WHILST reading through Monday’s copy of the National, there seemed to me sections of news, and the letters pages, showing a common thread. This is that the SNP are at a major crossroads.

I agree that there are within the SNP, as there are within the Unionist parties, a core of unmoving fundamentalists. The Achilles heel of the inert SNP leadership is its unflinching adherence to membership of the EU.

The very same organisation that didn’t want an independent Scotland outwith the confines of a United Britain. This same group further eroded any semblance of democracy by allowing Catalonian political prisoners to be held by one of their member states! I was pro-Europe up till these events. Not anymore. The obtaining of Scotland’s independence is the only goal the SNP or any other pro-independence party should be focused on. Nothing else. The question on any form of EU membership is for another day.

This now brings me to the deputy leadership contest. This is simple to sum up. Does the SNP see itself as a party with socialist leaning? Does it see itself as the true inheritor of the Scottish Labour Party? Perhaps it sees itself as something in between?

The problem is that some think the SLP is dead. That great big hulking beast might be on the ground, it may be thrashing about, badly wounded, but while it is still moving, it retains the ability to cause damage to its opponents. I personally think that the SNP should move slightly more to the left. The installation of a left-winger as deputy leader would give that position some credibility, but then I’m a socialist!

Finally, there is a lot of groundwork being done, to facilitate the move by a certain Ms Dugdale from SLP to SNP. This has been alluded to for a considerable period of time. Well the inner sanctum of the SNP might think Dugdale is an asset, but even the monolithic UK Labour Party see she is a total liability. This is the person who stood in Holyrood and decried the efforts of the SNP government each and every day.

I don’t care if she’s had an epiphany on the road to Damascus! Dugdale is a busted flush. She brings nothing of value to the cause, other than the ability to change coats when it suits her. I’m sure that her appearance at the SNP top table will cause a backlash from pro-independence SNP supporters! I’m one of them.

Sandy Allan
Newburgh, Ellon

IN response to letters from a number of readers, I have felt moved to write in yet again, although I feel it is going over old ground. Dave McEwan Hill (Letters, February 12) is, I think, over-optimistic re: the EU and Scotland. It is true that Spain has a written constitution which Catalonia had to ignore to hold its referendum, so it was illegal, whereas Scotland’s was not. What would his solution be to that, then? Are Catalonia just to put up with it for ever? What are they to do but act illegally? He says the fact that we had a legal referendum meant that the EU had to accept our result. Yes, and they did accept it, but what if the result had gone the other way? They made it clear they would turn their backs on us. He claims the EU would not have impeded the membership of any country with most of the fishing waters etc, but that is exactly what they did propose to do. They made it clear all the way through the referendum campaign that they would not accept us into the EU unless we went to the back of the queue. Not exactly resounding support, is it, or a warm welcome?

It has been said that we do not need permission to hold a referendum in Scotland. True, in one sense, but how do we get round the fact that the UK would then simply say that a Yes vote was invalid as we had not got a Section 30 order? I believe if we had voted Yes in 2014 they would have weaselled out of it somehow and not honoured it. They have not acted exactly honourably since, have they? Every action and non-action is designed to keep Scotland (and Wales and Northern Ireland) firmly in the Unionist box.

I also feel that Susan Grant (Letters, February 12) is a little rosy-eyed about the EU’s attitude to smaller countries. Ireland initially thrived through being in the EU and it was transformed, but when austerity hit, its young people had to leave the country in their droves as there was nothing for them at home. Economic aid when needed? Financial assistance? Nothing but a euphemism for bailing out countries with cash so they could pay back the big French and German banks, while destroying populations and futures through draconian, life-limiting austerity and the denial of democracy. Yes, that was the result of the euro, but the euro is inextricably linked with the EU. It exists because of and through the EU, so the EU is behind the austerity imposed on European peoples, but strangely not imposed on the bigger countries whose economies were equally “fragile”, including Spain and Italy, presumably because they could tell the EU to get stuffed.

I wish we could now drop the EU debate and concentrate on winning independence, then hold another referendum on EU/EEA/EFTA, etc, or even several referendums on the monarchy (should we have one, should we share it with rUK, should we have our own?), Nato membership, even the establishment of a second Scottish chamber to represent regional interests and counterbalance centralisation.

Scotland is much more European and cosmopolitan in outlook than England and Wales are, so would always look for a meaningful relationship with Europe. Whether that is to be through the EU is a debate for another day,

Julia Pannell
Friockheim, Tayside