UP to a point, it was reassuring to read Michael Russell’s columns in The National on Saturday (How our 1m papers can be the start of something really, big, Nov 27). I quote below some pertinent words.

“We need to bring together as much of the Yes movement as possible ... those who see the value of unity will need to agree to disagree on some key issues ... The bitterness that some have shown, and still show, alas, has been as distressing as it has been harmful. Some of that continues, particularly on social media, and it needs to be called out ... Unity always needs effort, compromise and transparency in equal measure.”

These are powerful statements and worthy of adherence by all independence supporters if our common goal is to be achieved.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond says the jailing of Craig Murray has 'shamed' Scotland

Alas, I for one shall never forget the disappointment felt one Sunday morning in March when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, our much-vaunted SNP leader, was seen to rather casually publicly dismiss the well-intended suggestion by Alex Salmond, leader of Alba, that their parties unite in an effort to deplete the strength of Unionists in the Scottish Parliament at the election in May, by doing, as Yes parties, exactly what No parties have been doing repeatedly during earlier elections.

Effort, compromise and transparency are particularly salient!

The hatchet betwixt Nicola and Alex must be well and truly publicly buried if Mike’s wise words are to be adhered to and lead us toward our independence.

Tom Gray

THIS is an urgent clarion call to the SNP to seriously start talking, planning and campaigning for independence before it is too late. Frustration within the Yes movement and friction within the SNP is losing support in the country. This year polling for independence has fallen from a high of 58% to a static 50%, and with communication between the Yes campaign and the SNP remaining poor, another conference will not fix it.

Is it possible that the SNP is becoming a successful, career-orientated political party and is losing the thrust of a party at the heart of the movement for independence?

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon pushes independence campaign ahead of 2023 vote

I joined the party from the old Liberals when independence was the first focus of the SNP. With Barbados becoming a republic and the bold Boris Johnson getting Brexit done “badly”, all during the Covid pandemic, there is now no good reason why Scotland should not become an independent nation again. In journalistic terms, “the only escape from Tory sleaze is independence” and unity of purpose is the key.

Grant Frazer

I AM saddened and alarmed by the recent display of in-fighting in the independence movement and in particular by the venom expressed by Alan Thompson (Letters, Nov 25). Self-evidently the whole independence movement needs to work together. The wider Yes movement should of course be fully inclusive so that grassroots activist are given a prominent strategic role.

The Alba Party is small, but 6000 or so supporters of independence seem to have found a more congenial home there. So work with them. We are told elsewhere (Letters, Nov 26) that some people don’t like and trust Alex Salmond. Well, many people don’t like or trust Nicola Sturgeon but see no point in giving comfort to the Unionist press and social media outlets by mounting a vitriolic attack on her.

A recent correspondent, John Milligan (Letters, Nov 15) reminds us that “no political party owns the independence cause”. That important truth should inform everything we say and do. We will always view people and events differently, but that matters less than the great issue which unites – or ought to unite – all who seek to achieve independence for Scotland.

E Hamilton

WHY is the SNP holding back? Has it really become “conservative and conventional”? (Alasdair Jamieson, Website comments, Nov 26).

Think of it this way: if a sword were hanging over your head, would you rush on headlong regardless or would you pause for a year or two in the hope that, meanwhile, the sword holder would fall over his own bootlaces or that the international community would come to your aid?

Make no mistake, there is a real moral dilemma here: we need independence to stop Scotland being dismantled and to avoid losing all we value and have built up over recent years. Yet now that the UK Government has given itself unrestrained powers to allow its agents to use extreme measures in secret:

a) in the interests of national security

b) to prevent disorder

c) against those who threaten the economic well-being of the UK


Can we in all conscience ask this not only of Nicola and her colleagues but of all Yes supporters? I do not know the answer: do you?

Valerie Waters
via email

I READ that the First Minister said on Sunday that it was impossible to say whether the new coronavirus variety would cause a delay to holding a second independence referendum.

Is this an attempt to lower expectations and continue to kick the ball down the road as previously practised?

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon warns Omicron variant may delay second independence referendum

Questions as to the current administration’s commitment continue to be asked with no clear sign of an answer in sight.

The nearer to 2023 we get the further over the horizon the referendum becomes. The lack of clarity and preparation becomes more obvious as time goes by.

Drew Reid