Let us stand together, not split the Yes vote thanks to in-fighting

I READ with interest about the arrival of the new independence party courtesy of ex-SNP member Colette Walker. I also read with interest the article she felt compelled to write justifying its existence (It’s time we stood up to Westminster to win independence, May 14).

What I find extraordinary is the lack of understanding of the single transferable vote and the further lack of understanding of the consequences of splitting the pro-independence vote.

The Yes movement, which includes all the grassroots organisations and All Under One Banner, has worked very hard alongside SNP and Green activists to present independence as a viable alternative to the Scottish, and indeed the rUK, electorate.

READ MORE: Colette Walker: It’s time we stood up to Westminster to win independence

Good leadership by the First Minster thus far in dealing with the pandemic in Scotland has given Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP a huge surge in the polls.

Is it not prudent, then, to wait until after the Holyrood elections next year, or is this rather disgruntled ex-SNP member motivated by other things?

The UK Government is looking to make a huge power grab at the end of this year when, courtesy of Covid-19, we will have a hard Brexit. This may include a radical change to the devolved nations and their current raft of devolved powers. A united front in the face of a huge Tory majority in Westminster would seem to be more politically prudent.

We will all need to continue to work hard to stand still in the coming year to avoid the worst excesses of the pandemic, its economic legacy and the prospect of the consequences of a Tory hard Brexit.

READ MORE: Independence for Scotland Party says now is the time for ‘bold’ push

As for the scant dismissal of the single transferable vote, we know that the promotion of the “one and two” was roundly shown to be a miscalculation on the part of the SNP and contributed to the current minority position.

It is not the current position now. The current position is to use both votes for pro-independence candidates.

I did not see anything forward-thinking or new in the article, which was more about criticism of former political colleagues than presenting any really new, sparkly messages that a new party might use to charm the electorate, in particular swing or even No voters.

I do agree the SNP leadership has been frustratingly slow in seeking indyref2, however we need now to wait until the almost inevitable hard Brexit is slipped through on Hogmanay and the subsequent pro-independence backlash to it in the 2021 Holyrood elections before we try to split the vote and undo the hard work of others.

Boris Johnson will be the last Prime Minster of the United Kingdom if we all stand together and spend less time on grudges, in-fighting, vitriol and unwarranted one-trick ponies like the less than shiny “new” party.

Carol Wood
via email

UNLIKE Jim Lynch (Letters, May 13) who joined the SNP in 1966, I can only claim active SNP membership – including 25 years as a councillor – since 1974. Like Jim, as the hands of time march on I find myself with a little more time to write and reflect on life, and a little less energy to knock doors and deliver leaflets.

Like many, I share the frustration that the party failed to secure independence in 2014.

I am fascinated by the recent emergence of the Independence for Scotland Party and its so-called leader Colette Walker. I am not sure of Ms Walker’s background, but I am fairly sure I have not met her, nor indeed heard her speak at a party conference.

The timing of her party’s launch as the First Minister battles the dual onslaught of a virus pandemic and the daily assault of the combined Unionist press smacks of opportunism.

I was wondering how one becomes leader of a new political party. I don’t remember reading about any kind of election; maybe I missed it. How many of her members voted for her, I wonder?

I look forward with a degree of fear and trepidation to hearing if this new party has any policies – apart from independence. I understand they intend to stand only on the list ballot paper.

I will be really interested to know how it will vet its candidates and am really, really interested to know how they will rank their candidates on the list. This might be cynical, but I can’t help ask if anyone would like to bet that Ms Walker will be near the top of a list somewhere.

I have spent the past weeks in voluntary isolation, and it looks like possibly many more weeks lie ahead. I was musing for a moment or so on how easy it would be to pass the time by creating a new political party: an application to the Electoral Commission, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and top of the list, a crowdfunder to raise some much welcome cash. Bingo! I’m the leader of my own little political party. All without leaving the house.

Next I need candidates for my lists. I am sure I could find a few folk willing to lend their names, especially if I dangle the possibility of a seat in the Scottish Parliament and the salary and expenses that go with it.

I have certainly not always agreed with the strategy of the party, but the thought of jumping ship for a bob or two as the goal is in sight has not yet crossed my mind – and never will.

Might I humbly suggest that the SNP meet the problem head-on by having the SNP manifesto say on page one, paragraph one: “Vote for us and we will hold a referendum within 12 months”.

Brian Lawson
Paisley

JUST a suggestion, why not have Nicola do the talk then let Janey Godley answer the journalists? It might possibly stop the regurgitated keech that we usually get.

M Ross
Aviemore



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