California Rural counties for equal representation

Jefferson - California Rural counties for equal representation

Mudslide to affect fishing in McCloud

MT. SHASTA – Forecasters on Monday called off a flood watch for the McCloud area after a glacier broke off Mt. Shasta over the weekend and sent a mudflow just east of town — but it’s not all good news for the tiny Siskiyou County town.

U.S. Forest Service officials announced Monday that sediment and mud had seeped into Lake McCloud and the lower McCloud River, meaning poor fishing conditions for a town that relies heavily on tourists looking to take home a few trout.

“People come up here to fish, and that’s going to have a pretty big impact on our little town,” said McCloud Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors President Claudette Silvera. “It is a big fishing destination.”

Silvera said tourists turned off by the murky waters — normally known for their stunning clarity — will have a ripple effect on the rest of the town, too.

“It’s going to impact our hotels and our restaurants,” she said. “But we’re just going to have to hope it’s not long-term.”

Meanwhile, even the canceled flood watch still doesn’t mean there’s no chance of the mudflow being reactivated.

Andrea Capps, a spokeswoman for the Forest Service, said there are specific weather conditions that need to happen for optimal cleanup — rain, but the cold kind, which would likely translate to snow on the mountain that would freeze glaciers enough not to break off. Warm rain, on the other hand, could lead to even worse conditions, she said.

Capps said some precipitation is forecasted for later in the week, so it’ll just depend on how warm or cold it turns out to be.

In the meantime, Capps said cleanup crews are having a hard time doing their job because the mud is still so wet. If cleanup goes well, the closed roads will reopen this weekend at the very earliest, she said.

“If that doesn’t happen, all bets are off,” Capps said.

Officials aren’t sure what caused the glacier to break off about midway up the mountain Saturday afternoon, but they believe it might be drought-related, since the peak has been baking in sun far longer than it normally would be.

That same drought already posed a threat to McCloud in the form of little snow, Silvera said, since the area is normally a destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

But, she said, they made it through, and can again.

“We survived last year not having snow, and I believe that we will do the same this year,” she said. “We’re still here and moving, so we’ll survive this one too.”

Silvera noted that McCloud actually had a successful summer, with lots of weddings booked in town, so people clearly see its value as more than just a snow and fishing destination.

“It’s a little regretful and sad … but there are certainly other things that people can come and do,” she said. “We’re feeling good about that.”

Silvera said town residents are joking about all the natural disasters the area has had lately, including the devastating Boles Fire last week in Weed.

“We’ve kind of joked around town that we had a big fire and we have water (issues), and now what’s next?” she said.

Fortunately, the mudflow isn’t anticipated to impact the Shasta Rail Trail, said April Gray, president of the Great Shasta Rail Trail Association.

Gray said it’s too early to say for sure, since weather could change this week, but right now it appears the trail is high enough above the mudflow area that it’s doing fine.

“It’s made a bit of a mess, but it hasn’t gotten high enough to impact (the trail),” she said.

That’s another sign of hope for the town, Silvera said, since it’s also known for its hiking opportunities.

“People know the beauty and good things we’ve got up here,” she said.

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Brown signs several clean-air vehicle bills

Comment: Huge loss of freedom of choice and property rights! — Admin Liz Bowen


Updated 11:50 am, Monday, September 22, 2014

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed six bills he said will “strengthen California’s best-in-the-nation electric vehicle market” and help the state reach its goal of getting 1.5 million zero-emission cars on the road by 2025.

Four of the the half-dozen new laws are focused around expanding clean air vehicle access to carpool lanes, including toll lanes.

In a statement, the governor’s office said the state already accounts for 40 percent of the nation’s plug-in electric vehicle sales, with more than 100,000 sold. Brown signed an executive order in 2012 setting a number of goals around expanding electric car use, and said the bills he signed Sunday will help California meet those benchmarks.

AB2013 would expand an existing program that allows owners of clean-air vehicles to apply for permits to drive in carpool lanes, regardless of how many passengers are in the car. The bill by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, will allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue an additional 15,000 permits, for a total of 70,000 statewide.

