AT last the General Election has been called, and the outcome would appear to be a Labour Party victory. With the state of British politics, that would appear to be a no-brainer. Scottish votes, no matter what Labour say, are of no real significance this time – all they would do is increase what looks like being a strong Labour majority.

Meanwhile, here in Scotland the SNP are trying to hold on to their seats against what could only be called a tsunami of “bad SNP” reporting from the media in all forms: press, TV, and social media.

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So, in the best traditions of Scottish independence voting, what do we do? What we do best, we fight with one another, which is only helping the Unionist cause. We all know this, but it doesn’t seem to deter us from continuing down the road to self-destruction.

Full disclosure here: I’m an SNP member, but one who’s willing to say they have made mistakes through the years in power. I’ll not going into them here. Instead, I’ll voice my main gripe.

At present there are only two “main” independence parties in Scotland. Yes others exist, but sorry – in my opinion they’re irrelevant in this election. Off course they’re the SNP and Alba. Alba may be running at around 5% of the vote while SNP are polling at about 35% at present.

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Now here is where we shoot ourselves, not in the foot but in the head, ie dead. With all the good will in the world, Alba are not going to win the majority of independence votes at this election, let alone an MP. Perhaps at some point in the future, but not this time around. Alba candidates will probably pick up votes from disaffected SNP supporters, but in doing so will split the independence vote. If that were to happen, the main loser would not just be the SNP, but Scotland, because that split – small though it might be – may prove just enough to let the Unionists squeeze in by the back door.

All the arguments of “we offered to do this and do that but SNP didn’t want to play” won’t change the result, possibly a disastrous result for Scotland and the future of Scottish Government. Just take a minute and think of what a resurgent Labour may do to Holyrood and all the hard-earned rights we have fought to have.

This, my friends and fellow nationalists, is the time to vote with your country in mind. Be honest with yourself when you vote. A protest vote will not do, it will only damage Scotland. Of course it’s your decision, but try to make one you can live with.

Bill Golden

INDEPENDENCE supporters: please remember this is a first-past-the-post election. There is no list vote or second chance.

So to all independence supporters out there, I would encourage you to vote SNP in the General Election.

The reason for this is that they are the only party with a realistic chance of getting MPs elected. With the greatest respect to Alba, the Scottish Green Party and any others: you are the future, while the SNP are the present.

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Labour, Tories and LibDems all advocate remaining in the Union, and while we all wish to see the end of this disgraceful Tory government, any reduction in Scotland of pro-independence MPs will encourage whoever gets in at Westminster to continue to deny us our route to self-determination, which we have a right to under the UN charter.

If, given support from all independence supporters, and hopefully a majority of the electorate, the SNP fail to use this mandate to demand independence, then they will have no right to ask for your support in the future, but splitting the pro-independence vote could see many constituencies fall to Unionist parties despite their being a combined majority for independence-supporting parties.

While it might give some independence supporters a sense of satisfaction to give the SNP a “kicking”, the price could be a Unionist gaining a seat at the expense of a pro-independence SNP member. Please, please think very carefully before voting.

Graham Smith

CAN all those pleading with indy supporters to vote SNP, plead with the SNP instead?

Plead with them to drop the “asking for permission” nonsense, plead for them to have an indy vote whether Westminster agree or not, plead for them to make Westminster agree by giving them no option other than try to stop us by force.

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Once you have a cast-iron guarantee from SNP that they will go ahead with independence, I think you will all find you don’t need to plead for Scots to vote SNP.

If they don’t do this, I’m sad to say the party’s over until we have an SNP that puts a democratic mandate from the Scottish people before an invented veto by the country next door.

Maybe if we all plead, the party will listen.

William Robertson
via email

STAN Grodynski’s Long Letter in Saturday’s National has got me starting to think the unthinkable. Up to now I have looked at the Alba party as a bunch of anti-SNP malcontents who, by standing numerous candidates against the SNP in the UK General Election, will simply split the independence vote, allowing Labour and the Tories to pick up lots of SNP seats.

Stan’s suggestion that the SNP ask Alba not to stand candidates in the General Election, and the SNP, in the next Holyrood election, publicly urge members to give their second (list) vote to Alba, seems to me to be worth trying.

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It would help the independence cause to achieve a majority of seats in the General Election, and would also reduce significantly the number of Unionist “list” MSPs in the next Scottish Parliament. If need be, the SNP could offer not to stand candidates in the two seats currently held by Hanvey and MacAskill, giving Alba something at both elections.

Stan Grodynski’s suggested strategy may not please all SNP members, or Alba members, but surely it is worthy of consideration?

Charlie Bent