THE gloves are well and truly off in this phoney “we’re not campaigning for the May elections” time. Friday’s National clearly demonstrated what we can expect. Billboards with fake news along with another example of Tories sailing so close to the wind by looking to gather information in a very dodgy manner. So what’s new?

But as an aside, are there organisations with funds attempting billboard rebuttals? War of the words in public spaces, echo chamber bursting, just might be a good thing in Covid lockdown.

But can we hang on to one pertinent fact? You don’t have to belong to a political party to want independence. This must mean that along with other non-aligned voters we – and there are far many more of us than is often recognised – should not be fickle with our first vote.

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Let’s face it, agree or disagree or favour this faction over that, it is the SNP who’ve made the running and it’s they who will take us across the finishing line but only if we vote for them. I disagree with much they say and do. I want more than they’re offering, (OK, I’ve not seen the manifesto). I want less infighting but more open, honest non-threatening debate based on respect. That should take place in party meetings, closed, open, and in social media. But the vitriol has spilt over to a damaging degree. If we can’t respect differences of opinion, we descend into the maelstrom that leads into anarchy – and wouldn’t the opposition love it if we self-implode? I am so scunnered at the infighting!

The Tories are desperate NOT to be found out. They’re desperate to keep the effects of Brexit not merely in second place, behind the pandemic, but in the dark, in the hopes we ignore the stark reality of just how detrimental Brexit has been and will continue to be for Scotland. From students, to farmers, to the fishing industry, to the border in the sea, to name but four, the car crash that is Brexit for us, our economy, our future is happening in slow motion due to the focus on Covid.

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The Tories want us to forget the corruption around the contracts awarded to chums and party donors. And as for Labour and LibDem, they are forgettable. Moreso when you recall that Starmer confirmed on Sunday that he isn’t calling for Hancock to resign despite conformation of the illegality surrounding contract awards. Some standards, some opposition.

But every jag manufactured and administered has been paid for by us with our taxes. Every contract awarded has been paid for in the same way. The armed forces, too. Is it value for money? Is this our continuing future? The choice is simple: Westminster rule or Scottish independence. We cannot afford the former, and need to vote for the latter.

As opposed to pulling ourselves apart, we need to be building, rebuilding the informed messages relating to the betterment that will come post-independence.

Who will I vote for post-indy? No idea, it will depend on so many factors, but until I live in an indy Scotland, cutting off my nose to spite my face by denying the only party capable of achieving independence my first vote is such a ridiculous proposition, it must be part of some Unionist plot.

Selma Rahman

THE adoption of the so-called definition of “transphobia” at the instigation of the SNP “woke” faction is an all-out assault on free speech. Disagreement is not tolerated. The definition can be changed at any time without any discussion. Anyone who dares dissent will be expelled, expunged and ostracised. Not content with this, one member of the faction has even suggested that the NEC should decide what is and is not an acceptable website for SNP members to share information from.

This “representative” said the popular blog Wings Over Scotland was “fascist” and therefore incompatible with SNP membership. He has decided that grown adults are incapable of making decisions. This is a classic projection. What is actually “fascist” is attempting to shut down dissent. The “woke” faction are looking to bring in the Hate Crime Bill, which will be used to criminalise and even imprison their opponents. If the Tories or the Unionists were attempting to do this then independence supporters would be outraged.

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This attempt to stifle dissent is redolent of the Stalinist show trials of the 1930s. “Official” enemies would be brought out and denounced for daring to oppose the orthodoxy. The “woke” faction are all adherents of so-called identity politics, a right-wing reactionary ideology which has no popular support or democratic nature. Proponents of this ideology have resorted to “no-platforming”. This tactic appeals to the state to ban fascists but then is inevitably used against the left. In recent years Peter Tatchell, Germaine Greer, Julie Bindel, Julian Assange and Selina Todd have all been victims of this anti-democratic outrage. To equate these people with the far-right is beyond ludicrous.

The only beneficiaries from this farce are the Tories and the far-right. They get to pose as “defenders of free speech”. Identity politics alienates people away from other progressive economic policies.

The SNP has been taken over by a fanatical band of ideologues who are only interested in career advancement and silencing those who oppose them. Independence is not their priority.

Alan Hinnrichs