IT’S time to turn on its head Douglas Ross’s mantra that the SNP leadership are obsessed with independence and responsible for dividing the nation.

The truth is that it’s the Unionist parties, and in particular DRoss’s Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, who are obsessed with Unionism and are dividing the nation – the nation being Scotland. Labour are just as bad. They’re more interested in helping the Labour Party south of the Border than waking up and smelling the coffee.

The obsessive Tories in Scotland are willing to accept any legislation from Westminster just to save the Union, no matter how badly it affects Scotland. Because of this obsession, they choose to divide the nation by devolving power to the Unionist Parliament in Westminster, and choose to remain politically subservient, just to save the Union.

The independence movement is trying to re-establish a united Scottish nation that is outward-looking and inclusive. The Tories accept that Scotland is a nation but not its right to self-determination. All nations have the right to be independent and govern themselves – all except Scotland. Why? Because of the Tory obsession with British Unionism. England voted to leave the EU because they were a minority and not in control, yet the same people impose their politics on the Scottish population because they can, and they make the rules to suit themselves.

So, Humza, many congratulations on your election to First Minister, and the next time DRoss demands that you give up your principles and abandon your obsessive commitment to independence, please demand that he abandons his dubious principles and obsessive commitment to Unionism and that he start campaigning for an independent Scotland.
Alan Walker

HUMZA Yousaf became the first Muslim to lead a Western, democratic country and I’m proud that the country is Scotland. There was much talk that now both the UK Government and the Scottish Government are led by politicians from ethnic minority communities whose parents came to the UK as immigrants, and that’s a good thing. There is a humongous difference, however, that wasn’t highlighted.

Clips were shown on television of Humza in his past. One of the clips showed him helping refugees get off boats on the Greek island of Lesbos several years ago. This humanitarian approach is in stark contrast to the UK Government led by Rishi Sunak that has recently introduced the Illegal Migration Bill to end illegal entry as a route to asylum in the UK. I think the term is “pulling up the drawbridge on Fortress Britain”.

Like Humza, the parents of the current Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, were immigrants arriving in the 1960s. So too were the parents of her predecessor, Priti Patel. The difference their daughters have shown compared to Humza by their words and deeds demonstrates an attitude of: my family have done just fine and dandy in the UK, thank you very much, but there ain’t no more room at the inn.

Well, OK, Russian oligarchs were an exception, but they brought loads of dosh with them, supported Brexit and look like their white colleagues. OK, thousands of folk fleeing the war in Ukraine were welcome too, but they also look like their colleagues and aren’t Muslims like those from Syria and other similar war-torn countries.

A cynic, which I most certainly am, may feel that Rishi, Priti and Suella have pandered to the racists in their own party. Sayeeda Warsi, no less, the first Muslim cabinet minister and former Tory Party chair, raised the issue of Islamophobia within the party as far back as 2015 and resigned over the matter. That surely speaks volumes. Since then, the right-wing press have pretty well ignored the issue.

I’m troubled how historical immigration in the 1960s was hunky dory but nowadays, in the eyes of those in the Tory Party that benefited from immigration, it should be illegal. What must be more galling to many immigrants to the UK over the years is that Patel and Braverman have done so much to foment racism in the UK even though they both admitted they were subjected to it in the past.

Anyway, all the best Humza. Your undoubted dignity, determination and insistence to aim high when your opponents aim low will serve you, and Scotland, well.

Lang may yer lum reek!
Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay, Fife

CONGRATULATIONS to Humza. He inherits a monumental task and we all trust that his youthful zeal can drive our causes onward. Uniting the SNP has to be a primary task, but let us not forget that independence is not just about the SNP. As long as our party can forego internal squabbles about policy minutiae and work towards that common goal, we will succeed.

Sadly, the new Cabinet has an awful lot to prove and the exclusion of some who have demonstrated competence is questionable. The tasks have been made somewhat harder although there is time for them to bed in before the next public electoral test. Unfortunately, the lessons that others have already written about, principally “magnanimity in defeat” and “keeping enemies closer”, have not been heeded. These are usually learned with age and wisdom, and creating a cabinet of cronies is as bad as misinterpreting ill-considered but honest explanations of personal faith positions.

