TO express disappointment at the SNP decision to slam the door forcibly on what was once their annual flagship rally on the field of Bannockburn would be putting it mildly.

As one who has patiently defended the SNP executive against malcontents and splitters I am still going nowhere, other than trying to keep up the tradition of Bannockburn.

Radicals and patriots of all sorts traditionally marched from the historic toon of Stirling to address a pile of stones. Miners, trade unionists, republican chartists, republican covenanters, Jacobites, Republican Friends of the People and the Republican United Scotsmen held rallies there, it was open to all.

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On the 700th anniversary, 2014, the Scottish Government gave the site a £33 million grant. The National Trust for Scotland demanded that the marchers provide and pay for their own portaloos, plus demanding £2m insurance and other endless obstacles. Two NHS representatives and two fire service representatives were at the meeting, demanding thousands for ambulances and fire engines. Jumped-up petty bureaucrats of the Lab-Con coalition cooncil also tried to invent crude disruptions to the march. Noo, the SNP seem to backing them against the membership’s will of continuity.

To call a convention in Dundee on the same day is not just tactically stupid, but seemingly a deliberate act of vandalism, or political suicide, or provocation. MI5 could not have timed it better. It would not take a genius to assess that the party will have a difficult time justifying this decision, to put it mildly.

READ MORE: SNP convention clash with AUOB rally sends the wrong message

AUOB could change the date from June 24, to 25, when mopping-up operations would have been proceeding on that day in 1314, but it would still be a busy and awkward, diverse weekend. Instead, it could be the malcontents mopping up as the true inheritors of Bannockburn on the 24th. Instead of it being known that it was Alex Salmond who gave up the annual mass event, as First Minister of the time, he can now be cast as the saviour.

Many members would prefer the summer solstice family day out to another boring conference by way of contrast. Yes, the conference is necessary, democratic and long overdue. But to have it on the same day, when almost any other day would have been welcomed, is not only unnecessary, but extremely provocative.

Donald Anderson

SELF-INTEREST is what drives electoral voting intentions. When politicians put their own self-interest above that of voters, those voters will seek an alternative. That is the reality now facing the SNP, its dejected members, and the electorate.

That 50,000 members had had enough was hushed up. What caused them to walk the walk was never addressed. For many members it was trans rights and self-ID that was the last straw.

Two years ago I stopped donating to HQ and did not renew my membership. My monthly donations had been ongoing for 30-plus years. No response from HQ. When She Who Must Be Obeyed resigned, I phoned HQ and asked to renew my membership, to be informed I was still a member. Read what you like into that. It does not inspire confidence into what is happening at SNP HQ or what any real paid-up membership is.

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As for this debate over the SNP’s ongoing strategy, a strategy that abuses independence supporters with a “you’ve no where else to go” philosophy – it is simply more of the same from individuals who are time-expired. Arranging this conference on the same day as the Bannockburn rally shows a callous disregard for any democracy within the SNP.

There is now only one way out of this quagmire, it’s straightforward. Every election forthwith, whether at Westminster or Holyrood, should be a referendum on independence, as it would have been had Holyrood not been created. Greater than 50% of the seats and 50% of the vote is a mandate for independence. Scotland’s electorate can only decide if they want independence if an opportunity is presented to them.

SNP elected members who have not the stomach for that approach should do the decent thing and seek political salvation elsewhere. SNP elected members will never overpower 300-plus years of Westminster rule by being reasonable or repeating the same tired old mantra about legal referendums. Unionists have not tied our mandate for an independence referendum up in knots, the SNP leadership has.

When Scotland’s electorate do decide to seek their own salvation, they need a Scottish government with the mettle to face down an already unhinged Westminster government facing the end of their precious Union.

Bob Cotton
via email

SNP, a word in your ear: voters are fickle! They have given you their support for years. The vast majority leant you their confidence because they believed in your promise to bring independence to our nation. For a moment forget about the trough-guzzling, easy-option rabble down at Westminster. We all know that they are busy ensuring that Scotland will never flourish. What are you doing to fulfill your promises to your voters? In the name of the wee man, just get it done – before it is too late! If you are short of ideas, call me!

Stewart Cassidy
via email

ONCE again I suspect that Alister Jack has opened mouth before engaging brain, when he says embassies should not be used by Scottish ministers to talk about the constitution and Brexit. Or does he just not know that a payment for use of these facilities is deducted annually from the Scottish budget? Our elected representatives are surely entitled to use what we pay for in regard to anything that affects us and our country.

L McGregor