THERE seems to be, in my opinion, a misconception of what the recent motion signed by Stephen Flynn and Humza Yousaf for the SNP conference is about.

As I understand it, previous representations at Westminster or Holyrood had not advocated that a majority of SNP members would be a mandate for independence and that was not in their manifesto. However, if the motion is passed at the conference, then it will be in their manifesto, and a majority of SNP MPs will equate to a mandate to open negotiations to secede from the UK. This would mean that even a drop in the current number of MPs could still be a mandate to open negotiations.

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It should be remembered that the Westminster system is based purely on seats won, not votes cast for a party. As such, a mandate is governed by the party who achieves the overall majority of seats contested.

Having a mandate to open negotiations with the UK Government on independence does not equate to declaring UDI, as some suggest. More so when the next Westminster government is expected to be either a hung parliament or a minority Labour administration. In such a case, an SNP grouping of more than 30 MPs could make a big difference to the policies of the government of the day.

It should also be remembered that the Republic of Ireland was set up by the majority of Irish MPs who wanted independence from the UK and refused to take their seats in Westminster, so a precedent has been set. To say that the rUK will have “rights” to Scottish assets in such a situation would be laughable as this is what “negotiations” entails. To my knowledge, the UK does not own or have rights to any asset in the Republic of Ireland, nor in their territorial waters. This is the very reason why all Westminster administrations are reluctant to grant Scottish independence and, since 2014, even contemplate another referendum, as they would lose all our assets.

Alexander Potts

WJ Graham is surely correct that population growth is healthy and that if there is no growth then an economy stagnates (Letters, Sep 18).

Clearly, spikes in population level as we experienced in the post-war boom years present economic problems, particularly as the “boomers” who funded the so-called “prosperity” years are now retiring, leaving productive employment and resulting in the diminishing of the very tax contributions needed to fund their retirement and increased need for health and social care in their final years.

We in Scotland have surely come to realise we need to replace those lost financial contributions to fund our public sector and the only realistic way is to promote managed green economic growth and the population increase necessary to facilitate it. The only way to achieve this is to raise the population level through immigration – our indigenous birth rate is unlikely to meet the demand.

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Clearly this is an important criterion for the future economic development of Scotland, as well as for ongoing social provision through pensions and healthcare et cetera.

Once again we find ourselves at odds with rUK, where we desperately need immigration while there is widespread resistance to it elsewhere in the UK, substantially for non-economic-specific reasons. We’re all immigrants to these islands; only the timescale of our ancestral arrival differs.

While WJ Graham highlights the need for population growth to maintain a healthy economy, what he/she hasn’t pointed out is that the UK Government has, through its political policies, restricted the economic, population and political growth of Scotland over many years – it is not a new phenomenon.

Since 1921 the population in England has expanded by 68%, in Scotland by just 11%; a clear indicator of how we have been deliberately restrained. This is not an accident, rather the planned stifling of our economy to foster and reinforce the impression that we are too wee and too poor to survive as an independent country; we can only survive through the benevolence of being a “partner” in the UK union and its largesse towards us.

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Clearly our “partnership” of the UK is directly contrary to our needs and aspirations. It is working against we Scots. We can never thrive within this union where the osmotic nature of economic planning is designed to overheat the capital city and its hinterland while allowing the regions to wither on the vine. For sure, levelling up is a blue and red Tory political con, not a serious prospect for sharing wealth and prosperity across a whole nation with its mantra of serving the wealthy few while impoverishing the rest of us.

Shouldn’t we therefore be clamouring for our First Minister to urgently put we Scots first and recognise that every day of delay in regaining our independence is costing us wealth and prospects for the bright future that could and should be ours?

We need more productive tax-paying, public-services-funding working people to share our Scotland. History proves that Westminster has no intention of delivering this. We need indy urgently. There is no alternative, just the increasing imperative.

Jim Taylor

DID I hear correctly on BBC news? Anent Starmer’s visit, the reporter talked of the historic alliance between the UK and France. I am no historian, but I seem to remember being taught at school about the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France, at a time when England was still fighting France, and also that the French sent assistance to our Jacobite rebellion. That Scottish connection is even older, proved even in places like Dirleton castle, French built in a style close to that of Carcassonne long before the Treaty of Union.

Did my teachers just get their facts wrong, or is the BBC once again whitewashing English history?

P Davidson