ANDREW M Fraser’s response to the article by James Dornan (Letters, The National, May 22) nails the frustration felt by many in the independence movement on the lack of progress with the independence campaign. If the pandemic resulted in a lull in campaigning, I cannot see anyone objecting but the frustration arises from the fact that pre-pandemic there was no campaign and nor is there any evidence of one in sight after the pandemic.

The constant reference to an independence referendum by all and sundry is conflating the issue of independence. A referendum is a voting mechanism, it is not a message of what independence means. If a referendum were to be held tomorrow what would people be voting for – the status quo, which we know about no matter how unpalatable, or independence, which we know nothing about yet, and we expect those who are undecided to make a decision on their future? Why have they not been told what the future might hold and why has no meaningful vision been laid out?

It will soon be six years since the last referendum, a period of time wasted by not building a long campaign with strategic objectives, carefully laid out and understood by everyone, especially the opposition who should have been able to observe the approaching juggernaut.

READ MORE: James Dornan: Why independence cannot be the SNP's priority for now

Mr Fraser is absolutely correct that a campaign unit supported by the First Minister should be established with its sole remit being to run a permanent independence campaign and headed by an inspirational figure who can restore the important ingredients of passion and vision which appear to have been excised.

Its foundations require to be solid, involving a wide spectrum of people and leave the issue of securing a referendum or whatever to our First Minister when the time is right and she can lead us to independence. Nicola Sturgeon is widely admired but her “day” job is of such an intensity that she cannot be expected to run a permanent campaign too.

The National Assemblies of 2018 organised by Keith Brown, depute leader of SNP, and referred to by Mr Fraser, were widely supported and held out promise of hope that something was at last beginning to stir which involved the grassroots of the SNP – but, alas, it all appears to have fizzled out, rebuttal unit vanished and emails unanswered.

As to a referendum – when is the time? Is now the time? Will there ever be a time? Now is the wrong time, first we need to sell a vision of what the future could be – let’s get going!
Alan M Morris

LIKE a number of others, I am concerned by the deliberate flouting of coronavirus guidance in Scotland by our Secretary of State. With the use of technology there is absolutely no need for Alister Jack to travel to London and back, breaking the guidance of not to travel unless necessary and potentially exposing himself, his family members and others to the risk of infection.

READ MORE: Alister Jack defends 700-mile trip despite lockdown

It is clear that the guidance in place in Scotland is beginning to have an effect, and it surely is irresponsible of anyone, no matter what position they hold, to deliberately chose to ignore that advice.

He claims to be a key worker. In the light of his other actions in Scotland that is perhaps a moot claim. There is no evidence to support his statement, but even if there were, there are alternative ways by which he could engage with discussions in Westminster.

Surely the guidance applies to all of us without exception. He lives in Scotland so he should follow the guidance in Scotland.
Chick McKenna

JACKSON Carlaw had gone up in my estimation (believe it or not) for his constructive and co-operative performances at FMQ’s, and Richard Leonard and Neil Findlay had gone well below the water line.

Did London call? Something must have happened as now Jackson Carlaw has gone back to the moan fest of his default position and now even calls for the Scottish Health Secretary to resign – has he had

his instructions from London because Nicola Sturgeon is doing too well? Knock her down, put obstacles in her path, play the party/Unionist game and of course the Tory branch complies.

Meanwhile we have the UK Health Secretary almost thrown out of Parliament for his behaviour, Boris is back in hiding, and when he does appear (once a week) he does not answer a single question put to him in PMQ’s. He simply confirms what we already knew, he is not capable of thinking on his feet, is still playing to the (empty) seats behind him showing us he needs the hyenas behind him encouraging his usual rhetoric and obfuscation and certainly not answering any questions.

I feel so vexed for the majority of Americans with their “leader” but am now just a vexed for England with their “leader” or should I say clowns masquerading as leaders.
Winifred McCartney

A DAY doesn’t pass without both leaders being widely criticised. Trump impersonating an American president, and Boris impersonating a prime minister of Britain. Or is Boris just a second-class bumbling magician? Now you see him... now you don’t.

Is he on paternity leave or furloughed? Is he at home, practising his lines for his next rare public appearance?

Whatever your politics, you must agree he, Westminster and the Tory party have let us down really badly. I know it’s just wishful thinking but wouldn’t it be great if he’d “get on his bike and find another job” but then again who would take over? There doesn’t seem to be anybody of substance. Unlike Scotland having a plethora of talent.

Maybe as he reduces lockdown, he will follow his own advice, “take a hike” and go. Get his route map out and move north of the Border!)

But then again ... he wouldn’t dare for fear of being lynched!
Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus