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A changed Britain must flush the self-serving Royals

Forget the Tory Party, the monarchy is a self-serving institution that does nothing for the average citizen of the UK, argues one reader.

Prince Andrew. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images.

As a long-time subscriber, I have regularly enjoyed the thoughtful articles by Bonnie Greer. However, “Royals’ coded message says: We will endure’’ (TNE #276) made me cross.

Bonnie rightly spots that the birthday photograph of Kate Middleton represents part of the Royals’ media campaign to divert attention from the Andrew affair and the impending disaster of Charles III. However, she has allowed herself to be seduced by imagery and the myth that the Royals are a core part of being British.

That may well be true for members of the Tory Party, but the majority of young people are not impressed. The monarchy is a self-serving institution that does nothing for the average citizen of the UK.
Pete C

“Those who want a republic, who believe that somehow the majority of British people do, too, are deluding themselves,” says Bonnie Greer. Maybe not yet, but soon.

Polls this year show that 41% of 18- to 24-year-olds say Britain should have an elected head of state, with only 31% wanting to keep the monarchy. The clock is ticking.
Cate Kelly

At a time when our country’s destiny seems to be controlled by either venal liars driven by personal gain or faceless careerists, the next generation of royals give me great hope.

Harry and Meghan have more interesting things to say about race, gender equality and the media’s influence than most politicians. It is possible that William and Kate, operating a reduced, European-style monarchy, might usher in a new era in which they, and Britain as a whole, stop looking back at days of empire and come to terms with our places in a changed world.
Catherine Wilson

The royals’ real coded message is: We shall always suppress the people.
John Stephen McLorinan
Via Facebook

Re: Your front cover montage of Prince Andrew with Boris Johnson (“Shame of Britain”, TNE #276). I doubt that Andrew could get his arm around BoJo’s waist!
Jennie Shorts
Via Facebook

Seeing red

Re: Jonty Bloom’s “New border red tape is choking British business… and it’s only just the beginning” (TNE #276). A couple of drivers went to Calais last Thursday morning and didn’t get back to the yard till Monday afternoon. They sat waiting for four days, and that’s a huge cost to the company in wages and lost loads.

The customs paperwork for export costs companies £37 per pallet, so if you’re going out with 26 pallets it will cost you over £900. That’s for the paperwork, then you get the delivery charges on top.
Si Rubery
Via Facebook

If the PM is lifting all Covid restrictions to help the economy, he should look deeper into the damage caused by his Brexit deal.
Cynthia Davis
Via Facebook

It is not “new border red tape”. These are long-standing regulations regarding the import and export of goods from a third country to the single market. These regulations were in part written when the UK was a member state. Stop calling them new Brexit red tape!
Dieter Nowak
Via Facebook

Trussed up

If Liz Truss were to become PM (“Escaping the shadow of Thatcher”, TNE #276) it would prove one thing: Lack of ability is no barrier to leading your country.
Sam Bennett
Via Facebook

Marked down

Will Self (“Illiteracy on parade”, TNE #276) recounts Mark Francois explaining that he had to self-publish his book as he said publishers were Remainers and weren’t interested. No. Publishers are businesses – they want to publish books that will make them some money.

They made a decision that his book wouldn’t.
Sue Chapman
Via Facebook

Joint pain

Where do Amsterdam’s politicians get this idea that enjoying a spliff or three in a coffeeshop is incompatible with being “older” and enjoying “the city’s manifest cultural offerings; from its art galleries and museums to its unique network of canalside strolls” (“A new Amsterdam?”, TNE #276).

They obviously weren’t with me when I celebrated my 60th birthday in the city…
Mark Palmer
Via Facebook

Beating Putin

Having read Paul Mason’s article (“War in Ukraine would be war like no other”, TNE #276) in this week’s New European, I have come to the following conclusion: NATO should state categorically that if Russian forces invade Ukraine, the Western Allies will immediately grant membership of NATO to that country.

If Russia does not want Ukraine to join NATO, it would be counter-productive to invade.
David Hogg

Becks bitter

David Beckham: 6 Premier League titles, 2 FA Cups, 1 Champions League, a treble, League titles in four countries, over 100 England caps, England captain, the only England footballer to score for his country in three successive World Cups.

And how does Rob Hughes (“Silver spoons do not equal silverware”, TNE #276) describe him when listing some of Real Madrid’s star signings? “Zinedine Zidane, Christiano Ronaldo, Luke Modric, even (my italics) the marketing icon David Beckham”.

