THE First Minister is to be commended for her stateswoman-like speech of Tuesday, and the forthright exposition which she gave of her government’s now very clear stance. The whole independence movement must now spare no effort in a serious and energetic campaign to bring about a Yes vote in the plebiscite which will come, whether by referendum or by-election.

By Sturgeon’s statement, the Scottish Government has seized the initiative, and must now keep it in Scotland’s hands. Whether the Supreme Court rules for or against a Holyrood referendum, and whether London grants an order to enable one, are now questions of secondary importance, because the electoral plebiscite has been set in place as a backstop, thus depriving London of any real veto power which unionists might have fondly imagined that it held.

Indeed, by effectively disempowering London on the matter, her statement has increased the likelihood that the PM will relent on S30, and that a referendum will come about. We will see.

The pressure must be kept up. A Yes vote will take us to the next crux point, namely its implementation, and again co-operation from London is more likely to be forthcoming if Scotland demonstrates that none is required. So it should be plainly spelled out that in the event of a Yes vote, Scotland’s own MPs will have the democratic mandate and the legal and constitutional right to take Scotland out of the Union by seceding from Westminster.

My own view is that London will accept a Yes result and agree to negotiate the terms of independence. But any unwillingness on their part will best be stifled by the Scottish Government displaying the same heartening resolve as it has now shown.

Alan Crocket


One legal head in support of independence is always useful and good to have on board, but two heids together in unison, one with a plan and the other in complete agreement, is better still.

I refer of course to our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the National’s weekly contributor Andrew Tickell. His support and explanation in The National, concerning the First Minister’s way around the houses and legal pathways of devolved powers was put in a way we can all understand.

It leaves no room, as Tickell explains, for Johnson’s government to intervene legally or politically.

Put simply, the Scotland Act contains a wee paragraph, No 34 in Schedule 6, that states under devolution issues, that the Lord Advocate “may refer to the Supreme Court any devolution issue which is not the subject of proceedings” for adjudication. Indyref2 qualifies and falls within this paragraph, allowing our Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, who has agreed, and already submitted the specific document for an indyref2, to the Supreme Court.

Given that Nicola has now given a date for the referendum to take place on October 19 2023, the circumvention to the Supreme Court could be resolved, one way or the other, before the end of this current year.

Who knows, but sensibility and a reality of Scotland’s position in this broken family of a united set of kingdoms needs to be resolved in Scotland’s favour either through the court ruling or alternately via the next General Election.

Alan Magnus-Bennett


READ MORE: UK threat to overrule Wales shows Westminster treats devolved nations 'like children'

While the Good Friday Agreement facilitates another “border poll” in the province of Northern Ireland only seven years after a previous referendum on Irish reunification, it appears likely, after a longer period of nine years, that the UK Government will not agree to the Government of Scotland legitimately exercising its democratic mandate on October 19 2023.

The comment of “once in a generation” expressed in circumstances in which the fundamental change in the UK’s relationship with Europe, and the rest of the world, due to Brexit, was not foreseen, and which was not written into the Edinburgh Agreement, is in fact a “red herring” representing the desperation of those who have run out of logical arguments to suppress democracy for those living in the enlightened country of Scotland.

While those living in both Northern Ireland and Scotland voted in favour of remaining in the European Union, only Northern Ireland has been allowed to retain benefits of EU membership in spite of the efforts of the Scottish Government .

The question for those living in Scotland today is whether you see the future of your family more closely aligned with the cooperative and social values of our European neighbours or the self-serving mercenary values of neo-fascist governments in Westminster and Washington?

It would be long-term folly to be distracted by relatively short-term arguments around day-to-day governance which presents challenges for all parliaments around the world, even proportionally representative governments untainted by corruption.

Of course Labour supporters will claim that life in the UK would be different under Keir Starmer instead of Boris Johnson, but Tony Blair was as ready to support the US in embarking on an illegal war in Iraq as Margaret Thatcher would have been.

Furthermore, the basic economic policies, coupled with market deregulation, followed by Blair and Brown, were essentially the same policies that successive Tory Governments have pursued in making the rich wealthier while the numbers living in poverty and/or making use of food banks have regrettably continued to grow.

