A WORD in the ear of the SNP hierarchy: beware!

I think your strategy for the independence campaign is mistaken. I do not have personal access to focus groups but I do have access to members of an older generation who statistically form a solid bloc of No voters – or at least I did, when I was still talking to them.

When I was in contact, I formed the opinion that the reasons they gave for being totally disdainful of any thought of voting for independence were spurious. The real reason, I believe, from a few clues here and there, was class snobbery. That (and I think they are acutely aware of this) is not a very worthy motive, so, if I persist in probing, they pretend to have economic reasons – pensions etc. That is not unreasonable, of course, if you completely trust Westminster to keep their promises and distrust the Scottish Government.

But that trust and distrust is also a consequence of the real reason – disdain for lesser mortals whose lower social status is revealed by speech and schooling. The BBC is very well aware of that. Casting for actors and people interviewed on the street ensures that Scots all tend to use an incomprehensible form of city street gutter diction – which of course reinforces these snobbish opinions. It is subtle and it is shabby. The consequence, however, is that your swerve to the right on economic matters will really put off more people than it will attract. Do not be fooled. Do not imagine for a moment that Bill Clinton’s (and Tony Blair’s) strategy of triangulation will work.

You have been warned.

A suggestion: test your focus groups using actors who are asked to speak two prepared scripts – in arguing the case for some directly opposite economic arguments. Let them use very different accents. Then get them to switch arguments but maintain their accents (with another focus group). Is it the argument or is it the accent that swings them?

Hugh Noble
Appin, Argyll

IT is great to open The National every day and have the opportunity to reflect on the broad range of well-considered perspectives on Scotland’s progressive move to self-determination. While accepting that some critical decisions regarding currency and our relationship with Europe will of necessity, if not popular desire, require to be left to the Scottish people and a new Scottish Government after independence is won, it seems important that in the meantime we move away from the Westminster-imposed language of “dependency”.

In his otherwise excellent letter on Tuesday about communicating what has changed since 2014, it appeared that Dan Wood made an unintentionally misleading comment that repeats what even some of our independence-supporting politicians regrettably continue to convey:

“…what another nation gives through an ever-decreasing block grant”. While I agree with the assessment that in real terms – and allowing for revenues now retained – funds returning to Scotland have indeed been effectively decreasing, in economic terms England “gives” nothing to Scotland and the term “block grant” – still disappointingly used on Scottish Government web pages – is a misnomer.

The “partial refund” (or equivalent wording) of Scottish revenues would seem a more appropriate expression to use, especially given that some of the “total refund” is notional anyway, although with the huge UK debt already amassed by Westminster an independent Scotland could in effect be perversely expected by some not only to repay some of Scotland’s “refund” but pay interest on this as well as on amounts essentially “borrowed” to disproportionately improve UK infrastructure in the south-east of England.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

KNOCK knock, who’s there? The Unionists. The Unionists who? The Unionists that knock knock all the time! They have nothing to offer, they have nothing good to say, just criticism, denial and dismissal of anything good in the future. They have been in control for a very long time and yet have little to boast about. Wars, poverty, money grab and general decline has been common on their watch.

The Unionists come from a wide berth of political viewpoint but are united on one belief that the Scottish people are unique in their inability for self-determination. Scots lack the determination of the Icelanders, hardiness of the Norwegians, skill of the Swiss, or the luck of the Irish. The Unionists believe we are umbilically linked to the larger partner of the so called precious Union, albeit the nutrients probably flow in the wrong direction!

Unionists have a great advantage of course, namely one of wealth: they own the businesses,the majority of the press, the supermarkets, the Lords and the governing UK party. However, times are changing due to their rigidity of thought. They cannot go on blaming all and sundry for their failings. The UK has sacrificed itself to world ridicule and disrespect due to its lack of political leadership, and this is were the difference really exists. It is south of the Border that the uncertainty, nervousness, and lack of commitment really resides, and they rule the roost!

Scotland is slowly and surely finding its feet again, and against the massive propaganda campaign instigated by the Unionists we will prevail. Their arguments are stale, their facts largely fictitious, their future promises more of the same or worse. That’s hardly a good starting position for indyref2.

Kenny Burnett
Dyce, Aberdeen

CAN we please get the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s words from March 12 2019 plastered on billboards for the Yes movement? Every sovereign state has the right to withdraw from a treaty, if that treaty is not compatible with its interests.

Stevie, Motherwell
via text