I AM writing to correct a statement in Alyn Smith’s column (Parties within parties are a danger to the cause of gaining independence, November 25). He states that the SNP Common Weal Group is actually Common Weal Ltd. This isn’t right.

Common Weal Ltd is the think tank but we also encourage people who like Common Weal ideas to do their own thing inspired by our work. That’s why we created the ability for people to set up autonomous groups, and we’ve had nearly 50 of these set up by people in the six years we’ve existed (if you’re interested in starting one you can email DoSomething@common.scot).

READ MORE: Alyn Smith: Parties within parties are a danger to the cause of gaining independence

Most of them are local groups of people in a given area who want to promote Common Weal approaches to their local authority or do projects based on our work in their area, or to campaign to influence local politicians. To pick just one example, the Dundee Common Weal Group has played a crucial role in getting the Mary Barbour Bill (with greater protection for people who rent their home) onto the parliamentary agenda through their lobbying, a priority they chose for themselves. But some of our groups are subject groups – we have a Common Weal Youth Group and policy groups in areas like energy and housing.

It is very important that these groups are genuinely autonomous because we do not believe in the merits of central control. These groups are all about people being free to take inspiration from us and then to do creative things that promote ideas or show what they could look like in practice, in their own way and with their own voice. So long as people are doing things broadly in line with our philosophies we support them but we never interfere or direct them.

READ MORE: Common Weal Group didn’t share its manifesto with every NEC candidate

The SNP Common Weal Group was set up by party members. It has its own membership (anyone is free to join), its own governance structure and its own bank account. I am not a member of the group and neither are any of the rest of Common Weal’s staff. We often first hear about their work in the pages of The National.

Common Weal Ltd is not aligned to any political party and we try to influence the policies of all political parties in Scotland. We do this openly and transparently like all reputable campaign organisations.

I wish SNP members a great conference and I personally am delighted to see that the grassroots of the party remain alive and well and are not afraid to have honest, courteous debate about direction and strategy. And I want to thank The National for being so even-handed in letting people with different views inside the SNP and beyond have a voice in this most crucial debate about Scotland future.

Robin McAlpine
Director, Common Weal

WHEN Renaissance Care, complains about the number of inspections we should remember that a much higher proportion of private care homes have seen Covid infections when compared to charitable or local authority-run homes, while noting Renaissance Care owner Robert Kilgour is a former Tory candidate, donor and founder of an anti-independence business group (News in brief, November 24).

I am appalled and astounded that some politicians think they know better than experienced clinicians when it comes to discharging hospital patients into care homes, which for many are their only homes.

As Dr Macaskill of Scottish Care said: “People going home to die is an exceptional circumstance, clinical flexibility is critical along with family and care home input, we need to be mindful of the distress for all in such circumstances”.

Public health investigations in Scotland and Wales reached the same conclusion, in that the analysis does not find statistical evidence that hospital discharges of any kind were associated with care home outbreaks, and research published by Stirling University on August 30 found that care homes in England had the greatest increase in excess deaths in the UK at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mary Thomas

WHAT the hell is going on with the Bifab situation? I am a big supporter of the Scottish Government in almost everything they do, but how can they stand by and let 1000 jobs go with orders for a Scottish wind farm to go to INDONESIA ?? This is madness – not only anti-Scottish but anti-environment as well, transporting materials thousands of miles.

There must be some way around state aid rules – other EU countries seem to manage it. The Scottish Government need to get their teeth into this and make a success of what is looking like an abject failure.

C Tait

SHAME on you! In Tuesday’s National you have an article about respect from Westminster for our “devolved nations”. We are showing no respect for ourselves when we pick up and run with a demeaning term emanating from that Leaning Tower of Babel. What is a devolved nation; how did it get devolved; what was it before devolution?

We know what a devolved administration is – something that has partially escaped from direct Brenglish rule. Should we presume the devolved nations as being the bolt-on bits of Greater England which are semi-self-ruling colonies, but London prefers not to use the term in case we notice?

Thomas R Burgess