I HAVE been following and contributing to the ongoing debate about the mandate for independence. My own view is that between the 2016 Holyrood manifesto and the subsequent election result, and the presence of 56 SNP MPs, there exists a de facto mandate.

As we all now know, that is of no avail because the in-built democratic defect of the UK parliamentary system trumps anything Scotland wants and so we are denied a referendum by the dictat of an unelected Theresa May. As a result of the snap election, the chronic weakness of the Labour Party and the willing complicity of all the Scottish Unionist parties, the Tories are likely to be even stronger after June 8 and the prospects for independence will continue to be frustrated for a very long time.

For all these reasons, I am pleased that the Scottish Independence Convention has come out in support of the view that a majority of independence-supporting MPs being returned in June should constitute a reminder and a reinforcement that Scotland wants a new referendum. I am disappointed, however, that the convention did not go a bit further and suggest it should be taken as a demand and a Declaration of Independence.

I say this in the belief that using such a majority as a renewed (but still subservient) request for a second referendum will fall on deaf ears and be treated with the same arrogant contempt as before. The cause will not be advanced one jot but our home-grown Unionist opponents will rejoice and relax safe in the knowledge that they have been rescued, as always, by the arithmetical superiority provided by their rUK Unionist masters in Westminster.

Even Margaret Thatcher, whom I thoroughly detested, acknowledged way back that an SNP majority among the Scottish MPs at Westminster would justify a demand for Scottish independence. She never anticipated that happening but let us take that as our justification. The Scottish electorate know what the SNP stands for, the answer is in the name, and if they choose to elect a majority of independence-supporting MPs then surely that is all the authority needed to start immediate negotiations for secession? The alternative route is the nice and polite and very procedural course of constant negotiating, which can only result in further delay and frustration.

If we play by their rules, no amount of asking will get us what we want: there will be a repeated and disdainful refusal.

In our misnamed parliamentary democracy, Scotland will always be outvoted. There is only one solution to be found, only one course of action to follow in order to overcome the arrogance and indifference of our adversaries. In the spirit of our ancestors behind The Declaration of Arbroath, we have to assert our right to self-determination as contained in the UN charter. The Unionists are suggesting that any loss in the number of SNP MPs would be a sign of dwindling support for independence. The response must be that a majority of independence-supporting MPs equates to: “We are the people and we say Yes!”

Our independence movement has made great progress in recent times but to make the final breakthrough must push harder and be more assertive – no more Mr Nice Guy.
JF Davidson

CAN I just remind everyone supporting independence to send a clear message to Theresa May in the Scottish council elections.

Let’s make it our aim to decimate the amount of Tory councillors and other Unionist councillors in office.

Show the nasty party that they’re not welcome anywhere in Scotland! Once we’ve done this, and sent a clear message to the Tories, we will turn our attention to the General Election and try to annihilate them there too!
Steve Cunningham


Walking and cycling push must become a reality

WALKING and cycling are the most affordable and accessible forms of transport and the easiest ways to build physical activity into everyday life.

Getting people to travel actively will improve public health, reduce inequalities, support jobs and improve the quality of life for us all. Scotland is fortunate to have strong national policies and leadership on walking and cycling.

The National Walking Strategy, the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (with its shared vision of 10 per cent of everyday journeys by bike by 2020), the Physical Activity Implementation Plan, and the Vision for Active Travel in Scotland 2030 all demonstrate the Scottish Government’s long-term aspirations. It is now imperative that these policy commitments are turned into reality.

Councils across Scotland are at the forefront of delivering this change for the benefits of their communities. However, sufficient funding is a key requirement to plan for the long-term and invest successfully to deliver liveable, healthy and prosperous local communities.

Our shared ambition was made clear in the walkcyclevote campaign and in our manifesto, Scotland On The Move. Spending 10 per cent of transport budgets at local and national levels on active travel would bring conditions for walking and cycling in Scotland closer to the standards seen across northern Europe.

Investment is key to provide infrastructure for people of all ages and solve the barriers to active travel identified by local communities and businesses. We call upon all local authorities to ensure this becomes a reality after next week’s elections, so that more people in Scotland are able to travel by foot or by bike for more of their everyday journeys.

Keith Irving, chief executive Cycling Scotland Suzanne Forup, Cycling UK Stuart Hay, Scottish director Living Streets Ian Findlay, chief officer Paths for All Brendan Paddy, interim director of Ramblers Scotland John Lauder, national director Sustrans Scotland Colin Howden, director Transform Scotland

IN response to James Sinclair and William McLaughlin (Letters, The National, April 26) regarding the rebranding of Yes2 to aYe Scotland. First point to make, gents, is that it was the same designer who came up with the images for both logos, Namely, me.

Both logos’ inception were for very different reasons. Yes2 was a defiant act on my part which was amazingly taken up by many people identifying with, including yourselves. It allowed me, you and those people to show, not only that we weren’t beaten but we were here and as strong as ever.

Things are so much different now and aYe represents a change of that defiance from us all to a position now where we must allow those who were against Yes, who can’t identify with Yes2, to have the opportunity to take on board an identity they see as a progression.

Yes2 and myself personally had discussed this change, and the reasons for it, widely among the grassroots activists, people who I admire enormously, and it was with their encouragement that we made the change and positive change is something we all need as a nation.

Fair enough guys, the rebranding is not to your taste, but we existing Yes voters need to see how we can accommodate those who are not quite there yet – it is their votes and their voices we need, and if that means a an approach of softening imagery, then so be it.

We took good and wise counsel from among the activists and among very respected members of the SNP and decided this was how we wished to move forward. You are more than welcome to continue using Yes2, I will be eternally proud of that, but, as activists, a change of image came along with a change of heart. All the best, guys.
John McHarg
aYe Scotland

THIS is a plea to all the no doubt well-intentioned people who voted Leave in the Brexit omnishambles. Please let it lie! Our overriding primary aim is self-government.

Once we’ve achieved that, if you can drum up enough support, you can call for a Scottish referendum on whether being in the EU is a good thing. Anything other than the above will only be used by the Yoons as a stick with which to beat us.
Barry Stewart