SO comprehensive and effective is the taboo with which my party, the SNP, has contrived to smother the very idea that there might be another means to independence than a referendum granted by London, that it has been virtually impossible to get the alternative, namely the electoral route, taken seriously in the national discourse, despite some valiant attempts. Can I therefore thank the UK’s best-known psephologist Sir John Curtice for now openly suggesting the use of an election as the independence plebiscite, and the press for reporting it (as in The National, 17 September).

Until the last few years, it had always been SNP policy to take electoral success itself as the key to independence, and that was the way envisaged by all parties and by all UK governments. Scotland could leave the UK as soon as most of its Westminster seats were occupied by SNP members, and there was never a serious suggestion from any quarter that London could or would prevent it.

That remains the strict legal and constitutional position, but the 2014 referendum has added one further requirement, since it was the first fully democratic vote on the question and it resulted in No. That vote can only be properly overturned by an equally democratic poll, so the election would have to be won not only with a majority of seats, but with a majority of the actual votes. Gratifyingly, current opinion is being measured at that level.

It is frankly perverse that the SNP should be the sole entity in the UK to claim that the only door to independence is one to which London holds the key. It is a poison we have concocted for ourselves, which could turn out to be politically suicidal at the very time when we should be victorious(depending, of course, on the outcome of Forward As One’s action now underway at the Court of Session, as to whether London’s consent is needed for a referendum)Professor Curtice suggests Westminster 2024. That is a long time to wait, and who knows what the Tory Government will have visited on Scotland by then. But the Holyrood election could be used instead, under a suitable manifesto, and a successful result in Edinburgh would give our Westminster MPs the democratic instruction to use the power they already hold to secede and bring full sovereignty back to Scotland. Doubtless, London will by then have come to the table to negotiate the details of the independence settlement.

Unless we adopt that plan, we will remain at the tender mercy of the Prime Minister and his gang, whatever the result in May next year. If the SNP leadership prefer to delay the vote on independence (and the decision is theirs, whether we like it or not), they should make their case openly and honestly, and ditch the taboo.

Alan Crocket,

IT is now clear that there are

only two ways forward for Scotland: either abandon devolution and fall in line with Brexit UK or re-assert our sovereignty and nationhood. The Withdrawal Act is already poised to over-rule our Parliament in devolved areas. The UK Internal Market will control every aspect of trade and services. UK direct funding will bypass the Scottish Government and render it useless, so that it can then be dissolved as a waste of money.

How can we possibly allow such a mighty political opponent to be in charge of granting us a referendum? First, we must affirm in law the permanence of the Scottish Parliament (as per the 2016 Scotland Act), that we are still a nation and that our Parliament and MPs are the successors to the Treaty of Union and represent our national sovereignty.Then next May’s vote can legally endorse the draft bill for indyref2, certainly, but a referendum may not be needed. If the independence parties campaign on the specific proposal that the Scottish Parliament will now make all decisions for Scotland, then a simple majority vote will be enough to bring this about. Scotland’s future will already be in Scotland’s hands, not Westminster’s.

Robert Fraser