WHAT’S changed since the summer of 2014? One referendum lost. Westminster governments come and gone. None had voted for: none a friend to me, nor Scotland.

Politicians, all parties, all stripes changed. Austerity – a political choice enacted by the Tories, and what generational change that continues to bring! Oh, and Brexit happened, with Labour still in opposition. But what about me? What’s changed?

The diary this month is as busy: a regular monthly meeting, some leafleting, a stall, a march, and a one-off evening event. The message, dare I say it, from what is loosely called “the movement” is still the same: independence. But from 2014 to now, neither our pro-indy politicians nor the indy movement have persuaded sufficient number of our fellow voters to support indy.

And that is despite the state of the rUK – the consequences of Brexit, politicians who partied and dallied during the mismanaged pandemic, corruption, scandals, continuing poverty compounded by the cost of living, inflation, strikes – crisis after crisis.

READ MORE: What to expect from us at next week's Believe in Scotland rally

No great vision for the future then. And still we can’t attract more to vote for independence via any one political party. But there is the emerging anomaly of a surge in support for independence.

Each and every one of us must, by very virtue of being individuals, have varying “visions” that we want in our independent nation. Mine might be a republic, yours a slimmed-down monarchy. I might want more and more wind turbines, everywhere: land- and sea-based; you might want judicious siting, preserving landscapes, considerate of birdlife and noise pollution. And so on.

But without the ability to debate, decide and legislate in our own Parliament, in our own independent country, we’re stymied.

The indy movement can’t win the extra support on its own. All of us will continue to work away, promoting the visionary aspects that can be translated into reality in a renewed indy Scotland. We’ll march, leaflet, meet, stand with stalls, debate, but without some form of political unity, we will continue to be picked off.

I’ve always given the SNP my vote, since it’s they who have made the improbable seem possible. Should the SNP maintain a majority of MPs next year, what then? Should pro-indy parties maintain a majority of pro-indy MSPs, so what?

Majorities, pro-indy governments, have been divorced from independence. As it stands, if we splinter that vote, independence regresses. In turn, we all know no-one gives up political power, even the whiff of it, no politician, political party, established or fledgling.

If it’s international recognition we require, then we have to make every democratic vote shout independence. Every pro-indy party standing in any election from now onwards has to state that voting for them is voting for an independent Scotland. That way, the people speak, irrespective of party, irrespective of numbers here and across the UK. Without this, our votes will continue to be mere fodder in a sham process stacked against us.

Selma Rahman


WASN’T Social Security Scotland set up after 15% of benefits (and the power to create new ones) was devolved to Holyrood as a result of the Vow? Wasn’t the main driving force behind that none other than Gordon Brown himself?

So, why is he now saying that the department is a waste of money? Doesn’t this say something rather worrying about Mr Brown’s attitude to devolution, not to mention his integrity?

It should also worry people thinking of voting Labour, bearing in mind comments made about the party leaderships’ own thoughts about the Scottish Parliament. I refer to Angela Rayner being admonished by Michael Sharpe (a former general secretary of Scottish Labour, no less).

I think that Anas Sarwar has a few serious questions which need to be answered before the Rutherglen and Hamilton by-election.

Andrew Haddow


STEPH Brawn’s piece “Civil servants’ Yes case role defended after Neil warning” (Aug 20) was illuminating in more ways than one when she quoted the hurt feelings of Allan Sampson, national officer for the FDA. Mr Sampson is only doing his job, of course, as Scottish branch manager of the Association of First Division Civil Servants.

It’s the trade union for UK senior and middle-management civil servants and public-service professionals, which considered Alex Neil “deeply disrespectful and insulting to accuse the Scottish Government’s own civil servants of having a vested interest and acting in contravention of the civil service code”.

But perhaps Mr Sampson hasn’t yet seen the memo from his boss, Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, when he reported last month “that it would be a bit worrying” if taxpayer money was spent on efforts for independence.

He continued: “We are looking at some of these specifics as we speak, and doing that with ministers at the moment to see whether we need to issue further guidance and clarification to civil servants about what is and is not appropriate spending.” This, of course, was in response to concerns expressed by the well-known unedifying Unionist and Labour peer George Foulkes, celebrity member of the biggest unelected chamber of any polity outside of the People’s Republic of China.

In the indy movement we’ll not forget that another perhaps now former member of the FDA, a certain Ms Leslie Evans, who was rebuked by Judge Lord Pentland in his judgement on the Scottish Government investigation into complaints of sexual misconduct against Alex Salmond. Notwithstanding the competence of the case ever having been brought to court, Lord Pentland considered the decisions were “unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair and that they were tainted with apparent bias”.

Better perhaps for Mr Sampson to stay shtum lest he disrespects and insults members of the indy movement by implying that we all have heads that button up the back.

Iain Bruce