IT never ceases to amaze me, the capacity of independence supporters to sow the seeds of division in the run-up to important elections. Let me give some examples:

Universal Basic Income

Various SNP politicians and others are pushing for this proposal to be included in the manifesto for next May’s election. I think UBI is a good idea and it is worth piloting ONCE WE ARE INDEPENDENT. I do not think we could afford it under the present financial arrangements, and a majority of the people I have spoken to either have not heard of it or think it could not work, even under independence. Why the rush?

Monarchy v Republic

My preference would be a republic, but a lot of Scots, possibly a majority, have a fondness for the Queen, and some of these people might be reluctant to vote for independence-supporting parties that promote ending the monarchy. Why cause unnecessary division? We could hold a monarchy/republic debate ONCE WE ARE INDEPENDENT.

READ MORE: SNP MP says now is the time for huge indy rally 'on an unprecedented scale'

EU or EFTA membership

I see the pros and cons of both organisations, and I know Nicola and many in the SNP have expressed a preference for the EU. However, membership is not instant or automatic and will involve a lot of negotiations. Also a large proportion of SNP members voted to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum.

Do we really want more division on this topic before the election? Can’t we have a full and detailed debate ONCE WE ARE INDEPENDENT?

Three-year timetable for Trident removal

I see some people are pushing for this to be in the manifesto in May. Why? I know that the SNP are against nuclear weapons, and I, and all pro-indy people I know, agree with the anti-nukes stance. However, I know a lot of people who foolishly, but genuinely, believe that Trident is a deterrent. Could topics like this timetable not be better debated ONCE WE ARE INDEPENDENT?

READ MORE: SNP say Douglas Ross is 'PM's man in Scotland' after indyref2 comment

Petition to remove statue of King Billy from environs of Glasgow Cathedral

Indy-supporting organisation Saor Alba have started a petition to our SNP-controlled Glasgow City Council, ostensibly because this King supported and funded racist ventures, but there may be other subtexts.

I have no time for the Orange Order and their displays of Protestant triumphalism, but I won’t be signing this petition either, and I condemn Saor Alba for putting Glasgow City Council in this difficult and divisive position. More division created in the run-up to an important election, where every vote is vital.

Transgender Issues

This is a very important topic and a very much misunderstood one. My own knowledge was rather limited, but my own MSP informed me and other members on the details of the rights and legal responsibilities of those who wish to self-identify as a particular gender. There is also concern among many women about whether trans women who have not fully (surgically) transitioned, should have access to women-only spaces, such as toilets.

I do not think these important deliberations can be left until after we have gained independence, as we might not achieve it next May, but given the often vicious arguments expressed by both sides of this argument so far, could we not have left such a divisive matter until after the election?

Can’t we all put our own particular divisive hobby horses on hold until after the election?

Charlie Bent