IT is probably oversimplification on my part, but in response to your Wednesday headline, “Ex-SNP policy chief backs 3rd options on indyref2 ballot paper”, can I ask, why?

Not why did you print it – I presume you did so for some form of newsworthiness and to elicit responses. But why would the Scottish Government, its indy campaign team (I presume there is one), then its negotiating team – as they negotiate the detailed wording of the referendum – even contemplate such wording, far less ask for it?

It is often stated that politicians, including the SNPs MPs and MSPs, become entrapped in the power loop that they encounter in Westminster and Holyrood and what it brings: the trappings, the cars, the limelight.

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When elected to serve in either parliament, surely politicians do it to the optimum within the construct of their parties’ manifestos and ideology. There may be days, weeks even, after yet another election success and the presumption of what another mandate should bring, that create doubt about the conviction and actions, or lack of, within the SNP in its pursuit and prioritisation of independence. Yet again, perhaps I demonstrate naivety, but I want to believe that the SNP has independence at its core. So why would any (even semi-competent) party contemplate promoting a strategy that, if implemented, would send its party, supporters and those of us who lend their vote into a political cul-de-sac for at least a generation if not even longer?

Labour Party leader Starmer has just pronounced he will not seek any pact with the SNP. Fine, did the SNP, did Scotland request one? Do we need one? No, not at last count: Labour in the doldrums, local election failures last time and third in Holyrood. The coming local elections just might see Labour achieve some gains away from the Tories. In General Elections, Scotland’s votes are frippery dressing, used not to govern but to dress up the image of Union. LibDems will ride any coat-tails that lead to ministerial trappings. And that leaves the Tories.

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The Tory party has and will continue to put Unionism at its heart, to be achieved by any means possible – for its benefit, not Scotland’s. Those “means” evolve as required, including most recently the attempt to thwart democracy, to highway robbery post-Brexit, aimed at Holyrood, our economy, our farming, our fisheries, our society via legislation manipulated to their advantage. Whether aided and abetted by Labour and LibDems in shutting out, shutting down, stripping Scotland of its rights, its resources, all in the name of strengthening Unionism, or resurrecting federalism in the name of modernising the same, we are their indispensable cash cow.

To contemplate some half way house, which ultimately requires those with power, with authority, with rule over our lives and our future, to willing give up all that plus our taxes, our revenues, is not just political suicide. It provides Westminster, its lords and masters, the opportunity to say again, “Scotland has been catched and we will hold her fast.”

We have suffered enough of broken promises, unfulfilled vows. No more, not again, no third option.

Selma Rahman

A MULTI-OPTION referendum would be a confusing disaster. The concept seems attractive but will produce an even worse stalemate than a near 51:49 split. For example what decision is made on say a 37:33:30 split, or even 45:40:15? It needs to have a much wider range and mix of options to have any statistical relevance.

The proponents completely fail to understand the potential range of outcomes and subsequent consequences. While it may be true that devo-max is a better option than current devolution, it still falls short of independence and the arguments such as getting rid of nuclear weapons and specific policies that suit us but not England will remain.

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If we had devo-max in 1997 then that may well have worked, but we didn’t. We need full sovereign powers to enable us to build the society we want, otherwise we will still be directed by the significantly greater population of England and their wishes, especially as they remain in thrall with those in charge of the Conservatives. Something the occasional Labour governments have not done or are incapable of doing anything about.

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire

DAVID Pratt provides an accurate analysis in his article on devo-max and its dangers to the cause of independence (We must ensure we do not fall into devo-max political ambush, Jan 6). What is particularly concerning is a former SNP policy chief who still sits on the SNP policy committee going public with these comments on devo-max, which are not SNP policy and have not been approved by members at national conference. Little wonder there is real concern at the further division this will create within the SNP and the wider Yes movement.

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This goes to the heart of the cause for Scotland to become independent once again, which is the sole reason for the existence of the SNP. The importance of this issue is such that it should not be left to subordinates to disown devo-max. Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader should go public herself and disown it – after all, the constitutional “log jam” could be freed by her own actions.

It may be this is a cack-handed attempt to pre-empt Labour, who will have to say something on the constitution if they are to progress. Devo-max in any shape or form is the most likely route for them and keeps us firmly under Westminster control.

The only way to counter the devo-max issue is to start a long-overdue campaign on the vision of what an independent Scotland might look like and not just an SNP vision. If the people vote for independence, there will have to be a transition period involving all Scottish political parties in the negotiations to form the new Scotland chosen by the people.

Alan M Morris