ANOTHER good letter from Selma Rahman (March 22). Selma is absolutely right that our first priority at the May election is to ensure that we get an SNP majority and a strong voice for independence in the Scottish Parliament. She is also right when she says, “all who believe in independence will vote for a constituency-seat majority” for the SNP.

If independence is your main objective then voting SNP, everywhere, in every constituency, is the very best way to ensure this, because with a relatively small increase in the SNP vote since 2016, as all polls in the last months have been predicting – and if all indy supporters vote for the SNP in the first ballot – the SNP will comfortably take the few more constituency seats they need for an overall majority.

READ MORE: I need an indy manifesto, and a united party able to deliver on the vision

Now, not all who claim to be independence supporters will do this. The Greens will once again foolishly stand in a number of constituency seats with no prospect of winning, but a very good prospect of helping a Unionist get a seat which a few more votes for the SNP could have prevented.

SNP members and independence supporters can be assured the Action for Independence will support the SNP all over Scotland in every constituency seat without fail. Now if SNP voters and independence supporters decide not to waste their second vote when they know the SNP will gain nothing from it, they could return the favour and vote AFI with their list vote, and this will not only help us to win seats, but will ensure that the Unionists lose seats. This will then have a double advantage it will increase the indy majority in parliament and it will weaken our Unionist opposition.

Andy Anderson

YET another excellent letter from Selma Rahman. Thank you. Good news for Nicola. Can we now move on and get on with it?!

Ann Leitch
via email

ON Monday, the Defence Command Paper that outlined what could turn out to be a science-fictional future role for the UK’s armed forces was published. It reminded me of the tragic tae of the army of King Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria. Please bear with me for a moment.

The kit may be new – and of course very, very expensive – but the underpinning principles behind the whizz-bang spending spree are very old. Hence the reference to King Max, who I’m sure even readers of The National will not have heard of, though you may have heard of his grandson who built the original fairytale castle.

Around 200 years ago King Max was the head of state of Bavaria, which constituted – and still does, though under a different governance model – a sizeable chunk of Germany.

READ MORE: Tories to cut armed forced personnel to smallest number in centuries

My central point is this. The rationale, the geopolitical drivers that persuaded King Max to send more than 20,000 Bavarian soldiers to their doom alongside his very big and powerful ally Napoleonic France, is extraordinarily similar to the rationale behind what appears to be the most sweeping reform of the UK’s armed forces since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.

Max invaded Russia because, like his predecessors, he feared that the Austrian-Hungarian Empire would gobble up Bavaria. Cleaving close to France, irrespective of its leader, would – so generations of Bavarian leaders believed – guarantee Bavaria’s independence.

So where the French army went, so, more often than not, did the Bavarian army go too.

Today post-Brexit Britain believes it needs to cleave as closely as it can to the USA by signalling to the USA it is up for the fight, pretty much any fight, that the USA might embark on, Britain retains its prestige and, crucially, an American guarantee that it won’t lose its permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

To convincingly signal that the UK is not only willing but able to be up for the next expeditionary war that the USA may embark upon Boris must, like King Max did, display what is called interoperability.

The only way that the UK can maintain interoperability with the world’s greatest superpower is to ensure its military kit is almost as high-tech as America’s military kit. Hence the need for cuts to personnel, cuts to ships now with promises of more ships later.

Interoperability does not come cheap, nor do the dozens of F35s that the UK is buying from the US. One jet costs around £100 million, which keeps American arms companies happy as well.

Interestingly, some Norwegian politicians decided to use a wee bit of their sovereign oil fund buy more than four dozen of the F35s. This is something not mentioned when we get the quarterly photo shoot of a British fighter wiggling its wings at a big shiny and ageing (the RAF’s term, not mine) Russian bomber somewhere over the North Sea.

So the next time we have body bags coming back from someone else’s expeditionary war, spare a thought for the handful – and I mean the handful – of raggedy-assed Bavarians huddling around campfires in November of 1812 asking each other, why did King Max order us to invade Russia?

To be fair, Joe Biden does not display Bonapartist tendencies, at least so far, and he is wily on matters of foreign affairs. But when shove comes to push, as Brexit Britain Boris puts it: “we have to be prepared for any eventuality”.

Bill Ramsay
Convener SNP CND