NOW is definitely the time for Scotland to proceed with indyref2.

Whilst I totally condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, killing people to peruse a political aim seems to be a human habit: Yeman, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan etc. The invasion of Ukraine wasn’t exactly a surprise, given the history of the region. Why weren’t all these measures taken when Russia invaded, sorry annexed, Crimea?

The Russian Invasion is definitely not the fault of the Ukrainian people or government. We need to do all we can to help these desperate people. No one cannot be moved by the scenes being beamed into our living rooms every night!

Except of course “our” Government at Westminster.  The response of the UK Government has been risible. The sight of UK ministers’ grandstanding is totally embarrassing. As humans, the sight of thousands of refugees being refused entry to the UK should embarrass them. No, Of course not! Let’s have a pop at Ireland! They have demonstrated, in fine detail, in full view of the world, how out of their collective incompetent depths they are. The fallout: Scotland’s reputation as a caring nation is being dragged into the gutter with them. We desperately need to escape this incompetence.

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The Scottish Government will do all it can. But without full powers, the response will be limited.

The independence movement should do all it can to highlight this. Not forgetting the Ukrainians’ plight, but to show the people of Scotland and indeed the civilised world, there’s a better way. Let’s begin and make Scotland the nation it deserves. Believe in better!

Colin Counter
via email

RECENT comments from Ian Blackford MP led me to think that the chances of a referendum in late 2023 had considerably reduced. The very next day, the First Minister seemed to be sticking to the late-2023 timetable. With war raging in Ukraine I would not like to predict which one of them is closer to the truth.

If you had asked me six months ago if I wanted a referendum in 2023 I would have said yes – bring it on. Today I am not so sure. The Yes/No option polls seem stubbornly stuck at somewhere near to 50/50. Despite the antics of Boris and the UK Government, half our population are yet to be convinced of the need or even the potential advantages of independence. We have so far failed to inspire them. We have not fully answered the questions of currency, pensions and the like which led to our defeat in 2014.

It is now mid-March, 2022. The next two months of the Scottish political calendar will be occupied by the local election campaign. Hundreds of candidates, delivering thousands of leaflets and knocking on doors promising better schools, fewer potholes on local roads and that they will attend to all the numerous local issues which voters say they are interested in.

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By polling day in early May, only around half of the electorate will have bothered to vote, but a new set of councillors will be elected. Councils will have their first meetings. Political deals will be done, coalitions will be formed and by late May, local political life will get back to what passes for normal. Weary activists will take a week or two to recover their strength and then hopefully look to the next battle. June will be on the horizon, with thoughts of holidays (Covid permitting) taking up the attention of the Scottish electorate. July and August could be over in a flash of holidays, accompanied by recesses of both UK and Scottish Parliaments.

Who knows at what stage the war in Ukraine will be by then? If Nato has decided to enforce a no-fly zone, we could be in the middle of a much wider conflict. In any case, before you know it, September 2022 will be upon us and it will be only a year to a possible referendum polling day. I have no idea how long it will take to pass the necessary legislation and possibly defend it in various courts of law.

Given the lack of leadership from the SNP over the past eight years, there will be a lot of catching up to do. The big question is can we get to perhaps 55/45 in favour of Yes in a year, possibly a lot less? War and political uncertainty will not act in our favour. Food and fuel prices may well be at levels that many will find unaffordable. Will that help or hinder our cause? I suspect it will probably do both. As time rushes on, the starting point of a real independence campaign seems to be moving further and further into the future, leaving the time for the actual campaign getting shorter and shorter by the day. We cannot afford to lose for a second time. Indyref3 would be a long, long way into the future.

Iain Wilson

THE latest comment from a senior member of the SNP about the Ukraine crisis affecting the Scottish independence timetable illustrates the mindlessness of much of what passes for public discourse, irrespective of whether the accompanying hysteria emanates from politicians, press or public. The notion that it justifies any delay in starting the legislative process to set up a referendum is manifestly absurd. If a referendum is indeed to take place under the Scottish Government’s well-publicised plan, the date will lie somewhere between 12 and 18 months after they table the Referendum Bill in Holyrood (as explained in Alan Crocket’s letter of March 9, “What is the Scottish Government’s plan for independence?”).

READ MORE: What is the Scottish Government’s plan for independence?

Unlike the timescale for the referendum, the circumstances of Scotland and of the world at that date cannot be predicted. Only events occurring around the time of the referendum could cause difficulty and we have no knowledge of how things may be at that time. Sensibly, people do not run their lives under immobilising stricture from an unknown future, and Scotland should not do so with its referendum.

Ian Roberts