JOHN Curtice is no doubt correct in assessing that the passing of the Queen and the ascension of the King are events that in themselves are unlikely to change support for Scotland’s independence.

What is likely to change that support is the realisation by the public of the differences in character and personality. The Queen was considered by many to be quite a humble and self-effacing lady, perhaps due to the direct influence of her Scottish mother in her upbringing as a young princess not expected to become Queen, a result of the unforeseen events of her uncle’s abdication and her father’s early death. While there are of course many similarities in their backgrounds as two very privileged individuals, it was always anticipated that one day the pampered Prince would become King and from a young age he was feted accordingly.

Recent events with pens at signing ceremonies may seem trivial, but they betray what most would consider an arrogance to which many people, especially in Scotland, will struggle to relate. Statements in support of protecting our environment and charitable work carried out in his name by The Prince’s Trust are to be welcomed, and should indeed by commended, but someone who expects his toothbrush to be precisely prepared by his valet with an inch of toothpaste when he rises in the morning will himself struggle to relate to the problems confronted by many in todays United Kingdom.

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Those who still cling on to the myth of the UK at the heart of a compassionate, egalitarian and altruistic empire are, in spite of efforts by many in the mainstream media, increasingly exposed to the reality of an ideologically heartless, cronyistic and self-serving UK Government. The more the day-to-day actions of the King come under the media microscope, the more the King will be seen as one of “them” and not one of us, and the more people will become disenchanted not only with the monarchy but with an out-of-touch UK Government that appears to reflect arrogant privilege.

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry, East Lothian

IN deference to the wishes that man of the people, Knight Commander of the Order of Bath, Keir Starmer, I will suspend my republican views and pay due respect for the late monarch.

She was adept at both tax evasion and tax avoidance. That she was able to accrue and hoard an obscene amount of personal wealth is something many of her subjects must view with wonder when Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs takes inheritance tax from us.

We should all be grateful that she kept artworks of worldwide significance beyond the gaze of the public.

Her war service as a young girl was exemplary, cleverly getting seen in uniform with a military ambulance in England once allied forces had driven off the threat of invasion and grounded the Luftwaffe.

It was admirable how she protected her son from having to stand in court to defend himself against sex offence charges by helping to pay off his accuser. Had she lived a little longer I am sure she would have rehabilitated him back into the public life of the royal family; after all, has the public not already forgotten how they felt about Consort Camilla during the breakup of her eldest son’s first marriage?

Her steadfast devotion to her late husband, deflecting outrage against his regular racist and bigoted outbursts with never a word of criticism or apology, was the epitome of a dutiful wife. Even after he committed successive motoring offences she maintained her public stoicism.

It seems the only thing she failed at was claiming state benefits to heat her homes. (Relating to her homes, I do wish I could manage to get someone else to redecorate my home at their own expense, not mine).

There is so much more to admire her for including managing to interject her opinions into the 2014 referendum debate in spite of the constitutional neutrality of the monarch.

How would our nation have survived without her?

Ni Holmes

St Andrews

THE epigraph to E.M. Forster’s Howards End is “Only Connect”.

We may be sure that, for many, it has been difficult to do so these last few days. Certainly – with the sincerity born of empathy, sympathy, and compassion at the passing of a fellow traveller on the journey of life – it would be inhuman not to convey a fulsome and prayerful valedictory: that such a pilgrim may be received into a more splendid kingdom.

It is the right and decent and respectable thing to do.

True to our own frailty, our own mortality – we all know for whom the bell tolls.

Yet, it is difficult to connect: to strike up, all at once, a bond with individuals whose identities we scarcely know or with whom we have very little that we would hold in common. We remain cultures apart.

It is difficult to connect – for the surfeit of sentimentality, the piled-on pageantry, is but bread and circuses. The UK is spiralling down the stank. Flushed with flummery, it would seem we are oblivious to the signs of the times.

Just when we thought that the harlequinade was over, another pantomime begins.

Such diversions also allow to the principal unprincipled political players shadows sufficient for sleight of hand.

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It is difficult to connect. The existential moment demands our attention; reality, not theatre, requires our focus.

We cannot allow ourselves to be mesmerised, or afford to indulge in the unreality that presses in on us.

It is but a grand distraction; a palliative clouding conscious discernment of matters of substance.

Parade and palaver might be, for some, the objects of their affection, but poverty and penury are for so many a harsh and heavy hand that weighs mercilessly.

Here is the disconnect.

Patrick Hynes

Airdrie, North Lanarkshire