We must not rely on Tory chaos to boost indy cause

THE idea that the UK Government’s (mis)behaviour brings independence closer is repeated too often without due consideration of the facts. Only on Wednesday, Kevin McKenna wrote: “Johnson has just boosted the indy campaign with his virus exit strategy” (May 13). This kind of statement is not in any way helpful.

We do indeed have as PM of the UK a man whose incapacity for his role is becoming ever clearer. At the same time, do not forget that he has managed to challenge the law, prorogue Parliament and remove 21 members of his party whose views are not in line with his own. At the moment, he has an 80-seat majority. There is little sign of him and his backers being challenged, never mind being ousted.

Critics of Nicola Sturgeon would do well to note that the leaders of the movement for Catalan independence declared a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) and are still in jail almost two years later, having been imprisoned by the central government of Spain, a move endorsed by Theresa May in the emphatic statement that she backed the Spanish government “wholeheartedly”. Can the agitators not see that whatever form of UDI that is in their heads for Scotland (they never explain their plans) would only lead to a declaration by Johnson of a state of exception and military intervention? It is all in place.

The First Minister is doing well in moving towards consensus and gaining support, in Europe and on the international stage and to a degree in other parts of the UK. All effort should be put into establishing and building the structures needed to support an independent Scotland, particularly a national bank and a currency, so that any campaign cannot be wrong-footed as happened in 2014. A step-by-step approach has a good chance of success and those alleging plots and divisions within the SNP have as an opponent a Tory party where, whatever so-called critics within their ranks may say from day to day, MPs always rally round the leader when it comes to the crunch.

Douglas Howkins

Broughty Ferry

A FURTHER article by Joanna Cherry re “stifling democratic debate ” (The National, May 14) clearly is a response to criticisms she may have received regarding her “ SNP long-term strategy” article in the The National (May 7). I would not be so presumptuous to think it to be a direct response to my own article. I can assure readers I am not the “the anonymous senior SNP source” who is briefing against debate.

I am in fact an SNP activist who really must once again challenge the assumptions Joanna Cherry has expressed in her latest article. The article covers a range of issues, some I agree with and others I do not.

Much as I admire the “old guard” of the SNP, who in the leaner days kept the faith and the party together battling against indifference and hostile opposition, weathering the storm and internal party wrangles. Although interesting, the early history of the SNP and the personal challenges faced by Ms Cherry take up a rather large portion of the article. In the here and now, such deliberations are interesting but showed a party struggling with internal strife.

Our party now exudes unity, tolerance and social democracy bound by one aim – independence. Of course there are differences, but more unites us than divides us. I am afraid articles such as those recently produced by Joanna Cherry inflames the latter.

Of relevance to me is the present. As a pre-independence referendum activist of 2014 in the most active of SNP branches and constituency, I have, with my SNP colleagues, participated in the most exhaustingly non-stop local, Holyrood and Westminster elections for a five-year period. What motivates and holds us together is one thing – independence.

Any attempt to split the party will ensure this never happens. Our party is totally different now. The membership of 2020 is 125,000. This party resembles nothing like the party as Joanna Cherry describes it. Even though the party has grown beyond recognition, its unity is its strength. Why would this party, whose strength is built on its membership, “suppress debate” about policy and strategy. Ms Cherry suggests that “Plan B” discussion was shouted down. It was democratically and overwhelmingly voted down by conference delegates. No evidence in the article is provided to show that strategy and policy discussions are being stifled. Much is just speculation.

The article does acknowledge that the new structures within the party will enhance policy and strategy, but as yet have not made an impact. The coronavirus pandemic clearly has prevented further development. Little stops MPs/MSPs and the leadership discussing the issues of concern that they may or may not have within the party – the rank and file expect it. It would seem little of this is taking place. Please do it. Is their a conspiracy ? Articles like Joanna Cherry’s, particularly at this time, add little to refuting the suggestion.

Clearly the party have impatient members who want radical change, but we cannot have them “shouting out” the majority. We switch off at our peril – the activists, the membership and our supporters – with factionalism, in-fighting, pointless grievance and one-upmanship. Only our critics gain from pursuing these actions.

Can I suggest that Joanna Cherry, along with her 47 MP colleagues, concentrate in creating through, “a new strategy”, a more effective Scottish presence “down there” at Westminster? Let’s see actions, not words.

