GEORGE Kerevan’s column is one that I and many other readers of The National look forward to every week. He is consistently well-informed and thought-provoking and will undoubtedly have a future role to play in the shaping of an independent Scotland.

I was, however, disappointed that his description of the recent Alba Party conference wallowed in cherry-picked nostalgia and bemoaned the fact that we had an SNP-led government rather than a movement (Alba conference was like good old days in the SNP, Sep 13). It reminded me of a friend who had supported Leicester City all his life but, following his team’s outstanding achievement in winning the EPL in 2016, pined for the good old days when the stadium was half-empty, the team was in a lower division and only diehard supporters like him really mattered.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: Alba conference was like the good old days in the SNP

Consequently Mr Kerevan’s article, though enjoyable and well written, reads more like an attempt to justify the existence of Alba as a party than a portrayal of a genuinely nascent movement for independence that would encourage the reader to join. Citing political yesterday’s men like Tommy Sheridan and Jim Sillars as providing high spots of the conference is far from encouraging in informing us about the direction the party wishes to take and how they wish to be perceived by the Scottish public.

The fact that recent polls suggest that the party leader’s personal standing is on par with the lamentable buffoon who goes under the title of Prime Minister of the UK tells us that there is a great deal of PR work to be done on Mr Salmond’s public image and profile. I would suggest that assigning the editorial of the Wee Alba Book that makes the case for independence to Stuart “Wings over Scotland” Campbell is not a positive start in winning friends and influencing people within the general independence movement in Scotland. To describe the Bath blogger as a loose cannon would be a monumental understatement.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond tells Alba conference Scotland of plans for new Wee Blue Book

The Alba Party can and should play a significant part in Scotland attaining independence in the near future. I applaud its proposed policies on social equality and republican credentials. However, if it is to become the party Mr Kerevan and others wish it to be then it must ditch incendiary influences like Mr Campbell and his band of zealous followers, who appear to be obsessed with their loathing for the SNP government and its leader rather than trying to focus on the colossal failings of Westminster and the road to independence.

Unity, not division, must be the focal point for all those seriously engaged in securing an independent Scotland.

Owen Kelly

I CAN appreciate George Kerevan’s nostalgic take on Alba’s first ever conference, even though all 6000 members were unable to attend as predicted by some.

The SNP still recognised the risks that Covid-19 presents in crowd conditions, hence its continued choice of online conferencing. I do note the seating arrangements organised for the Alba conference, as seen on a recent photograph.

However, we are where we are and I respect the rules concerning protection being observed in Scotland whatever the gathering, except perhaps the recent musical event on Glasgow Green. Youth enthusiasm prevailing.

READ MORE: Alba back motion demanding Trident axed by 'day one' of independent state

It’s a pity George did not keep up with what was also happening with the SNP resolutions taking place and being overwhelmingly passed by its online conference attendees. The question of nuclear disarmament, for example, is an issue important to us all in Scotland.

While Alex Salmond wants all nuclear arms removed on day one of independence, it would take more time than his timetable. The SNP conference voted to have the nuclear question rectified within three years of our independence. This allows for the whole of Coulport and the Faslane base to be cleared totally. One would hope the rotting ex-nuclear subs elsewhere would be dealt with as well.

Also, an emergency resolution against the Holyrood corporate policy concerning security around the Holyrood Parliament was passed, seeking the continuation of freedom of access and peaceful protest. This was passed overwhelmingly. So no problem there for Alba.

Many more resolutions were passed that affect our daily lives both on a personal and general basis. Alba will never replace the SNP, as was suggested. Its only purpose is independence. Once that is achieved it should disband and let the SNP continue to govern Scotland in the successful way it is doing, despite

the adversity presented on a daily basis by the horrors of Westminster under the villainous leadership of Boris Johnson.

Alan Magnus-Bennett

ANOTHER excellent article, Mr Kerevan. It warmed the cockles of this old heart. I was able to see much of it online and the closing speech from Alex was an oratorial triumph. What a refreshing change from the usual fare of venom and malice to be found in many another forum. Happy days are here again at last, or at least the prospect of it.

Frank Casey

GLAD you had a good weekend, George, reminiscing about old times with like-minded folk. Let’s hope all the face-to-face interaction doesn’t add to our already high Covid rates. This was always a problem with a component of the left, preferring to be in small – but oh-so-pure – groups (big fish in small ponds?) and deriding those who sought to build a broader movement.

Now’s the time to win over doubters about independence, support the SNP-Green government and Yes movement, and focus on the future not the past.

Nigel Ings