THE 2024 election is a clear negative verdict on the “pro-independence parties”. They will rationalise the drubbing they got but fail to deal with the fundamental root causes. They are already changing the focus onto the Holyrood 2026 election and will start preaching their strategies for independence. Their strategy didn’t work in 2014 and it most definitely did not work this time. Why do they think it will next time?

Some are already talking about getting a boost for independence from anticipated failures of the new Westminster administration. We cannot rely on failures by others. Look at the last 11 years of chaos – it worked against independence.

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The Scottish people are not stupid. They realise our SNP representatives in Westminster have zero power and and are only participating in ineffectual House of Commons games. The fact that Labour now have a majority of Scottish MPs means they can claim the “will of the Scottish people”.

The Scottish people are also disillusioned by the infighting between the “independence political parties and movements”. 2024 gave the electorate the perfect opportunity to send a message.

More importantly, the Scottish politicians seem to have forgotten that, to have any chance of improving the lot of the Scottish people, we have to demonstrate that it is the will of a significant majority (+60%?).

So, move out of the way, politicians – the people of Scotland will decide the future.

Let the non-political movement take the lead in setting up a congress to map the future that the Scottish people want. We have the concept of “wellbeing” fairly well defined – let us put meat on the bones. Lever the massive talent that exists in sorting through the details and developing robust plans to deliver a better Scotland.

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The membership needs to be drawn from a broad church willing to constructively participate in mapping a future for Scotland. The political movements should participate but must leave their political posturing at the door.

The fragmented indy movement need to stop the infighting and form a united front and participate in the people’s congress.

Holyrood needs to focus on the day-to-day governing of Scotland, negotiate extensions to the devolved powers and push back on Westminster when it detrimentally impacts on Scotland.

The congress, led by the people, and free of political posturing, will be the catalyst to get us the 60%-plus.

Douglas Skoyles

WITNESS the rapid volatility of the electorate from a runaway victory by the Conservatives in 2019 to a massive slump last week. So too the rise of Labour knocking lumps off the Scottish National Party, particularly within densely populated areas. Note also the rapid rise from below the surface of Reform UK, and of the Liberal Democrats from a lowly start.

Feelings are fast-changing, voters are impatient and seek change from whatever they are enduring to something better. Civil unrest can result if appropriate change is not forthcoming.

It is also worth noting that loud leaders are often at the helm of unsettling change. Consider the extroverts Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, three men who speak out against the odds – and, I must say, better judgement – yet came out smiling on winning their day. Perhaps the other notable extrovert Ed Davey should be included, though I imagine as less of a threat to the rest of us.

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In the farming industry we too have had a rare mix of leaders of the NFUS, some louder than others. Decades ago, John Cameron presided with strong influence while running an extensive complex of farms until retiring to more modest responsibilities. Another of similar background and influence, Jim Walker, is perhaps most famed for his forthright views, both with strong influence when speaking and currently as a must-read regular writer in The Scottish Farmer.

Jim’s piece in TSF June 29 ("It’s broken promise after broken promise") was as usual topical, to the point and taking a right swipe at the Scottish Government and its recent, in his opinion, dilatory or lack of dealings with the farming community.

A few pages on, the next-favoured read was comment on the debate at the Royal Highland Show on the Land Reform Bill. A key point from this was from panellist Andy Wightman, well known for his strong feelings on land ownership issues and knowledge of the social significance of landlessness. He is correct, we need to get away from “bigger is better” and it is ridiculous that less than three hectares should not be entitled to farm support.

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Perhaps the starkest change following General Election was Glasgow turning from SNP yellow to Labour red. Glasgow, as with all cities, has countless families grown from relatives banished from the countryside whether from Scotland, Ireland or distance abroad and many now reliant on food banks.

Beautiful it may be, but to my mind Scotland is an ugly, divided country when we foster scale of land ownership and management alongside cramped cities strewn with poverty, homelessness and food banks and where much of the population scarcely know who or what to rely on next to help them escape to or create their something better.

Diminishing working rural populations are not a necessity. They are a consequence of bigger being presumed to be better. Bigger machines generate larger farms employing fewer people. However the land, climate and input from mankind are the key elements of food production, and only more input from mankind can secure more food production while creating a more stable nation from within both our countryside and cities.

Tom Gray