IF you are retired like me and have the time and interest in all things related to Scotland’s independence, you cannot help but become dismayed and disappointed at the lack of knowledge that our so-called independence supporting MPs and MSPs appear to have.

Three examples of political mistakes and lost opportunities.

1) Unexpectedly for many of us, Alex Salmond kept his 2010 election promise and managed to get us a referendum vote in September 2014. A euphoric time for many of us. There was a big thing at the time talking about civic nationalism, with the emphasis that if you live in Scotland you can vote. All very noble and inclusive.

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Had the Yes side prevailed we would have recreated once again a sovereign Scotland. A major shake-up for the whole of the UK. Yet we allowed people to vote who had no historical or family links to our country. If you were from any part of the UK and resided here you had a vote. The United Nations recommends that for significant votes on a major constitutional issue such as independence, the only people allowed to vote should be those born in the country, those whose parents were born in that country or likewise grandparents. This is because a new immigrant does not usually identify with their new country. Only their children or grandchildren do. You see this with immigrants from all countries, including UK citizens abroad. Our politicians in negotiations with London made a mistake here regarding the voting franchise. For the Brexit vote in 2016 the UK did not make this mistake, although they did not fully use the full UN guidelines.

Had we done this, even with the lie of The Vow and the biased media, the referendum result would have been just under 64% Yes.

2) Following the sadness and heartache of the 2014 referendum vote, Scotland returned a massive result for the SNP in the General Election of 2015, winning 56 of the 59 Westminster constituencies. I like to think that it was ignorance of our history that allowed our SNP politicians at the time to waste this major event. Westminster must have thought Christmas had come early when our new MPs settled into the gravy train by the Thames without a peep regarding independence. Was this due to ignorance of the our laws or was it deliberate policy? Perhaps both.

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Under the Treaty of Union they could have stated that Scotland was leaving the Union, as it had legally met the conditions with a majority of independence-supporting MPs. This would have created an unexpected and massive constitutional crisis. Although a correct legal action, most of us nowadays would have considered this UDI so another vote would be promised within a year: a vote using UN constitutional guidelines and managed by the UN. We would have won our independence in 2017.

Scotland still has this majority of independence-supporting MPs that is being wasted by our politicians. Having wasted the opportunity of the 2015 vote, they could still use any General Election as a plebiscite vote ensuring that a note was sent out with ballot papers informing the electorate that a vote for an independent-supporting MP would end the Union if there was a majority of such MPs.

3) In 2016 we had a vote to leave the EU with only a 70% turnout and a Leave majority of 51.8%. In Scotland we had a Remain vote of over 62%.

Our politicians did nothing but moan. Their solution eventually was to write the continuity bill in 2018 proposing that Scotland stay in the UK and EU just like it is with Northern Ireland today. The bill, which legally was considered sound, was held up for three months deliberately by the Supreme Court in order to allow Westminster to write a new law that stopped it dead.

What our politicians should have done is refuse to leave the EU, as under the Claim of Right the people in Scotland are sovereign and we did not want to leave. Another constitutional crisis missed. We may have managed a Northern Ireland-style solution, who knows? After the Brexit vote there was a meeting between the Scottish Government and Westminster. Obviously we just knuckled under the colonial yoke.

So there we have three examples that show that had our politicians at those times had grit, determination and knowledge of our laws and history, we could be in a different situation today.

Robert Anderson