Another bill, AB1721, by Assemblyman Eric Linder, R-Corona, would let clean air vehicles use some toll lanes for free. AB2090 by Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-San Jose, will make it easier for government agencies in the Santa Clara Valley and San Diego County to build toll lanes, which are geared toward carpoolers and clean-air vehicle drivers. And SB1298 by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, will make permanent two Los Angeles County toll lanes on Highways 110 and 10.

A second bill by Muratsuchi, AB2565, will expand access to electric-vehicle charging stations by requiring property owners in most cases to approve their installation if renters request it.

Finally, SB1275 by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, creates the “Charge Ahead California Initiative” which provides financial incentives to low-income residents who trade in polluting cars for electric vehicles.

Marisa Lagos is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.


Twitter: @mlagos

Siskiyou Co: Update on City of Weed Boles Fire 9-21-14

Great update on the many families that are returning to burned homes in Siskiyou County: — Admin Liz Bowen

Victims of Boles Fire find hope amid ashes

4:55 PM, Sep 20, 2014

11:55 PM, Sep 20, 2014

WEED, California – At first glance, it seemed the Boles Fire consumed nearly everything in the Angel Valley neighborhood of Weed.

Homes were reduced to their charred concrete foundations. Cars were gutted, their tires blown off and windows shattered. Children’s bicycles and playground equipment stood blackened and twisted.

The fire was fully contained at 479 acres Saturday after destroying about 150 buildings while families were allowed to return to their homes Friday.

Salmond: We don’t need referendum for independence

Alex Salmond outside his home in Strichen at the weekend. Picture: PA

Photo -Alex Salmond outside his home in Strichen at the weekend. Picture: PA



22nd September 2014

ALEX Salmond has raised the prospect of Scotland becoming independent without going through another referendum.

The First Minister, who is due to step down in November, said that a vote like last week’s is “only one of a number of routes” that could be taken.

He said that although a referendum was his preferred option, achieving a majority at the Scottish Parliament was another way of reaching his party’s goal.

Mr Salmond’s comments came as another senior party member, former deputy leader Jim Sillars, said on Twitter that a majority for the SNP in the 2016 Holyrood election would be enough to declare ­independence.

Mr Sillars tweeted: “Let Yes assert new indy rule – no more ref – majority votes and seats at Holyrood 2016 enough.” He later added: “What’s this about a waiting a generation – indy remains on agenda now”.


Get the latest referendum news, opinion and analysis from across Scotland and beyond on our new Scottish Independence website


In a broadcast interview yesterday, Mr Salmond said that for most of the SNP’s history, a referendum had not been the preferred route to independence and warned that the “writing is on the wall for Westminster” after last week’s No vote.

He said: “The referendum route was one of my choosing, it was my policy. I thought that was the right way to proceed but, of course, there are a whole range of ways Scotland can improve its position in pursuit of Scottish independence.

“There is a parliamentary route where people can make their voice heard as well, so a referendum is only one of a number of routes.”


Leaders: Delivering devolution pledges is crucial


Mr Salmond said: “This is a real thing, this generational change of opinion in Scotland, and I think the writing is on the wall for Westminster. It’s a question of how fast and how far we get.”

He also ruled out taking a seat in the House of Lords after he steps down as First Minister.

“My policy is to abolish the House of Lords,” Mr Salmond said, adding that “rocks would melt with the sun” before he would “ever set foot in the House of Lords”.

Pro-Union parties accused the First Minister of wanting to “stage a coup” to achieve independence. Opponents said Mr Salmond was being “undemocratic” and wanted to ignore the will of the Scottish people expressed in last week’s referendum.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: “Having decisively lost a democratic referendum on independence, Alex Salmond is now suggesting the Nationalists can ignore the sovereign will of the Scottish people.

“His words are fundamentally undemocratic and an insult to the people of Scotland.

“Salmond may regret the result but this reaction is dangerous and wrong. Alex Salmond lost. It is not for him to try to overthrow the will of the Scottish people in some sort of coup.”

