THE independence movement is in danger of becoming irrevocably split and of losing public support.

Those who advocate a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) are being somewhat naive if they think that route is sustainable.

I’m a 74-year-old retired engineer. If there’s one thing that is drilled into engineers, it’s to avoid unintended consequences. Someone designing a beautifully elegant teapot would definitely avoid making it from chocolate.

Currently, support for independence is roughly 50%. It is highly unlikely that after a UDI many other countries would recognise Scotland as a sovereign state when half of the population does not support independence. A UDI would get us nowhere. We would need to show in an independence referendum that the majority are in favour.

The unintended consequence of a UDI could be that we lose the required independence referendum and set back the independence cause for decades.

We need to build support for independence through reasoned argument and building a much fairer society. Let’s hold a referendum when we know we can win. We don’t need or want to lose another vote. All that would do is embolden the Unionists, especially in the media.

Even if the UDI route was successful, what would happen at the first election after independence? Half of the population would feel disenfranchised given that they had been forced to accept independence against their will (sound familiar).

There would be the possibility of a backlash vote and that we would end up with a right-wing Unionist majority which would then start demanding that we re-join the Union and claiming they have a mandate! Another unintended consequence.

The answer is simple, we need to be grown-up about this. Stop arguing among ourselves in a destructive way. Independence supporters are not the baddies. The SNP are not the baddies. Neither need a bloody nose. We know who the baddies really are. In this first-past-the-post election, vote for the independence candidate who has the best chance of success – that’s the SNP candidate. Hold your nose if you must, but don’t split the vote, leave that to the Unionists.

There is plenty of time before the next Scottish Parliament election to debate tactics and policies that build support for independence to nearer 60%.

Be careful what you wish for and get out and vote for independence. Do you really want to listen to Sarwar and Starmer gloating?

Alan Walker
via email

GIVEN there were two letters on Tuesday on this theme, can we have a response from politicians explaining why some writers claim there is NO legal barrier to indy? So, what ARE we waiting for?

I can see why for years it seemed sensible to do things politely and cautiously as if we were dealing with reasonable people in Westminster. Clearly, now we know that has been exhausted as a waste of time (for all I acknowledge it seemed an appropriate initial approach.)

But now? If we can’t settle on a UNITED strategy (ie beyond different political parties) to push for it, when the UK is in such chaos (surely all but the most blinkered see this), then when might we ever break free?

Just hearing how many educated folk don’t differentiate between news reports that are about England & Wales only, without realising that such are not relating to us up here at all, makes me feel that Scotland is in some sort of an unreal cloud cuckoo land – and for far too many voters!

Catriona de Voil
via email