AS an older, and fairly recent independence supporter (only unequivocally for the past decade or so) and now active Scottish Greens member, I found Saturday’s AUOB march in Glasgow totally inspiring and uplifting. Many tens of thousands, maybe more... every face (including many of the supervising polis!) with a SMILE, despite the awfie weather. Thank you, AUOB, for giving Scotland, and this auld man, such a huge lift!

But PLEASE, AUOB, be realistic about anticipated numbers. 300,000 in Glasgow?? Aw, come oan pals! I have been active politically for more than 55 years, have attended hundreds of demonstrations (mainly in Glasgow), and organised a quite a few, over many decades. After today I’m prepared to accept that AUOB may have hit 100,000 in Glasgow and Edinburgh in the past year or so. But NOT in the middle of January, on a dreich wet day with such a dire weather forecast that AUOB sensibly cancelled the rally.

READ MORE: AUOB march: ‘The rain will not stop us fighting for our future’

The huge UCS demo in 1971 certainly hit 100,000, as did the anti-Iraqi war demo in 2003. They are the only demos in Glasgow I have attended that unequivocally hit six figures, but after today I’m happy to accept that AUOB may have attained that in Glasgow before. I usually work (volunteer) on Saturdays, so this was my first AUOB venture.

I didn’t try and count it as I stood watching it pass just before Charing Cross; I was too enthralled. But it took less than an hour and a half to pass, and even though it covered the entire width of Woodlands Road, maybe a ragged 20 deep, there was no way it was over 100,000. Well over 50k certainly, maybe 80k, and on a dreich pouring January day that is a HUGE achievement.

READ MORE: People of all ages, beliefs and backgrounds showed support for independence

A HUGE achievement for both organisers, and participants. But PLEASE, both AUOB and my very valued daily National, silly claims like expecting 300,000 in Glasgow do not help. I’d be ashamed to show Saturday’s paper to anyone I was trying to win for independence. And especially the Labour and trades union activists with whom I spent most of my life, and who know well how to count numbers on demos. It simply isnae credible.

With thanks for a huge achievement, from a most uplifted auld man, and lifelong socialist.

Dougie Harrison

I AGREE with Andy Anderson and Alasdair Galloway and others on their suggestions that a broadening of the independence vote in Holyrood could be achieved by judicious use of the constituency vote and the regional vote.

This would involve rather more sophisticated electoral practices than we have been accustomed to. The d’Hondt voting system that we are stuck with was planned by Donald Dewar and Tony Blair to ensure that the SNP would never get a majority. Somehow the SNP broke the system.

READ MORE: Let’s make the Green vote count for more with an SNP pact

In more recent Holyrood elections it would seem that the Conservatives and others have been the beneficiaries of that system, creaming off large numbers of SNP votes as the count re-distributes at each stage.

The benefits of a Green/SNP deal would be a larger pro-independence base in Holyrood. Another development would be greater plurality within the Scottish Parliament. Could it be achieved? It would require the Greens to be more pragmatic and less holier-than-thou in terms of climate change. For example, they could produce detailed transitional plans for moving to a greener economy. Their attitude to the SNP of late has been less comradely and more bullying around budget issues. The Green Party need to display some of the generosity of spirit that we saw during the 2014 referendum campaign.

For the SNP it would take some bravery and generosity to be prepared to recommend the second vote to go to the Greens.

In my view, we would all be winners – a wider independence base, new independence voices and perhaps less of the Unionist old guard! Now is the time to be bold and to review all options to help us towards the goal of independence!

Maggie Chetty

LABOUR in Scotland seems set to explore a policy of federalism in a bid to quell Scotland’s growing thirst for autonomy and independence. Shouldn’t Richard Leonard be aware from the outset that this would be wholly unacceptable? It is not an option.

Labour in Scotland is a dead party walking. Its downfall over many years, its decline from Scotland’s governing party of choice, is well documented. What part of this does the party’s Scottish executive not understand?

Scots understand that the Scottish branch is subservient to the premise that Labour nationally is unelectable without the tranche of Labour MPs Scotland has traditionally sent to Westminster. Haven’t they noticed these have long disappeared, restricted to one last stoic Unionist? Don’t they realise where they’ve gone wrong?

Having voted Labour in the past, I could vote for its ethos again, but only in the context of an independent Scotland. I’m not interested in propping up British Labour, and particularly those of its former supporters who crossed the awful divide to the Con party because of Brexit.

The message to Labour supporters in Scotland must be that if you want to see a Labour government ever again, you could; but only in an independent Scotland.

Jim Taylor

IN October 2016 I emailed Kezia Dugdale, admittedly tongue in cheek, asking her to reconsider her opposition to Scottish independence and saying the fortunes of Labour in Scotland depended on just that. The last three years have been catastrophic for Scottish Labour but now at last they are considering such a proposal. In my email I also added, “Should we become independent and the constitutional question resolved, the political landscape in Scotland would effectively be reset. As a nation, meaningful policies would be the currency of the day as we all pull together for the good of the country.” Needless to say, I didn’t receive a reply.

Mike Herd

SCOTTISH Labour are now reconsidering their position regarding independence. In the age of conspiracy theories I sometimes wonder if they have been infiltrated by Tories, and every time they are close to making the right decision, the “sleepers” are activated by 10 Downing Street to ensure their re-emegance to return to their sound socialist values are thwarted.It’s about time staunch traditional Labour re-emerges and take charge. Otherwise their days in the wilderness will continue.

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus