IN the first three paragraphs of her latest column, Lesley Riddoch asks the essential questions (McDonald’s miasma and how we choose our indyref2 strategy, Feb 9).

De facto or not de facto, what does it matter? We answered the question at the last three General Elections. And why should we even ask the question? Are the SNP the party of independence, the party of a referendum on independence or a regional devolved party? The party’s March conference needs to resolve this question once and for all.

The third paragraph of Stewart McDonald’s argument is ludicrous. At the next General Election, all GB electors will be asked who they wish to govern, which will be on a “first-past-the-post” mandate. The Westminster Parliament will/will not change governments on the basis of which party wins the most or the majority of constituencies.

Yet Stewart McDonald seems to be saying that Scotland should be different; that Scottish constituencies require 50% of the votes cast for an independence candidate to win.

Elections are governed by the rules mandated by an authority which decides how any particular election is contested. In the case of a GB General Election, the “FPTP”, winner-takes-all is the mandate which will decide which candidate will be victorious in any given constituency

If Scottish electors choose a majority of independence candidates, the choice will be clear. The Scottish electorate will have chosen independence – that will be a fact.

Scottish Parliament elections ask the electorate who they wish to govern a devolved Parliament on a PR system; therefore 50% of electors for parties whose aim is independence are required to enable a majority.

An independence vote in the devolved Parliament is not a majority for independence, and as we have seen, the Parliament requires the Westminster government to grant a Section 30 order to hold a referendum on independence. Which will also require support from more than 50% of the electors to win.

Lesley Riddoch has nailed the weakness of the SNP – the party’s lack of ability to co-operate with other groups or parties to gain what members claim is their goal.

Until the aloof SNP can find a way to help build and unite a true coalition for independence with others, independence will never be achieved.

Remember the Unionist chant “united we stand, divided we fall”, while nationalists claimed the it really meant “divide and rule”. It’s time for the SNP to swallow their arrogance, claim the mantra “united we stand” and unite all the different independence groups – Greens, Labour for Independence, Women for Independence and many others – whose wish to be independent is equally as important as the SNP’s – and stand together to gain an independent Scotland.
Alex Kerr

THE writer Eric Blair advised against the use of foreign languages. De facto just means in fact or actual. Thus every vote for an SNP/Green/Alba member of either parliament is in fact a vote for independence.

Every referendum, either informal or formal, is actually a poll for freedom. Every letter or article pointing out the significance of The Treaty of Union being repeatedly broken, the international law against nuclear weapons being ignored and the UN rulings regarding independence being overlooked by Westminster is actually a vote for Scottish self-determination.

Every march is voting with your feet. Hanging even a tattered Saltire is a sign of resistance. Every meeting attended is a mark of dissatisfaction. Everything counts. So less of this “de facto” stuff.
Iain W D Forde