MANY recent letters and opinion pieces in this paper comment perceptively on the dilemma facing indy supporters on whether to vote SNP at the General Election this year. SNP support is down to around one-third, neck and neck with Labour, while indy support holds at 50% or so.

A huge chunk of indy folk are out of love with the SNP. Why? For many reasons, but the excuse to deprive the SNP of their vote now is that the party has decided not to treat the election as a de facto independence referendum. All it will do, if it wins a majority of seats, is invite London to discuss making Scotland independent. The disillusioned are correct, because that strategy is a total non-starter; it’s a dead cert that London will decline the invitation and the SNP will have made themselves virtually irrelevant to independence.

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But complete the thought. At the SNP’s convention in Dundee last year, Yousaf deluded the audience into thinking the General Election was going to be it, then astonishingly told the press that he did not believe there was any other route to independence but a referendum, and we would have to persuade London to grant one. That is a credo of despair, because there is no prospect of London ever doing so. The same dreary belief lurks in Tommy Sheppard’s recent article, and it haunts letters which bemoan what is too often believed to be the “fact” that even a 50%-plus Yes vote in a plebiscitary election would not do, because Westminster would not accept it.

The actual fact is that there is no authority whatsoever for such a hopeless doctrine, whether in law, constitution, court judgement, or UK Government statement. All Scotland needs to go independent are a) a formal, democratic head-count vote for it (in a General Election under the appropriate manifesto), b) resolve of the party winning those votes to see it through, and c) a majority of Scottish seats in the Union Parliament to take the actual step. It matters not what London does, only what Scotland does (though London will then, but only then, relent, and independence will actually come about by agreement).

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That is the only scenario which tallies with repeated statements by London that the Union is consensual and Scotland can leave if its consent is withdrawn. It is the only one which is consistent with the position taken by the UK in the Edinburgh Agreement of 2012. It is the only one which chimes with London’s position on Northern Ireland (which, under express UK law, can leave if it wishes). And it is the only one which treats Scotland in the same terms as England on membership of the Union, since no-one would claim for a moment that England could not leave if the people of England wanted to. It is for anyone asserting the contrary to make their case with authorities. Exactly what is the miraculous barrier they imagine London can erect to democratically chosen Scottish independence?

Without delay the SNP should alter its course, to make the General Election a true plebiscite for Scotland on independence. That is the only way to fulfil its core mission and to serve Scotland as it should. (It will also put an SNP MP into almost every Scottish seat – an incidental bonus for the party.)

Alan Crocket

ON behalf of the cash-strapped people of the UK, Rishi Sunak signed an agreement to provide £2.5 billion of military aid to Ukraine over the coming year, vowing that Ukraine “will never be alone” – apparently unmoved by the fact that the UN has had to launch an appeal for £2.4bn to be spent on supporting 8.5 million people who are very much alone inside the Ukraine as a result of the military action that is devastating their lives.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry