IT is disappointing that the SNP have sought to distance themselves from Joanna Cherry’s recent comments, since she points in the direction we seem likely to have to take.

The Conservatives have said they will not issue a Section 30 Order before 2027. So, if Nicola Sturgeon calls for a second referendum, Theresa May (or whoever has replaced her as PM by then) will say: “Now is not the time”. Indeed, as long as support for independence remains above 40% and preferably a great deal less, it is unlikely a Prime Minister would willingly risk another referendum. Was David Cameron not influenced by support for a Yes vote being reportedly at around 28% when negotiating the Edinburgh Agreement?

If we are going to be told, “No, now is not the time”, does this not provoke the question what do we do then? Do we just sit back and wait for the next nine years – or more, “not before 2027”! – to elapse, and then hope for the best when we are all nine years older (or worse)? Should there not be a Plan B, another strategy?

It is this which Joanna Cherry develops in the speech, suggesting two ways forward.

First, we might drive a hard bargain in negotiations after the next Westminster election, including a Section 30 Order for the second referendum. The Labour party say they are not interested, but has anyone ever heard either of the main parties, perhaps nearly four years before another General Election, say they were not expecting to win? However, a hung parliament and the possibility of forming a government through coalition or some other agreement quickly changes minds.

What seems to have stirred things is Cherry’s second suggestion of using a majority of Scottish MPs elected in a General Election as a justification to negotiate independence. In 2015 the SNP won 56 of 59 Scottish seats, securing a whisker less than 50% of the votes cast. But treating a majority of Scottish MPs as a mandate to negotiate independence needs a manifesto commitment, and this was singularly lacking then.

If we suppose such a commitment was made in the election following “No, now is not the time”, how would the Unionist parties respond in practice (other than their cries of outrage)? Would they agree to stand only one candidate – the “Unionist candidate” – in each constituency? If not, then the Unionist vote is split, and we might well see another 2015, though with a manifesto commitment to negotiate independence.

But would Westminster negotiate? Or just repeat, as often as necessary, “No, now is not the time”. If they do, Craig Murray will be proved right in his conclusion to a recent blog that “One day, all supporters of independence are going to be forced to get their heads round the fact that London is going for the Madrid solution, and we are not going to achieve independence without using peaceful, non-violent routes which are nevertheless going to be deemed illegal by the establishment.”

Alasdair Galloway

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry tells conference independence can be won without a referendum​

GILL Turner (Letters, October 6) is spot on but Theresa May is guilty of more than just distortion of facts and history when it comes to fishing. In view of statements which she has made previously during these “negotiations”, one can add hypocrisy and sheer brass neck! Fortunately, I frequently write down public utterances which I suspect may come back to bite the speaker, so let me quote her: “Spanish fishermen should not be left poorer” and “the deal must not disadvantage EU fishermen”. Add to these the words of her right-hand man in Scotland, David Mundell – Minister of State for the UK Government in Scotland, as the Scotland office now is – “there is no way we could go back to Scotland or Britain controlling British waters”. Fine examples of Westminster concern for Scottish fishermen!

Surely a Scottish Government, after independence, could negotiate better deals with the EU than has ever been done by theses hypocrites and their lackeys. We might even, under international maritime law, get back the chunk of North Sea with its oil and gas wells that Tony Blair stole!

Besides, even barring a “People’s Vote”, Scotland has already voted twice to remain in the EU, once in 2014 when the guarantee of permanent EU membership won votes for No. If this promise had little or no effect as some claim, then the number of “Yessers” who voted Leave would have given Leave a huge majority in Scotland, but the actual margin was huge in the other direction, proving that far greater numbers of “Nos” changed to Remain. The second vote, in the EU referendum, bears this out.

From day one of EU membership being debated, Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and the Scottish Government have held the same position. Westminster has promised one thing and then reneged on it and imposed the opposite. So who are the real traitors?

P Davidson

READ MORE: Letters: We won't take lectures about betrayal from Tories​

HAVING read George Kerevan’s article “What Sturgeon’s speech to faithful should really say” (October 8), I’m afraid I was left feeling that with friends like George, the independence movement has less need of enemies.

It’s not that I disagree with many of his policy ideas, it’s more the negatively obsessive way he carps about the Growth Commission and the SNP leadership. I also wonder if George ever reflects on whether the way he parades his particular preoccupations had anything to do the loss of his Westminster seat?

That was a loss that I personally thought was particularly unfortunate, but George gives the impression that it was all down to factors outwith his control and nothing to do with him. I’m not sure if advice will be particularly welcome, but mine to George would be to leave the factionalism to the Labour Party. They’re so much more practised at it than us.

Douglas Turner

READ MORE: Here's what Nicola Sturgeon should be saying in her SNP conference speech tomorrow​