AS we approach the opportunity of a second independence referendum (date yet to be determined), those of us who are planning to vote Yes again are duty-bound to try and persuade previous No voters to consider a change of heart next time around.

I’ve been talking to people about their voting intentions and a common thread voiced by many No voters is that independence isn’t for Scotland, it’s not a natural state of affairs for us, we don’t need it as we’ve been in the Union for over 300 years.

However, I have found it quite interesting when I propose to them that independence is actually a perfectly natural and normal state of affairs. If it wasn’t, then why do so many countries strive to attain independence and, once achieved, why do so few countries relinquish it (actually, none!)?

A quick look at the United Nations website will inform us that there are 193 independent member nations in the UN General Assembly. This is almost every nation on Earth. Alphabetically, they start at Afghanistan and end with Zimbabwe. They all conduct themselves, for better or worse, with their neighbours and the rest of the world. Elect their own governments, with varying degrees of attention to the democratic process. Find themselves faced with the myriad of problems that are faced by all nations and do their best to resolve them. Decide which military and economic alliances and unions they wish to join, or not, as the case may be, etc, etc.

Somehow, and no Unionists I have yet spoken to has explained why, the only country on Earth that is incapable of facing up to these responsibilities is, you’ve guessed it, Scotland! I am told that we are unique in the world, in that the normal day-to-day governing of Scotland is beyond us as a people. That it would be a “shambles”, we’d be “poverty-stricken”, “defenceless” etc. This is despite the fact that almost every other nation on Earth (193 of them) manages to be self-determinant. But, it’s OK for them ... not for us.

On the other hand, I have also perceived evidence that the “Scottish cringe” is indeed diminishing. Some No voters in 2014 have told me that they have changed their mind or are at least questioning their loyalty to the Union. This is indeed very encouraging and we should all be regularly raising the issue with anyone we know in this category.

The simple fact is that in order to win the next indyref we need to persuade people to come over to Yes. The cards are falling well for us, with the shambles that is Brexit, a heightening of discontent with the democratic deficit that we in Scotland face in UK elections, repugnance at the opulence displayed by the monarchy, those with their noses in the trough of The House of Lords and the cronyism and nepotism that pervades the UK establishment to our detriment.

So, the future is encouraging, and I believe that independence for Scotland is within our grasp. The final push starts now. Don’t be afraid to raise the issue – after all, it is the biggest decision Scotland will ever make. There’s a seat waiting for Scotland at the UN and I know where it is. It’s the one alphabetically between Saudi Arabia and Senegal. Let’s make sure we fill it!

Alan Carroll

THE article by Alison Johnstone on environmental matters is good stuff (SNP has taken its eye off the ball on animal rights and protecting the environment, June 8). Every point she makes is valid. Though she does not emphasise it, she implies that the support of the SNP for the new runway at Heathrow is a mistake, which it is in every way.

Owing to the passage of many decades as Westminster delays the date of Scotland’s independence, the problems of modernisation and reform change. What once seemed reasonable policies become irrelevant. Thus the environment’s problems are now more pressing than than those once considered significant: this is what Alison Johnstone is adumbrating.

Very soon Green issues are going be all-important, which is going to change all of the debate. This is why I agree with Jim Cuthbert, though for different reasons, that action is urgently required before the new generation of obstacles appear on the horizon.

Iain WD Forde

DOES London/England/UK need more airport capacity in the already grossly overcrowded and over-endowed (with infrastructure) south-east corner of the realm? This to the almost certain detriment of developments in other areas, as skills, material resources, personnel and finance are drawn in from elsewhere. The citizens of “elsewhere”, which includes ourselves in Scotland, will be required to pay the cost of this monstrous, polluting project, with little benefit to themselves.

The promised “extra slots” for Scotland will soon disappear and I am dismayed that our own SNP has lent its support in the Westminster Parliament. Who would believe “perfidious Albion”, with the history of broken promises and political manipulation since the Union?

If independence is truly our aim, we should be thinking of the development of a Scottish International airport. After all, we own the under-used Prestwick and we could surely clean up, police better and improve the rail link to Glasgow.

I do not wish to spend the last years of my life paying for yet another massive project in south-east England, including compensation to the owners of properties to be demolished, when such money could be spent here. England could also develop airports away from London, where housing is cheaper and local services would not be so stressed by a tide of incoming workers.

Scottish development should be the priority for Scottish political parties. As to the “benefit” of links to other international flights through London; this would become more necessary, as airlines scrambled for slots. We need to develop more international routes into Scotland, while in the meantime using existing links via Amsterdam, London, Reykjavik, Dublin, Manchester etc, for a successful launch into independence. Hopefully, this can be achieved while keeping noise and other forms of pollution and disruption to communities under control. Scottish infrastructure must be a priority, NOT the never-ending pouring of money and resources into south-east England. As an afterthought, where are the 20,000 or so workers going to come from, given the immigration policies of the May government? They must not be allowed to “steal” more of our young people, who represent our future.

Andrew McCrae