Diverse nation

THE incredibly sad, but not unexpected, death of our beloved Queen has served to demonstrate how lucky we all are to live in a democratic monarchy.

There has been a smooth seamless transition from one head of state to the next and whilst I understand and accept that there are many detractors, surely it is better that than an unseemly and controversial national argument and/or election about which “has been” politician should represent this great country of ours.

The proclamation of our new King has also served to remind us of the long and proud history of this country.

The associated pomp and ceremony may seem archaic, but it is the very essence of this country and one of the reasons why so many hundreds of thousands of people from across the world visit.

It is what we do, and we do it peerlessly!

As was pointed out by the BBC presenter the proclamation ceremony, attended by members of the Privy Council, also demonstrated how much our country has changed since our late Queen took office.

In 1952 the Privy Council was overwhelmingly elderly white males primarily from privileged backgrounds but now it consists of both men and women, people of colour, people brought up in council houses, those from stately homes and everything in between and, probably, a wide range of education and religions.

So, whilst this is a very sad time may I suggest that people take the opportunity to reflect on, appreciate and enjoy the history, diversity and “pomp and circumstance” of this country of ours that still makes it, in very many respects, the envy of the rest of the world.

Robert Carter, Brompton, Northallerton.

Passage of goods

THE recent sad events have showed the world one thing: people in all parts of the UK are united in their support for the monarchy and the Union.

The EU is taking legal action against the UK for supposedly breaking the rules regarding the passage of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland; even though they are both parts of the same country. Can you imagine the French or the Spanish putting up with this?

Liz Truss should live up to her reputation for strength and do three things.

1) Re-establish 100 per cent free, unimpeded trade between England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland.

2) So as not to breach the Good Friday Agreement, she should make it clear that the UK has no intention of setting up border posts between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

3) Tell the EU that, if they want to control the border, it is their choice.

No matter the cost, it is intolerable that a great, united country like ours should, any longer, have its integrity sabotaged by our jealous trading rivals.

Cllr Steve Kay (Ind), Redcar & Cleveland councillor, Moorsholm, east Cleveland.

Development access

I REFER to the article regarding the housing development at the rear of High Stell in Middleton St George, “Developer’s traffic plan sparks safety concerns” (D&S Times Co Durham edition, Sept 9).

The original planning approval clearly indicated two points of access for a development of this size.

The planning inspector approved only phase one as only one access was available at that time and that further phases could proceed when the second access was secured.

This second access (a small strip of land in High Stell) is owned by another developer and obviously Carlton Ltd, who are developing the land at the rear of High Stell, have been unable secure it (presumably due to an extortionate asking price).

The fact remains that the proposal to approve the development with a single access road is a major and radical change, not a minor change as now stated by planning officers.

The access currently provided via The Greenway is extremely congested, is on the main route for children attending the local school and is much smaller than the access which could be provided via High Stell.

In the circumstances I think that the planning officers and members of the Planning and Development Control Sub Committee should arrange a site visit before the matter is further discussed.

Kenneth Angus, Middleton St. George.

Scrubby view

VET and author James Herriot declared the tremendous view from the dramatic Sutton Bank escarpment over the Vale of Mowbray and the Vale of York, the "finest in England".

Not anymore! Scrubby trees are blocking the wonderful view to the Pennines from the big car park west of the visitor centre, and the views from the footpaths on the edge of the escarpment are disappearing.

The scrubby trees have slowly grown over the last ten years or so, with no one noticing.

They should all be removed to restore the visitor centre's most valuable asset – the famous views. These trees are nothing more than weeds and do not need protecting.

The visitor centre could be anywhere amongst a scrubby landscape now it is isolated from the views.

Martin Whillock, Easingwold.

Monarchy mania

SINCE the monarch's death the UK has been battered by a propaganda barrage.

A string of carefully constructed media narratives have sustained the position of the monarch in British life and the pretence there is no alternative to rule by a hereditary figure.

If it had been in any other country, Russia or China for example, it would have been ridiculed as a “cult of personality”.

Yet there's little doubt these persuaders are already pushing at an open door.

In spite of a long-term downward trend of support, May's YouGov poll found 62 per cent of Britons wanted a monarchy and only 22 per cent an elected head of state.

Even among Labour voters only 37 per cent supported a republic.

However, only 33 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds favoured a monarch, down from 60 per cent in 2011.

Every tool available to the elite has worked flat-out to bolster the idea of the monarchy.