As far as the leadership election went, shortly after Nicola resigned, we all received an email reminding us about organisational neutrality. This seemed to go out the window very early on with many MSPs and MPs publicly stating who they supported.

In many respects, the party hierarchy has to unite with its members!
Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire

AS the Scottish ministerial merry-go-round grinds to a halt and the places are matched to the faces, you have to have some sympathy for Mairi Gougeon MSP. Her junior ministerial place was apparently offered to Kate Forbes as some form of consolation prize for gaining 48% of the vote in the leadership election. When Kate Forbes saw it for what it was, a demotion,

Ms Gougeon had to take up the position again – as very clearly the second-choice candidate.

The removal from the Cabinet of the transport portfolio is bizarre to say the least. It sends out all the wrong signals. Transport is something almost everyone uses every day whether it be road, rail, even occasionally air, and ferry (when you can get one!) Is no senior Cabinet member of the Government willing or able to take charge and hopefully see an end to the Port Glasgow ferry fiasco or the wider commercial nightmare known as CalMac? Only last week,

an ageing ferry caught fire and now a lifeline service is to be cancelled for

five weeks due to a shortage of ferries. It is also unrealistic to think that the dualling of the A9 is a problem that will somehow disappear.

Transport is a fundamental part of all our lives. It needs and deserves a place at the top table.
Glenda Burns

UNIONIST politicians and commentators repeatedly criticise the SNP for prioritising independence and – in the view of Unionists – neglecting issues such as the cost of living, the NHS and education.

However, what the Unionists do not (or will not) appreciate is that those who support independence strongly believe that it would be so much easier to tackle the problems in people’s finances, and in hospitals and schools, if the Scottish Parliament had all the powers of an independent country and we could make decisions here in Scotland that affect Scots, instead of having many of those decisions imposed on us by a different parliament with different priorities. This is why independence is the vital key to dealing with all these other issues, and not a distraction.
Peter Swain

BY his own admission, Kevin McKenna, a former Labour supporter, came late to the cause of Scottish independence, and ever since he had his Road to Damascus experience, he has endeavoured to make himself a leading voice in the movement, or has he?

It would seem to me, a mere foot soldier in the independence movement, that Kevin’s strategy for Scotland to achieve its independence is to remove those at the top of the SNP and, once they have gone, work hard to get rid of their replacements. You can clearly see this tactic playing out at the present moment.

This strategy seems to find favour with Unionists, especially those in the Scottish branch of the Labour Party, but also with Scottish Conservatives, and sadly a small number of malcontents within the independence movement.

I have seldom read anything visionary, inspiring or even moderately positive in any of Kevin’s musings. His persona seems similar to that of the wild-eyed Private James Frazer in the BBC comedy series Dad’s Army, an individual whose desire for increased power and influence in the platoon makes him hyper-critical of those in power and their decisions.

To reach his ends, Frazer is somewhat two-faced; he has a Machiavellian tendency to doubt people and their situations and is usually responsible for gossiping and sowing the seeds of unease or insubordination among the other members of the platoon. He is usually the loudest voice of condemnation or criticism in any given situation. However, if and when his current target triumphs or is validated, he can rapidly alter his position, by claiming it was his influence or advice that saved the day, ensuring that he is never on the losing side.

Maybe there’s hope, I haven’t yet heard Kevin say “we’re doomed, we’re all doomed”.
Iain MacEchern

WITH regard to Councillor MacLaren’s response (Letters, March 27) to my letter of March 24, let me say first that I have no problem with other readers criticising any letter I write to our paper.

There is an omission in his reaction to my letter, which is my reference to Russia Today’s Alex Salmond Show.

Perhaps the councillor could have informed us as to whether he supported Salmond doing the show or whether he was right in doing it.
Bobby Brennan

IN his letter of March 23, Tom Nicholson wrote: “We could have had a majority of some 30 seats. That is 30 seats Labour and Tories would not get.”

The difficulties to achieving a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament are to be found in section 7 of the Scotland Act (1998). Section 7(3) requires the regional figure, for the successful party or individual, to be recalculated each time a seat is allocated.

Had it not been for this, the Scottish Parliament election results in 2021 would have produced a pro-independence majority of 39.
Michael Follon