THE perceived failure of our SNP politicians and leadership not only to raise the “volume” on our independence aspirations but to show the Scottish electorate, that the only scenario to achieve a post Covid economic recovery is Scottish independence is perhaps being overstated.

The total disaster that is Brexit is now plain for all to see and the continuing antics of the Johnson Tories, mired in sleaze, have given more than adequate ammunition for those who oppose them to make clear political capital. Has this been the case? Unfortunately, the answer is NO.

Keir Stammer and Labour down south have failed miserably to bring the Tories to book. The SNP MPs and their leader Ian Blackford courageously take them on but unfortunately, they remain an isolated Westminster Group representing a nation that the Tories treat with contempt and disdain.

Occasionally Blackford and other SNP MPs do get under their Tory skins but only under Westminster rules! Consequently, the Tories seem to be immune to all criticisms levelled at them from all quarters!

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However, with the passing of COP26 and the Tories mired in sleaze at last, the fight back is well and truly gathering momentum. The actions of the First Minister at COP26 were a masterstroke in circumventing Johnson’s attempt to sideline Scotland. Many of the slogans, social media chatter and SNP politicians’ narrative, Greens included, have started to gain real traction, and were not only observed here in Scotland but by the rest of the world!

Add the ever-increasing profile of our YES allies then my optimism of genuine “independence progress” is higher than it has been for some time.

It was heartwarming to see many of our MPs and MSPs making robust attacks and responses to the Tory sleaze which engulfs the Conservative Party.

The Tory antics rather than defusing the situation made it worse and the voting public increasingly see them for what they are. Social media, press and other commentators provide varying opinions on how the independence supporter should react not only on how we should put the case for independence to the Scottish voting public but also how we should respond to the “political disasters and faux pas” which engulf our opponents, particularly the Tories.

Many of our senior politicians advise “always adopt the moral higher ground”. Never stoop to the negative name calling, derogatory personal attacks and false news of political opponents. Of course, the latter approach is not acceptable, but it is not a “black and white” choice.

Many Westminster, Holyrood and locally elected politicians believe the “moral higher ground approach” as the only approach and sidestep confrontational politics at all costs.

Scottish aspirations for independence are being vociferously attacked by the Unionists – using every dirty trick in the book at their disposal. Adopting a passive “higher moral ground approach” must be complemented by a proactive, direct, positive and informative strategy that will convince the doubters to vote for independence.

It MUST be supplemented by a highly direct, immediately responsive, straight talking, rebuttal strategy that is in place to deal with opposition disinformation, false news and plain lies!

I believe the three approaches identified are progressing at different rates. The FM and senior SNP politicians reflect very much the “moral higher ground “approach and are to be commended. The “soft networking” of the FM at the Glasgow COP26 was a masterclass in diplomacy and putting the case for Scotland on the world stage. Long may she continue this approach going forward.

Sadly many other politicians think this is the only way. NO, it is not! Although there is a clear momentum from the YES/SNP activists and others there is much still to be done to get the independence message across to the undecided.

The National and Believe in Scotland are showing how this can be done. In relation to outing the Unionist rabid “unionjackery” flooding the Unionist press and social media. The SNP response is not coordinated at any level both at a local or national level. It’s left to the proliferation of SNP/YES social media hubs, SNP CA and Branch hubs and individuals. SNP please coordinate this!

A robust, simple, reflective reaction providing the truth is required at every level. The voters expect it no, they demand it!

Dan Wood


THE first COP was in Berlin in 1995, 26 years ago. Yes 26 years ago! During those 26 years the pathetic attempts to tackle climate change have been utterly depressing. It’s now pretty obvious that from here on in all our lives throughout the richer nations worldwide would pretty well need to be turned upside down to ensure the drastic changes necessary are made to hopefully prevent climate catastrophe. Is this happening?

One aspect is clearly to drastically reduce vehicle emissions. Well the latest report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that electric vehicles currently make up only 3% of car sales worldwide. So just a wee bit further to go there then!

But surely we should be more or less ditching transport by car and going by public transport? For me to travel from Dalgety Bay to my hometown of Hawick by car takes around 1 hour and 35/45 minutes depending on traffic of course.

A year ago I went by train from Dalgety Bay to Galashiels, then a bus to Hawick. Including the walks entailed at both ends the total time was three hours and 20 minutes!

Needless to say I’ve been making that journey by car since then and I’m sure millions of other car owners make similar decisions after attempting public transport as an alternative.

