LESLEY Riddoch’s thoughtful article (Murdo’s conversion to STV is driven by fear, June 3) ended with the thought: “The only certain way to clear democratic blockages is to let the people decide.” It strikes me that in addition to all the many and varied distortions of democracy caused by Scotland’s de facto inferior status within the Union, there is one which is rarely mentioned: the dearth of “normal politics”. Almost everything in Scotland’s political life is seen through the distorting prism of the present constitutional situation, and huge amounts of time and energy have to be devoted to the constitutional question by all parties.

All the (allegedly) huge ideological differences between the social and fiscal policies of Labour, Tory and LibDem are eclipsed by one single issue, to which everything else that divides them has to take a very distant second place. Independence is the diametrical opposite of the elephant in the room! Everybody does indeed notice it, sometimes to the almost complete exclusion of everything else, and political debate is always conducted with an eye as to whether it promotes or attacks the independence argument.

All that wasted energy could be put to better use! In an independent Scotland without the Union as a divisive issue, politics could resume all the other divisive but important issues which exercise normal democracies. (I imagine Tories chanting “Not another divisive progressive taxation white paper!”) That’s what politics could and should be like.

Derek Ball


IN Thursday’s article Lesley Riddoch writes: “Just when you think you’ve heard it all, Murdo Fraser pops up arguing for full proportional STV to replace the Additional Member System (AMS) used in Holyrood elections. Why?”

That’s a good question. According to the model for STV that I’ve done, Murdo Fraser wouldn’t get enough votes for one quota and would therefore be dependant on the transfer of surpluses and redistributions from unsuccessful candidates in order to get elected – albeit that STV is operated slightly differently than other PR methods of election.

Michael Follon


IN his letter of Thursday, Declan S Blench states that “in common with every other party the SNP’s accounts are published on the Electoral Commission’s website not just for the membership but quite literally anybody in the world to go and have a look at.”

I have spent some time looking at this website. The only, rather basic, problem is that the SNP mystical (or is it mythical) £600,000 referendum fund does not seem to feature clearly in their accounts. Given my limited knowledge in this field, I called on the expertise of my accountant son and he can’t see the £600,000 either.

Presumably the recently resigned SNP national treasurer and three members of their audit committee all shared our experience.

John Baird


DECLAN Blench points out that the SNP accounts are published on the Electoral Commission’s website for all to see.

This is true. A set of accounts. Is published, but there is no mention anywhere in them of the £600,000 raised by members (including me) for the specific purpose of funding indyref 2. This sum appears to have vanished, and asking questions about it is seen as disloyal.

That’s the problem which has caused the recent resignations from the NEC and demands for clarity and transparency in the accounts.

If there is nothing to hide, why the secrecy in the executive about this matter?

James Duncan


I HAD not intended to join in the justifiable denigration of my ex MP Stephen Kerr until I saw him grinning up at me from Thursday morning’s edition. This is possibly the same photograph which he used to win Stirling in 2019 without expressing a single policy other than opposition to Scottish aspirations or mentioning any political party other than Ruth Davidson.

In the recent Westminster election where we, here, threw him out, his campaign material exhibited a woeful lack of understanding of devolution.

Mr Kerr has consistently pronounced his contempt for Holyrood and it says much about the Tory party that he was placed first on the list in a region where electors here could not get at him. That he should distinguish himself by defacing official Scottish Parliamentary notepaper in a letter exposing his ignorance comes as no surprise to those who have followed his political career.

He exudes arrogant contempt for Scottish democracy. As your recent front page revealed, my new MSP Evelyn Tweed is well able to (quoting the baroness-yet-to-be) put the boot into this contemptuous and contemptible creature.

KM Campbell


WITH Joanna Cherry quitting the SNP National Executive Committee we are losing an honest, hard-working person who is sincere a brilliant legal mind. SNP strategy should be open and honest over currency and the road ahead. No more division. Time to play hardball with the Westminster government.

Glen Peters