Ms Lamont called on his likely successor Nicola Sturgeon to “distance herself from these disgraceful remarks”.

She added: “While the rest of us seek reconciliation, Alex Salmond seeks more division. Scotland will not have it.”


Lesley Riddoch: Reach for the sky to end inequality


Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “The First Minister’s grace in defeat barely lasted a day.

“He claimed on Friday that he accepted the outcome of what was the largest democratic vote in Scottish political history yet, going by today’s extraordinary outburst, there is anything but acceptance in the Salmond household. Instead, there is petulance, bravado and a crass finger cocked at the majority of Scots. Scotland spoke very clearly and quite decisively: the majority made clear that the ‘sovereign will’ of the people of Scotland is to remain in a UK in which further responsibilities are ­devolved to Holyrood.

“Mr Salmond misunderstood the will of the majority during the campaign and now he seeks to misrepresent it in defeat.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie urged Mr Salmond to “calm down and take a bit of a breather”.


Scottish independence: Leaders at war over powers


Monday 22nd September 2014

David Cameron: PM was in<br />
talks with Alistair Darling. Picture: PA

Photo – David Cameron: PM was in talks with Alistair Darling. Picture: PA

A CROSS-PARTY consensus on devolving further powers to Holyrood has been rocked by a row between the three main UK party leaders.

Less than a week after signing a pledge committing themselves to more powers to Scotland, Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg were at loggerheads over whether that should be accompanied by reform elsewhere in the UK.

In the wake of last week’s No vote in the independence referendum, Mr Cameron has said further devolution for Scotland should be extended to change the way the House of Commons works, to ensure only English MPs can vote on legislation that affects only England.

His desire for the Holyrood settlement to go hand in hand with answering the West Lothian question, about the rights of Scottish and English MPs, has met with a cool response from Labour, which holds most of Scotland’s 59 seats.

Mr Miliband said a radical package of devolution must be delivered, “no ifs and buts”, and told Mr Cameron to keep his referendum promise to Scotland.


Get the latest referendum news, opinion and analysis from across Scotland and beyond on our new Scottish Independence website


Former PM Gordon Brown has insisted he will make sure Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg stick to the proposed timetable for setting out future powers for Holyrood, which will be laid before the UK parliament today.

But with any deal on extending constitutional reform to other parts of the UK appearing distant, First Minister Alex Salmond claimed voters in Scotland had been “tricked” into voting No last week.

He said the pro-Union parties “will suffer the wrath of Khan” if they failed to deliver, and raised the prospect of the SNP trying to declare independence after winning a parliamentary majority at Holyrood in 2016. Opponents accused Mr Salmond of seeking to achieve his independence goal through “a coup”.

The Prime Minister will today host a summit at his country residence, Chequers, to discuss his devolution plans with senior Tories, including some of the loudest critics of his decision to sign up to further Scottish devolution. It is seen as a bid to head off a potential backbench rebellion on constitutional reform.

Talking about last week’s vote, Mr Miliband said: “There’s a huge danger that the political classes take the wrong lesson from this. In the referendum, 45 per cent of people voted to break up the UK. There were people who thought they had nothing to lose.


Leaders: Delivering devolution pledges is crucial


“It’s happening in England too, and people are turning away from political parties. There isn’t a simple answer to this question. We’ve been wrestling with this issue for 125 years. We can’t do this on the back on an envelope.

“Don’t play fast and loose with the constitution. Do change in the right way. I’m not in favour of a new parliament and a new tier of politicians. The establishment has got to understand the lessons. People aren’t willing to have business as usual.”

Lots MORE -

Northern California Sheriff’s Event 9-27-14

Northern California Sheriff’s Conference

Sat. Sept. 27, 2014

1 to 4 p.m.

Veterans Hall

810 H Street

Crescent City, CA.

Hosted by Del Norte County Sheriff Dean Wilson

Joining Sheriff Wilson will be the following :
Sheriff Mike Downey, Humboldt County
Sheriff Larry Jones, Glenn County
Sheriff Mike Poindexter, Modoc County
Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou County

Topics of discussion will be:
1. The impact of increased jail population due to Governor Brown’s prison realignment
2. Illegal land use that pollute and divert water resources and the devastation of wildfires brought on by our continued drought
3. Solutions to Public Safety plaguing rural counties due to fewer State Financial Resources

All residents are encouraged to come and discuss the issues that impact them in their communities.

For more information, contact Sheriff Dean Wilson
By phone (707) 464-3880
By email

Alex Salmond quits as Scotland’s leader


Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond speaks during a press conference in Edinburgh, Scotland,

Friday, Sept. 19, 2014.

Associated Press

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Scotland’s pro-independence leader Alex Salmond resigned as first minister and leader of his political party Friday, hours after Scots voted to remain in the United Kingdom.

Salmond, 59, told reporters at a news that he was proud of the campaign and the record turnout for Thursday’s vote.

Related: UK remains united after Scotland referendum

“For Scotland the campaign is not over and the dream will never die,” he said.

Salmond’s impassioned plea to launch a new nation fell short, with Scots choosing instead the security of remaining in union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The referendum’s result prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to Britain’s economic and political establishment.

In Thursday’s referendum, 55 percent were against independence to 45 percent in favor. There was an unprecedented turnout of just under 85 percent.

But Salmond, who also resigned as head of the Scottish National Party, was upbeat about Scotland’s future. A visibly relieved British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to live up to earlier promises to give Scotland new powers on taxes, spending and welfare.

“We now have the opportunity to hold Westminster‘s feet to the fire on the vow that they have made to devolve further meaningful power to Scotland,” he said. “This places Scotland in a very strong position.

Cameron told reporters outside his Downing Street office that the new plans will be agreed upon by November, with draft legislation by January.

As Scotland’s fledgling first minister in 2007, Salmond made a referendum on independence his grand strategic goal and predicted, to general disbelief even from supporters, it would be won within a decade.


Danica Kirka reported from London. Associated Press writers Shawn Pogatchnik in Edinburgh; Paul Kelbie in Glasgow; and Gregory Katz in London contributed to this report.

Exclusive: Angry with Washington, 1 in 4 Americans open to secession

MSN News

By Scott Malone of Reuters

BOSTON (Reuters) – The failed Scottish vote to pull out from the United Kingdom stirred secessionist hopes for some in the United States, where almost a quarter of people are open to their states leaving the union, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.

The urge to sever ties with Washington cuts across party lines and regions, though Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners, according to the poll.

Anger with President Barack Obama‘s handling of issues ranging from healthcare reform to the rise of Islamic State militants drives some of the feeling, with Republican respondents citing dissatisfaction with his administration as coloring their thinking.

But others said long-running Washington gridlock had prompted them to wonder if their states would be better off striking out on their own, a move no U.S. state has tried in the 150 years since the bloody Civil War that led to the end of slavery in the South.

“I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference anymore which political party is running things. Nothing gets done,” said Roy Gustafson, 61, of Camden, South Carolina, who lives on disability payments. “The state would be better off handling things on its own.”

Scottish unionists won by a wider-than-expected 10-percentage-point margin.

Falling public approval of the Obama administration, attention to the Scottish vote and the success of activists who accuse the U.S. government of overstepping its authority – such as the self-proclaimed militia members who flocked to Nevada’s Bundy ranch earlier this year during a standoff over grazing rights – is driving up interest in secession, experts said.

“It seems to have heated up, especially since the election of President Obama,” said Mordecai Lee, a professor of governmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, who has studied secessionist movements.


Republicans were more inclined to support the idea, with 29.7 percent favoring it compared with 21 percent of Democrats.

Brittany Royal, a 31-year-old nurse from Wilkesboro, North Carolina, said anger over the “Obamacare” healthcare reform law made her wonder if her state would be better off on its own.

“That has really hurt a lot of people here, myself included. My insurance went from $40 a week for a family of four up to over $600 a month for a family of four,” said Royal, a Republican. “The North Carolina government itself is sustainable. Governor (Pat) McCrory, I think he has a better healthcare plan than President Obama.”

By region, the idea was least popular in New England, the cradle of the Revolutionary War, with just 17.4 percent of respondents open to pulling their state out.

It was most popular in the Southwest, where 34.1 percent of respondents back the idea.

That region includes Texas, where an activist group is calling the state’s legislature to put the secession question on a statewide ballot. One Texan respondent said he was confident his state could get by without the rest of the country.

“Texas has everything we need. We have the manufacturing, we have the oil, and we don’t need them,” said Mark Denny, a 59-year-old retiree living outside Dallas on disability payments.

Denny, a Republican, had cheered on the Scottish independence movement.

“I have totally, completely lost faith in the federal government, the people running it, whether Republican, Democrat, independent, whatever,” he said.

Even in Texas, some respondents said talk about breaking away was more of a sign of their anger with Washington than evidence of a real desire to go it alone. Democrat Lila Guzman, of Round Rock, said the threat could persuade Washington lawmakers and the White House to listen more closely to average people’s concerns.

“When I say secede, I’m not like (former National Rifle Association president) Charlton Heston with my gun up in the air, ‘my cold dead hands.’ It’s more like – we could do it if we had to,” said Guzman, 62. “But the first option is, golly, get it back on the right track. Not all is lost. But there might come a point that we say, ‘Hey, y’all, we’re dusting our hands and we’re moving on.’”

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Additional reporting by Mimi Dwyer in New York; Editing by Douglas Royalty)

Scottish independence: Scotland votes No

The Scotsman

19 September 2014

ALEX Salmond’s dream of independence has been shattered after Scotland voted to stay part of the United Kingdom.

Scotland today rejected independence and voted to remain part of the United Kingdom at the end of the most intense political campaign the country has ever seen.

The silent majority finally raised its voice on a tense yet utterly compelling night of political history.

During a referendum that attracted record numbers of voters and was hailed as a triumph of democracy, the people voted to maintain the 307-year Union.

A decisive No vote was the culmination of two and a half-years of vigorous and at times edgy campaigning, which looks certain to change the constitutional map of Britain for ever.

As the votes were counted, a grim-faced Alex Salmond was seen boarding a private jet at Aberdeen airport just after 3am. Photographed with his wife Moira, the First Minister was contemplating his political future after the referendum he had strived for throughout his life delivered a telling blow against him.

The promises to deliver more powers to Holyrood made by the UK party leaders during the campaign were outlined in an early morning statement by David Cameron, which recognised the need to bring the United Kingdom together and deliver further devolution for not just Scotland, but England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Live blog on the Scottish independence referendum, with news, pictures, tweets and much more from around Scotland and further afield

With turn out at well over 80 per cent, the vote saw the economic warnings of the Better Together campaign overcome a powerful and impressive grassroots campaign run by Yes Scotland.

Reacting to the result, the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke of her “deep personal and political disappointment” saying she had fought the hardest campaign of her life.

Ms Sturgeon indicated she would be prepared to work with the UK parties to deliver more powers to the Scottish Parliament and claimed that the vote was not a mandate for the status quo.

“I will work with anybody and do anything I can to deliver substantial powers for the Scottish parliament, that’s beyond any doubt,” she said.

The Prime Minister’s plans were outlined by the Conservative chief whip Michael Gove said the UK would see a major constitutional overhaul which will hand more powers to all UK nations – and finally solve the so-called West Lothian Question.

This is the long standing conundrum which allows Scottish MPs at Westminster to vote on matters like health and education which are controlled in Scotland by the Holyrood Parliament. It has fuelled growing anger among Tory backbenchers, especially with the prospect of even greater powers for Scotland regardless of the referendum outcome.

“The Prime Minister will say much more later today,” Mr Gove said today.

“But I think its widely accepted across the political spectrum that there are some issues which affect Northern Ireland, Welsh and English voters which and need to be decided in a way that respects the majority of opinion in those parts of the United Kingdom.”

