AFTER the denial of a new debate on Gaza to the SNP, and the skulduggery by Labour and the Speaker on the original Gaza debate, can there be any doubt that the Westminster parliament is irrelevant to Scottish needs? What’s more, it’s clear that SNP MPs have for the last few years been too intent on “settling in” to Westminster and not on “settling up” on behalf of Scotland!

Indeed I recall my local SNP MP Tommy Sheppard assuring the House of Commons that he wasn’t going to be creating trouble but would be a good MP. I nominated Tommy Sheppard for the seat when I was an SNP member in 2015 and campaigned for his election. I have to say He has been a sad disappointment since.

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There was another choice of how to behave at Westminster, and that has been demonstrated by Alba’s two MPs, Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey, since they joined Alba two years ago. Kenny has been consistently raising the question of how Scotland is being robbed of our energy, whether oil or wind, and then charged much more for it by the UK Government. Lately he has been leading the campaign to save the Grangemouth refinery, and sadly the SNP boycotted his debate! Neale Hanvey has placed a bill on independence in the Commons. Also the Alba MPs were thrown out by the Speaker when they protested about the neglect of Scottish issues.

So what should Scots do about the coming General Election? Well, they can vote for Labour, who clearly under Starmer have no interest in Scotland. They can vote for the SNP, who are clearly desperate to hold on to their £80,000-a-year seats (rumour has it that some of them would like to be Speaker!). Or they can vote for Alba candidates, and I hope to be one in Edinburgh. We don’t expect to win but we will give discontented SNP voters – and there are a lot of them – a chance of voting for an independence platform that is clear. Westminster is not our parliament and the real elections that matter are the Scottish Parliament elections. These are due in 2026 but could be brought forward by the SNP if they wish. Then the issue should be clear :a vote for an independence-supporting MSP will lead as soon as possible towards a declaration of independence.

Alba will be standing a full list for all Scottish regions in the Scottish Parliament elections, and because it is a proportional system they could elect a significant number of MSPs.

They will not be “settling in” but “settling up” the issue of Scottish independence. In the meantime a vote for an Alba candidate for Westminster will be a vote that declares “Westminster is not our parliament”!

Hugh Kerr (former MEP 1994-99), prospective Alba candidate for Edinburgh

YESTERDAY I received my first party election pamphlet. The headline, in big bold letters, said “only” your LibDem candidate “can beat the SNP”. I’ve lost count of the number of Unionist party leaflets I’ve received over the years with a similar message.

It has been the main policy peddled by all of the Unionist parties in Scotland for years, and incidentally makes it difficult to understand why more than 50% of the electorate continue to vote for them when some of these voters state that they support self-determination.

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In the days of Jo Grimond it was possible to understand what the Liberals stood for. One of their distinctive policies was home rule, and on that basis I remember voting for them on one occasion many years ago. Nowadays their only objective appears to be getting enough seats to allow them to enter a coalition with whoever offers them the best Cabinet positions, and then helping implement the other party’s plans, however disastrous the consequences.

Traditional Liberal values have been subordinated to this aim.

Cameron Crawford