THERE seems now to be a number of people who are concerned about folks within the independence movement who have greater sympathy for the personal left-wing message of Jeremy Corbyn than the avowed centrism of the upper echelons of the SNP hierarchy.

Those feeling this concern have a choice in their hands about what they do.

Rather than turning that worry into ire and directing it at some of the most committed and hard-working independence activists there are, I do hope it’s widely remembered that there is an option to turn that worry into something proactive.

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If you are worried about the possible draw of Corbyn for supporters of the indy-left, then help the indy-left provide an even greater general draw over to supporters of Labour!

Chip in a fiver, join and get involved, or even simply come along to a public meeting and join the dialogue.

There are thousands of left-wingers out there who support independence but who do not support the SNP.

There are thousands more left-leaning folks out there who can be won to independence, who do not support the SNP.

If Independence is to be won then, it needs to be remembered that an “SNP-or-bust” approach will not work.

There are 5.3 million people in Scotland, and 5.3m different cases for independence.

A centre party like the SNP can never simultaneously make all those cases alone. The diversity of the Yes movement is amongst its fundamental strengths.

This is not the time for people to be shouting down that diversity.

Wages are still falling behind inflation, underemployment is still on the rise, rent and housing costs are still on the up, and the ideological dogmatism of a Westminster Tory government the vast majority of folks in Scotland have consistently rejected is not helping these problems.

These were amongst the very issues that the Radical Independence Campaign and the Scottish Socialist Party for example, were pushing forwards in the run up to the referendum in 2014.

These are the issues the vast majority of us in Scotland face on a daily basis.

Proving that independence will be a step towards alleviating those same problems is going to be part of the key to winning the next time.

The key to independence then is not to simply pile eggs into an SNP basket. Rather it is to prove that independence is a real step towards improving all of our daily lives.

That being so, a centrist case based on commendable yet marginal improvements alone here will not take Yes to victory.

The left-wing case, the socialist case, the case which is first and foremost about the changes we need, properly made, is what will take Yes over the finishing line next time. Nor is this a case simply about waiting for change – these issues need solved post-haste, and there is already much that can be done.

Holyrood hasn’t the powers it needs, but it is not truly powerless. Unlocking it’s full potential on these issues would be concrete proof that Scotland can do better without Theresa May, Boris Johnson and further decades of Tory dogma.

So, after all, when pressure needs to be put on those in office here – on the SNP – surely it is better it comes from the indy-left than a Unionist-right?

So don’t feel you need to wait to act either!

It is in working for better today, that we draw closer to winning tomorrow.
Calum Martin
Scottish Socialist Party, National Co-chair


Are we back to the days of ‘Northern Britain’?

WORDS matter. Many of us care about those used to describe us and I care, no less strongly, about those describing my country. I am currently cross about the cavalier dismissal of Scotland by an ice cream company which markets its product, in the Borders, as “The North East’s Ice Cream”.

My knowledge of geography is adequate – obviously better than our local politicians who need council-headed paper to keep them aware of the fact that the Borders are Scottish. So, I’m confident that the North East is Moray, Banff, Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire, etc.

This ice cream outfit obviously think that the “North East” is Northumberland, Durham and so on. Their dismissive attitude disrespects us by implying that their (English) North East is more important than our (Scottish) North East. If we accept this – that our regions are of a secondary significance to English ones – we collude in this belief and agree, by implication, that England is more important than Scotland. Not a United Kingdom of equals then?

We’ve lost the battle regarding, for instance, James II (1430 to 1460), who has been eclipsed by another James II more convenient to the United Kingdom, whilst an Elizabeth the first who never reigned in Scotland is given such significance that the current queen is counted as Elizabeth II. This English ice cream company thinks, in consequence, that we will accept that Northumberland is in “the North East” and Aberdeenshire is of no significance. Or maybe we are all “North Britain” again?

Perhaps this is a minor matter, a mere ripple in a raspberry ice cream cup. Not to me; our history and geography should not be dismissed.
Alex McKie
Ashkirk, Selkirkshire

I AM seriously considering ditching my Tuesday purchase of The National (Mondays are a must with the wonderful Moodie; Saturdays not so much with Slorance). My problem is one of blood pressure and I really need to stop reading Michael Fry. Fry continues to punt his outdated and disproven Thatcherite mantra of the benefits of inequality through “pull-up” and “trickle-down”. And it makes me seethe every Tuesday.

Pull-up (the idea that inequality encourages the poor to strive for more) is simply nonsense. The opportunities for “those without” are always going to be limited by the ownership of “those with” of the means of such “betterment”.

As for trickle-down (one of Thatcher’s favourite and most ludicrous notions), well, that’s a bit like believing the best way of managing a zoo is to only feed the lions. I recognise that for the Yes movement to achieve success it will need to be a broad church but I struggle to believe that it requires us to accept these divisive flights of fancy without challenge.
P R Yates
Crieff, Perthshire

EDUCATION on personal finances should be part of the curriculum before young people leave secondary school. Teachers need to be trained on how to deliver this. Credit cards have meant thousands are going into Brexit heavily in debt at a time when the pound is in free fall. PPI on credit cards added to basically a scam by the banks and resulted in personal debt escalating, with only a pound or so of the debt being paid off monthly. Only the banks and retail gained. Economics should be taught also in later years of secondary school.

JOHN S Clarke who wrote the poem The Man in Peterhead about John MacLean also penned Ramsay MacDonald’s obituary:

Here lies Ramsay Mac,
A friend of all Humanity,
Too many pats upon his back
Inflated Ramsey’s vanity.

The Blarney Stone he oft times kissed,
But departed in his glory;
For having lived a Socialist
He died a bloody Tory.

Nothing new?
Jim McLean

CAN I compliment you on that lovely photograph of the young wildcat which appeared in Wednesday’s issue of The National. It is one of the most cheering and delightful images ever to have appeared in your pages – takes one’s mind of these sour-faced politicians! More please.
George M Mitchell
Sheriffmuir, Dunblane