AS the excruciating media reporting on the imminent General Election continues ad nauseam, a reflection on what the electorate are actually voting to maintain may be in order. The lack of a coordinated UK written constitution breeds uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the political process and, coupled with a first-past-the-post system that principally favours the Conservative Party, hardly inspires belief or trust in UK democracy. Yet, along with the archaic and elite House of Lords and royal family, these are embedded into the fabric of the UK political landscape.

Essentially the electorate are asked to vote for the major parties whose existence rely on the continuity of absurd and extortionate institutions that perpetuate the status quo, with the wealthy and powerful controlling the decision-making powers and organisation of the UK, often at the expense of those at the bottom echelons of its society.

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The BBC have obviously decided that their head-to-head debate will mirror this grossly unfair and dubiously democratic situation by allowing Messrs Sunak and Starmer to take centre stage at the expense of all other groupings. The SNP, the third-largest party at Westminster, have been signally ignored. This battle of the featherweights witnesses two asinine politicians of limited political vision or ethical credulity engaged in a drab debate to doubtless score high marks on the dullometer.

Both leaders are currently turning Nelsonian eyes to the appalling suffering in Gaza, afraid to demonstrate any humanity that may alienate them from their respective “Friends of Israel” groups. Both continue to accept the catastrophe of Brexit, despite overwhelming evidence of its staggering failure. Both struggle to keep their parties united – observe Starmer’s recent contortions over the Dianne Abbott affair as evidence of his attempts to keep his dwindling left wing on board, at least until the election is over. Sunak has adopted increasingly desperate and extreme ideas like national service as evidence of his reckless attempts to keep the increasingly loopy right-wingers in his party on board and to try and thwart the professional wackos from Reform UK.

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Sadly many Scots will continue to vote for these Anglo-centred political groups that are utterly discredited and disingenuous. The SNP are far from perfect but their achievements are socially focused and should be hailed from the highest rooftops. The stunning effects of the Scottish Child Payment, continuation of free medical prescriptions and free personal care for the elderly, lower taxation for the most vulnerable, free tuition fees and transport for our youngest and eldest along with our publicly owned water systems should at least be a place to start.

The Scottish Government may only be deemed socialist with a small “s”, but it is progressive, caring and compassionate. A vote for the SNP is not just a vote for independence, it’s a rejection of the corruption, political torpor and passé Westminster establishment. Now’s the day and now’s the hour.

Owen Kelly

MR Cole-Hamilton might well squirm when asked how Scotland can gain independence, ( June 2), because the answer from which he recoils is dead simple. It actually frightens the SNP too. Here it is.

There are two aspects to becoming independent, one being the state you’re leaving and the other being the world of states you’re joining. You’re independent in the world if it accepts your independence, and in general, other states accept the independence of any state which can control its own territory and govern itself. The state you’re leaving may (like Spain, for instance) have a constitutional barrier to your exit.

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Does the UK have any such barrier against Scotland leaving? I’m not aware of any, nor of any serious Unionist position that there is one. The legal disability of Holyrood to set up an indy referendum is not a barrier to Scottish independence, but merely a devolution issue. We should be suspicious of the very notion that Westminster can or does prevent Scotland’s departure, because the only entity from which it actually emerges is the SNP. The party holds that gun at its own head to avoid confronting its existential task of taking Scotland out of the Union.

If the UK did hold a constitutional block, it would not have been possible for it to enter the Edinburgh Agreement by signature of its then Prime Minister. Nor could it have passed the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which provides for Northern Ireland to leave the UK. Nor could it have maintained, as it always does, that the Union is voluntary. And the barrier could have been identified and referred to at any time. It never has, because it does not exist.

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That being the case, what does Scotland have to do to leave the Union? Two things. First, its people must cast a democratic vote to leave. The only forum for that is a General Election, which can be made into a plebiscite by any party issuing the appropriate manifesto. No party proposes to do so at the forthcoming election. The SNP’s proposal falls short.

If the people of Scotland were to vote to leave in a genuine plebiscitary election, that majority vote would return an indy member to virtually every Scottish seat. (Or if there already was a majority of indy MPs, a Holyrood election could be made the plebiscite.) Scotland’s MPs, its supreme representatives, would then have the power, with democratic authority, to take Scotland out of the Union by simple decision. Doubtless, at that stage London would come to the table and the details of independence would be negotiated, but London’s participation would not be a requirement.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr Cole-Hamilton, and you too, Mr Swinney.

Alan Crocket