ALEX Salmond believes that the fight for independence should be detached from the SNP government (Salmond: Independence campaign should separate from the government, Apr 11).

The effect of such an act would be to drive a wedge between our government and its party and clearly be divisive.

The intention he would claim is to create a mass movement which would include all the diverse independence organisations and elements including the SNP party but presumably exclude the Scottish Government – in reality a mass movement without a vanguard.

A mass movement is essential in all independence campaigns (a fact of history). I leave it to the imagination of others as to who or what should lead this mass movement, because it certainly could not be a loose alliance of like minds with one ambition.

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An examination of any country which in the past two centuries has won self-determination from any empire shows they have all had a political party or parties with that sole aim. The nearest example would be a Ireland with Sinn Fein, although theirs included armed struggle, insurrection and civil war alongside the political aspect. Something of course we wouldn’t want in Scotland.

Some letter writers tell us about the great achievements of Alex Salmond and how he strengthened the SNP and made it a real force for independence, as well as his work for the cause.

Salmond was a good communicator and promoter of the independence case, but what he did would have been nothing were it not for the vast work of the foot soldiers, canvassers, helpers and organisation (not all SNP members). Let us call them the nameless ones or the unsung heroes, who don’t always get the thanks and credit they deserve when one considers they were so crucial in all that has been achieved until now.

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In the context of the independence struggle, what a leading figure has done, creditable though it has been, is less important – when what is required are new ideas, initiatives, strategies and tactics. These are the essentials for the stage we are at today in the fight. What we don’t need are proposals that would cause division or distortion in our movement and which undermine its purpose.

We stand on the shoulders of what went before us and learn from past struggle.

Bobby Brennan

I HEARTILY endorse Rosemary Smith’s plea (Letters, Apr 11) to eschew the venom which people like Cliff Purvis bring to the independence cause. Many members of the Alba party including the leader have a track record of dedication and success; and it ill becomes anyone in the independence movement to belittle them.

As far as I am aware, no overture has been made to Alex Salmond by the SNP since his acquittal of all charges. Nor has he been invited to rejoin the party he once led with such distinction. He has not demanded a personal apology from the SNP government, although in the Court of Session Lord Pentland judged its treatment of him to be “unlawful” and “tainted by apparent bias”. The cost of their culpability, of course, has been borne by the taxpayer.

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If Alex Salmond and the several thousand members of Alba are capable of seeing the bigger picture, then surely all sincere supporters of independence can follow their example and can work positively and co-operatively to secure the huge majority for independence parties which the UK Government will find difficult to resist.

We do not need – indeed Scotland does not need – this unedifying name-calling.

E Hamilton