Dan Wood

Kirriemuir

THE hostile words used by that anonymous “party source” in commenting on Joanna Cherry’s argument for a wide democratic debate within the SNP (The National, May 14), tell me that she may have hit a nerve.

I have been concerned for some time about what appears to be a gap, something missing, in that there is a lack of discussion, and perhaps a lack of opportunity for such discussion, within the SNP as it has been working in recent years.

I fully understand that we have been in almost constant campaign mode for a long time, but I think that fact should have led to the deliberate creation of more opportunities for such discussion, perhaps along the lines of the 2018 National Assemblies.

One of your correspondents (letters, May 12) accused Ms Cherry of “delivering no such strategy” when, in fact, she was proposing a discussion on strategy. Most people will understand the difference, but some will choose not to. One might ask why.

Bill Craig

Glasgow

I WAS upset to read in Wednesday’s paper the criticism by a “party source” of Joanna Cherry. I had the pleasure of leafleting with Joanna during the Yes campaign and found her to be an extremely nice, dedicated and genuine human being.

I am wondering if we could all ignore the “anonymous senior SNP sources”, who do not have the guts to reveal their identity. I am wondering if we have some double agents in our midst?

Mary Ross

Edinburgh

PETE Wishart is completely and utterly wrong – the fact is, the SNP have failed their primary task to secure a vote for independence.

The Irish, under the Good Friday Agreement, already have a legal right to a vote should there be enough support demonstrated. The Section 30 order required under the devolution settlement is quite clearly discriminatory against Scotland, and the SNP should have taken this to the European Court of Human Rights – and still should, though we are fast running out of time.

Pete Wishart (above) and his colleagues at Westminster are complicit in this regard, as they have failed to bring this up at every opportunity. As far as the list vote goes, for 953,587 list votes, the SNP secured four additional seats, for 524,222 votes, the Tories secured 24 seats. The Greens, with 150,000, secured six seats. The 953,587 list votes for the SNP are being wasted. These votes should go to another trusted independence party. The poor response to the Greens is because it is clear to the majority of Scots that they, at every Budget, attempt to coerce something for their primary green policies.

Fair enough, they are the Green Party. However, I predict any independence party that can gain the trust of SNP supporters would garner the vast majority of SNP list votes, and support for the Greens would melt away like snow off a dyke.

Allan Jaap

via email

BEWARE, by placing The National’s support solely behind the SNP it is narrowing its appeal when we need to attract more readers from across the political spectrum and broaden support.

The SNP is a subset of the independence movement, many of whom are not necessarily SNP supporters.

There are many outwith the SNP diaspora who have antipathy to that party and its leadership, and who we need to attract to independence to win it. If they can encourage support from other political parties, then doesn’t that build support in the campaign’s interests?

There are also not a few who despair at this SNP’s de facto leadership of the campaign, dithering like an ancient prophet wandering in the political wildnerness, seemingly working harder to contain independence than drive it.

If another party can be the catalyst to break the current SNP inertia, then how could that be a bad thing?

Jim Taylor

Edinburgh

FOLLOWING the shortening of the football season and the relegation of Hearts, some of the hypocrisy emanating from Tynecastle has been hard to swallow.

However, the latest outburst from Hearts fan and labour politician George Foulkes, who picks up on the “it’s no’ fair” theme, alleging Hearts were “kicked out on a whim” and claiming that the way forward now is to void the season. Clearly, he feels this proposal is in no way unfair to Celtic, Dundee United or Cove Rangers, who all invested heavily to achieve their ambitions and topped their leagues by some distance when the league was shortened.

Furthermore, if voiding the league results in Scottish clubs being ineligible for European competitions next season, would Foulkes et al consider that fair or even desirable? Incidentally, having been hovering round the foot of the Premiership for much of the season, did Hearts at no time consider the possibility of relegation and draw up contingency plans for such an eventuality?

Malcolm Cordell

via email

WHILE my sympathies lie with those who want to go to the golf club or the garden centre, I am keenly anticipating the return of visits to the dentist, optician, chiropractor and chiropodist – plus a rescheduling of my cataract removal. It’s always the little things that mean the most!

Rachel Martin

Musselburgh



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