IT was good to see two independence organisations coming together after a clash of dates for their respective events.

Believe in Scotland (BiS) and Yes2Indee were both due to host a march for Scottish independence on Saturday, April 20 – one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh. BiS announced its intention to host a march and rally in Glasgow on the same day Yes2Indee had already set its march for Edinburgh. Now Yes2Indee is rescheduling its event for “later in the summer”.

After discussions between the two groups, Yes2Indee marchers are set to follow the banners of hosts BiS and Pensioners For Independence in Glasgow. BiS – which already works with 142 Yes groups across Scotland – will also assist in the promotion of Yes2Indee’s rescheduled Edinburgh march. Confused? All this so close to the pre-announced All Under One Banner rally in May? It’s aboot time they united. It makes sense to maximise attendance at all rallies and events, especially in this election year.

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If we are united, we only have to win once.

Given the contempt for the Scottish representatives in the English parliament coming to a head last Wednesday because of the cowardly Labour machinations while thousands are dying and Labour prevaricate even further, we need to show that we will be behind our elected representatives and will take civil action beyond the London parliament, should they try and deny us democratic referendums, mandates, or this or that, after independence. Compared to the Irish, republicans and Unionists, we are definitely the saftest o’ the family.

The National: SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA)

Mr Flynn (above) told the cowardly, double-dealing Speaker that it was a direct insult to him and his party. More than that, it is a direct insult to the people of Scotland, especially those who elected the third largest party in the English Parliament. Not only is it an affront to democracy, it is a crime against the long-suffering people of Palestine who are still suffering from more than 70 years of Zionist imperialism, imposed by a Labour government under Clement Attlee. Churchill described the decision as “Ulsterisation”. The DUP’s Mr Paisley accused an SNP member of being “antisemitic”. The Israeli government is pushing as far as it can to kill as many Palestinians as possible, seize more territory or destroy as much of the local infrastructure as they can before their US allies finally have to draw the line.

One English Tory MP likened the Scottish Tories to the DUP, in his eyes. The Ulster loyalists are able to gain more concessions for Northern Ireland, while the SCUP oppose any concessions to Scotland. The state of Israel is about 70 years old. I have a pair of socks older than that. Scotland is older than England and had one kingdom, while England had seven. England’s concern for Israel’s sovereignty is at odds with their contempt for Scotland’s ancient sovereignty and their parliamentary somersaults can come to a finale if the Scots have the gumption to unite and fight.
Donald Anderson

‘CURRENT SNP election policy is entirely misconceived,” writes Alan Crocket (Letters, Feb 12). He refers to the SNP manifesto that states “a vote for the SNP is a vote for Scotland to become an independent country”. This is, in fact, a deception because what is being called for is a mandate (majority of seats) so that the SNP will be able to negotiate independence with Westminster with a demand for a referendum.

Alan Crocket outlines the pitfalls in the SNP strategy, the most obvious being if the SNP fail to gain the majority of seats. What is required is a democratic mandate given by a majority of votes (50%+1) from the Scottish people.

Why have the SNP set their stall out in opposition to this test on support for independence? What are they afraid of?

What is needed is for the SNP to approach the General Election with an appropriate manifesto calling clearly and concisely for independence, and that being regarded as a plebiscite on independence. Now is not the time to be led down alleyways such as the call for a constitutional convention – whatever that may mean. It is time to engage with the Scottish people in a forthright, vigorous campaign to unite the Yes Movement, taking the case for independence to a successful conclusion.
John Milligan
via email

THE Labour Party owe their early beginnings to Scots like Keir Hardie and Robert Cunninghame Graham. They got their first Scottish support base from the Red Clydesiders in 1922 and their great Scottish reputation from the work of the Attlee government (1945-51).

When I was a boy in Glasgow and Fife, Labour were the party that 85% of working people supported because they saw the party as very supportive of their communities, trade unions and of high public service standards.

It was this background that gave the Labour Party such a powerful electoral base in Scotland as they did in some working-class areas of England. Unfortunately, the English Labour leadership lost their way in the mid-1970s and in 1979, they lost the UK election to Margaret Thatcher.

