ONLY in rare unshrouded remarks does the First Minister favour us with a glimpse of the real basis of her so-called strategy for independence. She did so in a radio interview on the morning of St Andrew’s Day, when she let slip the following: “People sometimes say, if Boris Johnson or whoever’s in Downing Street is going to block a referendum, we should just have an election as a mandate for independence. What do you think they would do then? Do you think they’re just going to say, ‘well OK, we won’t accept the election result in favour of a referendum, but we’ll accept it in favour of independence’? There’s a bit of a logical flaw there.”

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So her real view is that the PM would have both the intention and the power to cancel the result of an electoral vote for independence.

But the electoral route is what was always envisaged by the SNP and by UK governments, and is beyond doubt legal and constitutional, both in Scottish and UK terms. No UK Government has ever so much as suggested that it would not accept such a result, nor would it have any legal power whatsoever to reject it. London has always accepted, correctly, that the decision on independence is for Scotland alone, however much it might wish us not to go.

London has no place in the decision, and has never claimed any. It can certainly refuse consent for a referendum, but that simply turns the whole referendum issue into a red herring, if we had the common sense to see it. Holyrood’s right to hold a referendum is a devolution issue, not an independence one.

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In point of fact, the constitutional power to take Scotland independent lies in the hands of its MPs, who are the supreme representatives of its people, and could by majority secede from Westminster and reconstitute themselves as the parliament of a sovereign and independent Scotland. The democratic mandate for them to do so can come from any legal plebiscite of the Scottish people, including a general election either for Holyrood or for Westminster, under an appropriate manifesto requiring a majority of votes.

That is the simple legal and constitutional truth of Scotland’s position, but it clearly has no place in the mind of our First Minister, who is determined that Scotland can only go independent through a “legal referendum”, which only London can grant. As leader of my party, she has so brainwashed it that effectively the SNP is now the only entity on the planet to claim that Scotland has no power to leave the Union except with London’s permission. Just take a wee minute to digest that.

Such a servile and worthless stance might win out, as wishful-thinking fellow members believe. However unlikely, the possibility cannot be completely ruled out if London messes things up enough. But surely we can imagine a more inspiring prospect for Scotland’s independence than one achieved solely through Westminster’s ineptitude.

Alan Crocket

I DOUBT if there is anyone who might cavil at the work done by paid carers during the pandemic. It is right they should be recognised.

There is, however, a section of the caring community that has also done some outstanding work, and that is the wide community of unpaid carers of all ages who look after those in the family and the community who need care help. How are they to be recognised?

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While the objective is real independence, that will only have real meaning when we know what we want to do with it. In the case of care and care in the community that means looking, for example, at the mistakes made during the pandemic and look at what we have learned from them, as well as the effectiveness of the Integrated Boards.

Then use that as the basis of a revised and integrated programme of care fit for the 21st century and to include meaningful remuneration and conditions for cares and those requiring care, be it at home or in care facilities.

Chic Brodie
Leader, Scotia Future

AS the incompetence of the English government’s response to the coronavirus has indisputably caused the escalation of the number of avoidable deaths, can I suggest (as I did in The National many months ago) that income tax for all NHS workers should be suspended for the during of the pandemic.

Can’t afford it? Here’s how: increase the income tax of every one of the Tory billionaires, donors, tax avoiders and hedge fund owners. While they’re at it, perhaps they can banish the weapons of mass destruction from the Holy Loch.

Joe Cowan

BREXITEERS are mad at the EU for restricting owners here who have second homes there to 90 days maximum in any one period. Farage and co wanted splendid isolation! Lap it up!

These rules are not foisted on the UK as an attack, they already exist to restrict movement to countries who do not allow free movement! These rules were passed when the UK was part of the EU and had a seat at the Council of Ministers. Having ones cake and eating it, an overblown sense of entitlement, is the downfall of the UK Government and the Brexiteers.

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Motorists are likely to have to obtain green cards and pay higher insurance premiums for health insurance to travel to the EU! What did these Brexiteer xenophobes expect? Same benefits as membership!

Also, their actions have taken away the rights of Scots who voted to remain in the EU to live and work across the EU! That is why there has been in many quarters a rise in votes for indy2.

No use complaining, Brexiteers, your “tears” over this are false!

Wait till the other disadvantages of leaving the EU hit, and there will be a volte face by the public in England and Wales on this!

You cannot survive in the modern Europe (and we are part of Europe) on nostalgia and red-white-and blue-bunting singing Rule Britannia at street parties with daft hats on!

John Edgar