SATURDAY was a day of many contrasts – in Glasgow, traffic on all sides of the city held up by a huge march for independence at midday; in Edinburgh a few hundred republican protesters perched at the top of Calton Hill and in London the expensive and ridiculous spectacle of the golden coach coronation of a weary-looking royal couple.

At Glasgow Green in the rain there was the joyous proclamation of the vitality and indestructibility of the Yes movement. Speaker after speaker announced the essential messages of unity, optimism and the need for preparation and urgency – we are on our way again and we are doing it with the same old bonds of determination and love.

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“Country before party” was the rallying cry from Alex Salmond – use the next election for us all to be “under one banner”.

My banner said “Scotland free and not a colony”, an echo of the banner of the 1820 Radicals, “Scotland free and not a desert”. I was asked if I believed that Scotland was a colony. I directed the questioner to Alf Baird’s excellent analysis in Doun Hauden.

But reflecting once more on the 200 or so English military encampments in Scotland after Culloden, it occurred to me that we have a modern-day installation of occupation – Trident.

Why on earth do we have a weapon of mass destruction over which we have no control situated in central Scotland so close to our country’s largest population? How did this come about?

Perhaps the US government made its request to the UK Government in the post-war period when the UK was heavily indebted to the US for the provision of wartime tanks and armaments. Perhaps the UK, always anxious to say yes to the US, saw its own advantage in having something for “the rebellious Scots to crush”.

Fanciful? Decide for yourself!

Maggie Chetty

GARETH Morgan’s excellent letter in Sunday’s edition casts doubt on the wisdom of the independence movement allying itself with a demand for the abolition of the monarchy, and yes, a shrewd political tactic might be to leave this issue aside till independence is won. That wouldn’t risk alienating those potential Yes voters who might have reservations about scrapping royalty.

But – and it’s a big but – to suggest that the current monarchy is more Scottish than English does not bear scrutiny.

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here exists a very tenuous bloodline back to the Stuarts, but this has been diluted massively by first the usurper William of Orange, then further by the Hanoverian line. German/English is a more accurate description than Scottish.

Owning a holiday home at Balmoral and spending time in Scotland does not make the monarchy Scottish. The UK establishment has long kept the majority of Scots onside by having royalty linked to Scotland, although how much this link relates to the everyday life of most Scots is doubtful.

As for embracing “different flags”, “different officers” and the Church of Scotland when holidaying here, that is cynical window dressing.

Where was the Kirk last Saturday when the hierarchy of the Church of England anointed and crowned the monarch? Nowhere. They may get a mini ceremony later, but very much second best.

The cult of royalty in Britain is emphatically English, regardless of the King’s kilt and Scottish estates. Royalty lives in England, operates from a palace there, and is worshipped by millions in England who regard them as little less than deities. They are not Scottish.

Jim Butchart
via email

KING Charles is being criticised both for being grumpy on his coronation day and for the expense of the whole performance. It’s impossible to find certainties when Conservative (and Labour) politicians simply lie routinely and manipulate the news. But there might be an alternative analysis: possibly the reason Charles was grumpy is that he had been required to undergo what he (and others) considered an absurdity, and possibly he too was unhappy over the cost. I am simply questioning what we’re being told, and not providing a pro-”King of England” opinion.

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And if the Rwanda tussle with the then Prince Charles was a Tory victory, then those who think the final remaining virtue of hereditary monarchy is that it will bridle radically unprincipled politics, then even that scrap of optimism now seems misguided.

My point is that, in fairness, surely the UK Government paid for the Coronation event only because it was getting what it required? Its decision-takers (ie, not Scotland) decide how much to allocate the monarchy and they keep it highly resourced; the monarchy maintains the hereditary principle and social stratification, and guarantees the hereditary wealthy continue as the UK’s longest-established protected species.

Royal protocols old and less so, ostentatious display of wealth, too much of it the property of others, and union flags, all go along with a “better-than-everybody-else” nationalism which is embarrassing, unpleasant, and, as Brexit shows, sometimes destructive. All of this is the UK Government’s grim ideology.

Professor Aonghus MacKechnie