IF the Labour Party had supported the SNP’s call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza in November of last year, the lives of thousands of women and children may have been saved. It is ironic that amid all the criticism of the SNP over the Hate Crime Act (including letters in The National which increasingly resemble the many lacking objective context that appear in the right-wing media) that Jim Anderson (Website Comments, April 9) would question the principles of the SNP leadership and reference Groucho Marx.

While the Tory party at Westminster have consistently abandoned any principles they had retained (including gender recognition reform, which was supported by Tory MP Caroline Nokes, chair of Westminster’s Women & Equalities Committee) and the Labour Party have U-turned on nearly every socialist policy they previously advocated, the SNP have stuck to their principles and refused to bow to the unprincipled manipulation of contentious issues by the right-wing UK media.

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It is a sad fact that it is relatively easy to stoke up public criticism when you are prepared to simplistically exploit misleading and sometimes scurrilous arguments, and when parties that have supported legislation neither have the principles nor the backbone to publicly support their own decisions (it is no coincidence that attention-seeking Anas Sarwar has recently been “invisible”).

There are even those who attempt to portray the Hate Crime Act as men against women in the full knowledge that it was, seemingly wisely, considered preferable to introduce a more specific bill covering misogyny (which the SNP apparently plan to introduce later this year) than a more general bill fundamentally aimed at protecting minorities.

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It is understandable that many fail to appreciate the complexities of attempting to achieve good governance while adhering to stated principles and seeking to withdraw from a Union that is not guided by democratic principles and is prepared to use all of its considerable powers to frustrate and prevent Scotland’s legitimate claim to self-determination. The primary goal of achieving Scotland’s independence is not made any easier when the BBC and almost all of the UK mainstream media enthusiastically aim to minimise the achievements of an SNP Scottish Government and to maximise any perceived shortcomings.

We will, however, still progress our common goal at the next General Election, providing we are prepared to stick by our own egalitarian principles and steadfastly refuse to be drawn into the web of unprincipled deceit spun by those who seek to deny the will of the people of Scotland.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

WHILE not ever excusing the horrific Hamas attack on Israel last October, many months later tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops, including scores of charity aid workers. With worldwide protests against Israel’s destructive military advance into Gaza, the danger is that without clear world leadership, the Middle East could explode into endless ethnic and religious violence.

The sadness is that the refusal of Israel to negotiate a Palestinian homeland will again drive reasonable Palestinians into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists.

The pain and misery of this hugely destructive war will only end when the extremist minority, on both sides, gives way to the reasoned majority. An independent Palestinian state could then come into being, if it in turn will accept the reality of Israel. From this mutual acceptance, respect and peaceful coexistence would surely result, to the benefit of all in the region, and be welcomed and celebrated throughout the world.

Grant Frazer