WHEN it came to independence, I was always a bit of a gradualist. Steady as she goes and we’ll get there. But now, like many others, I see that once bright light of independence getting dimmer every day.

I should say at this point I’m an optimist by nature and my pessimism may be caused by my dotage. This pessimism is not helped by non-stop negative reporting and endless polls appearing in the media predicting impending doom for the SNP at the next General Election.

If this, God forbid, proves to be correct then it would most certainly be the end of any hope for independence for, dare I say it, generations to come. Yes, there are other parties, but by the time they find their place in mainstream Scottish politics it will be to late. I’m a realist if nothing else.

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How can the SNP save the day and come through with what we want, independence? For a start they must be far more proactive and start ultra-positive campaigning. Not just campaigning, but forcibly getting the message out there. No more talking shops, special conferences, once-a-month action days but actual in-your-face action.

The party has nothing to lose and everything to gain, but it needs to lead, to get out and show the Scottish voters why independence is needed. In 2014, in the televised debates I felt we were left trailing trying to answer the Unionist questions and not having time to make our case. This time, let’s leave them to answer why Scotland should stay chained to our colonial masters.

Ask the membership what we want: we’ll tell you. We need an exciting, positive case to be made. If not, then Scotland may lose any hope of independence.

Yes, I am an SNP member and yes, I am criticising the party. But also, it’s time for ALL parties to realise it’s not about the party, it’s about an independent Scotland.

William Golden
Forfar, Angus

WITNESSING the moral, democratic, social and economic mayhem imposed on us by the UK Government, all who support the “indy cause” are deeply frustrated that Scotland still cannot determine its own future for its people. Contrary to what Jim Taylor has suggested (Long Letter, Nov 28), and apparently unlike Jim himself,

I have not accepted defeat for the SNP or independence candidates overall at the next General Election so had not even considered the possibility of blaming anyone, never mind Alex Salmond.

Also, I am not a member of the SNP or any other political party, but if I had joined Alba I would have been disappointed that the leader of the party that has been calling for unity among the pro-independence parties has acted to single-handedly deny that possibility.

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Of course I cannot speak for L McGregor, but most indy-supporter criticisms of Alex Salmond’s latest action of taking the Scottish Government to court to pursue a further claim of damages have seemingly reflected genuine disappointment in the man who had inspired so many of us into believing that independence was a realistic goal for our nation. Humza Yousaf may not have Alex Salmond’s charisma or his past strategic political nous, but seems sincere in pursuing principles to which we can all relate. Hopefully, if he can put together a highly competent and principled team with a broad range of views and ideas to advise him, he can succeed in taking the SNP and independence forward.

The question Jim did not address, and which was the actual aim of my letter, was can Alba supporters separate themselves from Alex’s personal pursuit of “justice” and now move forward constructively and thereby aid the SNP not only to progress beyond perceived issues associated with the past leadership of that party, but to work with “the wider movement” and thus “step up and lead Scotland to freedom”?

If Jim can answer that question positively then together, ahead of the next General Election, we can convince many more voters that only with independence can the people of Scotland determine their own future and build the society of our common aspirations.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

THE unfortunate SNP get a lot of stick for being unable to further our independence aims. I think it is true to say they could be much more aggressive, less polite and even be disobedient in both the chatting shop on the banks of the Thames and in governing here. Clap when MPs approve of something – if Mr Speaker does not like it, tell him tae awa an bile his heid. Call a liar a liar, our people do not have to abide by their little conventions.

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The main problem the SNP has is that it only has about 50% for a referendum, possibly slightly less for independence. Approximately about half of those prepared to heize aff their hurdies and vote are independence supporters. A further 25% are Northern English provincials – or, as they prefer to be called, Unionists. This leaves us with the final quarter, the fearties, the douce cruse folk, the dwaibly and the tumshie heids. This is the quarter the SNP haes tae gie a whein smeddum tae, a gargantuan task given the types of person the party has to bring on side.

What I am saying is that playing by the rules does not work, so light the blue touch paper and see if that does, it micht jist pit a bittie vir intae fowk.

R Mill Irving
Gifford, East Lothian

I HAVE no time for the normal shenanigans of the SNP, or for their changes of Westminster leader. However it is quite noticeable that since changing from Ian Blackford to Stephen Flynn, the latter is met with relative silence when speaking, compared to the former. Perhaps this is due to the usual Flynn delivery of his questions: fluent, relevant and without notes.

Paul Gillon

Oh John McLean, Oh John McLean,

how I yearn for men like you again ;

who fought the fight, for the needy poor,

and faced the injustice you’d endure.

No fear for you, cold ,desolate prison,

in your battle against cruel capitalism.

A man with a nature, so, so mild,

emptied your pocket for a suffering child;

gave a warm coat to a shivering friend,

which ecsaberated your early end.

Oh John McLean, oh John McLean,

just to see and hear you once again ;

I would proudly stand there by your side,

and battle the Tories capitalist tide.

George Robertson