THE debate on how best to “Max the Yes” – and

take the fight for independence forward at the Holyrood 2021 elections next year – continues apace. And The National is playing its role. I hope that will continue.

A poll finds many Yessers willing to vote for a list-only alternative should Alex Salmond lead it. Yet as far as we know, Salmond’s Plan A is to apply to rejoin the SNP.

Chris McEleny calls on the SNP to have a common manifesto commitment to independence with Greens, Solidarity, SSP and others.

National letter writers continue to say that to vote for an indy alternative on the list to Max the Yes is absolutely the rational thing to do.

Business for Scotland finds that 57% of SNP voters are prepared to consider voting “tactically” on the list.

All of these ideas and revelations contribute to the debate, and all of them are – inexorably – inching towards the only logical position if we want to break the constitutional log jam in spectacular fashion.

I have supported the Max the Yes idea since 2014, where all of Yes gets behind the SNP in the constituencies, and all Yes gets behind a single “Alliance for Independence” on the list.

This could result in the forces of Unionism being greatly reduced in the Scottish Parliament, and not just an SNP Government in power, but a pro-indy opposition, representative of the broad Yes movement, in official opposition.

What an unstoppable mandate for independence that would be!

The advantage of the Alliance for Independence option – which will be launched shortly – is that it allows Yes individuals, Yes groups and all of the smaller Yes parties (should they choose) to electorally campaign on the single issue of independence under one umbrella on the list, rather than dividing the list vote by having w, x, y and z alternative indy choices, diluting the efficacy of the Yes vote.

Individuals and parties can follow their own conscience and programme on issues other than independence within such a broad united front.

Because the SNP will win so many constituency seats, the Additional Member System means that “Both Votes SNP” is a busted flush. The SNP could get a million votes on the list and not win a single list seat.

A broad Alliance for Independence on the other hand, standing only on the list, and not having the vote divided by any constituency seats won, could win swathes of list seats from the Tories and other Unionists.

Let’s make Holyrood 2021 the “independence election”!

(And the Alliance door is always open to all Yes folk, Alex!)

Steve Arnott


SHOULD new-list only parties stand in next year’s Holyrood election? I don’t know if I would support one of them or not. I will be giving my constituency vote to my present MSP who is doing a bang-on job. I honestly don’t know yet how I place my list one and hope thinking out loud might help those thinking of standing.

What is putting me off from going both votes SNP again is that while last time I accepted that it wouldn’t help elect anyone, it would at least increase the total vote share. I also accepted that I didn’t think much of the other list candidates.

To get me to change next time would ideally be a candidate whose track record I knew and agreed with. Failing that, they would need to be led, or at least strongly endorsed, by one of the big beasts of Scots politics. All the well known personalities do suffer from the Marmite factor, but as around 15% of the vote secures a list seat, that shouldn’t matter.

There has been much speculation as to whether Alex Salmond would consider this course or would prefer a reconciliation with the SNP. Politics is a hard game and if he were to return to Holyrood next year with a dowry of anything up to 10 list MSPs, I am confident that a remarriage could be arranged.

Other big beasts that may be tempted on this course would be those such as Alex Neil and Jim Sillars, their track record being both left-wing economically and sceptical of the EU. Alternatively, we have Michael Fry, with economic views more to the right and friendlier to the EU.

Some are concerned that this would lead to the fracturing of the nationalist vote and so damage to the cause. I think that it “ain’t necessarily so” and that the more nationalist flowers that bloom in the different parts of the Scottish political garden, the less room that there is for imperialist weeds.

David Rowe


THERE is a lot of opinion at present about a Plan B. I would like to add my viewpoint.

Plan A is not some static plan that we all adhere to and follow. It is certainly not a constant appeal to Boris Johnson for a Section 30 Order.

Plan A is a movement that contains many elements and facets within the independence movement and the fight for indyref2. It is organisations, activities and ideas and is fluid, with ongoing change and momentum. The only constant within it is the basic aim to achieve indyref2 and the winning of independence.

Despite the SNP and its Government being the vanguard of this movement, it is not the central control. This is something we have learned from the experiences of the 2014 campaign. This is not a criticism of the fine leadership of Nicola Sturgeon or her Government – nobody would dispute that they have a primary and crucial role to play – but the strength of the independence struggle now is in its diversity.

