THE initial hustings involving the three SNP leadership candidates vying for the votes of SNP members have not revealed how Scotland’s independence could realistically be won within the next three years.

While all of the candidates agree that public support for independence needs to be built to a sustained level greater than 50%, none of the candidates has to date provided clarity on realising self-determination within a three-year time-frame. Establishing an “independence convention”, “national commissions” or “regional assemblies” and then expecting the UK Government to honour any majority result at Westminster, or Holyrood, as an expression of such support seems unlikely to produce a positive outcome within the lifetimes of even the SNP’s younger members.

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However, a proposal to transform the 2024 General Election into a “de facto referendum” on specifically extending the powers of the Holyrood parliament to conduct constitutional referenda would appear to have merit. The people of Scotland have the right to determine their own future and devolution must be enhanced to reflect that right with the 1998 Scotland Act – and/or if necessary, the Act of Union – amended accordingly.

As most of the Scottish electorate, including a large number of Labour supporters, agree with the democratic principle that the people of Scotland should be able to determine their own future, the prospect of gaining 50% plus one and perhaps even more than 60% of the General Election votes in favour of independence parties becomes more achievable than a direct “de facto referendum” on independence.

It is likely that even Labour Party members could be persuaded to vote for one of these parties in the knowledge that their vote for socialist governance will not be lost if the SNP, Greens and Alba, together with Labour, win a majority of the seats at that election. In addition, they will have honoured not only their socialist principles but their democratic principles and the UK Labour Party will likely have the opportunity to put their stated commitment to further devolution into practice (perhaps resulting in an independence referendum before the end of 2025).

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Should the governing party/coalition at Westminster not honour democratic principle in enacting the appropriate amendment(s) within a set period, say three months, then at that point all MPs supporting self-determination should immediately declare their support for the primacy of an independent Scottish Parliament in representing their respective electorates and withdraw from the House of Commons.

With such a clear endorsement by the majority of Scottish MPs, the Scottish Parliament, with a majority of independence-supporting MSPs, should in turn declare the withdrawal of Scottish parliamentary representation from the 1707 Act of Union treaty (which effectively united the parliaments of Scotland and England) and promptly initiate the negotiation with the government at Westminster (representing the electorate in the remainder of the “United Kingdom”) of mutually respectful withdrawal terms.

There are no doubt obstacles to drafting an agreed common manifesto text that would provide legitimacy to such declarations, but it would not appear to be beyond the combined brains of the SNP and the wider “Yes movement” to construct appropriate wording.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

THE SNP hustings events at Cumbernauld and Glenrothes were very good, with a noticeably healthy debate (without an interfering media/press involvement) covering various concerns and topics for the potential leadership candidates to give their views. There were a good number of similar questions covering the likes of Scottish independence and the cost-of-living crisis.

What I found particularly interesting was a common question/concern regarding the hostile Unionist press/media regularly issuing false insinuations/headlines that undermine the Scottish Government and the SNP. I must say it is refreshing to hear concerns similar to mine being uttered and subsequent questions being asked about how our new FM will deal with them more effectively.

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I’ve previously referred to this nonsense as the Scottish Government being used as a “political punchbag” with no proper recourse that would certainly appease many observers like myself. This regular type of political assault by the British government and their colluding media cohorts is totally unacceptable and they have been allowed to do this too easily in this sovereign country, Bella Caledonia.

Indeed, I’d suggest that this type of press/media incursion emanating from English sources would never be allowed to happen in most European sovereign countries with democratically elected governments in place. Imagine if this activity was done retrospectively in England by a Scottish Government served by a huge number of national or daily newspapers plus a complicit media corps? There would be a huge reaction of angst and protest from our bullish neighbours!

Let’s face it, a great deal of what Scots have been told about independence and other Scottish Government issues in the last few years by Unionist politicians and the media is a tissue of flat-out lies, half-truths, deliberate omissions and misrepresentations. In my opinion this really is an issue that must be seriously reviewed and tackled effectively.

Bernie Japs

SO Douglas Ross (the referee) didn’t like disruption from the gallery during FM’s question time. Trying to answer a question were you, Dougie? Well for the prime interrupter when Nicola tries to answer your questions, I must say you have truly a brass neck. Now you know how your constant heckling comes across. Not pleasant is it, Dougie?

Frieda Burns