WELL, Emily, just how much do you hate me? Could it be just a little bit? You see I’m not an SNP member, but I do give them my vote. So, is your hatred slightly less than hatred towards a paid-up SNP party member? After all, I and thousands like me are voting for independence and believe in our votes, our democracy.

I have done since my childhood here as I witnessed my granny, mother, father, and big sister vote Labour during my formative years. Democracy matters so much to me that when abroad and entitled to vote, I stood in line for hours, in the sun, got my thumb marked and voted.

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I’ll let you into a wee secret, Emily. Voting and having my vote count was so important to me, the fact that I could only read English and not the local language didn’t stop me. Like thousands of other “illiterate” voters in the Indian subcontinent, I looked down the list, found the appropriate pictorial and voted for my preference. Yes, democracy and voting is that important.

Coming home, I joined the Labour party and paid my dues. I was on “Maggie Maggie Maggie/out out out” marches, and the anti Iraq war ones too. I even spoke on the podium at a Labour party conference, from that anti-war perspective. Another secret then: even after the invasion of Iraq, I voted Labour. But not now, not for years.

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Labour left me, and its voters, far behind years ago, especially here in Scotland. The ballot boxes have shown that for so long now. No-one of importance within the Labour movement thought we were important enough to do anything about it. You expected blind loyalty.

I can’t speak for any other, but I don’t hate you, Emily. It’s not you or the others personally that are at fault. It’s your failed policies that are unacceptable. Your failure to act as the strong, official opposition at Westminster.

It’s the success of the SNP as the government, working across the floor where and when necessary, that is taking us on the road to the form of civic society that we want, continue to vote for, and wish to see develop further once we’ve regained our independence. Within the devolved system, we waited till the right time to change our tax system whilst all the time attempting to mitigate the likes of the bedroom tax, the rape clause, the legacy of your PFI, and all the while returning majority SNP and pro-indy Greens to our parliament, to Westminster and across our local authorities. This week the FM has already laid out positive plans for inward migration here, forward looking to help build our future.

Your tirade merely emphasises the distance and lack of understanding between your party and leadership in England and Scotland. Scotland’s votes, our democracy, our sovereignty is being negated and challenged and, irrespective of any party ideologies, the public sees that.

Belatedly, even some within the Labour hierarchy here are beginning to understand, and from the likes of your former MEP David Martin and current health spokeswoman Monica Lennon there is the public realisation that it is Scotland’s right to choose its future, not have it dictated by persons sitting in a parliament far away. Democracy is allegedly still a corner stone of Labour, along with equality and all the party espouses.

By hating those who support independence you fail to understand the very people you want to return. You fail to understand our democracy matters. We will defend and promote it.

Selma Rahman

ON January 19 I wrote to all candidates for the Labour leadership and deputy leadership pointing out the past shabby treatment handed out to Scotland by parties in Westminster, in particular the failure to deliver the promises made during the 2014 independence referendum; in particular the promise of greater devolution, the so called “devo-max” solution. I invited them to look to their future and be a force for progressive, fair and just policies in an independent Scotland.

My emails were acknowledged, but I am yet to receive a single reply. Instead, we are seeing attacks on the SNP by prospective leaders of Labour, a party whose policies and leadership have been rejected again and again in Scotland and who now only have one Scottish MP.

People are fed up with politicians who do nothing more than attack their political opponents and make promises which they have no chance of delivering; who bay and shout in parliament to prevent proper debate.

A newly invented Labour party could do much to redress this imbalance. It could be a party working for the benefit of both workers and capital in a nation where excess power and greed are not tolerated. Where excessive profits are directed for the benefit of all our people. Instead we have the age-old battle of right versus left, of capitalism versus socialism, party versus party, none of which have a place in a modern democracy. I despair that none of the candidates are even discussing this agenda.

Pete Rowberry

IS it now time for the Scottish Parliament to take a vote on whether political parties not wholly based in Scotland should be excluded from having seats in our parliament? Thereby disallowing subdivisions or branches of parties based outwith our country.

M Ross