I JOINED the SNP in 1973. I was 21 at the time. Since then I have served in various local branches and was chairman for one of the fastest-growing branches at that time. I have been part of numerous marches for independence, have canvassed at doors, put up posters and spent endless hours discussing independence with the unconvinced. Prior to the 2014 referendum, I helped organise talks by two well-known supporters of independence, Lesley Riddoch and Tommy Sheridan, at our local hall.

Fifty years on from 1973, I look at what has become of that party. After 2014 we were handed numerous open goals and every time we chose to ignore them. There was the 125,000 massive membership of the SNP, there was a Westminster rout of the Unionist parties with 56 out of 59 seats going to the SNP in 2015, there was the Brexit vote in Scotland of 62% for remain yet we were to be dragged out of the EU against our will, there was the election of the worst PM in history in the form of Boris Johnston, and the madness of the Liz Truss few weeks.

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At every election the carrot of independence was waved in our faces, and obediently we voted again for the SNP because we believed that their priority was independence. Many of us even voted for the SNP in both the constituency and list votes even although it was obvious that the second vote would be wasted and allow Unionists to gain seats at Holyrood. Yet, that is what our leaders told us to do.

We expected the 56 MPs in Westminster to go down there and aggressively rock the boat in that privileged and archaic building. Instead, we had little more than the occasional polite request for a referendum. In fact, I recall one MP raising a motion in the Commons for recognition to be given to the anniversary of the TV programme Doctor Who. We then had another one put himself forward to be Speaker for the very establishment that we were supposed to be trying to abandon. What planet were they on?

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Back in Holyrood, we’ve had far more talk and recognition given to the demands of small pressure groups who see existing power blocks as an opportunity to be used to progress their own agenda, rather than focus on the SNP’s raison d’etre of independence. We’ve had major divisions caused by the need to force through legislation against the will of most ordinary voters. We’ve had the whole SNP machinery thrown behind their “continuity” candidate to ensure that the cleverest Cabinet minister in Holyrood doesn’t win the leadership race and, thus, enable the party to return to its core purpose of independence.

Enough is enough. After 50 years of membership, work and donations to the party, I now know that I’ll never see independence in my lifetime. I backed the right horse at the beginning but, unfortunately, it has gone lame in recent years.

I will now be resigning my membership and joining the Alba Party. Apparently, they believe in independence for my country.

Alasdair Forbes
Farr, Inverness-shire

I WONDER if our new First Minister would consider a further part-time appointment – that of a Special Advisor for (left-of-centre) Common Sense. He/she would be totally separate from government and would require to be in touch with the people’s needs, as far as they can be established, and would report, in brief, on any major new proposed expenditure or initiative.

He/she would be empowered to seek wider or specialist views as necessary, and his/her reports would be for the sight of the Cabinet only and destroyed immediately after their viewing of them. Hopefully he/she would not be required for at least the next few months.

R Millar