Calls grow to bring an end to indyref silence

THE reaction to David Pratt’s constructively critical article of SNP inaction as to a future referendum (Silence on indy from Scottish Government is deafening, June 17) sums up the feelings of many indy supporters and is highly significant.

We need leadership, not a controlling office manager, to achieve our aims. The current establishment does not seem to want to get out of it’s comfort zone and it’s credibility is waning.

READ MORE: David Pratt: Post-election silence on independence from SNP is deafening

Why not get someone like Joanna Cherry to lead a select group of MPs, MSPs, and respected indy contributors to consolidate the campaign and let Sturgeon and Blackford get on with their day jobs.

“Seven Wasted Years” should be the title of any publication, highlighting the efforts of our government as far as organising and informing the electorate on how to achieve our goal of independence since 2014.

How ironic it will be, if this indolence, by the party for nationalism, prevents us from achieving our goal of freedom.
Sandy Coghill
Isle of Skye

I KNOW the clamour for independence is heating up, I’m still confident we will get there. But when?

My dad was an army man for 20 years. He used to say don’t join the army, and I would ask why. He replied by saying when you are told to do something you do it, you don’t ask questions.

It seems the SNP have become like the army – the foot soldiers are not allowed to ask about currency or the practicalities of becoming independent. I voted Labour most of my life then changed when they lost the plot. It was SNP’s radical policies, they were more for the people’s needs.

The greatest radical policy of any political party was the NHS – those politicians were giants. Hopefully the SNP will follow in their footsteps with independence.
Ian Gordon

IT will soon be two months since our Scottish Government was returned to power at Holyrood for a fourth consecutive time. As has been said, pretty unprecedented in the normal political scheme of things.

To that should be added the number of Green Party members making up a considerable majority for the independence movement. So far so good.

We could draw a line under what had gone before with the various mistakes and sometimes poor decisions which had been made. We could now start again with a selection of new ministers and hopefully new viewpoints in place and get on with, not only defeating this nasty pandemic, but also progressing steadily towards our long-held aim – independence.

That after all is the only reason that the SNP Government and party existed in the first place.

We have now reached the point where the present situation was superbly summed up by David Pratt (June 17) and echoed by large numbers of people around Scotland.

It had appeared that the causes of some of the worst problems of the previous government could now be taken in hand and modifications to the the legal and administration systems made so that similar things would be avoided in the future.

Today, however, we have the appointment of new Law Officers, but we also have the news that the First Minister sees the separation of their duties as “complex”, and apparently has declared that “the Government will take this forward to a consultation in due course”. This surely means that it has been just another thing which has been kicked into the long grass and may not have a meaningful resolution for years. This not good.

The other point, and I say this as a SNP member who has stood outside the polling station with the official party badge in my lapel, and which I have mentioned before, is the position of SNP Chief Executive, Peter Murrell.

While I am not in any way suggesting that he has done anything wrong in his holding of that office, but I, and others feel that it would be better if the Chief Executive was not also husband to the First Minister. This situation did raise it’s head during the First Minister’s evidence to the parliamentary committee some months back.

Nicola Sturgeon has said that she will firstly defeat the pandemic before turning her attention to things like a next referendum. The Scottish Government, supported by the Greens, and including the Westminster contingent, have more than enough talent to create an Independence Progress Committee to drive things forward alongside the necessary work of the First Minister with regard to the pandemic. After all, while were are making good progress against the virus, let’s face it; it could go on for years.

Such a committee could give us a progress report on, say, the first of each month. Their first would surely cover the letter to Downing Street, making the official request regarding the Section 30 order for a referendum. Even if we know how that would be responded to it would get things moving, it would take after all only a few minutes and a signature from Nicola.

Get some organisation going Nicola, and let us have regular meaningful updates on the vital issues involved; not just referendum, but banking, finance, and all the related and serious things that need to be resolved.

So how about it – 1st July – first view of that official letter to Downing Street?
George M Mitchell

JIM Taylor’s description (Letters, June 13) of his lived experience on the receiving-end of a not-proven verdict was informative.

Andrew Tickell’s explanation of April 11 that judges can offer a jury the option of not proven as a different way of saying not guilty, is in stark contrast with a public perception that not proven really means “we think you did it but we can’t prove it”.

To quote Andrew Tickell: “The situation isn’t helped by the fact that the Appeal Court has effectively banned judges and sheriffs from even attempting to describe the difference between not guilty and not proven verdicts to juries.”

