I DO not share Steph Paton’s far-too-evident loathing of Alex Salmond (Alex Salmond’s single Yes candidate plan would be a disaster and a laugh, Aug 21). Nor am I at all shy about criticising the SNP where this is deserved. But I can see Alba’s Scotland United wheeze for what it is – a ploy to embarrass the SNP and give Alba a stick with which to beat them come election time.

Anybody foolish enough to believe the patter used to sell the Scotland United “plan” – or devious enough to pretend that they do – will have an excuse to condemn the SNP for rejecting the suggestion. Given that the “plan” cannot work, the only explanation for it is a bit of good old-fashioned political gamesmanship.

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Which is fine by me. Or would be if the stakes weren’t so high. Alba and the SNP are rival political parties. What Salmond is doing is just the kind of thing rival political parties do to gain advantage. I wouldn’t condemn him for that. But that he should be playing party politics with the constitutional issue really is not a good look for him or for Alba.

Alba has form on this. The “supermajority” silliness being peddled by Salmond at the 2021 Scottish general election was very similar to the Scotland United nonsense. Neither was ever intended to work as was claimed. Both are tabled solely to elicit a rejection from the SNP. Disappointingly, given Salmond’s reputation as a political operator, it’s not even a particularly clever ploy. In fact, it’s quite crude.

Disappointing is the first word that comes to mind when considering Alba. The potential was there for it to be a real force for Scotland’s cause. But the defectors from the SNP brought with them to Alba the tunnel-vision obsession with winning elections, as if that was the only thing that matters. In terms of mundane party politics, maybe it is the only thing that matters. But Alba claims to be intent on the fight to restore Scotland’s independence. The SNP’s record of abysmal failure on the constitutional issue should have made it easy for Alba to position itself as a contender for the SNP’s title of “party of independence”. Instead, the party’s bosses opted to play party politics.

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The opportunity missed by Alba is very reminiscent of the myriad opportunities squandered by the SNP. This is far from the only similarity between the two parties. Alba may have the more bold rhetoric on the independence issue, but look behind that rhetoric and you find them deferring to Westminster in a manner not at all different from the way the SNP defer to Westminster.

It is unacceptable when the SNP do it. It is just as unacceptable when Alba do it.

The truth is that Scotland’s cause is being failed by all of Scotland’s politicians. Even the few who venture from the party line of whichever party do so in a way that is superficial and more about presentation than substance. No politician or party is even talking about the reality of Scotland’s predicament, far less offering the radical plan that is required if the constitutional issue is to be satisfactorily resolved. They are all engrossed in British-style party politics while the British themselves are progressing their plans to secure Scotland as an adjunct of England-as-Britain in perpetuity. Fiddling while Scotland’s democracy burns.

And we, the people, are allowing it.

Peter A Bell
via thenational.scot

SO Deputy First Minister Shona Robison rejects a electoral agreement with other independence organisations for the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, attempting to maintain a monopoly in the progress towards independence for the SNP.

This is reminiscent of Labour in years gone by, in attempting be the only option for those of a progressive outlook. It didn’t work for them and in the long term, won’t work for the SNP.

The aim of independence is more important than maintaining the pre-eminence of any political party, especially when some of prominence in that party are now seen to be, at best, lukewarm towards the avowed aim. Time for grandstanding to stop and time to explore EVERY possible route to independence, if need be along with those of whom we have objections to working with.

Drew Reid

I WAS very disappointed to see a notice in The National about a pre-SNP conference event in Aberdeen. Nothing wrong with that, but have you not noticed that one of the biggest demonstrations of support for independence is also happening that day, ie The Chain of Freedom Scotland?

I would have thought it was important for our national newspaper to big this up and encourage as many people as possible to join the chain.

Granted the Aberdeen event is in the evening and The Chain is in the afternoon, but how many people will both events lose as people are unlikely to dash between the two?

Please, indy-minded people, give The Chain your support. REGISTER NOW.

Melanie Grieve

THE SNP have recently not had their financial troubles to seek and I suspect might be having difficulty raising the many thousands of pounds now required to fight the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election. The saga of the ring-fenced donations cannot be helping the situation. I note that a well-known bookmakers is offering odds of seven to one against them winning the by-election. So for every pound wagered there is the potential for a return of £7.

Perhaps if those SNP members, MPs, MSPs and ministers who are so convinced their party will win, and are proclaiming on social media they are “getting a great response on the doors”, each bet £100 they could donate their £700 winnings to the party.

Of course, this assumes that the SNP win the by-election.

Glenda Burns