ootbye gappin gabbit (to sit by the window all day with a vacant expression and mouth hanging open).

CP Connor

via email

IT is often difficult to comprehend the workings of Anas Sarwar’s mind. His latest statement that independence would not make Scotland fairer seems at odds with reality.

The Tories have not won an election in Scotland for around 70 years and show no signs of a political revival for the next 70 years. It seems fairly safe to assume that an independent Scotland would be governed by some permutation of SNP, Green, Labour and even LibDem government.

The obvious implication from Mr Sarwar’s comments is that a Scottish Government involving his own party would not lead to a fairer Scotland. Maybe that is the sad truth and something that Mr Sarwar needs to address as soon as possible.

Brian Lawson


“AS an English person, my main reason for wanting the Union to persist is that we need Scotland to prevent the Tories just ruling in perpetuity. Any romantic notions about nationhood end there.”

Therein lies the absurdity! The quote is from a blog to the Guardian about an article by Martin Kettle on the disunited UK.

It is known that the Scottish vote at the UK Parliament only has resulted in a non-Tory government on few occasions. In the last 70 years the Scots have hardly had the government at Westminster it has voted for. Today, the hope of a Labour Westminster is a chimera.

Anyhow, the English Tories had recently taken to highlighting the SNP as a fifth column which would tip the scales and back Labour at Westminster and highlighted that England in effect would be disenfranchised! The Union of equals it seems does not exist.

The converse of the argument supported by the branch is that Scots are there, or the branch is there to be simply lobby fodder for Labour in the Commons.

The blogger forgets that Scotland no longer fits the UK or English party “duopoly”. In fact, the SNP rise to power at Holyrood was when Labour under Brown was in power. The rout of the unionist parties from Scotland has left a dozen unionist MPs from Scotland and Labour has only one!

The Tory problem is one for the English to sort in their own back yard. They voted Tory, took Scotland out of the EU against its mandate to remain in the EU and left us with a Tory Brexmess.

Scots will not be seen as lobby fodder any more at Westminster.

The English need to put their own house in order!

England is increasingly a pariah member of the Union it rules!

John Edgar


THE BBC has obviously now lost faith in the Scottish Tories saving the Union and have decided to promote Anas Sarwar – he got twice as much time to promote himself last night on Debate Night than any other panellist.

This, the man who before the elections “would not make deals with any other party” but who is now making deals with the Tories, just like Labour in Scotland has done before.

This also is the man whose family firm did not pay the a real living wage to employees and whose solution was to the put the business into his children’s names. He is also the leader of the party who for many years refused the equal pay of women in Glasgow and whose party took them through every court to refuse payment. And then when the SNP took over, blamed them for having no money, even though they had to refinance in order to pay what was Labour’s debt to the women of Glasgow.

We are also still paying the PFI debt handed to us by Labour – these two things have hollowed out the finances of local governments and are still not resolved in some councils.

I think therefore he has no right to say Labour will address the problems of poverty since they caused many of them and continue to do so.

Winifred McCartney