The High Court’s Jury Manual recommends judges say “there are three verdicts you can return, not guilty, or not proven, or guilty. Not guilty and not proven have the same effect, acquittal”.

This is surely intolerable. Whatever the origins of the current situation, we cannot let it lie unresolved. It’s complicated? So what?

I note that that the most recent pressure for change has been from people hoping the abolition of not proven would lead to more verdicts of guilty in cases of sexual abuse. As has been explained by others, that is a wish which might not be fulfilled because not proven in legal practice means not guilty. Removal therefore seems likely to lead to more verdicts of not guilty.

I’m coming round to the view that we urgently need to move to a binary, yes/no verdict in courts. I share the preference for Proven/Not Proven on the basis that an accused person may be innocent no matter what evidence is considered.

However, (and as often happens) one thing leads to another, such as the question about why the Holyrood government did not move years ago to resolve such a basic problem. In most situations, it makes sense to start with the basics rather than be tinkering round the edges and, given the central nature of this issue, I would have expected the Scottish Law Commission (SLC) to have been asked for a report on this topic a long time ago. I note a reference on the SLC website that the government in 2014 intended to ask the SLC to report on this topic, so perhaps someone can tell us more. Did nobody actually do anything about it?
Bill Craig

CHARLIE Kerr’s Long Letter last Sunday was an excellent summary of the reasons that independence is essential for our economic survival. His comments on the Brexit that we voted against but got lumbered with anyway struck a fresh chord with me.

Our family dog needs an operation and our vet has informed us that it would be best done by a specialist rather than the local surgery. Unfortunately there is a serious shortage of vets because Brexit has driven out most of the European vets and there is a very long waiting list for operations.

There is an uncertain future for all of us, including our pets.
Name and address supplied

THE ruling classes! Hesitant, incompetent, laudable, laughable “everything will be alright on the night” mentality. They live in a parallel world, in a privileged bubble, immune from the daily strife and challenges of life. Void of compassion, selfish, indulgent, superior, smug, arrogant. Good talkers (well they think so).

The ya ya brigade often with a double-barrelled name. They think they are so smart. They have a lounge not a living room. Pretend to be down with the people, say the right things and are so plausible but do little to improve their lot unless it also improves theirs.

Skilled in answering a question by replying in a question they wish you had asked. They “take a hit” when some investment doesn’t quite work out. Who am I talking about? You know, of course you do, and we would be well shot of them. Make it happen Nicola. Please!
Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

WHY do the Scottish Tory, Labour and LibDem parties wish to keep the Scottish people in permanent poverty, by staying in the Union with England?
William Purves

THE Andrew Kneel and Kneel Oliver News and Loyalist Light Mike Hunt show may have fewer gaffs than we think. Spelling Kneel Oliver’s Royal residence as Sterling instead of Stirling may be a historical malapropism for a couple of historical throwbacks, but Sterling silver was the official name for coins of the Royal mint in Stirling, one of several Scots mints.

What the dynamic minted duo of a fake historian and a fake economist may not be aware of is, that one of the many broken articles of 1707 anglo-Scottish so-called “Union” was that Scotland should retain its own mint. That was easily sold out by London Jocks for London Gold and the London Gravy Train. Very appropriate for a London Muppet Show.
Donald Anderson
via email

THERE has to be a touch of masochism to watch Scotland play football. In the past I have preferred to cut the grass, dry the dishes and watch the kettle boil.

It’s a nerve shredding experience that normally fills the following day with unexplainable gloom. But Friday night’s performance was different, Scotland didn’t play like a Scotland a present generation would recognise. This was like a team that had been secretly cloned in the 1970s raised on a diet of past glories and prepared specifically for the game. I swear I caught a flash of Denis Law, Billy Bremner, Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness on the pitch.

The tenacity, fight and self assured possession, the quick and accurate passing was a delight. England should have been warned that to just show up wouldn’t be enough to win. The English pundits were critical of England but the truth was plainly evident, Scotland were magnificent. England’s performance was as a result of the way Scotland played.

It was a master strategy by the Scotland boss. I think I almost saw Steve Clarke smile at the final whistle. The next morning’s Sky report dwelled on litter left behind in a dried up fountain in Leicester Square, dearie me. I suppose that’s their idea of balanced reporting.
Mike Herd

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