We will soon have a choice in Scotland as to whether we wish to see our children raised in an egalitarian and compassionate society that truly embraces belief in creating rewarding opportunities for all or whether we wish to continue to live in a country effectively controlled by those who blindly pursue excessive self-interest to achieve their personal aspirations at the expense of the well-being of the majority of their fellow citizens? Now is definitely the time!

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry, East Lothian

Lesley Riddoch said it all in the headline of her recent article. “Let’s hope that the FM is remembering today that fortune favours the bold.” I thought that perhaps, just maybe, there was a chance she had found a clever way under, over or round the side of the Section 30 hurdle – but she has not. It seems that the Scottish Parliament, despite having a pro-independence majority, is really a fairly powerless parliament.

So it’s off to the Supreme Court we go. What will be the next move when the Supreme Court says a fairly definite No? It looks like the FM will be asking for yet another mandate at the next Westminster elections, but what happens if the SNP “win” that election (with the majority of seats) and Westminster still says No? Presumably it will take a majority of SNP and possibly Green votes to form the necessary majority. At least the Unionists won’t want to boycott that vote.

The almost eight years since 2014 should have been used to educate at least another 6% of the electorate that they should think again about their political choices. Back in 2015 that seemed like a very achievable target. Now it looks a lot harder to achieve in the space of just over a year and a bit. Of course the prospect of an early UK General Election might well scupper all the FM’s plans.

Brian Lawson


IF we didn’t already know how the UK treats and will treat Scotland if we stay within this union, we need only look towards Wales…. Not Charles HRH Prince of Wales, but the principality he is supposed to look after, allegedly.

The Welsh Labour first minister, politician Mark Drakeford, is ragin’. The UK Government has plans to scrap a law made in Wales, without even talking to the Welsh Government or Welsh Parliament.

Drakeford stated that they found out what the UK were planning when reading an explanatory memorandum.

If this was an accidental oversight in drafting, has the drafter been sanctioned for the incompetence resulting in the lack of respect towards the Welsh Government?

Will the responsible minister apologise to the Welsh Government to ensure future relationships are not sullied?

If this was a deliberate drafting method to slip something under the radar, shouldn’t the UK Government minister be sanctioned for this behaviour?

Going on past actions, the UK Government will adopt their normal defence of the indefensible, by ignoring questions, or starting to answer but pivot quickly on to cost of living; Ukraine war or Covid.

It is for this and other similar reasons that the UK Government must change. A similar quote has been made by Jim Gallacher, who was a key Better Together adviser instrumental in guiding the Better Together team to avoid defeat in 2014.

Alistair Ballantyne

Birkhill, Angus

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It must come as a relief to the First Minister that there is no copyright law on political ideas.

Some three years ago Chris McEleny, then an SNP councillor, proposed to the SNP conference a political way forward which bears a striking resemblance to what the First Minister recently announced in the Scottish Parliament. For his troubles Chris was disgracefully booed and jeered by a group of mainly young SNP members strategically placed in the front rows of the conference hall.

Whoever arranged that stunt, and those who took part in it, may well live to regret their actions.

If Chris’s idea had been adopted then the political situation in Scotland might be a little different today.

Given that the UK Supreme Court are rather unlikely (nae chance in hell) to approve a referendum in October 2023, it looks increasing like Chris’s plan B has become Nicola’s plan A. It seems the old saying “no prophet is accepted in his own country” has more than a ring of truth. Anyone planning on booking holidays from work in early October 2023, to help in a referendum campaign, might be wise to hold off until the Supreme Court has made a final decision.

Given that the Fixed Term Parliament Act has been repealed, the date for deciding Scotland’s future has now become rather more difficult to predict. The Scottish Parliament is shutting up shop for its summer holidays not to return until early September.

The time between now and the next UK General Election may be shorter than we would like.

The eight years between the 2014 referendum and now have seen little or no rise in support for independence. As the months tick by the time available to convert perhaps 10% of the population to see independence as Scotland’s future gets shorter.

The SNP, the Greens and the wider Yes movement need to get the campaign underway without waiting for the verdict of the Supreme Court. A well worded leaflet or basic newspaper needs to go through the letterbox of every home in the land.

A fundraising campaign on a massive scale needs to get started.

It would be foolish to think that the Unionists both in Scotland and those based further afield are not already gearing up for Better Together 2.

Glenda Burns