IN the Genesis myth, God places Adam and Eve in paradise and gives them one instruction only – don’t eat the apple. Their failure to keep that solitary rule has left the whole world toiling ever since. Likewise, the SNP have broken what should have been their own sole precept – to take Scotland independent. Where does that leave us?

For the last year or two in these pages and elsewhere, the SNP have been repeatedly warned of the looming electoral disaster predicted by virtually every poll, from their perverse and obdurate refusal to run the election as a proper plebiscite on independence, and thus their destruction of the chance of winning the votes of that half of the public which has consistently supported leaving the Union. The battle therefore amounted to no more than an insipid confrontation with Labour, largely on matters of detail which are outwith Westminster’s remit anyway. But the disgraceful result, glaringly obvious from well beforehand, has profound and ghastly implications for the whole cause of independence.

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In the absence of an indy referendum (which we are not, repeat NOT, going to get), the only route for Scotland to resume its ancient status as an independent country comprises two developments. The first is a democratic head-count vote of the people for Scotland to leave the Union (ie not a mere preference for independence, but a decision actually to go independent). The only way that choice can be offered is in a General Election under the appropriate manifesto (unlike the SNP’s snake-oil manifesto which Scotland has just rejected).

The second is for the decision to go independent, once made, to be implemented. The only body with the legal, constitutional and democratic power to implement it by declaring independence is our MPs in the Union parliament, who are Scotland’s supreme representatives. The SNP, having lost almost four-fifths of their MPs and now retaining only a rump of nine seats, are far, far below the majority of Scottish members who would be required to take that crucial step.

In short, by their own wilful blindness, the SNP have deprived Scotland of the only really-existing mechanism for the country to go independent at our own hand. That will remain the position until the majority of Scottish seats at Westminster are once more occupied by indy members – and of the type who are willing to take the step. Meanwhile, there is no limit on how dismissive the Labour PM can be of any desire for independence in Scotland. And that pertains irrespective of how many indy members are returned to Holyrood in 2026.

So thank you, Mr Swinney and the rest of you. Thanks for nothing.

Alan Crocket

“SCOTLAND – best wee country in the world” they say. Except it’s not wee. It’s the average size for countries. The richest, most successful, happiest countries are this size. But then, they have independence.

Stop believing the Anglo-colonial narrative that we are “too wee” to run our own affairs, stop believing that we are too stupid, too talentless to even win an international fitba tournament. Stop singing Flower of Scotland till you truly believe we can be a nation again. We are NOT wee, but we are NOT free. We are not even a country in the eyes of the English Parliament.

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We have just lost an election to “Scottish Labour”. They even have a nice new shiny thistle logo to show how “Scottish” they are. There is no “Scottish Labour” registered with the Electoral Commission. “Scottish Labour” doesn’t exist. It is a fiction, a branch office (as admitted by ex “Scottish Labour” leader Johann Lamont) , an “accounting unit” of the English political establishment.

I am angry. I am angry that half my fellow Scots don’t believe we should be a nation again, but are happy to let England (that’s not racist or English-hating – it’s just a fact) impose their will on all Scotland’s people and future.

Rise up and be that independent nation again. For Scotland’s sake.

Alan Laird

“TIME to reflect”, indeed, as Sunday’s front page states. New thoughts are required. Here are two. First: the SNP and Alba should make peace and urgently re-form as The Scotland Party. That renaming will give the party a clear and unambiguous meaning; and distinguish it from Westminster’s UK/British political parties whose priorities lie not here, but to the south. The change would also neuter the pretence of Westminster, media, and Brexit nationalists that Scotland’s national party is right-wing nationalist – when of course its policies are left-wing.

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Brexit nationalism, from an already-independent country, is a claim of being better than others. Scottish nationalism is the opposite. It is about a non-independent country seeking elevation to parity with others.

A second point is to state clearly and repeatedly that The Scotland Party exists for the sole purpose of winning Scottish independence. Everyday issues are separate from the single and overarching issue of independence.

Professor Aonghus MacKechnie