THERE has been quite a lot of letters in The National and the Sunday National about voting in the Scottish elections having to be democratic, fair and legitimate. Part of this discussion has suggested that if I vote next year the same as I did last time I will somehow be voting “undemocratically” or “unfairly”.

I do not accept this at all, nor do I see the logic in this argument.

Like most of the Scottish electorate I am not a member of any political party and – like what appears to be a clear majority of the Scottish electorate, if recent opinion polls are correct – I want Scottish independence.

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I am very keen to get Scottish independence, but I would not support violence (except in self-defence) to obtain my objective. I want a clear open and democratic way of achieving Scottish independence, with a clear and honest decision by the Scottish people to take that road.

At the last Scottish election I looked carefully at the system and considered carefully how I should best use my two votes.

I am very impressed by the SNP government and with Nicola Sturgeon in particular. Since the SNP also want Scottish independence, this party ticks most of my political “boxes”, but not all of them. I am happy to see the SNP form a new Scottish Government after the election, so I will vote locally with my first vote for my SNP candidate. I will do exactly the same this time.

As for my second vote, my main priority is Scottish independence, not party loyalty, so I want to use this vote wisely to obtain my objective. I know it is unlikely the SNP will get a seat with my regional vote, because they are likely to have large numbers of their votes discounted in this round of voting. However, no harm done, I can vote for another party that supports my main objective and possibly some other objectives of mine.

This has two advantages for me: (a) I can help return an SNP government, and (b) I can help to ensure that other objectives I have, which I may not get from the SNP, may get put forward on my behalf. Last time I voted Green to meet that requirement, this time I will see what the options are.

Now what I am proposing to do is entirely legitimate, and unlike a lot of voting behaviour, it is rational, so just what is “undemocratic” or “unfair” about me using my intelligence to vote in this way?

Indeed I would suggest that this is the most democratic way for me and others to act, and if we do, then it is likely that the majority of the electorate will get the parliament that suits their own best objectives.

Andy Anderson

THE UK Government’s IT projects during the Covid pandemic leave much to be desired. The “track and trace” application has been a total failure. The government have spent £11 million on consultancy and up to a further £11m on contracts to the NHS digital unit, NHSX, to help develop the app.

This follows expensive failures of a number of high-profile IT projects, including the tax credit system, the NHS patient administration system, the Defence Information Infrastructure and the Common Agricultural Policy Delivery Programme, all significantly over budget and behind schedule.

There has been one shining light which defies this disastrous performance; the critical, urgent system for handling payments to millions of people on furlough and claiming self-employment support. A working system was delivered in short order and with few hitches. Why did this application “buck the trend”? Perhaps the fact that it was delivered by in-house teams who knew about the existing systems and how they could be adapted to the new requirement, not highly paid but incompetent IT consultancy firms, may have had something to do with it.

Pete Rowberry