He added: “If as seems likely there is a No vote, then the Prime Minister will be saying more about not just the need to make sure that the interests of Scotland are catered for but also how do we keep the UK together and what that means for Northern Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

All three pro-union parties have set out plans for greater devolution for Scotland and say an agreed timetable will be in place by the end of the year, with legislation published by the end of January.

Mr Gove said there will be a “similar sense of urgency” in bringing forward proposals for change in the other UK nations as well.

Mr Gove, a Scot originally from Aberdeen, said the plans would stop short of an English Parliament being introduced.

But he added: “The central thing, I think is that there needs to be change in order to ensure that Westminster works better for the people of England Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Signs that the other main UK parties were coalescing around that position came when the Labour MP Jim Murphy said the referendum could inspire an “awakening” of politics in England.

Mr Murphy said there was a “disconnect” between the “village of Westminster” and the great English cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

While emphasising that it was not his role as a Scot to tell the rest of the UK how to conduct its politics, Mr Murphy suggested that the referendum – whatever the outcome – could lead to a realignment of powers south of the border.

Mr Murphy, who played a prominent role in the Better Together campaign with his 100 Towns in 100 Days tour, also said he thought that 16 and 17-year-olds should be given the vote in the next General Election.

The extension of the franchise to include more teenagers in yesterday’s poll had been a huge success, Mr Murphy argued.

Teenagers had been “enthused, informed, clever and sussed” and he said there was a case for attempting to extending the franchise in the rest of the UK for next year’s General Election.

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said there should be “wider” constitutional change across the UK.

It was the campaign that saw Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond clash in two televised debates, the resurrection of Gordon Brown as a formidable, front line politician and Better Together was criticised for relentless negativity and obsessing on unanswered questions over the currency.

But despite the criticism, Better Together emerged triumphant in an early morning of high drama.

Scottish independence: Doubts over Queen’s future

Her Majesty The Queen visiting the Forth Road Bridge to mark its 50th anniversary. Pic: Phil Wilkinson

Her Majesty The Queen visiting the Forth Road Bridge to mark its 50th anniversary. Pic: Phil Wilkinson

The Scotsman

Friday 19th September 2014

THE Queen might have escaped the break-up of her kingdom, but the future of the monarchy is likely to be a focus for debate in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum, it has been predicted.

 Stephen Haseler, director of the Global Policy Institute in London, said constitutional discussions would be a “chance to start again” and raised the issue of what would happen with the royal family in years to come.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for a constitutional convention after the referendum to look again at the way the nations of the UK are governed, while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said the next few years will see a “rewiring” of the British constitution, with power being passed from Westminster to the nations and regions.

Professor Haseler said: “If you have a rethink about our basic constitutional arrangements, the question is, sure, we would keep the Queen while she’s here, but what are we going to do afterwards?

“If you’re going to have a written constitution, what are we going to do about the heirs and successors issue?”

He added: “It’s a chance to start again. This whole debate is a chance to start again. The Queen and the monarchy are deeply involved in this.”

As head of state, the Queen remains publicly neutral when it comes to political matters. But on Sunday after attending morning church at Crathie Kirk, she reportedly told a well-wisher in the crowd: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.”

Anti-monarchy group Republic has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the actions of the Queen and her advisers, saying they would be writing to the Commons political and constitutional reform committee as well as the Justice Secretary.

Republic’s chief executive Graham Smith said: “The monarchy and the Queen have been around long enough to know what they’re doing. Comments made by the Queen last weekend and widely reported in the press as pro-Union were a deliberate attempt to influence the vote.

“We’re calling on MPs to investigate the role of the Queen in this referendum campaign and the convention of royal impartiality.

“Of course, the Queen is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t – but the bottom line is that the rules are there and the Queen can’t pick and choose when to follow them.”

Mr Smith said: “Republic takes no position on whether Scotland should be independent, but it’s unacceptable for the Queen to be interfering in this way while still asserting her neutrality.”