IT’S good news that the SNP have finally decided to debate Plan B at their conference. (Revealed: Wording agreed for SNP conference motion on Plan B for independence, September 26) Angus Brendan MacNeil and Chris McEleny deserve great credit for their determination and consistency of purpose.

The key passage reads: “Conference instructs that if a referendum on Scotland’s future is denied by the UK Government and the competence to hold a consultative referendum is not established, then the manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections shall state that the election of a pro-independence majority of seats, in the absence of a referendum, shall be a mandate from the people of Scotland to commence independence negotiations with the UK Government.”

READ MORE: SNP conference motion on Plan B for Scottish independence has wording agreed

That’s not a bad starting point. The only problem with it is that we could win a majority of seats without a majority of the popular vote. A majority of seats won on 49% of the popular vote would not be seen as an independence mandate by many.

On the other hand, a majority of seats won for pro-indy parties with more than 50% of the popular vote would be a mandate for independence itself – clearly and unambiguously in international law – and that’s certainly possible to achieve, with the last eight polls showing a clear majority of Scots now want independence.

But to do that we all have to work to make Holyrood 2021 “The Independence Elections”.

In other words, folk need to go to the polls under no illusions that these elections offer a possibility to achieve what is now the settled will of the Scottish people. Over the coming months we need to develop a widespread understanding that these are not simply elections to elect a devolved parliament for the next four years – but an opportunity to vote for independence itself.

The Alliance for Independence have called for this, and here’s one suggestion of how that could be achieved that will be discussed at their November conference (I declare an interest here as a founding supporter of the Max the Yes and Alliance strategy).

It goes like this:

1) Make Holyrood 2021 the independence elections, and campaign for all indy parties to have indy at the heart of their manifestos.

2) Max the Yes (SNP 1, Alliance for Independence 2) to create an indy supermajority and kick the Unionists out of opposition.

3) Prior to election, declare that an indy majority is a majority for the Scottish Parliament to call indyref2 at a time of its choosing, unilaterally if necessary.

4) And – last, but very definitely not least – that a majority of the popular vote for indy parties across constituency and list is an immediate mandate FOR INDEPENDENCE ITSELF, and for the Scottish Government to begin immediate independence negotiations with Westminster.

Let’s be bold. We CAN both win an indy supermajority of seats through the Max the Yes strategy, and we can win a majority of the popular vote across constituency and list for independence itself. But ONLY if we turn Holyrood 2021 into the independence elections.

Let’s mobilise all of Yes next May! And to paraphrase our own much-missed cultural hero, Iain Banks, “One day (very soon) we will all be free.”

Steve Arnott

IT’S great to see my constituent David Nicholson from West Kilbride take such a keen interest in the Cunninghame North SNP selection (Letters, September 26). I don’t believe he’s actually a member.

He criticises the support given to me by Cabinet Secretaries. However, I have campaigned for independence with Mike Russell and Fergus Ewing for more than 30 years and at Holyrood for more than 17. Both have endorsed me, as has Jeane Freeman and others, because they know I’m an asset to the SNP at Holyrood.

READ MORE: Letters, September 26

Mr Nicholson accuses me of being the “establishment” candidate “unchallenged” since 2007. He clearly doesn’t know me at all. I’ll be generous and believe he really meant to say “established”.

No doubt the lack of challenge to me in 2011 was because no-one wanted to take on the majority of 48 that hard-working SNP activists and I had secured in 2007, the first SNP parliamentary gain in the west of Scotland since the party’s formation in 1934.

Having built the majority up to 8,724, it’s hardly surprising that my two challengers are keen to inherit that, rather than seek to win the Tory-held constituencies they actually live in.

Having stood on 14 occasions for the SNP since I was 22, I relish the forthcoming selection contest.

Kenneth J Gibson MSP
Cunninghame North

JOANNA Cherry, whom I am proud to have as my MP, is probably our most effective MP, having taken on the UK Government in court and won, as well as continuously holding them to account at Westminster.

Yet a clique of immature and “ultra-woke” members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) , playing stupid student politics, sought to have her rejected as a candidate and succeeded in rushing through a rule, clearly aimed at her, to prevent her becoming an MSP.

It appears that many members of the NEC are not interested in independence but only in pursuing their own narrow and disruptive agenda regardless of the damage they do.

There should be an immediate cull of these members and the 42 member NEC should be reduced to a manageable size and reminded of the most important item on the SNP constitution – independence.

Candidates like Joanna Cherry should be welcomed with open arms. They are invaluable to the independence cause.

James Duncan