I AM a great admirer of Ian Blackford. Indeed, there have been times when I’ve wished that he was leading the Scottish National Party from Holyrood rather than Westminster. However, I take little comfort from his interview in yesterday’s National (Blackford says ‘all efforts’ going into indyref this year, Mar 9).

It seems to me at best naive to think that Boris Johnson “will not be able to continue to say no” to an independence referendum. On the contrary, the greater the apparent support for independence, the less likely any Westminster government will be to countenance indyref2.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford says SNP putting ‘all efforts’ into indyref2020

In reality we probably have just 14 months to win Scotland’s independence. We simply cannot plod on patiently and complacently assume that after the Holyrood election in 2021 there will still be a majority of independence-supporting MSPs.

Mr Blackford implies there may not be a referendum this year, and that is why we may have to look to the Holyrood election. Even if we do win it and re-elect Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister, we will be no further forward. We have to hold the referendum – with or without Westminster permission – in the coming months. If we squander this opportunity generations of Scots to come may never forgive us.

Billy Scobie

THE incisive Shona Craven was spot on in ending her recent article with the words “what a mess” (Does the FM have a plan B for resolving gender row?, March 6). In the absence of strong SNP leadership, which we have come to expect, may I caution the party “tae haud yer wheesht and ca canny”!

Regarding SNP rows developing around delicate gender issues, these should not be aired in public and high-profile politicians like Joanna Cherry and Mhairi Black should know this. Indeed inter-generational relations could easily be damaged, as people may not understand the relevance of such sensitive issues.

READ MORE: Does Nicola Sturgeon have a Plan B for resolving SNP gender row?

Splits in the SNP, especially at this point in time, will only be exploited by the Unionist opposition. While the SNP have worked tirelessly supporting and promoting women’s rights and gender balance which they have largely succeeded in Holyrood, it is now vital to maintain a unity of purpose for independence as its very first priority.

Grant Frazer

I WAS surprised to read in your Website Comments (February 29) a splat of Unionist rubbish by Gordon Miller. This is the kind of stuff we expect to see in the Daily Mail, Express, BBC, ITV etc, not the National. There was a similar letter on Saturday from Jim Taylor. They say they are independence supporters. I have been a member of the SNP for nearly 50 years and have seen it all, including dividers. It should be common sense to encourage everyone in Scotland, no matter what political slant, religion, race or gender, to work together for our independence. The Scottish electorate are the only ones who should decide Scotland’s future, not a bunch of lying magpies in Westminster.

Jim Campbell
via email

IT was very timely to hear the issue of the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) women being raised once again in the House of Commons the day after we celebrated International Women’s Daywith a call for justice. WASPI women are women born in the 1950s who are disproportionately suffering the consequences of legislation to raise their state pension age without notice. In the Commons there is cross-party support for those women, and only last year Conservative MPs abstained from voting on this matter in recognition of the injustice those women have suffered.

Perhaps the new Chancellor, in presenting his first Budget, could go some way to recognise the injustice of current legislation for 1950s-born women and take the opportunity to address the poverty many of those 1950s women have been plunged into through no fault of their own.

Catriona C Clark