Readers' Letters: It's time to end our royal subservience

Scotland’s democratic deficit was once again highlighted by a recent poll that indicated what we have known for many years – only a minority of Scots support the monarchy.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 7:00 am

If polls were conducted on the House of Lords and Trident, similar results would be apparent. Then, of course, there was the EU referendum. Scotland voted to remain but had to leave because we were outvoted by a larger English electorate. To cap it all, we are ruled by a Tory party we have rarely supported and have to suffer a Prime Minister very few of us can stomach.

Surprisingly the hierarchy of the SNP appear to be in favour of keeping the monarchy if Scotland wins independence. How this will tie in with Scottish republicans is anyone's guess. Maybe Nicola Sturgeon isn't the firebrand, socialist republican she is portrayed by our mainstream media.

Nevertheless, there is a constantly growing consensus in Scotland that once the present Queen's reign ends this would be a good time to end Scotland's subservience to unelected, undemocratic and unnecessary monarchy, whether it reigns over us from Balmoral or Edinburgh Castle.

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Jack Fraser, Musselburgh

Offshore windfarms financial failure

The UK Crown Estate’s round four auction for seabed option plots in England and Wales resulted in guaranteed payments of £879m every year from windfarm developers, for up to 10 years, bringing in £8790m for 8GW capacity.

In view of results in England, the SNP-controlled equivalent auction was delayed and a decision made to increase the maximum bid allowed. A maximum price seems a strange way to auction something. The SNP managed to secure a one-off option payment of £700m (rather than their earlier planned £70m) in total for 25GW capacity, for a maximum of 10 years. As comparisons go, it seems another mismanagement of Scottish funds.

Scotland should be enjoying the £700m benefit. As we have heard so much about a sovereign wealth fund, will the extra money be invested for future generations?

Or will this go down in history as another missed opportunity?

Alastair Murray, Edinburgh.

Scotland’s proud stance on slavery

It is pleasing to note that African-born slave, Joseph Knight, is to feature in one of the specially commissioned banners which will be hung at Perth City Hall when it reopens in 2024.

Transported to Jamaica as a child from Guinea, Knight was sold to John Wedderburn of Ballindean, who brought him to Scotland in 1769 to work as a domestic servant. Knight was baptised and married Ann Thompson, a family servant. He was, however, refused permission by Wedderburn to live with his wife and family.

Given this refusal, Knight left his service but Wedderburn had him arrested. In 1774 Knight brought a claim before the justices of the peace court in Perth and when they found in favour of Wedderburn, Knight appealed to the Sheriff of Perth who found that the state of slavery is not recognised by “the laws of the kingdom”.

In 1777 Wedderburn appealed to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, arguing that Knight still owed him perpetual service. The court sustained the sheriff's decision, holding that in effect, slavery was not recognised by Scots law. Fugitive slaves could, therefore be protected by the courts if they wished to leave domestic service.

It is fantastic to see this lesser-known but significant episode in Scotland’s history is to be recognised.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

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