It’s well documented that the amount of plastic and cardboard, etc used in packaging for goods in shops and online deliveries has reached astronomical proportions and I don’t see any sign of a drastic reduction in this.

In this respect Amazon’s Jeff Bezos being invited to speak at COP26 in Glasgow surely must be someone’s idea of a very sick joke!

How many of us are planning ditching the gas heating and installing a heat pump any time soon? Mind you, maybe the Tories’ policies since 2010 that has led to widespread fuel poverty are a very clever wheeze to protect the environment. Aye right!

There are loads of other examples but the bottom line is that as long as we don’t feel our lives have changed that much then it’s Armageddon time for us I’m afraid! It’s been the norm to say we need to do more for the sake of our grandbairns/weans. However at 61 years old I can’t help feeling by the time I get to the last paragraph of the last chapter of my life it will coincide with the last paragraph of the last chapter of mankind.

It’s either that or maybe I’m getting all Reverend IM Jolly again!”

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay

FUDGE, Fudge and yet more Fudge. “Kicking the can” down the street. What possible good can come from this latest vote in the “Mother of all Parliaments” Westminster? Boris’s protection of Owen Paterson, has died after two weeks, and a hurried, cobbled together proposal is being pulled apart by MPs and commentators.

It appears only 10 MPs would have been affected by his proposals, and none of the current or recent MPs under “sleaze” aka “corruption” allegations. Only four Conservative MPs voted against the PM’s proposals, which indicates that as the old saying goes, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party”.

Keeping their “hand in” has more connotations than intended or desirable.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, jumped in to defend Mr Johnson, as you would expect, since many of the “sleaze or corruption” allegations would affect a number of her contacts in industry. She has also set out her views on how many hours that the MP may undertake their second job, a period of 15 hours per week was acceptable.

So for three hours a day Monday through Friday would be permitted, then of course there is Committee work and debates in the House and Constituency work. The quoted 80-90 working week for MPs seems excessive, but normal, why would we permit them to add an additional 15 hours, to their already heavy workload.

The PM’s admission that he “crashed the car” to the Tory Back Bench 1922 Committee (note, not the full sitting membership of parliament) is an easy task, as he knows that by pushing the investigation into what changes would be required/appropriate until January. Johnson has just kicked the Sleaze and Corruption down the street for a couple of months, to January. Some MPs leaving the meeting said he looked weak.

This is how Governments deal with unacceptable and unpalatable situations, when it is not in their personal financial interest to change. The UK Government is expert at this tactic.

We do not need to be part of this.

Alistair Ballantyne

Birkhill, Angus

I READ Kevin McKenna’s column with interest.I believe amongst other things he suggested that Nicola should harness the feel good factor of The National team and use it in the fight for independence.

With regards to this I would like to look at the performance of four people with regard achieving certain aspects of their job descriptions.

Firstly the cutthroat world of football. Steve Clarke to utilise limited resources to improve world rating and qualify for international tournaments. Mission accomplished. (Extend his contract.)

Nicola Sturgeon to maximize Scotland’s influence in the world stage despite being harnessed to Westminster. During COP26 she surpassed herself. Mission accomplished. (Extend contract and support her bid for independence.)

In total contrast we have Boris Johnson the PM who should work to ensure that all of government is acting on behalf of all the citizens of the entire United Kingdom: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Instead he’s swallowed up with sleaze, corruption, greed and self survival. He’s failed miserably. (Needs removed.)

The Queen, the figurehead of the UK and Commonwealth, needs to exert her influence but what powers has she really got?

READ MORE: Scottish Sovereignty Research Group gives answers on Scottish independence

In the face of possibly the worst time since the Second World War, shouldn’t she test her powers and sack Boris? It would cause constitutional mayhem but waiting for constitutional improvements, improved democracy, reform of House of Lords, is unlikely to happen soon. Her actions could speed the whole thing up. Change is inevitable but it’s taking far too long to materialise. Go on, your majesty, sack Boris!

Robin MacLean

Fort Augustus

LOTS of trade statistics are flung around, so here are a few more. In 2018 export statistics for Scotland to the UK were 60%, Rest of the World 21%, and the European Union 19%.

The logic of the SNP is we become independent, then hand over that independence to the EU in order to protect our smallest market share.

Meanwhile, we get a hard border at Carlisle with our main market.

Before we become independent, members of the European Union Supporters Club need to explain the inexplicable logic of the above.

When independent, look after our biggest market share by staying out of the European Union.

Brian Nugent

Burra, Shetland