The result? Four months ago, fewer than one third thought Charles would make a good king, down from 39 per cent in 2020. After a week of "monarchy mania" it's back up to 63 per cent!

Just one example of how the UK media can transform perceptions and opinions.

The British monarchy emerged out of feudalism. Now it's at the service of the modern capitalist state.

The Tories have used the mourning period to push their class agenda.

While this “bread and circuses” pageant has played out, Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng have been hatching their mini budget.

Headlined as tackling the cost-of-living crisis, helping their millionaire friends afford two rather than just one superyacht is its real purpose.

C Walker, Darlington

A lifetime of duty

THE Queen was doing her duty, at the age of 96, two days before her death by receiving Boris Johnson’s resignation and receiving Liz Truss as new Prime Minister.

She received both with her lovely smile and I remember thinking at the time, how much weight she had lost.

It is obvious now, that she was dying, and I believe she knew she was dying.

I consider her to be an even more remarkable than I thought she could be.

I now refer to some of the letters I have read inferring that the attention given to her death by the media is a form of mass hysteria. That was the case with Diana.

Nothing could be further from the truth with the late Queen.

She has done her duty for 70 years without putting a foot wrong and has been treated with genuine respect by the most powerful people of the 20th and 21st Century.

I watched online the public paying their respects to the Queen and I was moved to tears (I have always been a bit of a softy).

There was genuine love and respect from everyone I saw when they reached her coffin.

I only intended to watch for a short while but must have watched for an hour, I couldn't stop watching.

There was every race, class, age, disability, and profession that I could judge. Some of them must have really put themselves to a lot of difficulty to attend.

To all you nay sayers, I can inform you that you are in a small minority.

Thomas Ball, Barnard Castle.

Poppy launch date

DUE to the sad passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II the decision was taken to cancel the poppy launch which should have taken place on September 17.

The new date of the launch is Saturday, October 22 at 7pm at the RAOB (Buffs Club), 51 Wilton Street, Middlesbrough. Tickets are £1 and are available from the Sea Cadets or from Liz Chambers on 07759 107318.

Liz Chambers MBE, honorary Poppy Appeal organiser, Middlesbrough.

UK traditions

TO suggest that this country is democratic is simply untrue.

We have a first past the post electoral system. We have a new Prime Minister who was elected by a fraction of one per cent of the population and we have a perpetual monarchy.

We live in class-ridden society, and we are steeped in medieval tradition.

We seem to live in a country that time has forgotten life a “never-never land”.

It’s alleged that one of the Saudi royals said some time ago that in the near future the world would only have five kings.

The four kings in a pack of cards and the King of England.

Could this be the reason why?

Edwin Pickering, Darlington.

Minute's silence

I MUST congratulate the officials of Darlington Football Club for their splendid organisation of the minute silence in respect of the late Queen prior to the match at Blackwell Meadows last Saturday.

Although the size of the crowd was a little disappointing at 1,088, (the team deserve better) they too were brilliant.

You could have heard, as the saying goes "a pin drop".

The minute silence was followed, not by an outpouring of grief, but by rapturous applause followed in the 70th minute by a further minute of applause.

It would be wonderful if the footage could be relayed to the Royal Family to enable them to see how deep the respect to the Queen went – not just in the Premier League.

If footage, for one example, from all the grounds in the Football League was shown on television it would have saved an awful lot of money on the crowds having to be monitored in London and saved those queuing a lot of time although I do admire their dedication.

The suggestion of course would not be good for the television media especially those chasing a knighthood just for doing their jobs.

It would have also saved the same media repeating information over and over again as well as, dare I say it, asking some daft questions to those queuing.

Football, of course, is only one of the organisations that could have been covered and in football's case it would have all been over in 45 minutes.

By the way Darlington won 3-2 against Southport, the team although, obviously not world class, are a credit to themselves and the football club.

Mike Taylor, Darlington.

Which finger?

IN response to Graeme Cunningham’s letter last week regarding Liz Truss sticking a finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing “New Prime Minister” (D&S Times letters, Sept 16).

When I hear the proposals coming from our new PM, no windfall tax on excessive power companies profits, tax cuts that only appear to help the better off, scrapping the cap on bankers bonuses etc, I think perhaps the finger in the air is directed at the majority of people in the UK.

Tony Dodd, Leyburn.

Card to treasure

On Thursday, September 8, the day our Queen died, my wife and I received a card from her congratulating us on our 60th wedding anniversary. It is a treasured memory.

Dr John E Lloyd, Darlington.