IT has been interesting to note the new enthusiasm within the SNP for their “now” strategy. This is in parallel with, as I understand, support in the public at large diminishing, while support for our independence has been maintained if not increased.

We really need to get over the hurdle of there being a clear majority of our fellow Scot citizens who consider “Independence is Normal”.

Yes, the SNP are still the major element of the independence movement. However, as the polls suggest, there are strands of opinion that would not be happy with voting SNP even if they were the only pro-independence candidate. Some even far less happy about the total hegemony of the SNP. Some in the broader Yes movement also seem wedded to a particular strand of “their” mission or policy.

It is time to get real and grow up. Time is short; we need to focus on the BIG PICTURE. That applies to ALL organisations in the broad yes movement.

We are where we are, but there is need to break the “log jam”

There was a very interesting analysis by Lorncal (Long letter) on June 5 of how the unwritten constitution of Britain has been used to denigrate Scotland and Scots.

One thing not referred to was the very modern-day decision of our Scottish Parliament to render Scots Law subject to the English Supreme Court. The overtures of Gordon Brown and London Labour would not alter anything, other than tie us firmly to Westminster. These are some of the fundamentals we need to get across to convince the waverers.

Over recent weeks and even months, there have been many proposals for electoral pacts or agreements or arrangements.

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However, that of Cameron Crawford in the long letter of June 20 seems to me the most sensible and aligns with my thoughts. There have been many suggestions as to how to frame and achieve a sole independence supporting candidate in a future Westminster election. However, all of those have got drawbacks that have been highlighted by others.

My proposal is the formation of new short-life political party for ONE General election only. Let us call it “Scotland Now”. The sole purpose would be to achieve a dominant self-determination presence in Westminster and then to form a negotiating team from the whole of civic Scotland with view to holding elections within six months for a Free Scotland Government.

A millionaire could start the ball rolling and set up Scotland Now. Maybe “crowdfunding” would be better – but that’s beyond my ken. Membership would be open to all – dual membership with another party would be very acceptable. The sole purpose of this new party would be that there would only be one pro-independence candidate standing in each Scottish Westminster constituency.

Current Westminster MP’s who were pro-independence would be offered first refusal of candidature in their present constituency. And those who had narrowly lost against Unionist parties in the last contest would be given first refusal to stand for “Scotland Now”.

Some of you may say where is the democracy? Where is the organisation? And many more questions that I have not expended grey cells on.

This is a concept. Many learned persons have stated that too often, progressive people and movements have not taken note and learned from events in the past. Not learned from history. Yes, differences in the thoughts of strong-minded people that start as minor deviations can and do become splits and schisms and even become toxic. Gaining our freedom from the shackles of Westminster is too, too important for the movement to be fractured by egos.

The formation of Scotland Now is but one strand to a two-string strategy.

Strand two is a campaign for the mass signing of a 21st-century Claim of Rights. My suggested target is two million plus signatures. This would be achieved by signing tables in every community, large and small.

Whatever the colour of the then incumbent in Downing Street, they could not refuse to negotiate against the combination of two million signatures and hopefully virtually all of Scotland’s Westminster MPs supporting independence.

Willie Oswald


I REALLY enjoyed Stuart Cosgrove’s column in the Sunday National (July 2) entitled “Loach, the pope, Corbyn and Starmer’s Labour Party”. Apparently Pope Francis stated about the excellent film director Ken Loach (below right), “you are like a prophet confronting false myths and schemes”.

Ken was among dozens of international artists that Pope Francis met at the Sistine Chapel last month. His intention was not only to reaffirm the Roman Catholic Church’s commitment to artistic endeavours, but far more importantly in my mind, was to enlist the artists to act as catalysts for change in areas like social justice. Pope Francis also called on artists to “not forget the poor” and went on to state, “they have no voice to make themselves heard”.

Ken Loach’s films, plays and documentaries brilliantly exposed the immorality, cruelty and harshness of the capitalist system on those that haven’t quite managed to grasp how to play the game (think of I, Daniel Blake). He was a very prominent member of the Labour Party and an enemy of the right-wing press. No surprise then that he has been cast asunder by Keir Starmer and his cronies in yet another purge, to help curry favour with said right-wing press.

Pope Francis, quite rightly, has enormous respect for Ken Loach and those of his ilk. Folk that have been highlighting in an artistic fashion, basically what anybody with a scintilla of intelligence knows – that the rich and powerful throughout the world have been taking the total p**s out of those they deem to be lesser mortals.

So who, politically, should be at the vanguard of a robust fightback against this iniquitous situation? Surely, those traditional defenders of the poor and vulnerable, the Labour Party? Dinnae be daft! Starmer and his chums have totally sold out. Put it this way, dinnae expect food banks to be phased out any time soon following the election of a Labour government. That might mean taxing the filthy-rich. Heaven forbid!

