ON cursory review it seems unlikely that a former economist working for an “international bank” would be a likely bedfellow of ideological left-wing activists, never mind be a leading member of the disbanded 79 Group within the SNP.

It appears that when Alex Salmond resigned as First Minister and SNP leader he may have believed his own casual expression that a Scottish referendum would be a “once in a generation” event, so a second referendum was unlikely to be fought in his lifetime.

Brexit and consistent polls in favour of independence, with some close to the “magic figure” of 60%, under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership have changed that assessment.

It is therefore perhaps not a complete surprise that Alex Salmond has increasingly directed the ire emanating from the charges brought against him at those within his former party that he personally holds responsible for his public humiliation, namely Nicola Surgeon and the current SNP executive. It is also perhaps not a great surprise that former members of The 79, Kenny MacAskill and Jim Sillars, along with other former Labour Party members such as George Kerevan and Alex Neil, should not only voice support for Alex Salmond but work to promote the ideals of the group, assisted by sympathetic journalists, such as Kevin McKenna and others.

As was evidenced by the recent demise of Jeremy Corbyn and the sad decline of the Labour Party over more than a decade, there appears insufficient strongly left-wing voters among the general public to immediately bring about independence without the support of those on the left of centre, the centre and perhaps also some on the right of centre, never mind to quickly transform an independent Scotland into a Socialist republic.

The irony today is that a number of SNP politicians and SNP members seem to have been drawn to a group of people that have been critical of Nicola Sturgeon for not acting faster to make independence happen sooner but who historically have put the pursuit of left-wing ideology ahead of achieving independence. Seven years ago most of us, not only Alex Salmond, probably did not think that we would now be seriously discussing the holding of a second Scottish referendum that could deliver full independence within 10 years of the last such plebiscite.

If independence supporters are not misled or confused by those opposed to self-determination, or by political ideologists, but instead pragmatically support the party and leader that has democratically brought Scotland to the verge of this pivotal constitutional juncture then we may all gain the early opportunity to positively contribute to the building of a vibrant, egalitarian and prosperous “new state” independently represented at the UN.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

THURSDAY’S front-page headlines touched on a common theme that will be unfolding on a grand scale in the months ahead of the Scottish election in May. Issues relating to a sinister tax-funded British Government Union Unit together with insincere apologies from the BBC – all linked to a forthcoming mass anti-SNP/Scottish Government propaganda campaign based on the same type of data-streaming model that has been previously deployed in the likes of the 2019 General Election and the 2016 EU referendum (refer to the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal and deliberate obstruction of any formal scrutiny of its operations). Beware!

May I add that it is already happening on certain targeted social media sites and on personal mobile phones via notification links and other data transfer links that focus on SNP-bad/Scottish Government-bad opinions and insinuations, the prime objective being to influence the voting intentions of unsuspecting “soft voters” in Scotland and ultimately minimise the pro-SNP vote.

I believe that this type of assault on our populace is an infringement of an electoral process that in my opinion is disappointingly “not fit for purpose” in dealing with such a sophisticated affront to true democratic rules and principles. I am genuinely concerned that this type of data-streaming campaign will be allowed to prevail again! How can it be stopped?

I’m hoping that good Scottish governance/leadership will overcome these incursions into the thinking of Scottish citizens. However, I don’t think that is enough in dealing with such cynical political perpetration.

Surely the Electoral Commission should be drawn in to this gross violation of proper pre-election campaigning – eg, taxpayers’ money being used in a political campaign/Union Unit against a current devolved Scottish Government, even though it precedes the start of the official hustings period? Unacceptable in a true democracy!

Bernie Japs

THE Treaty of the Union of the Scottish and English Governments was an agreement between two separate countries, NOT an annexation of one by the other. Any one of the two countries can redeem said treaty if they deem unsuitable for them to continue with it. This applies to both countries equally.

William Purves

ONCE again I have contacted the Speaker in the House of Commons regarding Boris Johnson and his deliberate misnaming of the SNP as the “Scottish Nationalist Party”. The Speaker has corrected him several times and on Wednesday even said he was deliberately winding up Ian Blackford and cut him off.

Is Boris now using the Trumpian playbook on incitement? I know Boris does not even attempt to answer questions and just goes straight to his pre-recorded playbook – is it time we just refer to Boris Johnson as “Bungling Boris”? Mind you, I doubt if it would worry him – he has the hide of a rhinoceros.

Winifred McCartney