I AM a member of the SNP and look forward to independence, but I think to be realistic (I am in my mid-seventies), I am looking forward to it on behalf of my children and grandchildren!

However, I listened with (initial) great interest to the STV leadership debate on Tuesday night and was distinctly underwhelmed!

Can I be the only SNP member who is still concerned about some aspects of independence? I am not completely convinced that we will be moving painlessly into an independent paradise with no follow-up problems. I am also fairly certain that many of my fellow citizens who are not yet convinced regarding independence will feel the same way – and then some!

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Also I do not think that these people who could be persuaded will be overly impressed by sophisticated financial arguments or vague promises regarding the future benefits of an independent Scotland.

I believe, however, that doubters could be persuaded if it is clear that Scotland can do things better. Tangible, easy to understand benefits. For example:

  • Fixing potholes and rough pavements (as a wheelchair user, this latter point would certainly benefit me).
  • Clearing litter from our streets and country roads and clearing walls and underpasses of graffiti.
  • Reducing hospital waiting lists or at least putting serious plans into ACTION. Please don't tell me how many millions of pounds you are putting into a problem – tell me what you are doing!
  • Improving social care – especially important with an ageing population.
  • Reducing the attainment gap in schools. Again, not what you are planning, but what you are doing.

If you made our lives better through improving a bundle of achievable things – and I’m sure the list could be much longer! – then I really believe that independence will take care of itself. We will be banging on the doors of Westminster demanding it, and not waiting to be “persuaded” by our political leaders.

Alex Leggatt

I WAS taken aback and distinctly disappointed by the performance of all three candidates for the position of leader of the SNP in the programme broadcast by STV on Tuesday evening. All of them seem to me – to varying but worrying degrees – unable to find a way to promote their own candidature without denigrating the cases of the others.

I had been hoping for a change of style. I wanted to hear some elucidation and exploration of Ash Regan’s notion of a commission to provide us perhaps with a (non-party) mechanism for promoting the case for a new type of relationship between the individual parts of the UK, which might have found approval on a wider scale – and which might also have found approval among other friendly and influential nation states and units abroad.

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I was hoping to hear why the Scottish Government had hitherto not appeared to have pushed further against the constraints which limited our actions – by forming an embryo central bank, for example, an embryo high street bank, a national energy company, a national education programme for the retraining of oil and gas workers, to adapt themselves to the requirements of the renewable energy market, and so on.

A salient concern at present is the price and the price structure of energy. By getting together and agreeing a common programme, they could each have enhanced their own case much more effectively. A good opportunity wasted, I would say.

Hugh Noble

GREAT though it was to platform SNP to a wider audience in the STV debate, I was uncomfortable with government ministers not only attacking each other but particularly highlighting perceived failures in departments being run by the other candidates, which was a bit ridiculous like self-flagellation!

I think the weakness of doing TV debates is that you are no longer in control of the message. Maybe the SNP media officer should not have agreed to the section where candidates question each other, or given them guidelines on how to debate without attacking and discrediting the party. The programme wouldn’t have been so lively, though would be better overall for the party.

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The candidates managed to get the message across many times about the benefits of independence, an opportunity we would not have had without the screen time, therefore the debate was an overall positive for independence and could have been stronger without the disagreements.

Christine Smith

CAMPBELL Anderson’s long letter (Mar 8) suggests that he wouldn’t divorce his wife, even though he really really wanted to, unless the community voted him at least 60% in support!

Surely a legal contract and its dissolution does not rest with “democracy”? Put in this context, our situation can be seen to be nonsense. It is NOT a matter of democracy that a country should govern itself, but that it should be able to choose the members of that government by democratic means. Scots have not chosen a Tory “government” for more than 50 years.

Our English-law assembly in Holyrood is specifically prevented from entering this arena, but our MPs are not. They can secede from that damned treaty, and then, quite legally, ask Scots via a referendum if we want to rejoin with England in a union, or not. There, law and democracy in action.

The Unionists, who have played every trick in the book to trap their golden goose, will be fuming, and mighty marches of Union supporters in Scotland will storm our streets in their tens.

Please get on SNP; people are starving, losing their homes and dying.

Christopher Bruce