“WE have cotch’d Scotland and will not let her go.”

That was the comment from Westminster after the Treaty of Union was signed; there were riots in the streets and the Treaty had to be signed, in private, in a cellar in Edinburgh.

When I joined in Peterhead in 1966 the SNP had no MPs in Westminster; we were aware that Dr Robert McIntyre, the SNP president, had won a by election in Motherwell in 1945, but only held the seat for a few months, but the SNP profile was quite low. Also at the time there were some councilors, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Stirling and Dundee, but no great number.

In the spring of 1967 there was a by-election in Glasgow Pollok where the SNP got 28.2 % (the SNP candidate was George Leslie, who had a letter in The National on April 16!) The local bookie in Peterhead would not take my bet on George Leslie!

Then in November 1967 Winnie Ewing won a stunning victory in Hamilton, taking the seat from Labour; this sent shockwaves through British politics. Winnie was given a very hard time in Westminster – not much has changed then.

In 1970 Winnie lost, but Donald Stewart was elected for the Western Isles. The SNP has been represented in every Parliament since then.

As of today there is a clamour in the Yes movement for another independence referendum; it is also in the SNP as well and a lot of pressure on Nicola Sturgeon to call one now. Nicola is wisely biding her time as the UK political system is in the greatest mess I have seen in my life. The SNP cannot declare a referendum, per se, and we are dependant on the British Prime Minister to pass the necessary legislation, so are in a cleft stick. In my day, the SNP policy was that if we obtained half of the Westminster seats we could declare independence, but we abandoned that and followed the gradualist route. At present we have 35 out of 59 Scottish seats and are consistently ignored and insulted. Scotland got a parliament, with limitations, which are becoming more visible as powers are returned from the European Union and taken over by Westminster.

British (English) intransigence forced the Irish nation to take up the gun, something which we will never do, so we must find some other way to loosen the greedy grip. The SNP’s support for the EU was to assist us in our demand for independence; this has now become more likely as the UK continues to insult its allies.

Putting pressure on Nicola is self-defeating; those calling for one do not have to answer if it fails. There is an old saying in politics “Do not promise what you cannot perform”.

I would not give any advice to Nicola because I do not know the best thing to do; she is not kicking the can down the road as Theresa May is doing, but she will be left to carry the can.

We have come a long road.

Jim Lynch

PETER Dryburgh (Letters, April 16) advocates, before any new referendum on independence, the establishment of “an internationally convened body”. Who will convene this body? The UN? The EU? Or some ad-hoc coalition of the willing? Peter advocates that this mythical body (“under a Scandinavian or perhaps Australian chairman”) should have “full legal powers” – who is going to give it “full legal powers”? Westminster? – “to examine the detailed connections between Scotland and England”

Both historians and lawyers have been examining the detailed connections between Scotland and England ever since the Union of 1707. At no time has there been agreement amongst historians and lawyers, and there isn’t agreement amongst historians and lawyers now. What makes Peter imagine some Australian or Scandinavian-chaired body is going to reach concensus where centuries of study have failed to produce concensus?

And if Peter is suggesting waiting until this mythical body reaches a definitive conclusion, then he’s advocating we wait until the twelfth of never.

The time for waiting is over. It is past. It is gone. And no suggestions of mythical bodies for the creation of magical concensus can ever bring it back. Yes, there will be argument. Yes, it will get heated. That’s democracy. But the time for setting a target date for the new referendum on independence is NOW.

Dave Coull

THERE are two factors concerning the Tory government and its intransigent views on Brexit. The first is its well spun yarn concerning how good Brexit will be for the whole of the United Kingdom.

On Tuesday, Jeremy Hunt stated that the whole Cabinet is one that believes in Brexit. And this regardless of how, as individuals, it voted in the referendum. A few weeks ago he could not have made the same statement. After all, he opines, they are all democrats – as and when it suits them in my humble opinion. What makes all the aforesaid feeble is that, according to Hunt, Brexit will create great opportunities for the ‘’country’’ whichever choice it makes. Er, pardon? What other choice is referred to here that will be greater than May’s current deal for the “country”? So, regardless of how the current Cabinet voted, or indeed those who have left these past few weeks, why are the original remainers, like Mrs May, now praising the very Brexit concept that we all know to be bad for the country?

The other fact is that Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn are supposed to be in deep conversation with each other over the Easter weekend. Now we hear she has gone gad about in Wales somewhere with her husband.

I guess it has to be a well-earned break to do something that is hair blowing to get away from something that is as mind blowing as the Westminster parliamentary voting system, which now happens not just once a week but several times a day.

Alan Magnus-Bennett