Despite Beckham’s achievements and talent (his goals highlights reel compares with the best) Hughes is not the only journalist or pundit to have disparaged the player in this way.
Ed Lewis
Potters Bar, Herts

Moral choice

In her superb article on the Nazis’ Final Solution (“The Wannsee Conference: Mankind’s most evil 90 minutes”, TNE #275), Geraldine Schwarz posits the question: What could or should citizens appalled by the treatment of their fellow Jewish compatriots do if they were faced with such atrocities?

I have discussed this many times with a Jewish friend. Should I stand by him as the Nazis take him to an horrendous fate, or profess ignorance? His reply has always been that there is no point in two people dying. If one of us (that’s me, obviously) survives by whatever means, it means there is one extra person left on the planet who opposes genocide.

It may only be a comfort blanket for cowardly people like me who almost certainly wouldn’t have the gumption to openly oppose murderous antisemitism in the face of machine gun-wielding fascists, but his logic is unquestionable.

Of course, no human should ever again have to face such a decision. It is sad that, in perpetuity, it seems they will.
Michael O’Hare
Northwood, Middlesex

Flag day

In response to Nigel Warburton on ‘flag-hugging’ (Everyday Philosophy, TNE #275), it is surely very clear that Keir Starmer is right to pose in front of a large UK flag, and the Lib Dems and Greens etc should follow his example.

The flag is supposed to symbolise all of a country’s society. No group/party should be allowed to claim the flag as ‘theirs’.

Effectively, this government is claiming ownership of the flag, explicitly or subconsciously. It is the same claim to ownership which Donald Trump tried for power, claiming that taking it from him must be “stealing” or “cheating”. The same claim to ownership was manifested when Brexiters called Remainers “traitors” and not simply people with a legitimately different view.

Other parties urgently need to take the flag back symbolically in the name of every shade of legitimate democratic opinion. PE Basford Herts

Scottish play

Ed Lewis (Letters, TNE #275) will have spoken for many of us in concluding that “Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens must work together”. But let us not overlook the other piece in the jigsaw.

Labour always counted on a mass of Scottish Labour MPs in order to govern but they have now been directly replaced by SNP MPs.

Ergo it seems to follow that any future progressive coalition will require Labour to reach an agreement with the SNP; and this is essential for the pro-European cause now that England has become so deeply conservative and Tory-addicted (conurbations excepted, of course).

Last year I raised this point with a very senior Remainer and was told flatly that the SNP should have no role because their pro-independence stance made their policies “incoherent”.

I am not Scottish, but let us accept that the apparent paradox in their pro-EU, anti-UK stance is not of their making: it has been foisted onto them by successive Conservative governments committed to shrinking the public sector and other policies which are anathema to the SNP. How else can we expect them to react?

The answer is for Labour to defuse the independence demands by providing the public investment and regional fiscal autonomy that Scotland really wants.

Excluding the SNP just prolongs the Brexiteers’ period in the driving seat. Mark Hayward

Flying pigs

Observing the shenanigans surrounding Boris Johnson in 10 Downing Street, I am reminded of Animal Farm, the famous ‘fairy tale’ by George Orwell. The story ends with the farm animals, who have done all the work, left peering through the windows of the farmhouse, where the pigs who have taken over are having a party.

Reading that book as a schoolboy in the 1960s, little did I know what would come to pass!
Bob Hale

Penny Auntie

I wish I could welcome the Culture Secretary’s intention to abolish the licence fee, not because some people pay it who don’t use the BBC’s services, but because it is a regressive tax. However, I can’t trust the Tory government not to replace it with something that would do damage to the BBC. All the alternative suggestions made so far do that, with the possible exception of some kind of means-tested household levy.

Whether you watch or listen to it or not, the BBC is a national asset and the envy of the world, however much we who are closer to it see its flaws. We all benefit from it directly or indirectly, so we should pay for it out of taxation.

The Treasury hates hypothecated taxes, but to put some limit on possible government control of the BBC’s income, I would favour a set levy on income tax. It would need to be a little short of 1p on the basic rate to match the BBC’s current licence fee income. Such a levy on council tax would have a similar benefit if council tax were more progressive.
Roger Sturge

In light of Nadine Dorries’ license fee freeze, the BBC should reveal that its first cost-cutting measure will be to scrap a proposed new nursing series based on the Lovely Lane books by a Liverpudlian politician-turned-author.

The announcement should focus on the BBC’s thwarted desire to be more inclusive of talentless right wing writers from the Red Wall, and also how many millions that author would have made had the series gone ahead.
Jack Valentine

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See inside the Brexit: 'Time to move on' edition

A Ukrainian serviceman patrols on the frontline with Russia-backed separatists near the city of Marinka, Donetsk region. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

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Our columnist explains why, despite Ukraine's pleas for help, Olaf Scholz is desperately trying to ignore rising tensions at the border.

Credit: Tim Bradford

Boris the Bare(faced liar)