IN her letter of February 15, Ruth Marr made reference to the SNP National Council.

For the information of the uninitiated, the National Council was the body within the SNP which met on a quarterly basis in between the party’s National Conferences in order to discuss and determine the party’s policy position on a whole range of issues.

As well as acting as a bridge between the party’s ordinary membership and its leadership, the National Council was also a forum where matters of contention could be debated openly by members, voted upon by those members and resolved. At times, those debates could become fiery, but they were also informative, transparent and empowering for a party which valued the opinions of its ordinary members.

Another benefit of the National Council was that it enabled party activists from all over Scotland to have a forum where they could meet on a regular basis, socialise and become acquainted.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon responds to Andy Murray resignation joke

The SNP National Conference of 2018 took the decision to abolish its National Council. Many of us who had been in the party for a long number of years considered this decision to be a backward step as it sidelined the opinions of the ordinary members and created the impression that we were recipients of party policy rather than its makers.

Happily, this was recognised by the party at the SNP National Conference of 2021 which voted in favour of the restoration of the National Council. Unhappily, however, the National Council has yet to hold its first meeting following that decision.

The National Council in its day was not necessarily a panacea for all of the problems which the SNP faced, but it did enable many of those problems to be discussed with the leadership in a transparent way by our ordinary members.

It is my contention that had the National Council been able to convene and act as it had done in the past, then many of the difficulties which the SNP have faced in recent years – not least internally – could have been avoided. My personal “cri de coeur” to whoever emerges as the party’s new leader is that they should make the restoration and convening of the National Council an absolute priority.

The National: EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 23:  British radio broadcaster and journalist Lesley Riddoch attends a photocall at Edinburgh International Book Festival on August 23, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images).

Jim Finlayson


I WOULD like to give my opinion about Lesley Riddoch’s (left) article of February 9. Lesley (above) is someone I greatly admire and a person I rarely disagree with, I think that in her excellent piece she is a bit hard on Nicola and her government. It is generally acknowledged that it is through the SNP that independence will be achieved.

At present, the outgoing Nicola Sturgeon personally and her government are facing pressures on a whole range of issues and matters from a great range of sources.

The citizens of Scotland are experiencing unprecedented pressures also. While in the main they understand their problems emanate from the policies of the Tory government, they expect the Holyrood government to adopt policies that are in their interests and offer some relief.

If our citizens witness that the Scottish Government appears to be giving greater attention to the constitutional issue than their immediate problems, to say they would be unhappy would be an understatement.

I am in agreement with Lesley in saying the SNP have become more of an election-winning machine.

There is probably a long road to the next General Election, although that’s not a certainty. During that time, the SNP government have to show Scotland that there is a contrast between themselves and the incompetent, corrupt, arrogant Tory government.

If the SNP are to become the avenue to independence, they will require a very strong, active and diverse movement to bolster efforts. A movement with imaginative activism which presents a vision of what a new nation can be.

That movement may desire an umbrella of unity, but it is all the activity that happens beneath it that will be the decisive factor.

As to a unity election pact with other independence organisations at the next General Election, it’s a nice dream but I doubt it’s a realistic prospect when one considers the electoral machine that the SNP are in Scotland.

Bobby Brennan


AT the Glasgow City Council budget meeting yesterday, there were hard decisions to be made. What do Labour councillors do? Vacate the premises.

The National:

When the going gets tough, Labour leave – or, like the Tories, hide.

If anyone really thinks Labour have a chance in Scotland they are deluded – we have good memories and will not be fooled by them. Starmer is no leader – when did a party leader tell members to leave the party?

There certainly was antisemitism in the Labour Party, just like there is racism in the Tory Party, but Jeremy Corbyn was the best of Labour and look what they have done to him.

Winifred McCartney