ARE we witnessing the latest example of the great Scottish art of self-destruction?

Next May’s election could pave the way for a second independence referendum. It is, therefore, a pivotal moment so it might be assumed that everyone involved in the independence movement would be pulling together to achieve our ultimate goal. Sadly we seem more intent on division and recrimination.

News outlets of all sorts claim that the rank and file are up in arms about the SNP’s lack of urgency in the pursuit of independence, even suggesting that those in government have become little more than self-serving apparatchiks, only interested in maintaining their power and privileges.

I find all this incomprehensible. The path is perfectly clear: we win the election with a large majority, making it politically impossible for Johnson to refuse a referendum, which Yes then in turn wins. All this will be in the SNP manifesto and there is no reason whatsoever to doubt the leaders’ commitment to independence, even if dealing with the pandemic is obviously the Government’s immediate priority. Why, then, all this dangerously counter-productive talk of betrayal and splinter groups at a time when unity of purpose and organisation is essential?

Unfortunately the Government is not blameless either. Is it really the moment to bring forward divisive legislation? Of course I am thinking mainly of the Hate Crime Bill, which is so woke-driven and ambiguously drafted that it would have been ill-advised at the best of times. In the present situation is a classic example of shooting yourself in the foot, as anything that interferes with creating the broadest possible pro-independence coalition is to be avoided.

The Hate Crime Bill is unpopular, risks alienating a wide range of voters and for the election campaign unnecessarily gives ammunition to the Conservatives, who will try to use it to turn the electorate against the SNP and, consequently, independence.

Davidson and the tabloids will have a field day, whipping up socially conservative resentment against an “out of touch, condescending, woke elite”.

Similarly, the current leadership’s apparent vendetta against Alex Salmond is regrettable and creates more division. Whatever Salmond’s personal failings, his contribution to the cause of independence has been huge, for which he has the respect and gratitude of many SNP members. The content of conspiratorial emails now being made public, not to mention the FM’s rather graceless reaction to the trial verdict, do nothing for party unity and cohesion.

Independence is the goal and it is achievable. We must not let needless squabbling and errors of political judgement put it all at risk.

Colin Sellar
via email

LIKE EA of East Kilbride, (October 6) and countless other contributors to The National Conversation, I am fed up to the back teeth of the never-ending “score settlers” and those who simply oppose everything the SNP are trying to accomplish. It would appear that, no matter how many plead with them to stop harming the cause of our regaining our independence (not “bestowed” to us), their ambitions, feelings, settling of old scores, are more important. Know this: it will not be forgotten. Instead of uniting so that we may, together, fight Westminster, your harping continues.

WILL YOU STOP! Are you intent of doing the dirty work of Westminster for them? Because that is what it is. Put aside your grievances, Scotland must come first.

In this same context, I have already written and had printed a letter politely pleading to the obviously deaf ears to reason. What is wrong with you, is your selfishness blinding you to what you are doing? Pay attention also to the change of tone of letters from those trying to make you come to your senses.

This is not 2014, it is 2020 and things have changed, as has our Scottish Government. In 2014, everyone got behind Alex Salmond et al, now you are being asked to do the same – get behind Nicola Sturgeon. Show her the same respect and loyalty as that shown to Alex Salmond. As much as those still living in 2014 may wish, Salmond is not First Minister. He did a great job (but also made mistakes) in taking us within an inch! Allow Nicola to take us over the line and further ... to our rightful independence.

Please do not ignore the pleadings, Scotland needs to be free of the “claws and shackles” of England! UNITE!

Helen McGowan
via email