I MADE the mistake on Wednesday of reading the letters pages first, with the predictable backlash against Jim Sillars. How do we get together to strengthen the independence vehicle when many of us feel it is going in the wrong direction? And for others to feel disgust at his opinions on the SNP’s lack of direction is a little over the top, as is the description of an elderly attention-seeker with low self-esteem. The fact remains that the SNP strategy of doing a good day job and not rocking the boat is risky. What if people get sick of the party of government and vote them out? In any case, does it bring independence closer?

Thankfully, I then read Kevin McKenna’s masterful shredding of SNP strategy. The SNP quietly abandoned any hope of indyref2 on the morning after the EU vote, limping along from red line to red line since then, stringing us along. The final straw was the non-announcement on January 31. The gender cult has removed the SNP from what used to be its core belief, independence, to the point where they are no longer advocating it apart from wistful aspirations with no clout.

Does it help the Unionist cause that ardent independence supporters disagree profoundly on SNP strategy or does it help them if we just get in line as cheerleaders for the SNP doing the day job? That is what Ruth Davidson and the branch office always wanted us to do, and now we have done it. Don’t get me wrong, the SNP Government is a perfectly credible party of government and does a good job, but they decided at some point to do only the day job and quietly abandoned independence in favour of niche projects like the Gender Recognition Act.

We should be calling out the UK’s abject failure on business support during Covid-19, its muddled thinking on lockdown, EU procurement,and so on. Instead we were “rooting for Boris”. Again, don’t get me wrong, I wish him no harm (although his party has dealt out a death sentence to many poor and disabled people long before Covid), but we are not cheerleaders for the UK Government.

We can’t make political capital out of Covid-19. Why not? Isn’t the UK Government doing exactly that? Even its slogan “Protect the NHS” is a masterful sleight of hand in making people forget the NHS would not be in such a dire position without decades of privatisation and under-investment. Don’t think that did not affect us because it was the English NHS. Their reduced spending impacts on the amount we get.

It is impossible to get anywhere in the SNP without getting into line and staying there. It has become cult-like and hyper-risk-averse. It is the SNP way or the highway. There is no appetite for a fight with the UK, but in the end that is what it will take. If the SNP is not passionate about independence, then who will be? Or is there yet a nasty operator able to clear out the careerists and move the party forward?

Julia Pannell


KEVIN McKenna’s column gladdened my heart. Plenty of us know that the best man for the strategic influential kick-arse role he identified is Alex Salmond.

Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond have both made enormous inspirational contributions to the quest for Scottish independence and right now the movement needs the skills and respective aptitudes of them both in full measure because there’s a lot to do.

For the love of our country and the cause we espouse, please will the pair of you meet and sort out any and all differences you have.

Never mind inviting any other “supporters” to your meeting – it just needs the two of you to talk and find a way of going forward together and providing the leadership the independence movement requires at this stage because we’ll all be the stronger for it.

Whilst the cause of independence for Scotland is bigger and more important than any individual we need our two best fighters on side and working together in pursuit of it.

The days of sustaining a nicey-nicey relationship with Westminster’s Unionists and their acolytes are over.

Anne Thomson


KEVIN McKenna’s article was a timely exposure of the views held by rank-and-file supporters of independence.

What progress towards the goal has been made since the referendum? Precious little, the official view being “when we win the next election, they’ll listen to us”. Poppycock!

Drew Reid