WE cannot underestimate how important The National’s “Register to Vote” campaign actually is. Keith Brown on Thursday correctly pointed out the size of the numbers who are NOT registered to  ote. Andrew Learmonth’s more telling comment on Friday is that the UK is the ONLY G7 country where citizens are NOT registered as voters for life.

We have to ask how we got here. Is universal suffrage under attack? Cat Smith, Labour Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement, has set out quite clearly that this is a deliberate ploy of the Tory government to make registration difficulty for people who they (the Tories) think less likely to vote for them. The stated justification is to prevent voter fraud. But voter fraud is miniscule in Britain.

READ MORE: Why YOU need to register to vote ... and help us win #indyref2020!

The present Westminster laws introduced pilots that required the production of photo ID in order to vote. Many mature British citizens who had never been abroad and did not drive were refused the right to vote at the 2017 General Election Why? Because they did not have the enhanced documentation required. Some Tories are suggesting this should be extended to the whole country and all elections. So how should we react?

We can see the origins of these thoughts, this strategy of “containment”, if we look across the “pond”. In the USofA electoral law is controlled by the states. Many Republican-controlled states have gerrymandered boundaries and stringent documentation checks before permitting citizens to register to vote. The so-called leader of the free world and imposer by force of its version of democracy does not practice universal suffrage at home. Many tens of thousands of US citizens are denied the right to vote and the federal government seems to do not very much about it.

READ MORE: Thousands sign up to vote but many still missing from roll

My contention is that the British electoral system is flawed. That early in the piece of a Scottish nation free from Westminster we have a root-and-branch review and ensure that all citizens are registered to vote. Also, constituency boundaries should reflect real communities and not be determined by a narrow numerical formula as at present. Yes, there needs for demonstrable fairness, but combined with a sense of identity and belonging.

Oh yes, there is a very simple mechanism to prevent voter fraud. That is to adopt the practice of India and paint a thumb with indelible dye.

Willie Oswald

IT is right of George Kerevan to state that the next generation of SNP MPs will need to play hardball (New SNP MPs must be reader to play hardball no matter who is PM, November 4). That is exactly what the current generation have been doing, providing the only effective opposition to May and her succeeding Joker.

My current MP (Stephen Kerr) is one of the loudmouths in the Commons and has often been told to calm down by the Speaker. Elected, like the rest of Ruth’s Tory lobber fodder, on the single policy of “No to indy2”, he has represented his Remain-voting constituency by his hardball campaigning for Leave. The calm, reasoned approach by his opponent, Alyn Smith may, like Alyn’s future colleagues in the Commons, weigh little in the Westminster game but must surely defeat the rantings of the Unionist rump.

READ MORE: New Scottish MPs must be ready to play hardball no matter who’s PM

I have already, in your pages, made clear my sympathy for the Greens once we are free from our colonial shackles. Of course, as Patrick Harvie argues, the environmental issue is urgent. That is why it is vital that we rid ourselves of the Westminster lassitude and subservience. It would be a terrible pity if Green candidates split the vote of those of us who wish to live in a decent, democratic and environmentally sustainable nation.

Concentrate on ridding ourselves of MPs like Stephen Kerr and electing MPs who will represent Scotland’s rich and healthy future. Let our differences wait. Right now we need to unite and play hardball by the Westminster rules.

KM Campbell

IN an entirely cynical move to persuade voters to support his party, the Prime Minister has announced even more public spending in advance of the next election. The latest is the much needed end to the cap on benefits, which, however desirable, is years too late.

This is another measure which, like many other of Mr Johnson’s spending plans, has been announced without any information how the measure will be financed.

His EU withdrawal bill was presented to parliament without any economic impact assessment. The total costs of his pet projects, in the brief months since he was appointed, is expected to be in excess of £125 billion and the only information we have on where the money will come from is that it will be funded from the £23bn that Mr Hammond put by to handle the impact of Brexit, as if that money will not be needed.

If the Tory party gains a majority in Westminster, anyone who thinks that these programmes will survive even the first budget after the election, are deluded. The magic money tree, which his predecessor Mrs May was so insistent does not exist, is alive and well in Boris’s fantasy garden.

Pete Rowberry

I SEEM to remember it was the Scottish Tory lackeys (called their MPs in Scotland) who lead the rude and disgraceful walk-out by Tory MPs as Ian Blackford got up to speak in the Commons.

It was heartening to read in The National that Ross Thomson is not standing in the General Election. That and the impending wipe-out of the rest of them in Scotland seems like a smile-inducing juxtaposition of events that appears symbolic: “Walk out and take your mates with you – and don’t come back!”.

Crìsdean Mac Fhearghais
Dùn Èideann