Letters: Jubilee coverage sparks important questions for UK

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Have your say

Regarding the blanket coverage of the Jubilee events in the papers in the last week, I’m sure I’m not the only one tired of not just the Jubilee, but the royal family itself and the whole concept of monarchy.

I’m fed up hearing about what dress Kate Middleton’s wearing today or whatever obnoxious remark Prince Philip has made. I’m not interested in these people, but I feel as though I’m expected to be.

But the real question is why can’t we elect our head of state? Why must such an important position be the birthright of one family line?

“A monarch stops politicians having too much power,” they say. But power should come from the people. “The royal family attract tourists,” they say. Where’s the evidence?

“The alternative is President Blair, Cameron or Thatcher,” they say worriedly. No, the alternative is getting who we voted for. Even you could be head of state.

It’s time we stopped bowing and scraping to someone “better” and bettered ourselves. I find it sad we still do this in the 21st century.

Ian McIntosh, Granton, Edinburgh

Perfect antidote to separatism

I HAVE just returned from a long weekend in London for the Diamond Jubilee.

It was wonderful to be part of such a diverse group of people, all united in positive celebration.

What an antidote to the dour, divisive propaganda of the separatists who wish to break up the UK.

Richard Andrews, Newbattle Abbey Crescent, Dalkeith

Building a future in construction

The dramatic impact of the recession on construction apprenticeship numbers has been confirmed by new figures released by the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council.

These figures show that the number of building sector apprentices registered fell by 52 per cent between 2007 and 2010. But they also suggest that the industry may be starting to turn the corner, with 53 more apprentices registered in 2011 than in 2010.

With the country facing unprecedented youth unemployment, apprenticeship opportunities in the construction sector remain crucial, offering so many young people the opportunity to develop specialist skills and to pursue a rewarding career in a strategically important industry.

With numbers beginning to show signs of stabilising, employers are fully committed to offering new opportunities and attracting new blood into the industry. We are ambitious about the future and look forward to a time when apprentice numbers can return to the levels seen some five years ago.

Michael Levack, chief executive, Scottish Building Federation, Crichton’s Close, Holyrood, Edinburgh

Join the prostate cancer drug fight

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Scotland, with more than 2800 new diagnoses every year.

In March, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) decided the prostate cancer drug abiraterone should not be funded by the NHS. The drug is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of prostate cancer for many years.

Studies show it can prolong the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer by an average of four months, as well as improving quality of life by reducing pain at a time when the only other treatment options are palliative.

But there is still hope – abiraterone’s manufacturer has re-submitted the drug for SMC approval with a reduced price. The Prostate Cancer Charity has set up a function on its website to help people email their MSPs to highlight this issue and to urge them to take action. I would encourage your readers to visit www.prostate-cancer.org.uk/SMC and follow the simple steps.

Furthermore I would urge all local MSPs to: write to the Health Secretary advising that if the SMC does not recommend abiraterone, men in Scotland will not be able to access a vital drug which is currently widely available to men in England and Wales; write to the SMC calling on it to recommend abiraterone for the NHS in Scotland; sign parliamentary motion S4M-02704: SMC Rejection of Prostate Cancer Drug, Abiraterone

David Sinton, Great King Street, Edinburgh