IT was disappointing to read Jim Taylor’s rather derogatory Long Letter (Jul 7) because not only did he regrettably assess that my earlier letter was divisive, the opposite of what was intended, but he did not address the fundamental point made in that letter that Kenny MacAskill has lost the respect of many in East Lothian who voted for the SNP at the last General Election and enabled him to take his seat at Westminster.

While the concept of a single independence candidate has merit, my concern is that should that candidate for East Lothian (or Lothian East) in the next General Election be Mr MacAskill then the chances of a Labour victory will increase, which would be a backward step in our move towards independence. Certainly contributions can be labelled as “unwelcome division” if reality is ignored and we – even those of us not affiliated to any political party – are condemned for offering an opinion which is not consistent with those supporting a particular party view.

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That said, such labelling appears somewhat ironic when it is cast in support of comments made attacking the Green Party, another pro-independence party, while seemingly backing a party that was created to effectively divide the main party of independence, albeit with the laudable intention of more rapidly advancing Scotland’s progress to self-determination.

Also not addressed in Jim’s letter was the fact that in standing aside at the 2019 General Election, Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party (Ukip re-badged) enabled Boris Johnson and the Conservatives to win an overall majority and essentially complete the UK’s stark exit from the European Union. Every argument that Jim has made as justification for ending the debilitating constitutional status quo I would echo, but to achieve our common goals in the face of a hostile mainstream media, a hostile UK electoral system and a hostile Westminster government, we must not only be united in our primary objective but united in understanding the need for non-emotional pragmatism.

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Divide and rule has been the hallmark of the British Empire and it is evident that the British establishment is intent on attempting to destroy the SNP and fundamentally undermining the right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future. All Alba supporters should recognise that the last thing the “democracy-deniers” wish to see occur is a resurgent SNP supported by all of the other pro-independence parties. This does not mean that Alba and its supporters do not have important roles to play, either before or after the next General Election, but while many would like to be officers, if not generals, victory is achieved by many more selflessly accepting that their roles are important to winning not just the battle, but winning the war. Should the change in leadership of the SNP not result in the desired withdrawal of Scotland from the long-defunct “Union” within the term of the next Westminster parliament, or at the very least in the bringing about of a constitutional referendum, then Alba would be well-placed to take over the mantle of the premier independence party. No doubt Alex Salmond understands this and if my estimation of him, both as an astute politician and as a true patriot, is accurate, he will in the interim not put “party before country”.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

AS a Scotland Rugby Union season pass holder I was very disappointed to learn of the appointment of Baroness Davidson as a non-executive director of Scottish Rugby Limited. As an apolitical organisation it shows considerable lack of judgement on the part of the SRU to appoint a person as polarising as Baroness Davidson and all that she represents and stands for, particularly in Scotland, where her party, with their abhorrent policies, have not won an election for more than 70 years.

Duncan Cullen