GOOD to see Richard Leonard and Jackie Baillie accelerating the demise of the vacuum that the Labour party in Scotland has become. They are going to lead the campaign to deny Scotland a referendum.

Now let’s be perfectly clear here. They are entirely entitled to campaign against Scottish independence. That’s democracy. They are not, however, under any description of democracy, entitled to oppose the right of the Scottish people to chose their constitutional future.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour does not resemble a party of 'democratic advance'

Perhaps they should acquaint themselves with the UN Charter, which is jus cogens and which says: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” That’ll do. Or perhaps the Scottish Claim of Right, constructed largely by the Labour party and reinforced unanimously in the UK Parliament in 2018, which says much the same thing.

We really should get off our mark here. Be blunt. Ask them: “Do you oppose the democratic right of the Scottish people to choose their own future?” Yes or No? Ask them till they answer. Yes or No? And ask all the rest of them sitting in our parliament.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour to campaign for home rule, but not indyref2

We are reaching a very critical position, and some people believe the startling incompetence on display down south will carry us to independence. I wouldn’t bet on it. There are two likely consequences of that which will change the field. I think Boris Johnson’s days in No 10 are numbered. He will be deposed by the powers that be and replaced. As he goes, he takes all the blame and all the disastrous incompetence away with him, and a clean-as-a-whistle Tory saviour will be ushered into place. Or after such as a vote of no confidence or even another General Election we’ll get the new darling of the media, Sir Keir Starmer.

He said what Richard Leonard just said. So we should insist now that he answers the same question. Scotland’s right to choose? Yes or No? Either answer suits us.

And we should name the date for our referendum. Face them down on that as well.

David McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll

READERS will agree that James Kelly of Scot Goes Pop deserves our thanks for his latest poll (and our ongoing support too), but we can’t afford to take our eyes off the second, regional, vote in 2021. Much was written a few months ago about “Max the Yes” ideas and potential new parties. While I’m certainly not advocating the latter, voters need to get some clear guidance on placing their second vote to maximum effect.

Each region needs a specific tactic and while I hope the SNP will move from their “both votes SNP” advice, we’ll struggle to get them to encourage their supporters to lend their second vote for the Greens, say, even though that will often be the best way of maximising the number of independence-seeking MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

READ MORE: SNP set for huge Holyrood election win and mandate for indyref2

Your columnists continue to suggest that we need to separate the leadership of the Yes movement from the SNP, and I believe that we need to do this urgently. Tentative plans to take this forward were understandably put on hold with ~the pandemic, but we now need to be pressing on through virtual meetings as soon as possible. Not only does a leadership body need a period to be set up, but it will take time to become a force and gain credibility in order to give non-partisan guidance on things like voting on regional lists. The movement needs bespoke leadership now; “Yes for Scotland” sounds a good name to me.

John C Hutchison
Fort William

LET’S hope Henry McLeish heeds the wise counsel of John Edgar and David Roche (Letters, June 6) to stop dithering and get off the fence.

A “wee heap of Westminsterites” in Holyrood is hardly a fitting location for a man of his ability and experience. Joining the branch party would be barking up the wrong tree. Nothing there but dead wood.

James Stevenson

WHAT crazy mad times we are being taken into by Westminster.

The Westminster government are positively gagging to complete Brexit so that the British nation will no longer be run by unelected political mandarins (Dominic Cummings falls into this category). They have also mismanaged the virus outbreak to a level of almost 60,000 lives. The simple question is why?

They now want us to sort of self-quarantine ourselves if anyone travels outwith the UK. I may have this wrong, but unless you are travelling to either Brazil or the US, in most other countries you’d be much safer and at less risk of becoming infected. It may make sense to move out all the vulnerable and at risk folks to safer, more secure countries.

Dougie Gray
via email

BY the Stamp Act of 1765, the English Parliament imposed on the American colonies a tax on paper, legal documents and other commodities. This move was strenuously opposed because those being taxed had no representation in parliament and therefore no say or involvement in making this law. This led to the slogan “no taxation without representation”.

Just now we have a parallel situation in Scotland, with most Scottish MPs unable to attend the London parliament because of the Covid-19 lockdown. The Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, is insisting that MPs can no longer take part in parliamentary business remotely. Instead they must be present in the House to participate in its business. Perhaps Scots should be investigating possibilities for withholding taxes due to the London Treasury until Scottish MPs are once again able to represent their Scottish constituents.

Peter Swain
Innerwick, Dunbar