IT would appear that I’m not the only one perplexed by Humza Yousaf’s strategy for the next General Election (Pete Wishart being another). His stated aim is to win all the Tory-held seats and make Scotland a “Tory-free” zone. I have no complaint about such a plan, but to make this his sole aim, while ignoring the very real threat from Labour, strikes me as totally inexplicable and politically suicidal.

Over the past year, most opinion polls have shown support for the SNP falling while support for Labour has been rising. As it stands, the SNP is liable to lose a lot of Westminster seats at the next General Election unless it wakes up and realises the very real threat posed by Labour in many SNP-held constituencies throughout the country.

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One problem is that, due to the party’s recent performance, many previous SNP voters have lost confidence and faith in the party to deliver good governance without the self-indulgence and gaffes of recent years. On the other hand, there does not appear to be any great confidence or faith in the Labour Party, either.

It strikes me that many Scottish voters are thinking about switching to Labour mainly to ensure that the Tories are removed from office at Westminster – and voting Labour appears to be the most sure and direct way of achieving that. Meanwhile, Yousaf seems to think that Labour will win an overall majority without needing any Scottish seats but that, for me, is anything but a sure thing. That, therefore, leaves those Scottish voters desperate to see the Tories removed being forced to vote Labour in case Yousaf is wrong.

How can the SNP counteract this? I would suggest that there is one very simple step the SNP could take to stop, and then reverse, any increase in support for Labour. That is to make it crystal clear that the SNP MPs will vote along with Labour MPs to ensure that Labour forms the next UK Government. This might not be needed should Labour win an outright majority on its own, but such an offer would cover for such an overall majority not being achieved.

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I would further make it clear that no immediate conditions should be applied to this. The only caveat would be that the SNP would expect that negotiations to strengthen and improve devolution, without specifics being stated, were started within, say, two years if that support was to continue.

What would this proposal achieve? Firstly, it removes the need to vote Labour to get the Tories out of office (as the SNP MPs would be voting the same way as any Scottish Labour MPs). Secondly, this could lead to a strengthening of devolution, especially if there are a substantial number of SNP MPs backed by a large SNP vote. Thirdly, without any immediate conditions, or specific demands for improving devolution, it would be very difficult for Labour to reject this as there would be nothing specific to reject.

There are many other issues which I believe the SNP need to change direction on to raise their level of support back to what it was just a few years ago – but I believe the above would go a long way to improving the SNP’s chances of retaining many more of their Westminster seats than would otherwise be the case.

Dave McCartney

WHILE I did not vote for Humza Yousaf, I wish I had. He has shown great integrity and statesmanship for his first year and you really can’t ask more than that. Compare him with the Unionist so-called leaders –

they can’t do anything without permission from their London bosses and it shows. Imagine how a totally independent Scotland would work.

Keep it going, Humza.

David Sutton