I AM not an SNP member, and in normal circumstances it wouldn’t be for non-SNP members to question the party’s leadership contest.

However, we are in anything but normal circumstances. We are in a cost-of-Union crisis that is affecting everyone of us, and a constitutional roadblock with the British establishment blocking the people of Scotland having their say.

I believe that independence is inevitable for Scotland. The seed that was planted in 2014 may have faced some tough winters over the last eight years, but the thing with seeds is that as long as they have a good root, they will year on year attempt to flourish. That is why the independence movement offer opinions on the SNP leadership contest, as the result could define how many more bad winters it takes before independence flourishes.

So far we have seen three different strategies emerging.

Humza Yousaf wants to create regional paid SNP organisers and have regional assemblies to decide the best way forward. He often mentions we need to stop talking process and start talking policy, but surely process is just as important as policy.

We can have the best policies and get support to 70-80%, but what then? I’m afraid I see this as echoing what we have been doing for the last eight years. Fine talk, but no real plan to get us independence.

Kate Forbes wants to focus on building the economy and economic case to increase support, and would write a prospectus for the first 10 years post independence. She wants to go into the next General election on a mandate to demand powers be transferred that allow us a referendum within three months of the General Election.

I like Kate and see her as the strongest candidate in hustings so far, showing her impressive knowledge with quiet confidence, and that she could handle the British media. However, as much as I want to fully support her, I am struggling with the seeking of another mandate on a referendum. We have that mandate now, five times over.

Ash Regan wants to call an independence convention of all parties, organisations, trade unions and civic Scotland to lead the case for independence then use something called a “voter empowerment mechanism”. This would see the SNP change back to putting top of their manifesto that a vote for the SNP is a vote to begin negotiations for independence, rather than the current mandate of voting for a referendum.

Some critics have said the UK Government would just say the same as they say now. They are not negotiating. The difference is this. If the SNP, and any other parties with the same mandate, won the majority of votes, the people of Scotland would have already declared independence at the ballot box. This would be recognised by the international community.

Once Scotland has international recognition as an independent country, the only negotiations with the UK Government will be on trade and borders.

Any independence supporter knows the vast resources Scotland has with renewables, its oil, its food and drink etc, but we also know the UK has huge debt, for which Scotland is not legally liable.

When the people of Scotland vote for independence at the ballot box, then get the international recognition as an independent country, who do we think will be not only willing but desperate to get round the negotiating table?

For these reasons, IF I had a vote on who was best to become the next SNP leader and presumed First Minister to lead Scotland to independence, it would have to be Ash Regan 1, Kate Forbes 2 for me.

Hector Macleod
Isle Of Skye