To start a discussion/debate about a Plan B would send out a message to the Unionist side, for citizens still to be convinced and perhaps some of our supporters, that we do not have complete confidence in what we are campaigning for, because we are discussing a reserve plan.

Basically, a Plan B’s purpose is to try to anticipate or predict the unknown when it is the present reality that requires our energy and efforts, especially when the appeal of independence appears to be in the ascendancy.

A plan that in our case is generally understood must assume that its strategies and tactics will be developed/acted upon by all the varied component parts within it when they consider what is appropriate for their areas of activity.

The only thing that will remain unchanged in the total campaign is its basic goal a referendum and independence.

Bobby Brennan


CAN I just say to all those that took part in the border awareness/lockdown awareness demo at the A1 crossing point last weekend that you owe no-one nor any group an apology, nor do I think should you feel that you need to justify your actions. Indeed, many of you there are owed a huge debt of gratitude from the independence movement for all your hard work through the years.

We live in a democracy, or so they keep telling us. We have freedom of travel, all be it curtailed with the current pandemic. But, more importantly, we have freedom to gather and freedom to express our opinions. All of this was done last weekend in a safe and restrained way. If that were not the case, then the police would have very quickly dealt with the problem.

And, no the use of the F word does not show a lack of restraint, nor does it imply any racist undertone. It is simply how people speak. It may not be how you speak, but that does not take away from the truth of the statement. So back to the demonstration, which was allowed to run its course with no arrests or cautions issued.

From the actual happenings on the ground, we now come to the political reaction and first the knee-jerk response from Scottish Government. Maybe an apology is in order from them and a lesson in gathering the facts before condemning.

After all, many at the demonstration have worked tirelessly without pay to get the Government into the position of strength it now occupies.

The London parties’ response was predictable and was hand in glove with their propaganda outlets, and both should look to their own thugs – often with the words defence and loyalist in their title – and sort them out before trying the imperial smear campaign on a peaceful and lawful demonstration.

So well done everyone. If, after this, people are still more concerned that the F word was used rather than the propaganda machine being was deployed to crush our dreams, then might I suggest you get out of the way, because the Yes movement is starting to work through the gears. This we do to make life in the spotlight as uncomfortable as we possibly can for the entrenched Unionists and their propaganda outlets.

Finally, no law was broken last weekend. Would people stop acting as if there had been!

Cliff Purvis

via email

THE BBC did not make mistakes in 2014 – it set out to undermine the case for Scottish independence by every trick it knew, fair or foul, and it knows a lot of foul tricks (BBC’s top reporters ‘repeating mistakes of 2014’, July 9).

They have, of course, continued to do this and they will intensify their efforts in the run-up to the next referendum. There is no point in us asking them to be fair, or even asking them to stay within their own constitution or even guidelines, because they are representing powerful vested interests and they will most certainly continue to do what they are doing.

We must expect this and prepare to expose their lies and distortions. One of the obvious distortions which BBC News Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg used, and which the BBC will continue to use, is that Government support for the economic recovery is only possible in Scotland “because we are part of the UK”. They will tell us “the Bank of England can produce money to provide for public investment, while Scotland can’t do this”. Well of course this is true, while we remain in the UK.

It will not be true once we leave the UK and establish our own central bank. Ah, they will say, the Bank of England and the City are well experienced in raising money and can do this much more easily than a small Scottish Central Bank could. Well that is true as well.

However, the Bank of England has a huge national debt around its neck and it would need 10 times as much financing, for the same level of public investment, as Scotland would need – while a new Scottish Central Bank would have no national debt. Therefore, a Scottish Central Bank would find it a lot easier to raise the investment it required to service Scotland’s needs, and could much more effectively apply this investment to greater effect.

We who support Scottish independence must start putting the case for Scottish economic independence and must ditch all the neoliberal nonsense which still comes from some misguided independence supporters. Scotland has an excellent economic case to get our people out of the mess which neoliberal economists and politicians have driven the Western world into.

The best way to defeat the BBC’s propaganda about the UK’s economic “strength” is to put forward Scotland’s strong economic case.

Andy Anderson