GERRY Hassan in Tuesday’s National hit the nail on the head in describing the SNP’s “exclusionary, top-down politics ... ignoring other voices” (Scotland's future has to be about more than the SNP and leader contest, Mar 7). In the last few days we have heard many assertions from SNP leadership candidates that they will “work with the wider Yes movement”. That’s good to hear, but at the same time it seems they see the Yes movement as exclusively SNP territory: there is little awareness of the many national Yes campaign actions by various organisations, nor the hundreds of Yes groups holding regular stalls etc, for the last couple of years.

Even worse, I have heard candidates claim they will “restart” or “re-ignite” the indy campaign – it’s patronising and disrespectful as it fails to recognise the work of the indy grassroots who are already highly active, self-motivating and not dependent on leadership from political parties.

As a Yes activist myself, I’m accustomed to indy campaigning activities, even major national events, being ignored by the mainstream media, but it’s frustrating that our work is not properly valued by the main pro-indy party. Something that would be very welcome from the SNP candidates would be serious commitment to engage and collaborate with Yes groups/organisations at local, regional and national levels.

What about committing to specific methods of engagement, eg meeting with the lead persons of the main national umbrella Yes bodies – such as Believe in Scotland, Time for Scotland, National Yes Network, Scottish Independence Convention, possibly others – to thrash out viable working relationships? What about conveying to all parts of the party an expectation of, and perhaps explicit guidance for, collaborative working with Yes organisations at all levels?

To be clear, it’s the top-down tenor of the leadership contest that irks. On the ground, many SNP members and elected representatives already do collaborate and support Yes groups’ actions and events, including those of my own Yes group. Also, it’s true that some Yes groups want to avoid any form of overt association with political parties. But we shouldn’t let that discourage us from aiming for more effective, consistent, collaborative working.

To be frank, I’m sceptical that a totally unified Yes movement is possible. But we all share the same goal of independence, and we’ll only achieve it if politicians and Yes activists find ways of working together. And right now the SNP candidates need to make greater effort in this direction.

Morag Williamson

I CHANGED my mind about independence around the same time as Kevin McKenna, but he seems now to inhabit a different planet from me (The SNP must heal before we even consider independence, Mar 8).

His account of the Yes movement and its alleged betrayal by the SNP is not one I recognise at all. The local Yes group I’ve been involved with since it started up in early 2014 – Yes Marchmont & Morningside – has kept going ever since in that most Unionist enclave of south Edinburgh.

We are a politically diverse group, the majority not belonging to any party, but including members of the SNP, Scottish Greens, Alba and Labour Party (and perhaps other political parties). We focus on public campaigning for independence.

While accepting that we may have differences of opinion on just about everything else, and that it can be fruitful to be confronted with and try to understand another point of view, we choose not to pursue these differences to the point of acrimony. It’s really not that difficult, but it does require a bit of goodwill.

At one point during lockdown, when we could only meet on Zoom, disagreements did get out of control: this drove some people away, and threatened the group’s collapse. Far from “marginalising” the Yes movement, as Kevin McKenna suggests happened more widely, SNP members helped to nurture the group back to life.

Nor are we in any way unique. We work with other groups active locally – Yes4EU, Edinburgh Women for Indy, Pensioners for Indy, Aye Notes, and the Indy Choir – to organise public events, greatly helped by the excellent materials produced by Believe in Scotland.

The route to independence may not be clearly mapped out for us (but then neither is the route to socialism, which I personally also aspire to) yet we all know that, whatever trail we eventually blaze, it will require that we convince more of our fellow Scots to join us on the trip. And that’s plenty to be getting on with: we have our work cut out. So, Kevin, why not focus on that instead of endlessly feeding discord?

Paddy Farrington

SO the BBC say that they have an impartiality agenda and under this they will have words with Gary Lineker. If such a clause exists, why is Fiona Bruce not “spoken to” every Friday?

Speak up Gary, you speak for humanity. Braverman should remember that somewhere in her ancestry someone came here and was allowed to stay. Perhaps she wishes that she goes down in history with the title of “Hitler in Knickers”.

M Ross