KEVIN McKenna (The SNP leadership is paralysed on independence at just the wrong time, July 17) puts his finger exactly on what many of us are thinking: members, supporters and donors alike. We have been very patient for too long, "not scaring the horses". There is, however, no denying that we all face the dilemma of going for independence too soon or missing the boat altogether, doing our individual risk assessments with monotonous regularity.

Despite all that is being done for the country by the Scottish Government, we are virtually starved of details of convincing progress to independence or at least the steps being taken to expedite that result. No doubt much is being done behind the scenes with private meetings in Europe and scenario planning in Edinburgh

READ MORE: Kevin McKenna: SNP paralysed on indyref2 at just the wrong time

Let us not buy the business model of not fully showing our hand. Any fool in London will easily identify what our negotiating options are. We are not dealing with an enemy who has set out to ensure that we are roundly defeated, routed and humiliated, or perhaps we are? Face has to be saved and realistic negotiations concluded in a civilised manner by adults. Three years plus of the British Government’s "negotiating" Brexit with an eminently courteous and reasonable partner in Europe shows the futility of that approach, and we know where that is heading this week.

There has been much criticism of the proposal by Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny. In his usual detailed and entertaining analysis Kevin McKenna emphasises that their proposal could at least have an airing at conference. Those of us supporting the SNP would feel we were being included rather than beginning to fear that there is something to hide or, worse, nothing to hide because the cupboard is bare.

Westminster’s intransigence is clear: "Now is not the time." You will not have a referendum. You will not even have a Section 30 order. And so on and on ad nauseam. But time is not on our side. Remember the example of President Wilson and Emperor Karl of Austria-Hungary. Remember who will be encouraging Johnson behind the scenes. He will act very quickly, immediately after the coronation unless some political accident befalls him.

He will form a hard Brexit Cabinet stuffed with those who have or think they have extracted hints or even promises of rewards or at least kept their noses clean. He may send the Scottish Parliament on gardening leave and we still can’t be sure that there will not be some bid to prorogue the "English" Parliament. 

Nick Clegg has predicted an early General Election and that the right-wing English nationalists will facilitate the break-up of the Union. Green lights will be given to dodgy trade deals with the United States of America and others. There will be one-way concessions and very inimical consequences to our national health services (including our National Health Service) and anything in Scotland that can be sacrificed. Already his advance plans are in the public domain, eg his new title "Minister for the Union", a more powerful Scotland Office with "Fluffy" still there (but now with the past title of Chief Secretary for Scotland re-invented) aided and abetted by a new "Under-Secretary" presumably drawn from those Scottish Conservative MPs who have made a "pledge of loyalty"’ to Boris Johnson

In addition, it appears that the whole Scottish group of Westminster MPs have extracted a promise (a promise?) of several matters, some of which might on the face of it be beneficial in some way to Scotland. That is not worth the paper it is written on or, more likely, it is not written.  More Trojan Horses in these new "hubs".

It is helpful to consider the risks by comparing where we are now with where we might be in six months or the second half of 2020. Brexit will probably have happened, Europe will have moved on and it’s anyone’s guess what will be the position in Northern Ireland and along the border. Boris Johnson will have been ousted, the Tories will have been roundly defeated at the now-imminent General Election but will have made their comeback under Nigel Farage, who will still be in the government even having suffered a catastrophic exodus of his own supporters to the New English Conservative Party which replaces the present Conservative Party.

Labour might just creep in and, with the help of others, upset the calculations, but if not, Tories /Brexiteers will still have a stranglehold on politics in England with the inevitable repercussions in Scotland.

Let us not fall into the trap which is still fascinating some people viz talk of another mandate. We have a mandate. We have three. We have a triple lock. The writing is on the wall and has been for some time. Things are now moving very fast and Scotland needs to move faster still. Move Now. There is a window of opportunity, certainly not open for long. Of course, there may be a risk of losing independence by precipitate action now, but it will be much higher in six months, never mind 18 months.

Remember recent opinion polls, especially the 53% of Scots who said they would vote for Scottish independence if Boris Johnson is crowned, but also that Scotland’s political map is due to change colour again as it did in 2015.  Let us man the metaphorical barricades.

The Scottish Government should ensure that a reminder is on the new PM’s desk as soon as he walks in to Number 10 that we have already requested a Section 30 order. He must realise that not only is the clock ticking but that the stop-watch has been started.

Having said all that, we could just about spare a moment to give everyone attending the conference in Aberdeen later this year a free ticket for the "Weather Forecasters’ Convention".

Robert Mac Lachlan