The National:

THERE is a paradox or two behind the voices that have emerged in recent weeks to recommend how independence supporters cast their second vote next May. But that debate is somewhat superfluous compared to the ones that should concentrate our minds most.

We should examine why support for independence has apparently increased during the coronavirus outbreak when Nicola Sturgeon warned in her daily briefings in March against mentioning it?

If the 54% support registered in the latest Panelbase polls are reliable, why has it occurred? Is it because some believe the strategy followed by the First Minister over the pandemic has been different to the UK Government’s? For there is little evidence to support such a view. It is certainly true she has dominated the airwaves and mastered her messages in a way Boris Johnson has not.

The case for Yes is likely to come under severe pressure in the weeks ahead as the impact of the worst economic recession in 25 years bites. And, the Yes movement must offer some profound solutions to this enormous challenge.

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Our movement is unlikely to emerge unscathed either from what is being billed as “the looming civil war” between the SNP’s two “biggest hitters” over allegations of impropriety and political skulduggery.

Those who would move the electorate around like chess pieces on the election board should realise there are many competing issues at stake here.

They must expect the SNP machine for example to fight any suggestion that you don’t have to vote for them.

And since they are not going to make independence the central issue of this election, those who would seek to “game” the electoral rules on that basis may be left becalmed.

The Scottish Socialist Party will be standing on the list with a programme that insists independence is about liberating people from the strictures of a UK political union and an economic system that is rigged against them.

Our unique prospectus will be spelt out clearly to avoid any semblance of doubt.

And given the appalling number of Covid-19 deaths in Scotland’s privately owned residential care homes, we will demand Holyrood establishes a publicly owned and run National Care Service – on a par with the NHS and free at the point of need – and put it that at the heart of our manifesto.

READ MORE: Andy Maciver claims new Yes party would 'snatch defeat from jaws of victory'

We will also uniquely advocate a £12 per hour living wage with a statutory minimum of 16 hours to stave off the insecurity facing millions of Scots.

Alongside that will sit our abolition of the hated Council tax and a commitment to introduce free public transport to help combat the climate crisis. Such redistributive advances will be offered amid ever widening inequality in Scotland.

They will form part of a socialist green recovery programme with jobs and economic justice at its heart which puts the needs of working people and the planet ahead of profit.

The 2021 Holyrood election is likely to take place during an economic recession and that, rather than attempting to “game” the electoral rules is the issue by which all parties seeking your vote will be measured.

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