THE media is agog about need for the monarch to be “kept out” of the erupting crisis, should Boris Johnson refuse to stand down if he loses a vote of confidence. Why?

What then is the purpose of a head of state – presidential, monarchical or what – if they cannot pronounce in the ultimate constitutional crisis? Decorative trivia?

If the monarch cannot take that inherited role, then the monarch is no more than a celebrity, a show piece dressed up to be rolled out and shown off to provide pictures, tear-jerking stories and anecdotal clips of the latest offspring for the magazines.

It did not stop the monarchy years ago removing the PM of Australia, Gough Whitlam, through the then Governor General!

If the monarch is to be kept out, then the constitutional monarchy is redundant and totally unfit for purpose.

The role of taking the ultimate constitutional decision still needs to be performed. If the monarch needs to be “kept out”, then the monarchy should be abolished.

It looks like the Westminster system set up after the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 has become as irrelevant as the present idiosyncratic Parliament with its precedents, quirks and archaic conventions.

The Union which evolved from this is in effect over.

When unelected advisors like Dominic Cummings dictate policy and convey that to the press, then we need to realign Scotland.

John Edgar

APPARENTLY (according to an unreliable source: the BBC), the Queen “wants to be kept out of the ‘looming constitutional crisis’ over Brexit”. The puir wee soul – imagine someone asking her to do a real day’s work at her age!

Alan Jardine

GEORGE M Mitchell’s letter (Letters, August 11) is one of many attacks on veganism in response to its growth among the population and its support by environmentalists, as in the recent United Nations document that he refers to.

Unfortunately, support on environmental or health grounds (the latter constituting another common argument) leaves the animals, who are the most immediate victims of meat and dairy consumption, vulnerable to continued victimisation as long as means other than veganism can be found for addressing the environmental and health issues. And opponents of veganism are assiduous in suggesting such means.

There are vegan counter-arguments to these suggestions in their own, non-animal, terms, but that’s not the point. The right of sentient creatures to life and wellbeing should not hang on the coattails of other issues. Suppose cannibalism were being practised: would its opponents feel obliged to argue that it was bad for the environment or for the consumers’ health? Indeed, such arguments might be seen as trivialising and marginalising the moral issue.

There are personal, cultural and political reasons for the anti-vegan backlash. On the personal level, it’s understandable that people should react strongly to any threat to long-entrenched food habits which carry so much emotional weight. The cultural level is seen in Mitchell’s description of vegans as “devotees”, implying that veganism is a quasi-religious cult which normal, down-to-earth people have no time for.

And the political level is seen in the economics of animal farming, implied in Mitchell’s warning: “If the farms presently producing sheep and cattle were to go out of business that would seriously affect the population level and the other tax-paying members of our society”. Andy Wightman (in The Scotsman, July 30 2019) has noted in another context, there is a “close political relationship between the farming lobby and the Scottish Government”.

But the vegan response to this backlash should put the animals first. Our society is highly conscientious when it comes to nearly all moral issues except meat and dairy consumption. Racism and sexism are discredited in theory, if far from overcome in practice. Even “animal welfare” is supported, to the extent of buying free-range eggs and “humanely produced” meat. But suggest, as in my “cannibalism” analogy, the moral equivalence of humans and animals, and panic sets in, with a variety of sophistical arguments riding to the rescue: “Help! Animals aren’t persons; they can’t enter a social contract; they lack self-awareness; they don’t suffer the same way we do; we don’t need to give up meat!”

And so every day the animals are sent, in pain and terror, through the abattoir, and experience the anguish of having their children taken from them; and it’s all OK unless it can be shown to be bad for the environment or for human health. It’s long past time for our supposedly compassionate, progressive society to abandon this brutality and go vegan for the sake of the animals themselves.

Katherine Perlo