WHAT exactly is the “day job” of David “Fluffy” Mundell, supposed Secretary of State for Scotland? More importantly, perhaps, to paraphrase the famous Monty Python quote, “what has he ever done for us?”

It appears that his only function is to criticise every action of the Scottish Government and to incessantly call for the abandonment of any thought of another independence referendum ever, ever ever! His latest dictat on this topic is to “threaten” Nicola Sturgeon with the loss of her position as First Minister if she doesn’t give up entirely on her call for indyref 2.

Pardon me, Fluffy, but I believe it’s the people of Scotland who decide on who holds that position and not May’s pith-helmeted consul general. Fluffy and Rape-clause Ruth are forever telling us that the people of Scotland do not want another independence referendum. How then do they explain the online survey currently being taken by the Herald that has 81 per cent of nearly 12000 responses saying Yes to a new referendum? All their constant haranguing and wishful thinking cannot stop our steady march towards independence.

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John Murphy
West Lothian

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Time for a new Yes campaign and new ideas

TOMMY Sheppard MP is amongst a host of voices from both within and without the party who believe the SNP must “park” an independence referendum for now.

Whilst I concur that a referendum should be fought in the most favourable circumstances, we must also remember that it is our only avenue to independence.

Thatcher said that a majority of seats in Westminster would be a mandate, yet we’ve achieved that twice and we remain as dependent as ever. The Liberal Democrats said a majority in Holyrood would be enough; well we’ve done that and achieved another independence-supporting majority. And yet...

So if people feel we are not ready for another independence referendum then the worth of independence must be reiterated and reinforced, not hidden.

If Unionists can talk about the constitution ad nauseum then we must not shy away.

It can be no surprise to folk that the SNP wants independence, nor indeed should it be a surprise to all those independence supporters that independence was to be in the EU; it’s been policy for 30 years!

If the SNP shys away from its core objective then what happens when, as it must inevitably, the SNP loses Holyrood?

It really would be a generation in the hands of Ruth or Kezia.

The entire Yes movement has to reunite and get that positive message out all the time, but not be afraid to get our hands dirty when required.

If people want to be scared about the future then let’s reveal the ugly British future in all its distasteful glory.

The only thing the General Election has taught us is that 2014 is over. It is now a new campaign requiring new ideas, but it must happen or all is lost.

Kevin Cordell
Dundee

IT is time for the SNP, as Scotland’s government, to grab the initiative and get on the front foot in the indy debate. They have, understandably, got bogged down in the detail of government and need to lift their eyes to the hills!

This can easily be done with a bit of boldness and as part of “the day job” and would show our country a little bit of how we could be after indy.

The SNP government has done much over the past 10 years, but folk don’t look back, they look at the here and now and what the future might bring.

So, here is a three-point plan.

Firstly, they must announce an enhanced infrastructure development programme for the next 20 years and bring weekly debates and votes to the parliament on each and every stage of every project, which the media could not ignore, in order to let the people know what they are doing.

How many know of all the houses, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges etc which are either done or under way? For instance, 10 new bridges on the dangerous A830 Mallaig road. These are not just civil engineering projects — they are massive infrastructure improvements to our nation. Let’s shout about them!

Secondly, they must immediately introduce a proposal, for debate and rapid implementation, to bring power back to the people by creating the equivalent of “burgh councils” for every part of Scotland, urban and rural, from 5,000 to 50,000 population. These councils could deal with matters like housing, parks and environment, local development and planning, leisure, libraries, public toilets and tourism etc. They would also nominate a member or two, depending on size, to five or six regional councils which could deal with infrastructure (road, rail, ferry), strategic planning and development, refuse and cleansing, social services, education, health etc.

All other services could be done Scotland-wide and with “burgh councils” there would be no need for community councils.

Finally, a genuine debate needs to be held about our European future. It is SNP policy to have full membership of the EU and this has served us well. But it is a long time since it was debated and times have changed.

The “Norway model”, with access to the single market and free movement of people, is attractive to many, and has the bonus of allowing us to exit the common fisheries and agriculture policies. It also looks very likely that we will be out of the EU with the UK.

This will mean that it could be some time before an inevitable indy Scotland will get back in. The “Norway model”, therefore, may well be best but would not preclude a negotiated deal for full EU membership, which would be put to the Scottish people in a referendum.

None of the above is outwith the power of the SNP government and the debate on each of these proposals would revitalise our nation and let us take the initiative.

The system has stifled the SNP government, as it is designed to do, so it is time for the SNP government to buck the system and take the lead.

Dave Thompson
Inverness

RECENTLY my wife and I went on a coach tour to East Sussex, and occasionally our accents would engender the “Where are you from?” enquiry. Usually “Blantyre” produces the response that we might get if speaking Venusian, so I usually follow it with “Have you heard of Dr David Livingstone?” and that usually makes the link. Sadly, on at least two occasions this produced blank looks and “No”.

In my blissful ignorance I thought “Dr Livingstone I presume” was common knowledge in the English-speaking world, but this apparently doesn’t extend to darkest East Sussex.

Barry
Blantyre