Just before that election, the Labour government was engaged in a bitter struggle with low-paid public-sector workers, attempting to further decrease their earnings, while Thatcher’s adverts were able to show long lines of workers under the caption “Britain isn’t working”.

So the Labour leadership had trashed their own party’s good reputation in Scotland and elsewhere by abandoning the policies which had made them so appealing to voters. Why did the leadership do this?

The voters in Scotland and some parts of England continued to support Labour even though leadership moved further and further towards the Tory position so why was that? Clearly it was not down to particular individual leaders because it continued under different leaders.

The only conclusion which makes sense is that powerful vested interests got a hold of the party leadership and used this to influence policy. That was the case, and remains the case for the Labour Party.

So the people who present themselves to us as “Labour” today have nothing in common with the old Labour Party. They are merely using the old name to disguise a different type of Tory who is just like the other Tories, but less honest about their objectives. Less and less Scots are being fooled by this pretence.
Andy Anderson

WHAT an utter disgrace the whole situation with the SNP Opposition Day vote became. I note that there is much comment on Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s position while Sir Keir Starmer is nowhere to be seen. STARMER IS A SNEAK, may he get his comeuppance sooner rather than later.

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks at the Labour Party's Ukrainian Welcome Reception at his party's offices in London, an event for families who have been re-housed in the UK, host families and organisations that have supported this process.

I would also like someone to define “antisemitism”. I have attended several rallies in Inverness where we regularly chant “Free Palestine”. Am I to fear incarceration for this perceived antisemitic remark? An independent Scotland cannot come soon enough.
Jane Bullock

LAST Wednesday, the Westminster Establishment stepped in to protect the Westminster Duopoly from self-inflicted damage.

How much better Westminster would have looked in the eyes of the world on Thursday morning if it had grasped the opportunity to spend an Opposition Day debating the potential for ending the fighting and resolving the dire situation in Gaza then passed the SNP’s motion without a division?
John Jamieson
South Queensferry

I MIGHT be an old fogey but when something sticks in my craw, I can only take so much before I have to get it off my chest. Last week, when the whole of the UK was reeling from the debacle in Westminster, Audit Scotland released a report on the NHS in Scotland portraying it to be – and I am being polite here – useless. This supposedly non-political mob has form for doing this sort of stuff – usually during election campaigns – so it came as no surprise to me that the Unionists were all over it, with Dame Jackie and Wee Dougie frothing at the mouth accusing the SNP of being responsible for everything that is wrong. I am also reliably informed by my confidante listener to BBC not-for-Scotland that they were all over it, wheeling out the usual suspects and anyone else who would rubbish the SNP.

I would just like to say to all those purporting this stuff that over the past 30 years, I have had to rely on the NHS with consistent regularity. The NHS has saved my life on more than one occasion and my many stays in hospital have resulted in my faith in them only increasing – not at all like what is being said. I would like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart and salute their professionalism and caring attitude.

While I am on a roll ,why has Angus Robertson stuck his nose into The Nine being axed by the BBC? As far as I am concerned, this shower should all be axed as the BBC not-for-Scotland journalism is biased towards the Union and they would not be missed.
Old John

THE Scottish Government needs to put in place protections for all residents, particularly those who live in areas of outstanding natural beauty. Homes in these areas need a special status where they can only be used for those who permanently live and work in the areas. I urge them to look at the Canadian National Park of Banff which in my experience has strong protections for housing to prevent wealthy people buying up homes.

National parks charge for a day pass which must be displayed on visitors’ vehicles, while commuters pass through unhindered. Entry charges have the additional benefit of raising money from tourists for the parks service, staff, facilities etc. Visitors can stay at camping/caravan/lodges/hotels, leaving homes for locals etc – these also create work for residents and expand the population of these areas, making the parks a year-round attraction. Canada was the first country I visited many years ago that charged a tax on guests for stays in hotels etc.

The charge for the parks pass depends on length of visit and type of pass, and some give entry to all national parks. Without protections for residents and property accessible to those who would work to service the visitors, there is no point creating national parks as the experience of visitors will be poor.

Created intelligently, the Scottish Parks Service would be a hugely positive and beneficial opportunity for Scotland but it needs to be carefully planned in order to benefit visitors, residents and wildlife.
Christine Smith