It’s now crystal clear. At the next “first-past-the-post” UK election, there is therefore only one viable vote in Scotland for those that not only still yearn for an independent Scotland but also have a genuine social conscience. That has to be the SNP. To go back to voting Labour again, albeit with the admirable intention to kick the Tories out, is very short-sighted. It will hamper the chances of independence any time soon and will be history repeating itself.

I found a brilliant wee quote online. It states: “Those who do not learn a lesson from history, for those the history repeats itself until it learns.”


Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay, Fife

NICK Cole (Letters, July 2) states that there is no mechanism or higher authority that has any sway over Westminster if they choose to ignore external direction.

I would like to take issue with Nick’s statement on a few points.

1. The UK is a signatory to both the UN and European Charter on Human Rights. In fact, it was the UK who first proposed a separate charter for Europe and introduced it when Winston Churchill was prime minister. It doesn’t do the reputation of the UK if it tries to ride rough-shod over either of the two charters.

2. The UK is a permanent member of the security council on the UN. It may not mean much but in reality it can always lose that seat.

3. It was international pressure during the late 1980s through to the late 1990s that forced Westminster and the Blair government to legislate for devolution. This international pressure also brought talks to end the troubles in Northern Ireland.

These are just a few points and I’m certain that readers could raise a lot more. However, there are mechanisms there if we use them and we must also get the international community on our side as well if we want independence. For instance, there are more than 60 countries that have left direct Westminster rule and they all have a seat in the UN. Also, don’t forget that every member of the UN is a potential country we can trade with when independent, and which country doesn’t want trade!

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Nick then makes the assumption that there has to be a negotiation to secure independence. Albeit negotiations would be the best solution but if the rUK refuses to negotiate, or for that matter wants to be obtuse during negotiations, then it can lose everything it’s presently getting from Scotland in the way of electricity, gas, oil, trade and more.

I would suggest that it isn’t just the Scottish electorate we need to motivate, but also the international community. That, I would say, is why Alister

“Union” Jack doesn’t want the

SNP/Scottish Government ministers talking to any foreign dignitary

without his henchmen being there

to eavesdrop.

Alexander Potts


HOW long must the rest of the world put up with the unjustified attacks on Palestine? In the early hours, more than 1000 Israeli troops invaded the city of Jenin, including the crowded Jenin refugee camp, in a brutal and wide-ranging invasion. The Israeli military cut off water and electricity in Jenin, blocked ambulances from reaching injured Palestinians, attacked journalists, bulldozed homes and roads and even attacked the Jenin Freedom Theatre and the hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres, where Palestinian families were seeking refuge. Israel’s prime minister says that this invasion will continue for “as long as it takes”.

I am enraged by the Biden administration’s refusal to condemn this horrific assault. It is the US government’s ongoing complicity in the Israeli military’s crimes against Palestinians that allows these horrors to continue unabated. The US hands Israel $3.8 billion every year to the Israeli military, without conditions.

Who is going to stand up to Israel and the US? When will the rest of the world say “Enough is enough”?

Margaret Forbes


I’VE heard about poverty all my day. How it needs fixing and who is best invested in so doing. Yet here we are 60 years on, still talking while it is still happening.

Partly that is the complexity, partly it’s the will (or lack of it) of the political classes.

The Poor have no lobbyists.

I believe we should focus on need, not poverty.

To survive, humans need shelter, water, heat and food. We should turn our focus to that provision before all else.

It all comes from land, and that is the property of all of us.

Our resources should be made to meet those four provisions.

We need to build houses and keep our water in public ownership. We should control food prices by making basic foods cheap while processed food is more expensive.

It is paramount that our energy resources are paid for by those who would export them, then sell them back to us at an inflated price.

We should legislate that such firms must sell energy cheaper here than they do elsewhere, that our domestic market in Scotland must be served first, as well as cheapest. And that those companies fully pay their taxes to us.

Need must be met.

When we have that sorted, we then must address opportunity, but that’s a subject for another day.

Brian Kelly


AYE Mhairi Black, Mhairi Black,

you took that train down the south-bound track,

you faced up to the Westminster mob,

and made them almost weep and sob.

Your bravery and strength of feeling,

left them flabbergasted and reeling ;

they tried so hard to bring you down,

yet you rose above each gibbering clown.

Their attitudes oft low and uncouth,

decried your fervour and your youth,

but you stood strong, you stood proud,

you are a giant among that crowd.

History shall in the future weave,

a tapestry of you, I do believe ;

an honest woman, with guile and brass,

another hero for the struggling class.

Aye Mhairi Black, Mhairi Black,

come on home on the north bound track,

fight the good fight, hand in hand,

with your own folk in our beloved land.

George Robertson