I AM finding it increasingly difficult not to become annoyed by some of the correspondents to The National who seem to be permanently critical of the SNP. The general track of their letters seems to be a declaration at the beginning of how committed they are to the cause of Scottish independence, followed soon afterwards by an excoriation of the SNP – which happens to be the main vehicle which we have for the delivery of said Scottish independence – and then a statement of their intention not to vote for the party at the next election.

I do not know if any of the correspondents concerned are actually SNP members. I can advise, however, that I am and have been for the past 38 years. When I joined the SNP the party barely registered double-digit support on the old System Three Scottish opinion polls which used to be published by the Glasgow Herald on a monthly basis during the 1980s. That fact did not prevent me from joining with other members of our local SNP branch in leafleting and door-knocking over many years.

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All of that hard work by SNP activists over the decades which followed helped us to achieve the restoration of the Scottish Parliament (considered to be a pipe dream back in 1985), the victory of the SNP in 2007 (considered unthinkable in 1985) and the achievement of an SNP majority government at Holyrood in 2011 (considered to be a near impossibility by the people at Westminster who had set the rules for Holyrood elections).

Throughout the many years when things did not go our way, our bywords were patience and hard work. We are now at a point in Scotland’s history where independence is no longer a pipe dream, so much so that the Unionist parties at Westminster are too terrified to honour the democratic mandate from the Scottish 2021 election result and sanction a Section 30 order to permit an independence referendum to take place. The fact that a referendum is not being permitted to take place by the Unionist parties is not the fault of the SNP. Holyrood voted by a majority for a referendum and the SNP has followed every legal route currently available to it to make a referendum happen.

While I can understand the genuine frustration of many independence supporters with regard to the lack of progress in achieving an independence referendum, my annoyance with several of your regular correspondents who constantly criticise the SNP lies with the fact that they appear to be very willing to turn their anger on the party of Scottish independence instead of directing it at those Unionist parties (Tories, Labour and LibDems) that have denied Scottish democracy.

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My own particular opinion is that if that anger and frustration was channelled towards the Unionist parties that are opposed to implementing the democratic process then it may actually prove to be a great deal more fruitful. I would also say to those regular critics of the SNP: if you do actually know of a legal route that would force Westminster to honour the democratic mandate and grant a Section 30 order for a referendum, can they please share it with the rest of us?

On September 6, two of your correspondents (Drew Reid and Graeme McCormick) opined that the SNP would have to adopt a new approach. I can advise both that the SNP is a very open democratic party and if they are already members or wish to join, they could take their ideas along to their local SNP branch meeting, discuss them with members and seek to have them presented to our SNP conference or national council. If either is serious about wanting to deliver change to the SNP, that would be the starting point for doing it.

Jim Finlayson