KEN Ferguson implied that the reason that the SNP lost votes in the General Election was mainly because they did not have a clear radical message (he states Corbyn did) and that their campaign was lacklustre (Letters, The National, June 27).

I agree that the SNP had a lacklustre campaign. Their manifesto was Westminster focused but did not have a clear and catchy slogan. The SNP being a Scottish-only party supporting our interests was and always will struggle in UK national elections.

To find out what really happened have a look at a YouGov poll from last week. This poll samples 36,147 across the UK and had a good Scottish sample size. This shows that the main reason the SNP lost seats at Westminster was that 23 per cent of the people that voted from them in 2015 did not vote at all this month. Of those that voted in 2015 for the SNP and also voted in this month’s GE only 71 per cent voted SNP, 15 per cent Labour, 11 per cent Tories and two per cent LibDems.

I suspect the reason 23 per cent did not vote at all was due to voting overload plus the fact that all of the pre-election opinion polls showed that the SNP would get between 42 and 52 seats. Many probably thought it was okay for the SNP as the prediction was good hence became apathetic to turn out due to this. Yes, the lacklustre campaign did not inspire. The Labour vote was increased due to many who may have voted SNP wanting to keep the Tories out at Westminster and not necessarily due to Corbyn’s policies. As for the conservative vote swing this was in part due to many seeing the Tories as being the main party of the Union plus the overall Unionist parties shouting “No referendum”.

Ferguson was stating that the SNP would have been better to lean “left” in their policies instead of trying to be a “broad church” appealing to many opinions across society.

I personally would not vote for a strongly left-wing party, nor would I vote for the looney right. Like many people I like policies from the left and the right of the political spectrum. If the SNP went more left like Corbyn’s party then I would not vote for them at UK level, but I would at all Scottish elections because I want independence. However if we were independent and they moved left then I would not vote for them unless they were to build the wealth of the country by aggressively supporting the private sector.

If the SNP was to change their policies then in my opinion they should stay “fair” to people for the social aspects of government as they try to do now, but also build a consensus that they are the party for fiscal prudence and balanced books (without currently having the fiscal tools to do so) due to Westminster’s constraints on Holyrood. They should create a message that we must have a dynamic private sector as this is where all wealth is created. Then they (we) will have the funds to support the social support needs of a caring society. Currently this is difficult because Holyrood does not have all the levers of government.

How then would the SNP get support for independence if their message was that they are a strongly left-leaning party. Difficult for many. The SNP must stay where they are politically to get broad support for independence in Scotland.

Going more left, or right, is not the answer if you want to keep good levels of support in a national Scottish party and its goal of independence. Independence, Ferguson, is the goal and not left or right. After independence is won then the people will decide what type of government that want in a sovereign Scotland. The UK is a low-wage, low-tax society. Only independence will give us the controls we need to build a wealthy and caring society.

Robert Anderson
Dunning, Perthshire


Sturgeon must now rediscover her political acumen

I WAS very taken by Carolyn Leckie’s Nye Bevan quote in her article (SNP need to turn to the left if indy is destination, The National, June 26), “You know what happens to people who stay in the middle road? They get knocked down”, which I think, like so many other supporters of an independent Scotland, is where Nicola Sturgeon has gone wrong.

She stated when she was elected as leader of the SNP that she would govern for the whole of Scotland, not just those who voted for independence but she seems to have concluded that that means sticking to the establishment so, for instance, she didn’t abandon the Curriculum for Excellence. She should have asked teachers and pupils, not head teachers, what differences or improvements the new system offers education. She didn’t, perhaps because the answer, in English at least, is nothing: nothing but confusion.

She didn’t heed Gordon Wilson’s advice and that of many, many indy supporters not to link Brexit with a vote for independence. Inexplicably — possibly in an attempt not to scare Unionists — she allowed their parties to misrepresent her proposed date for the next indy referendum. She also shirked the opportunity to update business rates and her defence that they are lower here than in England was correctly regarded as a fudge.

And whatever possessed her to re-introduce docking the tails of working dogs was on a par with Theresa May’s foolish proposal to re-introduce fox hunting?

I hope Sturgeon listens to the election result and to voices other than those in her coterie who have let her down, and much more seriously, the movement down.

She has forgotten what swept the SNP to power which was disaffection with political parties who did not listen to the views of the electorate. Jeremy Corbyn’s almost deification should be a lesson to her.

She must rediscover her political acumen.

Lovina Roe

INDEPENDENCE shall only become a working reality and not just the dream if Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservative voters, and not just SNP voters are persuaded as to the merits and opportunities that an independent Scotland would bring.

That would mean us having to build bridges of trust and respect between political opponents and resist any temptation to blame the other side of perfidy, and throw the toys oot the pram and go off in a huff. But would this be a bridge too far for many? James Andrew Mills Renfrewshire WE are repeatedly berated with the term “British values” by the current UK administration. On their current watch these include: lying to try to influence electoral and referendum outcomes, elevating (though the term is questionable) unelected individuals to the Lords to circumnavigate the will of the electorate, and buying parliamentary votes to retain power.

Any party in power which directed funding towards a marginal seat just before an election would be pilloried for subverting democracy, it can be no different after the votes have been cast when the electorates own money is used to subvert the will it expressed at the ballot box, to prop up one faction in preference to another.

This is democracy Conservative-style and it is corrupt. This being the public face of Conservatism we can only guess what their private one looks like and from what we have evidenced on social media in Scotland, and which has yet to be disowned, that image is ugly and not that of people fit to govern.

Alisdair McKay
Ardersier, Inverness

A SUPERB description from Vonny Leclerc (Quitting can be a sign of strength, rather than weakness, The National, June 26).

I have often thought that climbing Scotland’s mountains is a metaphor for life: plenty of uphill struggles but rich rewards to be enjoyed. There are days when everything goes your way and there are grim days when the elements conspire to take you to the limits. By all means go for it, even against the odds, but the trick is knowing the point when/where you back off. The mountain is always there to climb again — we will not be defeated in the long game.

Peter Woolverton
via email