AS someone who has a lot of respect for Lesley Riddoch, seeing Thursday’s headline and starting to read the article, I thought, great, Lesley is going to endorse the idea of a de facto referendum with the SNP standing candidates on one clear unambiguous policy of independence (The SNP have a gun to their heads – they must act fast to stop it from firing, May 25).

Instead, she wants the party to win over voters by highlighting their more progressive policies compared to Labour.

Well, we have had these for years and it hasn’t brought independence any nearer. The gun is indeed at our head and that requires drastic action or we will remain prisoners of the enemy, to use the army training parlance.

Westminster will definitely ignore a vote held on any basis other than independence alone, simply saying that the Scots were voting on a variety of issues, as has always been the case in previous elections.

A vote for a party with a crystal-clear mandate for independence cannot be ignored and the chances are that Westminster will open the practical negotiations associated with our secession.

If not we should have made it clear in the lead-up to the de facto referendum that a 50%+ vote and we are leaving anyway and there is nothing they can do to stop us.

OK, they may try, but once we have the vote in the bag, we are one huge step nearer our freedom. Harness that 53%, increase it in the run-up to the de facto referendum, or risk losing a majority in Westminster. If they don’t bite the bullet, then independence has not just stagnated, it has been set back years.

Ian Roberts


AS SSEN rolls out its horrific concrete and steel road show, from north to south and east to west, shell-shocked communities right across the Highlands are left reeling from the devastation SSEN wants to unleash upon them, with super-size pylon lines and massive substations of 60-plus acres.

It is utterly unforgivable that huge swathes of our Highlands – not SSEN’s or the Scottish Government’s Highlands – is going to be used as a cash cow for the wind industry, because make no mistake, this is what SSEN’s new transmission lines are for.

Its majority shareholder, SSE, a highly successful wind developer and recipient of millions in constraints to switch unwanted power from their turbines off, must be delighted that they will be given further opportunities to spear 200m wind turbines through some of our most precious landscapes and habitats for profit.

This industrialisation cannot be allowed to continue seemingly unabated. The paying public is entitled to full details of the UK-wide grid plan, costs of current plans and alternatives discarded.

We should also be given analysis and predictions of what is expected in the future because, when asked at a public meeting, SSEN was unable to confirm if this round of massive pylon lines would be the last we would be facing.

When will our elected representatives in government, including Ian Blackford MP, protect Highlanders and rein in their so-called “colleagues” at SSEN?

Lyndsey Ward

Spokeswoman for Communities B4 Power Companies, Beauly

ALISTER Union-Jack-boot’s trouble is that he is incapable of even conceiving of a Scotland with any real existence of its own.

The only entity he does perceive or value, his precious and immutable “United Kingdom”, is a disgusting, genocidal, 18th-century empire that in this day and age, where suppressed peoples across the world are demanding justice and freedom, deserves only to be dissolved.

In its other more honest identity, England, it will survive. But so will Scotland. That’s what angers Jack, as it’s angered Englishmen for centuries.

It’s the UK that was set up by them to act as the means of removing Scotland from history. Scottish politicians making their own approaches to other countries threatens that whole longstanding plan.

Jack is actually going against his heroine Thatcher, who said Scotland could leave the “Union”. Even she was more modern than this colonialist dinosaur.

Ian McQueen


ACCORDING to data from the Marine Directorate of the Scottish Government, between 1900 and 1940s, the landing of herring from the Clyde fishery averaged between 10,000 and 20,000 tonnes per annum. Landings peaked by the mid-1960s.

These were times when the three-mile limit excluding trawling remained in force.

Landings of Clyde herring from 2011 to 2022 totalled 597 tonnes, with zero tonnes of landings for the seven-year period 2014-2020.

Just one example of the precarious state of our fish stocks, and not one HPMA involved.

Roddie Macpherson


THEY [HPMAs] are good in theory but the way in which they have been introduced is all wrong. It has to be a locally led initiative, working with the ecologists, not top-down.

I just hope the consultancy isn’t a sham like the GRR debacle – I’m not one for supporting the SNP-Green suicide pact.

Stuart A Jackson


YOU report that Cornell University’s Professor Robert Hockett has told an audience that an independent Scotland would need to form its own central bank and have its own currency (Top US professor issues currency advice to SNP for independent Scotland, May 26).

Talk about stating the blindingly obvious!

How could we call ourselves independent if we were tied to another country’s monetary system and currency?

Surely it doesn’t take a so-called “leading law professor” to work this out?

Peter Swain