WHAT an intriguing reply from the Unison Scotland depute convenor Stephen Smellie in defending his colleague Johanna Baxter, who has been receiving some recent criticism regarding her role in their pay dispute with Cosla (It’s nonsense to suggest Unison school strike is linked to party bias, September 25).

Was it fair or unfair criticism? I don’t know, to be frank! However, his Monday comment in The National does highlight the fact there is thankfully a mixture of political affiliates as well as apolitical reps on the Unison Local Government Committee that would possibly indicate her influence is minimal in deciding that strike action will still sadly take place in our schools again – something that our school kids really could do without after past events that have wreaked disruption on their education. The minority numbers in the private school sector will look on – unaffected again!

Also, I’m sure most people in the independence movement naturally support low-paid workers who are striving to attain a better pay grade – we don’t need any vilifying remarks to remind us of that fact. There are still questions to be raised regarding this issue and Unison’s stance on initiating strike action in our schools in Scotland.

Firstly, correct me if I’m wrong on this assertion, but it appears odd that Unison has still called for strike action without a members’ ballot being taken after the pay offer on Friday? That appears to be the reason why some other affiliated union members have queried/criticised this stance, as this pay offer is regarded as a decent one and worthy of consideration by the members.

As for Ms Baxter’s position? It is curious to see Mr Smellie avoiding any mention of her association with an extreme Unionist organisation like Scotland in Union. I’m not even going to bother perusing the long list of nasty activities that are attached to this aggressive minority group of people who can’t come to terms with the fact there is a huge independence movement in Scotland and it is not going to disappear anytime soon. I can recall their nasty campaign against our ex-FM, Nicola Sturgeon – an absolute disgrace! Note they are generally ignored with contempt anyway by Scotindy supporters!

However, someone like Ms Baxter, in a senior position within a reputable organisation like Unison, really leaves herself open to rightful criticism regarding such an ill-conceived association, and maybe people within Unison should discreetly discuss it with her – a case of “let’s have a quiet word”!
Bernie Japs

AS an SNP activist for more than 30 years, I am extremely disappointed by the lack of understanding of how Unison operates.

Before I retired I was also very active in Unison and served on its Scottish Committee and Scottish Local Government Committee for several years. I was therefore involved in decisions on strike action and can assure you that it was the lay activists who took the decision and the head of local government has no vote, but can advise.

Stephen Smellie is right and whoever tried to suggest Ms Baxter had decided herself is totally wrong and has probably made it more difficult for known SNP activists to get elected to these committees. My politics were well known but it was a struggle at first before I became respected.
Munro Ross
Posted online

IT’S high time that SNP members stopped promoting the opposition by referring to the “Scottish Labour Party”, as Keith Brown did while opening the debate on the devolution of employment law on Tuesday (Scottish Labour refuse to back employment law devolution to Holyrood, Sep 27).

Labour Party MSPs Daniel Johnson, Michael Marra and Mercedes Villalba, who spoke later in the debate, cannot be faulted for following his example to further the myth that this is the name of a registered Scottish political party on an equal footing with the SNP instead of an “optional identity mark of the UK Labour Party” used only on ballot papers in Scotland.
John Jamieson
South Queensferry

THIS is another example of our Scottish Government solving problems, not making them (New York drug consumption rooms to influence Glasgow pilot, September 27). And when they do make a mistake or see need for change, they are willing to own up to it and then explore and find a solution. That’s good government.

And that’s also one of the main things that keeps those soft Yessers and undecideds convinced that reclaiming our independence is an achievable and worthwhile goal.

There is so much negativity coming from the indy-hostile media, we ALL need to make an effort to support and promote the wealth of positives that can be attributed to our Scottish Government. Roll on independence, and governments not subject to colonial oversight and influence by the undemocratically elected and primitive governments of the country next door.
Alistair Potter
Posted online