AS a Yes Leave voter can I commend Pete Wishart MP for his considered and timely article on tactics and strategy concerning the independence movement and the EU (We need a new case for indy and a gradual plan for full membership of the EU, The National, February 9).

If the SNP leadership had shown the same sensitivity to Yes Leave voters in 2016 as Mr Wishart does now, then perhaps the haemorrhage of 21 SNP seats at the last General Election could have been minimised. I can testify as to the validity of his analysis as during the 2017 local elections I encountered many disillusioned long-term SNP supporters on the doorsteps who were quite vocal in telling me they were thinking about not voting SNP at the forthcoming General Election due to the party’s rigidly pro-EU policy.

I feel less engagement at the analysis of Mr Wishart on the question of how to promote the independence case, as he accepts the flawed logic of focusing on what he calls the “roadmap” to independence when in reality that should be quite secondary to the primary aim of promoting a vision of independence, and what it means to ordinary Scots. It is the destination which needs to be sold, not the mechanism we use to get there.

I applaud the call by Mr Wishart for an inclusive debate on independence if it means including those outwith the SNP leadership bubble, and indeed outwith the party itself to take in non-aligned Yes supporters like myself. Between 2012and 2014 the SNP took a far too top-down and boxed-in approach to independence, and that became one of the serious weaknesses of the Yes campaign. A key example of this was the flawed pro-Nato policy which did not reassure the American establishment one iota, but did limit the SNP’s vision of what a non-aligned foreign policy could have been like outwith the Nato straightjacket.

Cllr Andy Doig (Independent)
Renfrewshire Council

I’M writing with concern about the poll on the website on Friday asking who should be the next SNP depute leader. Two of the most popular and most left-wing candidates, Mhairi Black and Tommy Sheppard, were not given as choices.

On a poll conducted on the Bella Caledonia Facebook group, Tommy Sheppard currently has 449 votes whilst Mhairi Black currently has 177 votes. The rest lag way behind with less than 70 votes. In fact three of those included on your poll (Joanna Cherry, Philippa Whitford and Pete Wishart) have less than 40 votes and James Dornan currently isn’t showing on it. I appreciate that the Facebook poll has its limits but it at least shows that Sheppard and Black are very popular and many on the SNP and wider independence movement want either one of them to be depute leader. Why weren’t they included on The National’s website poll?

I hope this is just an oversight, but there will be very influential figures within the SNP leadership and also within the capitalist class who will not want to see Black or Sheppard standing. The National editorial should resist any such pressures and should release a new poll including Black and Sheppard, who I predict will be much more popular than the four on yesterday’s poll.

Ross Walker
Co-Editor of Revolution

REALLY good piece from Ivan McKee MSP (Independence was always the goal – and it’s never been closer, The National, February 10).

It is concisely written, tells it like it is but is also positive and realistically optimistic.

Unfortunately it will only be read by readers of The National. It deserves a wider readership.

Could it be printed as a leaflet and sent to every home?

Anne Smith
Address supplied

ON reading the article “MSP’s treated with ‘contempt’ by Tory minister over Brexit impact reports” (The National, February 9), in regards to being given little notice and limited time to read the UK Government’s Brexit assessments, I was reminded of how I felt reading Nigel Tranter’s version of events, when the Scottish nobility had to sign the infamous “Ragman Rolls” in his Robert The Bruce Trilogy.

Although this was an imagined version of events recounting how the Scottish nobility were made to shuffle, in a long queue, behind Edward’s seat to sign for their lands in Scotland, it perfectly summed up the utter contempt the ruling powers in England always had for the Scots.

The only difference is Tranter’s tale was imagined. The Westminster Government’s shameful treatment of Scotland’s current leaders is not.

Paul Malloy

YOUR article “Forties pipeline closure widens UK trade deficit” (The National, February 10) caught my eye. The article explained how the Office for National Statistics has said that the resulting temporary halt in oil exports, coupled with an increase in the cost of oil imports, had the largest impact on the UK’s trade in goods figures gap in the last quarter of 2017.

So, if I read that right, a temporary halt in North Sea oil and gas exports of only a few weeks had the “largest impact on the UK’s trade in goods figures” (which had worsened by £3.3 billion) over an entire trading quarter.

Interesting how North Sea oil and gas would be insignificant when discussing independence, but a temporary halt in exports creates a noticeable problem for the UK’s trade figures. Oh really?

Geoff Tompson