SNP policy convener Toni Giugliano may well be right that the party “must have space” to hold their own internal convention to discuss the way forward for independence. Also that this “doesn’t take anything away from” other political parties or non-affiliated Yes groups. But he should not be surprised when those in the hinterland of the drive for independence view the party holding it on the same day as the well-publicised AUOB march with suspicion and scepticism (Policy convener defends SNP-only Indy Convention).

It would appear the party are according themselves the position of leader of the independence movement that increasingly they no longer deserve, primarily because their ineffective dithering and opportunity-avoiding incompetence has held the campaign back rather than driving it forward.

Publicity is everything in the struggle to persuade those sitting on the fence. To deprive both the convention and the AUOB march the fullest media attention must surely be a lost opportunity to maximise public awareness.

Doesn’t holding an internal convention that speaks mainly to internal party interests and isolates the wider grassroots movement merely show that position is more important to the SNP leadership than the cause of independence itself?

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Shouldn’t the party rather have been seeking the broadest appeal, with them at the spearhead, to show solidarity and popular demand to Westminster and the pro-Union supporting media that independence is a fundamental issue for all Scots, and not just the means for election of a party that depends on the issue for continual election?

Why do I get the impression that if the grassroots were able to choose which organisation to “lead” the campaign, then with their internal party strife and division, their challenges in discharging their duties in government and their now widely recognised failure to even protect devolution from its being rolled-back by the Westminster government, far less advance independence, then the choice would likely not be this SNP?

The polls are predicting Labour advances in the next General Election at the expense of the SNP. Shouldn’t we be concerned that some Scots seem prepared to vote for a blue shade of more Unionist Tory government rather than for an SNP “seeking” independence?

Shouldn’t the SNP realise that even non-supporters would vote for them to advance the indy cause? And that being the case, how can excluding the voices of the wider grassroots on the national interest of independence possibly encourage them to do so?

Good parents know that taking account of the views and interests of the whole family is what brings bonding, success and contentment. Isn’t it puerile folly to treat the wider grassroots indy movement like a black sheep rather than recognise its importance to the flock?

Aren’t independence supporters just getting a wee bit fed up with the indy can being kicked down the road, this time by a secretive, meaningless and probably fruitless internal party “convention” which fails to engage, with those activists who matter in the campaign whose passion and zeal it seeks to stifle, and the wider grassroots clamouring for decisive action and not just more words?

Jim Taylor


SO, the SNP’s policy convener is trying to threaten independence voters by saying if the SNP don’t win the Westminster election, then independence is off the agenda. Can he tell us when in the past year it has actually been on the agenda? Multiple mandates have piled up yet the SNP did nothing with them, so much so we’re now seeing support for independence rising higher than support for the SNP.

If the SNP don’t make the next Westminster election solely about independence, their vote will fall. I say this as an SNP member and former activist – I’ve had enough of the false promises and the delaying. As I see it, the only way to give the SNP a warning shot is to not vote for them at the next Westminster election – I won’t vote for a Unionist party. Like 2017, SNP voters will stay at home. If the SNP leadership don’t change their ways and start pushing for independence now, then I suspect many others will feel there’s no point in even having them in power

any more and they will lose the next Scottish election.

It’s time the NEC – who got the SNP into the current problems – resigned and let some people who truly support independence take over.

Alex Beckett


MAY I respond to the letter from Glenda Burns, which itself was a reply to a letter from Winifred McCartney (Letters May 23 and 21 respectively), as I found Glenda’s criticisms somewhat contradictory.

Glenda defends BBC Scotland for harping on about “the ferries” as “the clue is in the name – BBC Scotland”. But as she also points out, the two carriers were assembled in Scotland (please note, not built, like the ferries), yet defends BBC Scotland for not mentioning them.

Glenda also seems to excuse the massive delays and billions of overspend on projects south of the Border, claiming “at least, unlike the ferries”, two underground projects “are in operation”.

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It’s true that the two ferries have been mismanaged from the start and are suffering from delays and overspend by millions, but they also will be finished and serving the islands, along with a saved shipyard and hundreds of jobs.

Many people forget that all these projects, costing millions and billions, throughout the UK, are partly funded by Scottish taxpayers, and the Westminster-generated ones will benefit Scots hardly one iota. A concept many people have difficulty with is the difference between millions and billions, so here’s an illustration. A wealthy man decides to give away a million pounds at one pound per second, 24/7. It will take him 13.5 hours. But the man giving away a billion will be at it for more than 31 years! It puts ferries and “vanity projects” into context, doesn’t it?

