IN the aftermath of Rutherglen and Hamilton West, the independence movement now know what happens when you spend your time bickering and verbally fighting one another, instead of actually getting on with achieving the reason why people put their trust in you. You lose.

SNP, Alba, it doesn’t matter what party you choose as your method of getting independence, when the public see the way you act towards one another, their confidence in the whole vision of Scottish independence dips.

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When the Tories or Labour have internal disputes, their popularity falls – it happens to all political parties and can be sorted out at the next election – but within an independence movement that can shatter the dream forever, or at least, dare I say it, generations.

As both the Tories and Labour seem determined to fight the next election on the basis of who can be most right-wing, our hard-fought-for freedoms, including devolution, will quickly disappear. The independence parties need to take a lesson from the Yes movement. If we can work together so can you.

Bill Golden

I WRITE in support of Stephen Noon’s call for putting together a broader coalition with the aim of getting a lot more powers devolved to Holyrood (Former top Yes Scotland figures says ‘age of the referendum in over’, Oct 9).

It looks increasingly likely that the next Westminster government will not require the support of the SNP to gain a majority. The Labour Party have set their face firmly again independence. So a legal route via Section 30 and a referendum is not going to happen in the next five years. I see no stomach for a major campaign of civil disobedience, which would be the only alternative pathway.

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Yet a Scottish Government with more powers could make a major difference in Scotland. Full borrowing powers and greater control over fiscal and monetary policy would give Holyrood the power to implement an effective industrial strategy. Greater flexibility on immigration would help the labour market. The National Grid in Scotland could be brought into public ownership. The Sewell Convention could be written into statute law. The legislation on the internal market which was used to torpedo the Deposit Return Scheme could be drastically amended. Employment legislation, including collective bargaining, could be devolved.

A broader coalition which included the STUC and civil society would be able to put together a worked-out shopping list of areas for further devolution, to publicise this during the election campaign and to be in a position strongly to influence an incoming (Labour) government at Westminster.

David Mumford

IN reply to Alan Crocket (Long Letter, Oct 8) I would say that to enter into the discussion of a plebiscite is to step into the jaws of the Unionist lion. They will take great delight in pointing to the number of votes because they know that it is an easy win within the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.

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If they are going to demand legitimacy for their governments from a majority of seats and implement the policies in their manifesto on this basis, then the independence cause can legitimately stand on the same principle. Alister Jack and co will of course try to undermine such a position, but if we hold fast and face them down we can easily argue in the international arena that we have mandate based on their own FPTP standard to implement the dissolution of the Union and negotiate a new relationship with England.

They may wish to have it both ways but in the court of international diplomacy they will have a difficult time justifying their own mandate on less than 50% of the vote. Under their own current UK legislation, in a General Election FPTP gives an unassailable mandate to the party with the most seats, and that is a fact they cannot deny.

David Neilson

THERE is a lot of talk about having a change of independence strategy after the very disappointing by-election result. I firmly believe we should get behind Humza Yousaf, who is proving to be a very good leader, and let him lead us rather than continually suggesting other routes.

Surely he is correct in suggesting the next General Election, if we win the majority of Scottish seats, should be used as a mandate to start negotiations for Independence. Yes, we all know we might not have the majority of votes but this has not mattered at a UK election as we see the party with the most seats coming to power on less than 50% of the vote. Already we have seen Rachel Reeves falling into the trap when she said this would not achieve a mandate despite the numerous precedents of UK mandates being achieved with substantially less than 50% of the vote.

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Consider how this sort of behaviour goes down internationally. I believe it will help with support for our aim of Independence. It is international pressure that will finally force the UK Government to behave in a more reasonable fashion.

Scotland had their chance in 2014. If the people in Scotland still vote against independence now, despite the proof of how poorly we have been governed for, I would say, more than 40 years, then I’m afraid we deserve all the contempt that Westminster throws at us.

For goodness’ sake let us have more faith in ourselves, stop all stupid divisions which the Unionists revel in, and achieve a good majority of Scottish seats at the next General Election.

Peter D Cheyne
via email