DO you ever read something that makes you physically wince? I flinched twice reading George Kerevan’s article (Barometer still set fair for SNP, so let’s take the initiative, May 14). I cringed when I read this: “the Scots electorate (mercifully) is having a year off”. Aye, George! Because voting is such an onerous task we should be glad of anti-democratic British Nationalists like Ruth Davidson who want to relieve us of the chore. Participating in the democratic process is such a burden we should happily do the bidding of those who advise us to sit down, shut up and eat our cereal.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was some way we could all just disengage from politics altogether? Wouldn’t it be great if there was some elite prepared to relieve us of the need to think about all that politics stuff? Wouldn’t it be a mercy if we were given two years off from the grind of democracy? Or five? Or 50?

That five-minute walk to the polling place is hellish enough. But then they make you pick up a pencil and make a mark on a bit of paper! Sometimes, you even have to think about where you’re putting that cross! (Yes! A cross! That’s two – count them! – TWO pencil strokes!) And you might be asked to do this TWICE in the one year! It’s inhuman!

Of course, it’s not just the voting that’s a massive imposition. All that politics nonsense takes up so much space in the newspapers and so much airtime on TV and radio. Think how much more sport there could be in the papers if it weren’t for all those column inches being devoted to stuff about health and education and welfare. Think how many more soaps could be crammed into a day if they would just stop putting politicians on. Who needs it? We pay those politicians to run the country. Can they not just get on with it? Do they have to be pestering us all the time?

I’d barely recovered from the physical impact of that little gobbet of thoughtlessness when I was made to recoil again; this time at the suggestion that: “This upcoming spring conference will be the last at which the SNP top brass can remain silent on the referendum question.”

What!? The SNP leadership can remain silent about the new referendum at next month’s conference!? They can get through the whole two days without so much as mentioning it!? As they say on Twitter, WTF!?

I know George noticed the All Under One Banner march in Glasgow on Saturday May 5. I know he’s aware of it, because he mentions it in the very next sentence. What does he think those 50,000 people were marching for? Longer tea breaks!?

In theory, I suppose it’s possible that there were people on that march whose enthusiasm for independence wasn’t matched by a sense of urgency. It was a very large gathering. Perhaps I missed the banners saying “POSTPONE THE REFERENDUM”. Maybe I failed to hear the chants of: “What do we want? Independence! When do we want it? When Pete Wishart is satisfied that we can’t possibly lose!”

Or perhaps I read the mood correctly. Perhaps there was a feeling of urgency in the air. Perhaps there is an expectation that the SNP will respond to that sense of urgency. Perhaps a large proportion of those people are anticipating something more than silence on the referendum question when the party meets in Aberdeen next month. Perhaps a significant number of those people will be bloody annoyed if all they get is silence from the “SNP top brass”.

One thing I can say for certain about the people on that march – they know the value of participative democracy. They don’t think of participation in the democratic process as a chore to be avoided if at all possible. They aren’t content to sit down, shut up and eat their cereal. That march was democracy in action. Those people, and the thousands more who were with them in spirit, were insisting on having their say.

The SNP leadership better be listening. And they’d better have a good response. Silence will not satisfy those people. Silence is not an option.

Peter A Bell

I HAVE been convinced for many years that the war between the rich and the poor has already been won – by the rich (If the class war is over, it’s because the rich won, May 14).

Having won the war, the rich are despoiling the poor of their remaining goods, and growing hugely richer. All the statistics would bear me out in this. The question is, in a society where too many of the working class no longer conceive of themselves as working class, but (because a bank has a fat mortgage on their home, and they park a shiny 4x4 on the street outside their semi), they consider themselves to be “middle class” – how do we re-motivate the working class to begin the fight back against the rich?

The Thatcherites in Britain have largely achieved one of their aims: that of destroying class consciousness on the part of the working class. To a working class without class consciousness, Marxist theories are irrelevant – as are his solutions, to a problem the British working class no longer recognises. History has moved on: the new class consciousness is not that of working class against the rest, but of the utterly destitute (an expanding group) against society. When one day the utterly destitute – or the near-destitute –begin to express themselves as a unified political force, then only will we see a revolution taking place in Britain. (For the purposes of this post, I include Scotland within “Britain”: the same problems apply in both).

Robert Dewar