Glenda also claims the BBC is “arguably the nation’s largest news organisation” – but which nation, as it’s certainly not Scotland, and there are many reasons why. BBC London is quick to broadcast any detrimental stories about Scotland, but BBC Scotland stays largely schtum about scandals occurring down south.

I discovered the BBC’s propaganda shenanigans years ago and now do not trust any output from it. An example: not long after North Sea oil started to flow, the BBC broadcast a “documentary” which claimed the oil would run out in 10 years! Nearly 50 years later, the oil still flows, with another 50 years of production predicted. A trusted organisation? My hat!

In conclusion – two delayed ferries, millions; two defunct aircraft carriers, billions.

Richard Walthew


IT’S totally scandalous how much coverage the media has given to both “illegal” and legal immigration issues for some time now. Just because the Tories want to keep banging on about it, ad nauseum, to deflect from their amoral policies, it doesn’t mean the media have to dutifully be their propaganda mouthpiece.

Of course, it’s all part of the Tories’ neverending sacrosanct golden rule – divide and rule! That’s all I ever recall them doing throughout my lifetime. In the 1970s and 80s, they convinced many working-class voters, almost exclusively in England, that their lot would be so much better if those awful unions were put in their place. The unions were subsequently seriously “dealt with” and surprise, surprise, millions previously on decent wages became unemployed and either stayed that way for a long time or got new jobs working for peanuts.

Then who can forget the despicable way the Tories and their pals in the press treated gay folk during the Aids pandemic in the 80s? As far as they were concerned, the “gay plague” was god’s will in action, leading to perdition, as they would see it, for disgusting promiscuity with someone from the same gender.

Oh, and in 2023, who would believe that, just 40 years earlier in the 1980s, our lovely, cuddly, personable (aye right!) prime minister Maggie Thatcher didn’t see anything wrong with apartheid in South Africa and considered Nelson Mandela to be a terrorist! A ken, ye cannae make it up!

Over the years, there have been loads more, too many to mention – benefit scroungers, including those single parents that winnae work, and, of course, bringing matters up to date, those trans folk that are an existential threat to womankind and society in general. How dare anyone that opposes any Tories be a thorn in the side of normal, ordinary, hard-working billionaires, multi-millionaires and even those plebs that can only pathetically just muster the odd million? Losers!

Then if the Tories are really struggling, when they are seriously under the cosh and seriously feeling the heat, there is their ultimate nuclear option. Irrespective of the issue – world wars, world pestilence, worldwide collapse of morality and even the end of the world itself due to climate Armageddon – there is, without any shadow of a doubt, only one person responsible. Aye, the wicked witch fae Ayrshire, Nicola Sturgeon!

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay, Fife

FOR the past year, I have crawled out from rocks and got involved with the independence debate, including emailing SNP MPs and MSPs on all sorts of stuff – from PMQs to climate change – also writing the odd letter to the National. Now, it is time to crawl back under the rocks. Before I go, what I have concluded from my year is that the SNP are part of the political establishment, making many of the same policy and governance mistakes and suffering from sleaze, etc, in the same way as the Tories and Labour governments before them. The SNP have grown too quick and have not done enough to vet MPs, MSPs and councillors to ensure they have met the highest standards expected of them.

I do think the SNP are now in perpetual freefall and rebranding is unlikely to have any impact. The SNP need to disband and a new Scottish Home Rule (Independence) party needs to form, taking the best of the SNP talent, merging with the Scottish Green and Alba parties. A single political force with a constitution that not only wants home rule but has a plan in place for a new Scotland. In parallel, the political wing needs to have a non-political convention supporting its strategy and providing the framework for a new Scotland to ensure we hit the ground running on day one. To be successful, we need both, and we are miles away from that happening.

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Westminster had a near miss with independence in 2014 and a disaster with Brexit in 2016, such that it will not be sanctioning another referendum any time soon, certainly not in my lifetime. Westminster is switching from pretend democracy to full-on “dictatorship” with the rise of the right-wing.

So what is the point of Westminster? As a nation, why bother participating in a General Election unless a majority of home rule MPs are prepared to stand and be recognised and declare the dissolution of the Union in parliament (political trumps judiciary)? That is what the Scottish electorate have voted for in the past decade – Scottish independence.

We shouldn’t worry about Tory/Labour semantics that in a General Election people are voting on a wide range of issues. This is true but these issues can also be addressed in an independent Scotland. This should be done now while there is a Scottish independence majority at Westminster. The SNP’s policy of “wait for another day” is just kicking the proverbial can further down the road into oblivion.

A Wilson