THE Yes movement is in danger of losing its focus on winning over hearts and minds. About half the population are still unsure or against independence. To focus on electoral gimmicks, legal loopholes, or calls for unspecified actions all miss the key point: Scotland’s independence will only be won when the great majority are prepared to take that step, and Westminster can no longer resist it.

Seeking shortcuts to avoid the hard slog of building popular support carries risks. The argument for independence is, at its core, a democratic one. We should use the tools of democratic political argument to make our case. In particular, the process by which independence is won should carry broad agreement. And we should remember that different arguments will work with different people: it is up to us to find those that convince. Giving up on inclusive democratic argument smacks of entitled disrespect towards those of our fellow citizens who disagree with us.

When it comes down to it, politics is about power. The British state has control of most levers of power, except for the only one that, in the end, truly matters: the people’s consent. That is why it is so important to build as large and solid a majority for independence as possible, even if the granting of a Section 30 order seems some way off just now. No government in history has been able to resist the people’s will forever. And, in truth, no realistic alternative to winning overwhelming support for independence has been put forward. The proposed Plan B still comes up against the intransigence of the British state. Tactical voting on the list does nothing to increase support for independence among the people. Finding a legal loophole is not going to work either: you can be sure that Westminster would move to close it. And calls for acts of civil disobedience (usually unspecified, apart from one ludicrous suggestion some months back that independence supporters snarl up the London tube system) will only ever carry any chance of working if massively supported by the people: which gets us back to the issue of building that support in the first place.

READ MORE: Section 30 will never be granted, so we must present an alternative

We can win further support through good governance, by listening to dissenting voices, and engaging with those who disagree with us. It’s not an easy road, nor a quick one, but it’s the only one. The non-party Yes movement, the pro-independence political parties, and the Scottish Government have complementary roles to play. Differences and discussion within the movement are normal: independence need not mean the same to all of us. Yet some prominent individuals within the Yes movement, often but not exclusively bitter old men in a hurry, are now attacking our own side with unprecedented bile for not delivering independence sooner. By so doing they appear to have given up on winning over those as yet unconvinced of the case for independence. And they demonstrate about as much agency as infuriated customers fulminating at the lateness of their pizza delivery. They should take a good look at themselves: the day we take our fellow Scots for granted in this way is the day we really will have lost any prospect of achieving our goal.
Paddy Farrington

BORIS Johnson’s has a clear message to the people of Scotland this week – be grateful. He knows that a love bombing campaign take two won’t wash. Far too many insults have been thrown at Scotland’s representatives in Westminster, far too many snide remarks have been aimed at our First Minister, far too many disparaging articles have been written by him in the Torygraph about Scotland and the Scottish people.

All he has left in his oven-ready locker is to tell the Scots how grateful we should be to be ruled by a serial liar and a corrupt Cabinet. So to be fair, let’s just examine for a moment what he thinks we should be grateful for.

We have the lowest state pensions in Europe, even lower than Ireland, we have the hostile environment towards migrants, the unaccounted number of suicides of the poorest denied help by the DWP, the rape clause and the bedroom tax, the latter mitigated by the Scottish Government, and the list goes on.

Maybe he thinks that people in Scotland don’t have access to the media and that we don’t know all about the secret Tory pressure group similar to Rees-Mogg’s ERG set up to oppose Scotland. Maybe he thinks we don’t know about war cabinet meetings to combat the rise of independence or the shenanigans to dilute Scottish devolution.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson’s one-man circus fails to wow despite mighty claims

Not surprisingly it turns out that Scotland has nothing to feel grateful for. Under a Tory Government Scotland’s future has never been so uncertain, the twin storms of another likely resurgence of Covid in the winter immediately followed by a catastrophic No-Deal Brexit in January says it all. The truth is, there is no future for Scotland in this Union.
Mike Herd

IF the “might” of the Union is so strong, Boris Johnson should have no issues with a second referendum. If the Union is the best thing since sliced bread, he should have no issues with a second referendum.

Saying it does not make it so, and he knows it but won’t acknowledge it. An ostrich with his head in the sand.
M Macdonald
via email

IF the Russians interfered with the independence referendum, we should have another one!
Ann Leitch
via email

I AM totally bemused. I have absolutely no idea what Johnson’s visit to Orkney was designed to achieve.
I Easton