A line was crossed this week between respect for the late Prince Philip and disregard for the thousands who have died in this pandemic.

When a royal dies or is born, there is no greater proof of the shameful inequities of a nation, where one life is valued so highly over another.

The loss of any human life is sad but given the choice, we would all die at 99 having lived a self- indulgent life of unfathomable privilege.

The level of sycophancy has been nauseating, with royal commentators and media pundits having the audacity to speak for a “nation” in mourning.

Do not speak for me, do not speak for the multitude in Britain who consider the monarchy an archaic and corrupt institution unbecoming of a modern society.

We are no longer peasants, one nation in servitude to the monarch, where we must bow our heads and, by royal command, participate in a grovel-fest.

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Though we still have to pay for this backward institution, we are no longer bound by its yolk, much to the chagrin of the likes of Philip.

This was a man of dubious character and morality, a racist, a bigot, scoundrel and parasite who regularly bemoaned as paltry the millions the royals suck from the public purse.

In his naval uniform, he toured the world at the side of the Queen – not an ambassador for Britain but an embarrassment.

To America’s first black president, Barack Obama, who had just described his day meeting British politicians, Chinese leaders and the Russians, Philip asked: “Can you tell the difference between them?”

To British students in China, he said: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”

He asked black politician Lord Taylor of Warwick: “So, what exotic part of the world do you come from?”

This was the restrained public Philip, so we can only imagine the racist poison which dripped off his tongue in private.

This is not a series of funny little gaffes from a cuddly, old- fashioned grandpa, but a litany of racist abuse from someone who failed to cast off an upbringing in a family which swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

For this man, the Scottish Parliament was recalled for only the sixth time in its history and our election campaign was paused.

A minute’s silence was held, an honour surely we should reserve for the deserving – such as the millions whose lives were sacrificed in the name of the Crown, often needlessly.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie gave the white, middle-aged, male perspective when he said he never found Philip offensive while a tribute squeezed its way past the craw stuck in Nicola Sturgeon’s throat. Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie spoke with eloquence and honesty, criticising the “extreme wealth and privilege” of an institution his party wants abolished.

Agree with him or not, Harvie is not a hypocrite and deserves our respect.

Enough with the couthy shortbread portrayal of Philip, who jibed that Scotland was a nation of drunks.

He exploited our lands for bloodsport and truly was the “unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”.

Death should neither deify nor distort the truth of a person.

If we extol one dead racist, should we eulogise them all and what would that say to victims of prejudice?

Philip, for all his unpalatable failings, said he didn’t want a fuss over his death and, for once, I agree with him.

Not that it will stop the cap doffing and toadying in a carnival which is utterly tasteless given the context of a pandemic and such unprecedented loss of life.

Unscrupulous bosses exploit WFH staff

POST-COVID, millions of low-paid, exploited employees will now be expected to work from home.

So many companies have become pandemic profiteers and among the top beneficiaries are the owners of call centres.

Already across the world call centre employees are being subjected to intolerable surveillance in their own homes through artificial intelligence.

A study co-authored by Professor Philip Taylor, of Strathclyde University, found about 25 per cent of staff are being monitored more at home than they ever were in the office.

As employment expert Prof Taylor pointed out, these are workers in such precarious employment they are too scared to speak out against such intrusive moves.

Call centre workers, like those currently being exploited by Amazon, usually work for union-busting companies.

Only through unions and organisations such as the Call Centre Collective can workers push back against bully-boy companies who care only for profits and nothing for people.

We have to stand shoulder to shoulder behind these employees, who facilitate our ability to run our lives from the comfort of our own home.

We owe them our gratitude and support at the very least.