READING Bill Golden’s letter on October 25 which called for the Yes movement to work as one led me to wonder if the opposite might be true; whether in fact the mainstream Yes movement could benefit from inclusion of a wider range of political perspectives.

I say this because whilst there is personal division in the Yes movement, there is not a lot of political diversity. All parties with elected representatives (SNP, Greens, Alba) are left-of-centre social democrats who favour European integration, progressive taxation, and large-scale welfare provision. However, these views are far from universal amongst potential voters for independence.

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Roughly a third of those who backed the SNP in the 2016 Holyrood election backed leaving the EU a month later. There is room for a party option that caters to these people. Similarly, there is a considerable demographic in Scotland who would, for example, like personal taxation to be lower, and hold different views to the mainstream Yes movement on social issues.

What if there were a wider range of political voices allowed in the independence movement? We could increase the demographic of people who might consider Yes exponentially if it was a movement that was truly representative of the diversity of political opinion in Scotland.

A move away from an SNP-dominated Yes movement might be beneficial in the long run. An additional voice calling for say, a business-friendly Scotland Independent from London and Brussels, could bring people to Yes that the centre-left parties could never reach. Political division in the Yes movement is not intrinsically wrong and could be beneficial.

Tim Jones

I REFER to Andy Anderson’s letter on Saturday in which he again asserts the sovereignty of the Scottish people. I enjoy and respect Andy’s many letters on this subject. I admire his knowledge of our constitution and his determination to repeat his argument. My own knowledge of our constitution is very little and international law even less, so I can only speculate why his assertions seem to be ignored by the SNP. Can The National help me and others like me with a fact check or expert opinion, please?

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He also talks about a constitutional convention exerting our right to independence but again I am unsure how such a convention can demonstrate the will of our people. It seems to me we are stuck in a catch-22-type loop (I am going to call it catch-32 because of the Section 30 order):

1) The Scottish people are sovereign (I accept Andy is correct).

2) Independence must be clearly demonstrated as the will of the people before it would be recognised internationally.

3) To do this at least a majority would be required in a referendum or specific vote.

4) The “Supreme Court” has ruled the Scottish Government does not have the power to hold a referendum and Westminster will not grant the power.

But! Back to 1)

What am I missing, Andy? I yearn for a clear pathway to independence which political parties will follow.

However, with the dreadful news that an opinion poll last week showed that No would win a vote by the same margin as 2014, we are making no progress in convincing our people. We need to push the Yes vote up to at least 60% to be sure this is the settled will of the Scottish people and for post-independence stability. The only credible plan to achieve this has come from Robin McAlpine of Common Weal, but there seems to be little uptake of his ideas.

With the independence-supporting political parties at loggerheads with each other about the pathway and policies to grow support, our movement sadly is stagnating.

Campbell Anderson

THESE thoughts were prompted by Andy Anderson’s letter on Saturday. If we can demonstrate that the majority of the voting (and possibly the rest of) public wish for independence then it should be sufficient to demand it. But, the flaw in this is that the other side will still be required to enter into talks. If they continue to refuse to do so we remain in an invidious position.

Since all the social systems and infrastructure is intertwined with that of the rest of the UK, it means there is no easy way of separating things – as with a pair of Siamese twins. We would need in very rapid order to create our own independent tax-raising and collecting body at the same time as ceasing all tax transfers to HM Treasury. We would need to negotiate foreign financial exchanges with a recognisable currency (our own, or by using someone else’s on a temporary basis), and be in a position to raise funds through international borrowing. We would need to take over all the defence and police installations that currently nominally serve allegiance to the “Crown”, along with many other practical systems that serve to facilitate society.

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If, in such circumstances, a substantial proportion of our population remain against independence then we have a major problem. The key to all of these issues and progress remains as always completely dependent on ensuring that a majority of our population support being independent, and be able to demonstrate that to the wider international community who will need to support us. Before we can achieve real progress to independence it remains, as always, absolutely essential that we convince a majority in favour.

To us activists and the already convinced it seems so simple, but in reality it is otherwise. We still have to work together instead of fighting amongst ourselves to achieve that goal.

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire