I’M generally a fairly patient woman. But I have got to the point where I would like to knock Joanna Cherry and Kirsty Blackman’s heids thegither (other prominent SNP members are available).

This is not – this is very seriously not – the time to be squabbling over issues which may be very important but are peripheral to the country’s immediate concerns now. As every general and indeed every peacemaker knows, timing is everything. When you are going into battle, the battle is what you have to concentrate on, putting all other concerns – however important – aside.

We have two immediate battles on our hands: the pandemic and independence. While it looks as if we have the enemy in retreat on the first front, if we lose concentration we may yet lose the advantage. And that is even more true of the second battle, the battle for independence.

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To use another analogy, if your team is already across the centre line and pushing towards the opponents’ goal, that is not the time to turn your concentration to anything other than scoring that goal, however important that thing is. And that is what the likes of Cherry and Blackman (and those other available prominent SNP members) are doing. Not now. Please, not now. How those Unionists will laugh when, come May, the SNP is so discredited that it loses the election. I am, as it happens, an SNP member, but only – ONLY – because I know the SNP to be the party that can get us our independence. I can see their flaws. I can even see flaws in Nicola Sturgeon; believe it or not, she too is human and she is the first to acknowledge it.

Please, please – I assume you read The National and I am sure you know who you are – concentrate on the battle, the game, in hand. We rank-and-file members, we footsoldiers, are ready to weep at our representatives’ lack of focus. Please do not do this to us. We have been fighting for decades – are we to lose the battle because our leaders cannot concentrate?

Max Marnau