I READ Neale Hanvey’s article in Monday’s paper (Salmond would’ve had us independent by now ... but let’s unite for future, Jun 19). I do not doubt his drive and determination to make Scotland independent of Westminster; it is up to all of us to help pursue that goal. However, his assertion that Alex Salmond would have achieved this by now is missing lots of points and is more wishful thinking than practical.

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Even if Alex hadn’t stood down as SNP leader, he would still have faced exactly the same legal and constitutional obstacles and practical difficulties as has Nicola Sturgeon. She had also frequently pushed Westminster on the subject of independence, all the while recognising that we still only have around 50% support. That split support was hampered by the pro-independence in-fighting amid claims of “we are more independence-minded than you”.

It is very easy to sit on the sidelines complaining that a target has not been reached, much harder to contribute to an effective strategy to overcome Westminster’s intransigence. Perhaps Neale could explain exactly how – not hypothetical wishful thinking with rose-tinted glasses – Alex was actually going to achieve our collective goal?

Nick Cole

NEALE Hanvey’s article is long in rhetoric and criticism of the SNP since Alex Salmond resigned. However, like many of those with similar views, he is unable to say exactly how Scotland will become independent if his stated objectives come to pass.

Who will we negotiate with? The UK Government and opposition have made it perfectly clear that there will be no negotiations on independence and/or an independence referendum.

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The UN and the EU recognise the UK as the country encompassing and representing all of those who live in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland is not recognised as a separate legal entity. As such, it has no representation at either the UN or EU. Scotland has similar status to Catalonia and the Republic of Northern Cyprus; a “region” within a larger nation. Both declared independence which was not recognised internationally.

However much we dislike the situation (and I detest it), you cannot change reality by wishing it away.

So, how does Scotland achieve internationally acceptable status as an independent country and with whom do we negotiate to achieve such status?

I, and many supporters of independence, await the answers.

David Howie

DID the SNP learn nothing from their electoral disaster in 2017 when they lost Westminster seats as we were the only party not mentioning independence in that election? If Stephen Flynn’s big idea is to campaign on everything other than independence, then many long-term SNP members and supporters like myself will simply stay at home and not vote for the party.

The onward drift to becoming just another devolution party is strangling the life out of the SNP. A Minister for Independence who has done nothing since being appointed other than promote devo max is a bad joke on the party.

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If the SNP drops independence in the next (or any) election, then what is there to differentiate the party from other parties supporting devolution? We can’t even claim good stewardship of the country with the fiasco of ferries, GRR and HPMAs winding up our traditional voters!

The gap between support for independence – which is holding strong despite no major campaign – and support for the SNP is starting to grow. Many of us want independence – not more devolution – and are angry at the wasted eight years of mandates thrown in the bin. It is dawning on more and more SNP members that if the party can’t commit to a realistic independence plan (and please not the begging for a referendum from the UK Government which will never happen) then our votes will be going elsewhere.

I won’t ever vote for a devolutionist or Unionist party – that includes the SNP if that’s the direction it takes. If I have no alternative independence party to vote for then I’ll sit out this election. I imagine many other SNP supporters and members will be doing the same.

Alex Beckett

IT appears that the SNP’s convention on independence (not a conference) on Saturday in Dundee has failed to sell out its ticket allocation. SNP friends tell me they have received emails from Humza himself telling them “there is still time to book your place at this important gathering.”

I understand the Caird Hall can accommodate around 2000 people. The SNP has around 70,000 members (so it claims). So less than 3% of their membership has so far felt inspired enough to sign up and pay their £10 to take part in this event. It will be interesting to see, in contrast, how many folk make their way to the AUOB march here in Stirling on sadly the very same day.

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Presumably as this is a convention (not a conference) there will be no voting, indicative or binding on the party’s leadership. We will have to wait until the autumn conference (not a convention) in October in Aberdeen for some sense of the way ahead. Another three months of indecision while the SNP’s opinion poll ratings continue to fall and the Labour Party’s continue to rise.

Almost regardless of the outcome of October’s conference (not a convention), the next UK General Election could be a very difficult time for the SNP. A week is a long time in politics and in a year’s time the Scottish political landscape may be very different. For the sake of the SNP and the Yes movement, we can only hope that things look very much better.

Iain Wilson