Dear Sir, I always enjoy Hugh Ash's Sunday column. They are excellently written and eminently readable. And his latest, in praise of Britain's Royal Family was no exception. But there were two questions which Hugh Ash did not resolve in his otherwise totally reasonable piece.
The first is: how can a country be considered to be a democracy when its head of state is neither elected - or removable - by the people? Should not Britain have an additional question at the bottom of every ballot paper at each general election asking: do you wish to retain the Monarchy? I am absolutely sure that they would be retained by a landslide vote. But by so doing, Britain would be obeying the basic requirements of democracy; namely, giving the people a choice.
The second question is more difficult. Can impoverished Britain afford the huge costs of maintaining a royal family to the levels we have done in the past?
When the country was affluent, the costs of and for maintaining the Windsors was secondary. But Britain is now in debt to the tune of £1.7 trillions and borrowing 120 thousand million pounds every year, a debt which we, our children - and their children - will still be repaying.
I am not suggesting we stop all payment to our royals, but I do feel it morally wrong that impoverished as Britain is, we should be paying our already enormously wealthy royal family 120 times as much as the Americans pay their president ($450'000 pa as opposed to the Queen's £36 million pa).
Would not the Royal family further cement its already close relationship with their subjects by telling the Treasury to suspend the civil list for say, ten years, or until we have dug ourselves out of the terrible financial hole we are in at present? I accept that £35 million in comparison to our national debt is a drop in the bucket. But by their identifying themselves with our troubles, it would further encourage an unbreakable relationship with the people.
In any case, I am sure the Windsors have enough money and income to maintain themselves without the slightest diminution of life-style or pageantry.
Sincerely, David Lee
Hugh Ash's Sunday Comment is always a highly enjoyable read but even he excelled himself with his praise of The Queen and Britain's Monarchy.
As he says, Britain may be an anachronism, but it often is the voice of reason in an increasingly mad world.
Much of what we have achieved is down to our unique historical experience and the way we have developed our parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy.
Britain's example - and the lessons the country has learnt over time - have been the template for others to copy and it is noticeable that the vast majority of nations who are members of the British Commonwealth are mainly stable and democratic.
Yours truly, W.J.L. Perry, Bendinat
Dear Sir, I, like I presume most other people who have been watching the 5 Canadair CL-215T's continuously landing and then lumbering back into the sky again with their over 5.000 lts of water, am full of admiration of their professionalism and bravery in what must be very difficult conditions, especially with the high winds that arose on Sunday afternoon. Watching and hearing them fly past made me feel very humble as I imagine my forebears did when hundreds of bombers slowly took off and crossed the country on their way to war, not knowing if they would return or even be alive a few hours later.
Your sincerely, Simon Tow
Electric Recharge Stations
Dear Sir, I read with despair the article confirming the provision of two thousand recharge stations that are to be provided by local authorities on the island as a suitable testing ground for electric vehicles. This when the country is in the grip of a continued depression.
As they are not here already then, Where are all these electric vehicles going to come from? The Nissan Leaf (one of the better vehicles) has been on sale in the UK for some years with very disappointing sales mainly due to it's high price of almost 30'000. Around three times it's petrol equivalent. Other manufacturers are also finding the market difficult.
Are the Majorca car hire companies going to invest in these cars? Well, I cannot see tourists paying double for the privilege of a silent hired car, so that's a non starter. What about the local population then? Are they going to purchase one of these cars to see it depreciate like a stone and be up for possible expensive battery replacements after five years? Definitely not.
Well, that just leaves the politicians and public servants to provide the necessary test bed'. How very convenient.
No doubt vehicles will be provided with recharge stations close by for these people to carry out this very important' task, subsidised by us, the tax payer, all in the name of Green Energy.
Another complete waste of public time and money.
Residencia in Spain
Dear Sir, Mr Crymble, in his letter to you (Sunday 28 July), complains that the Spanish Government is getting away with it'. As he puts it, by refusing residencias to British citizens, by asking for details like regarding income, private health insurance, deeds for their property, and so on. All designed to prove that immigrants, as it is alleged in Britain, will NOT be a burden on the State, which seems to me eminently sensible. Mr Crymble, Spain is fully aware that EU citizens are permitted to travel to, and live in any country within its borders, provided you can support yourself and family.
I speak from experience, having gone through the same procedures thirty years ago when I applied for a residencia long before the EUROZONE existed. I owned an apartment on the island of Minorca, bought five years earlier in 1977.
My wife and I decided to retire (we were 60 years old), and so we filled in the forms, giving details of income and deeds of the property, exactly as Mr Crymble did. We were granted the residencia after a short period.
Later, in 1987, we re-located to Majorca, and as we reached the official age for retirement we were able to join IB-salud (Spanish NHS) without any problems. In fact, both my wife and I have had short stays in first, Son Dureta, and its replacement, Son Espases. In both, we have received the upmost kindness and felicity.
An operation to replace a hip of mine was carried out 24 years ago, and it is still first-class. I recently had a Pacemaker implanted within a few days of needing it. Where else would one get such service?! So, despite the recent negative media denigration of one or two resorts in Majorca, which can easily be ignored especially thinking and fair-minded people, (name me, for one! ), the rest of Majorca, as I believe is incomparably desirable.
If I had the gift of a Wordsworth or Shelley, I would describe the Island as a Demi- Paradise. I do not, alas, possess such eloquence, so I will leave it at that.
Hope this panegyric helps, Mr Crymble. As far as the obstreperous bureaucrats of Palma are concerned, I'm afraid that they are endemic throughout the civilised world! They do not alter.