I READ with great interest George Kerevan’s assessment of the Tory strategy going forward to the Holyrood 2021 election (This is how we know Tories are getting ready to play dirty in Scotland, August 3). He is correct in stating that Number 10 are finally seeing the threat to the Union, with a clear and sustained surge in the demand for independence. The sacking of Jackson Carlaw and the anointment of Douglas Ross as leader in Scotland, with the addition of the recently “retired” Ruth Davidson, is their last throw of the dice in saving their precious Union.

What is different this time is the creation of a group of backroom advisers whose sole purpose is to sabotage and destroy the credibility of the SNP and independence movement prior to the Holyrood elections. Ross and Davidson the “ultra Unionists” will be in the vanguard of this strategy being given the monumental task of saving the Union and denying the SNP an outright victory.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: Scotland's Tories are about to play dirty, this is how we know​

Will it work? There is little doubt that the Scottish electorate will be bombarded with the usual anti-SNP bile from Ruth Davidson and the anti-Scottish rhetoric of Douglas Ross. The “Better Together” message – eroded by intervening events, particularly Brexit – is now redundant. The Tory party machine will bring to the forefront the “too wee, too poor, too stupid” mantra and no doubt Ross and Davidson will ensure this is shouted from the rooftops.

They will be ably supported by the Number 10 hand-picked advisors eager to provide the data, the statistics, the financial analysis and any information that will completely undermine the credibility and sustainability of Scottish independence. The source of such data will no doubt be linked to various bodies such as the Office of Budget Responsibility; Institute of Economic Affairs, Fraser of Allander Institute, Treasury et al to give it credibility. Get ready for months of false news, false data and negativity from the Tory party apparatus aided by the right-wing press, media and BBC.

How should this onslaught be met? Clearly everything thrown at the SNP and independence movement must be countered by the actual facts. The National for sometime has produced its very successful “Fact Check” series. There is already a dossier of such material ready to be brought to bear by the independence movement. The SNP must immediately set up the machinery to deal with what is about to descend on us. There is no time to waste. They should be challenged at every level.

Independence is within our grasp but unfortunately it is there to lose if the movement does not react to the Tory onslaught which will soon be on us, if it has not started already. I experienced the lack of preparation and poor messaging in the 2016 and 2017 elections when the SNP complacently sleepwalked its way into lost seats. Ruth Davidson, with her slogans and barracking style, caught the moment and was let off the hook.

Times are different. The FM Nicola Sturgeon and the government have proved we can run our own affairs in times of crisis. There is little doubt that the thrust of the Unionists will remain “No” to a Section 30 and the target of a non-majority SNP in Holyrood with a referendum still a forlorn hope for the future.

The solidarity of the SNP and Yes movement is paramount. internal factionalism must end and our messaging must be clear and concise. If not our moment will have gone and the struggle will continue.

Dan Wood

AS the year moves on towards the date of our exit from Europe, we can see signs of political activity within the Conservative party that should alert us to the reefs ahead. We are about to see a new Scottish leader, Douglas Ross, who holds views that clearly chime with those of Boris Johnson and co.

Ruth Davidson is off to support the democratising of the House of Lords (no guffaws please) and Alister Jack may also find himself “resigning” in the near future.

This is the point when the Yes movement needs to be on its toes. There are so many ways that division can be caused. Westminster has form across the world, as many former colonies can testify. Holyrood is in serious danger of being undermined and set aside as the ministerial hands of different departments develop new UK powers for themselves to replace European ones.

The Scottish National Party is acknowledged by almost all sections of the Yes movement to be the party that will lead us to independence. Like all political parties, it has its flaws and internal divisions. But now more than ever it needs to keep itself in good order and keep its eye on the ball. The Yes movement has never been stronger but we need to avoid any outbursts of impulsive behaviour that threaten our unity.

The Alliance for Yes is gathering support for second votes for independence and, in my view, this is both pragmatic and an extension of democracy. If the d’Hondt system was set up to prevent an SNP majority, then a second vote for indy candidates rebalances the fairness. The SNP need a decent opposition, which they currently do not have. They also need more supporters in Holyrood.

The First Minister and others have done some sterling work in the handling of Covid-19 and this has won over sceptical voters who have perhaps seen for the first time that Scotland can manage itself differently from the UK.

Maggie Chetty