ON Sunday morning in my local store, whilst purchasing my Sunday treat (The National in print rather than the rest of the week in my tablet by subscription), the checkout worker commented as the headline passed her: “Independence, I’m terrified of that.” On inquiring why, I was told “that would mean that Nicola Sturgeon was in charge of everything”. I resisted altering my polite gratitude for her service by not responding.

However, it struck me as terribly sad that someone in her position is apparently more comfortable with him down south in charge! I know nothing of her personal circumstances but she strikes me as someone to whom Scottish independence should offer much to gain, but obviously she is still to be convinced.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon warns UK leaders to respect Scotland's democratic rights

How many more potential No voters are yet to be convinced? Those of us converts to the cause think she should be, but she is yet to be. I am all too aware that the media is stacked against us, but surely our argument is strong enough if we can get it out there?

The forthcoming referendum campaign is such an opportunity. The 2014 campaign changed the views of very many, so let’s hope for the same this time. However, serious analysis of the issues worrying No voters, and the addressing of these issues with positive policies and campaigning directed primarily towards such doubting voters, is required.

What is required is the widest possible approach from the independence movement so that the message is unequivocal that “that Nicola Sturgeon” will only continue in charge post-independence if she reflects what we voters want. Primarily we want self-determination.

Campbell Anderson

READERS this week will expect reports of a Holyrood plan for a Scottish independence referendum.

However much we think national self-determination should be inevitable, it will only happen when we mobilise the active support for an alternative independent Scotland.

READ MORE: 'Trump-like' Douglas Ross blanks questions on Scotland's right to indyref2

It is not good enough to make some easy contrast to Johnson’s policies. We need an active statement of support for public-sector workers such as rail, health and local government services who are struggling to restore their wages to pre-pandemic levels.

Westminster may set the rules, but imposing an insignificant alternative here is not going to inspire the mobilisation needed for an active social, environmental and economic different Scotland.

Norman Lockhart

ALONG with my daughter I attended the march at Bannockburn on Saturday. The day was sunny and warm and the mood seemed high. It doesn’t take much to bring a mood down. Barely had the march started, with the indy pipe band piping us into the town, than the “Tories out” chanting started.

I have written on this matter before and to my surprise received a lot of support. Being just behind the band when it started, I spoke to some of those chanting and stated that in a mere 16 months we will need every vote – including Conservative/Tory (and other parties) – to ensure we get over the line for independence. Some were supportive – others insulting towards me.

What is the point in asking people who support independence to encourage and persuade people to see the benefits of independence if we are insulting them before we even get near? It got worse. As we marched through the town, the reply for the call of “Tories” wasn’t “out”, but “scum”. Is this the future of independence? If it is, it is sad and dangerous. I and others can remember a banner which read “Scottish Tories for Independence”. Haven’t seen them for a long time – I wonder why?

READ MORE: 'All lives matter' shirt man joins Bannockburn march with Union flag to 'protest against SNP'

At the rally I spoke to Alyn Smith MSP, who declared he didn’t chant but said I should talk to Neil Mackay – an AUOB organiser. This I did, and received a very negative response – in fact an unbelievable response from an organiser of ALL Under One Banner. I had pointed out there were no chants against Labour or the LibDems, who also do not support independence. “They are all Tories” was his reply. Well, you Labour marchers and LibDem marchers, I would be interested in your response to that declaration – you’re no welcome!

What IS the future of an independent Scotland? Are the seeds of division already rooted? Where IS the inclusive and democratic Scotland we so badly want and need? Where IS political tolerance and the recognition we won’t be a one-party country? As is perhaps obvious, I am deeply worried for Scotland’s future. Having marched with 100,000 down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, marched at every possible march I could attend, I have regretfully decided I will march no more.

I cannot march with the ignorant and short-sighted chanters shouting away our chances of a better Scotland. And finally, to Neil Mackay – have you considered that people like me are dropping off from attending marches because of the negativity of the chanting? You wanted data to prove it was damaging – perhaps numbers attending are the only data you will need. And maybe you should think of re-titling your marches because obviously we are not ALL UNDER ONE BANNER

Frieda Burns

BEFORE we celebrate the demise of the Tories, let’s note that Labour won one by-election with a turnout of less than 40% and the other by-election was won by the party that put the Tories into power in 2010. The Tories remain well on course to win the next General Election. The only way Scotland can properly be rid of the Tory menace is to break free of the toxic Union by voting for independence when the time comes next year.

Ni Holmes
St Andrews