The British monarchy has never been a major factor in my life, but I always believed it is a vital underpinning of our democracy, and the Queen’s memorable participation in the James Bond scene at the opening in the London Olympics was an uplifting reminder and confirmation of my belief in Great Britain. The Duke of Edinburgh was rarely uppermost in my mind but I read so many good things about him in the last few days, that Joni Mitchell’s immortal line “don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is especially relevant given his groundbreaking work on conservation. Faux environmentalist Patrick Harvie might have used these lines in his contribution to Monday’s Holyrood session. And reflected on his own perversion of democracy where-by his party won six List seats in 2012 with only 13,174 votes, enabling him to sustain that other seditious entity, the SNP, in their can-kicking Indyref2 agenda and trashing of all that is good in Scotland. Let’s just hope that true “green” voters examine his woeful record on anti-pollution and green job creation and decide their vote is safer with, say, the Lib Dems, who got 150,000 votes in 2016 but only five seats. ALLAN SUTHERLAND Willow Row, Stonehaven