LITERALLY it’s relatively easy to kick people when they are down but hard to find a way to pick them up. Unionists are only too keen to demonstrate this with regard to the SNP, as evidenced in the letters pages across all the UK newspapers including, although to a lesser extent, The National.

What appears to have been lost on Brian Lawson and Dr Iain Evans (Letters, June 11) is that asking independence supporters unhappy with the SNP to find some constructive context to their criticisms of the SNP is not the same as saying don’t criticise the SNP.

I am not, and never have been, a member of the SNP – I simply write to The National and other newspapers to try and positively contribute to the debate as to why Scotland should be free to determine its own future and to hopefully help to persuade some undecided voters that Scotland regaining its independence is the best path to take in delivering a prosperous, fair and egalitarian society in our country.

Stephen Flynn appears to be an intelligent and capable young man with the potential to lead our country and I don’t believe he needs either Brian or Iain to tell him that the door to privatisation of the NHS was opened by “New Labour” and that the NHS in Scotland is under pressure, due to decisions made in Westminster, to make increasing use of the private sector.

Wes Streeting (the Labour health minister in waiting) has made no secret of the fact that he intends to open that door further while Labour’s commitment to not raising primary taxes effectively means that the SNP in government will be somewhere between a rock and a hard place over the NHS.

Seeking to find a way through legislation to perpetuate the basic principle of “free at the point of use” on which the NHS was built does not mean that Stephen is not aware of the current predicament of the NHS but suggests that he wishes to focus minds on resolving that predicament while slowing – not necessarily halting – the downward slide of increasing privatisation.

Of course there are political overtones to introducing this argument during a General Election campaign but that does not, in itself, make it a bad idea to introduce the concept of some form of legislation in this area even if one considers that the SNP may have little influence on a future Labour UK Government.

In order to increase support for independence to a level of around 60% or more in the face of overwhelming negative propaganda across the UK mainstream media, it is important to progressing independence that at least in The National a range of positive arguments is presented, recognising that not everyone who reads this newspaper is already a diehard independence supporter.

The Unionists are clearly intent on reducing the primary independence vehicle at Westminster to a rump of SNP MPs and anyone who thinks that if they achieve that goal that the cause of self-determination will not be weakened and that cause will not be set back years, if not decades, appears to be rather naive or perhaps deluded.

A final thought for those in other pro-independence parties actively seeking to bring down the SNP in the belief it will further their party’s ambitions is that the more the SNP appear to be weakened, the greater the case to cast both votes for the SNP at the next Scottish election.

Why the SNP? Not only have the SNP through the efforts of many of their politicians and supporters over very many years brought Scotland to the verge of independence, in Stephen Flynn and Kate Forbes, along with many other enthusiastic young MPs and MSPs, the party has the talent as well as the social conscience to inspire the people of Scotland that their future lies in an independent Scotland.

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry, East Lothian