REGARDLESS of your political affiliations or party loyalties, one thing is clear. The First Minister has played a blinder in wrong footing her opponents in setting out her plans for a new independence referendum. As Kevin McKenna notes, leaders of the opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament are one-dimensional braying political donkeys and they were, as usual, unable to compete with the sheer professionalism and extensive constitutional understanding of Ms Sturgeon. They, and their Westminster masters, together with the unashamedly partisan media, will now unleash a Pandora’s Box of dirty tricks designed to frighten, bamboozle and unsettle the Scottish electorate in the weeks and months ahead.

That is why it is so vital that those in the independence movement create a united front and that all individuals and parties who cherish the idea of an independent Scotland ensure that this is not the time for parochial bickering or self-centred ego trips that offer solace and confidence to the Unionist side. Mr McKenna, though guilty of falling into this trap, correctly calls for a speedy restoration to the forefront of the movement for Joanna Cherry, one of the sharpest intellects and strategists in the Westminster ranks of the SNP. If the goal for another referendum is to be achieved, all the genuinely “big beasts” of the independence campaign will have to be in the vanguard.

Nicola Sturgeon has now crossed a constitutional Rubicon and the die is indeed cast. The majority of MSPs, Scottish Westminster MPs and local councillors are all pro-independence, providing, many would argue, a tangible mandate for another referendum. October 2023 may seem like a long way off but we must be vigilant and maintain our collective focus for the sake of our children and our grandchildren. The gloves are well and truly off.

Owen Kelly


Just imagine the explosion, the tsunami of scorn and outrage from Westminster had the EU parliament reprimanded the UK in 2016 suggesting that “now is not the time! Look, just get back to your desks and focus on your failing health system and your education!” The outpouring of sanctimonious, and, actually, justified revulsion at such a total disregard for a member state’s decision to (rightly or wrongly) leave the club would have been deafening. Now, rock the clock forward six years – what do we hear when the Scottish legislature suggests that the union with the rest of the UK is not in Scotland’s interest – actually, never was? We hear calls of “now is not the time”, “focus on the day-job” and “too wee, too silly, too poor!” The UK (small ‘c’) conservatives (and, even more so, the upper-case ‘C’ variety) once again argue that any Scottish government should be focused on the day-job, the nitty-gritty of governing their country.

Healthcare is important. Education is important, The economy is important. Social welfare is important. It is vital that the citizens of any country not only contribute towards their country but benefit from their citizenship.

It must be in their interest to participate in their own nation’s enterprise, that this enterprise should reward them in a way which satisfies their aspirations and ambitions and that is seen elsewhere as wholesome and attractive (are you recognising any of this? Perhaps not!) I can see no problem with any country seeking a collective cooperation with other states; sharing the benefits in the good times and spreading the load in the bad. However when this union with another favours only one of the collective then it is time to exit that club. It becomes increasingly difficult to carry out the basic duties of governance when your union partner’s boot is firmly wedged on your throat. Now the positioning of said boot on one’s throat may well be totally unintentional.

It may be a situation, a position, which, if you like, developed over the years for some now-obscure and invisible purpose, but the effects of such a situation are still – well – terminal eventually. It is not that right now is the best time to withdraw, that would have been about three hundred years ago, but now is always the best time to exit this kind of situation.

Stewart Cassidy

via email

The Scottish Labour Party never cease to amaze me!

An open door, an opportunity to hold the Westminster Government to account at Scottish Questions in the House of Commons.

An opportunity to raise questions from a Scottish perspective and there are many questions needing raised: the cost-of-living crisis, the impact Brexit is having on Scottish trading, a 40-year high in inflation, a less than inflation rise in welfare benefits.

Plenty for the only Scottish Labour MP to question and hold the Government to account on. So it was nothing short of disappointing but not surprising that Ian Murray MP, instead of holding the Government to account, went on the question of the future reign of the Prime Minister!

Catriona C Clark