BY my reckoning (well, according to the figures from the SNP website) we have 64 SNP MSPs and 44 SNP MPs. We don’t know the exact size of the party membership but it’s been reported as anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000. That means the combined vote of all the SNP parliamentarians is only somewhere between 0.216% to 0.108% of the votes available in the SNP leadership contest.

Ordinary members – those who do the majority of the hard work of campaigning, delivering leaflets, manning street stalls and talking to friends, families and colleagues about independence – would easily outvote all the parliamentarians, even if they did all agree to back the same candidate!

Each and every member of the party has the exact same number of first-preference votes – one – in the leadership election. My vote carries the same weight as Humza’s, Kate’s and Ash’s – the same applies for every member. I won’t be swayed by glossy campaigns or who’s got the biggest following within a minority section (parliamentarians – or even councillors) within the party.

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I will judge each candidate in the same way as my former council colleague, the much respected and missed, Councillor Jim Mitchell from Paisley, would do whenever discussions went off track. He would focus minds with one simple phrase – “What’s this to do with independence?”

Therefore my vote will go to the best person I think can deliver independence at the earliest opportunity. We don’t have endless years to wait for London to get fed up and say “OK, you can have a referendum”. We need to take our independence campaign forward now – no delays, no sidetracking. I would like every member of the party to focus on who is best able to deliver independence to Scotland because that is what we desperately need now.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren


BEING interviewed, you really MUST know your brief. Far too many of our politicians are not up to it, or able to confidently put over Scotland’s case.

Scotland’s Claim of Right is where we need to go back to. You would have expected better from the party we are relying on as our vehicle to get us independence. They should all be well-versed and completely up to speed on our country’s historic Claim of Right. Some should be constitutional experts, and the best of them are the ones who should be put forward as speakers to the TV and other media.

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Since 2014 it looks like the SNP NEC has been peddling easy and fantasy exits from the UK. People like me, the voters, sold a certain line for years and believed it – and why wouldn’t I? I’m not an expert a lot like a lot of our MSPs and MPs. There is no easy exit. This was done to win the elections.

Too much process ahead of actual ways to actually get us independence.

Going back to the Claim of Right, it’s firmly internationally recognised.

Our SNP NEC and Westminster politicians should find a way to get us out of the Union Scotland entered, and urgently before we have nothing left.

Michael Maclennan


BERNIE Japs (Letters, Mar 6) is right about our Unionist press/media. What a strange country we live in. Scotland must be pretty well unique in that every one of its newspapers bar one, as well as its TV and radio stations, are openly hostile to the political beliefs of half of the population, as well as to the Scottish Government and all its works. Indeed, in some of them “hostile” is putting it mildly.

As Mr Japs suggests, this ought not to happen in a democratic country where, one would think, media should represent all shades of opinion; though in an age of media conglomerates this is probably asking for too much.

It is worrying to think how much a dominant media adds to the Unionist vote, especially where even 2-3% could make all the difference. The Sun newspaper wasn’t necessarily wrong when it claimed the credit for John Major’s 1992 election win (“It‘s The Sun Wot Won It”).

The political influence of the press has no doubt declined since then. Nevertheless, the combined propaganda of TV, radio and the press must at least help to corral the No vote and to sway some of the don’t-knows. This makes a close-knit Yes grassroots movement doubly important. Its everyday conversations are, thankfully, a bulwark against mass media.

Yessers are well aware, for example, of the kind of press character assassination that awaits our new FM, something which has already begun with regard to Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes.

Alastair McLeish


THE Scottish Parliament heard a blast from the past that we are all still paying for! This takes us back to the coalition government at Holyrood from 2003-7 when Labour and the LibDems were in government.

MSP Kenneth Gibson asked the Scottish Government about the cost to the public purse of private finance initiative (PFI) and Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects still running in Scotland for the financial year 2023-24 and how that compares to 2021-22. Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the totals were £1.46 billion in 2023/24 and £1.41bn 2022/23, staggering and eye-watering sums and a legacy costing the country dearly. Where I live in Falkirk saw the largest PFI schools projects, which we are still being paid for today.

There are still 75 PFI/PPP schemes running and due to conditions within their contracts, tying the schemes to current inflation rates, it will cost taxpayers an additional £770m till the termination of those schemes as a result of inflation.

This benefits those who provided the finance and are now raking in substantial profits, it is exploitation of our public services and purse and thankfully, the SNP swiftly halted any future PFI/PPP projects.

Catriona C Clark