CALUM Martin, co-chair of the Scottish Socialist Party, was being less than disingenuous when he tried to make a case for his tiny splittist party as being the one true path to independence (The Long Letter, July 21).

The SSP had six MSPs at one time and could have replaced the British Labour Party in Scotland. Instead, its ruling retro British Militant Labour pro-Unionist faction preferred the Great British Road to Chauvinism, along with all its other internal Unionist platforms.

Having Unionist platforms in an allegedly “pro-independence” party was akin to having Royal Marines with “Ban the Bomb” badges policing the Scottish CND.

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Every year the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement (SRSM) platform tried to entrench the SSP’s own token Clause IV, for an “independent socialist Scotland”. Every year it was either bureaucratically remitted to avoid democratic discussion, or massively outvoted.

READ MORE: Letters I: Does well-off Edinburgh really need a city deal?

One year, an executive member stepped down from the platform to denounce the motion as “fascist, racist, Stalinist anti-English and badly-worded”. This, despite the architect of the motion, Dave Leadbetter (now sadly deceased) happening to be an English SRSM member, who not only drafted the SRSM’s constitution, but that of many other organisations at home and abroad, as an employee of the British left’s much-loved Brent Council and English Civil Liberties.

Dave, like many other SRSM members, refused to join the SSP and was glad when the SRSM finally walked out after another year of there being “no time” to discuss the motion.

This was the year the SSP finally jumped over the cliff in an orgy of bloodletting splits and traditional character assassinations, so typical of the British left, to become the tiny rump it now is.

I say this with a heavy heart, having invested so many years headbanging in that party and having made so many friends there. Most of them have left. Oddly, I also made some friends in their overtly Unionist platforms, who showed a little more respect and honesty than those masquerading as republicans by wanting the motion democratically and openly debated in the sure knowledge that they would overwhelmingly win the “debate”.

Some SSP, RIC and other factions, who cannot stand each other, are united behind voting for right-wing, Unionist BritNat Labour in Scotland against the SNP and are taking the RISE out of the Scottish electorate.

How can anyone possibly vote for a moderate reformist and Unionist Jeremy Corbyn in Scotland, unless they are fiddling ballot papers in Angel Islington or Sloan Square?

For fake Yessers to accuse the SNP of being to the right of Labour is a downright lie. The SNP does not pretend to be a socialist party, unlike Labour. There are more socialists in the SNP, which is a broad independence party, than Labour and RISE put together.

Any voter whose priority is genuine independence can logically vote for no other than the SNP, definitely not the professional two-faced splitters.

Donald Anderson

I AGREE very much with Alex McKie when he says: “words matter” (Letters, July 21). We should be very careful how we use them, especially in public. So it disappoints me greatly to see indy supporters use words such as “traitor” when talking about how another has voted.

The independence movement’s strength in its diversity, it is not and should never be some sort of authoritarian regime. We should be better than dangerous name calling.

Sarah Banks


IT IS heartening to see the SNP are taking time to pause and think on the way forward. Might I offer some thoughts?

An independent Scotland alone is not the prize – such a position might be viewed as a “regime change” and as such is not attractive.

The real prize surely is to live in a modern northern European democracy with all that encompasses. Such a move involves a clear vision statement for discussion as to what Scotland would look like.

How about, for example, an education system like Finland with children not entering school until they were 7 years old, yielding a better educated and more equal future for all? Or a childcare system like that of Sweden which costs parents £250 per month per child? Presently Sweden spends more on childcare than the military, whereas we spend £43 billion on the military and only £6bn on childcare.

A complete re-organisation of government so that power and taxes go from communities upwards? It is only with such a vision that we can we differentiate ourselves from just being better at doing “same old, same old”. We have a wonderful opportunity now to share such a vision with the 55 per cent who voted against independence and give them a real stake in a new country.

Is there an absolute need for a new centre-right political party as part of this vision for Scotland? This is part of being a modern northern European democracy; otherwise many of the 55 per cent will have no one to vote for or speak for them. Or are we nationalists just interested in power, being right and getting our own way?
John Corbett

THE expression “Henry VIII powers” both amuses and annoys me because of course there was never a Scottish monarch of that title (Ross Greer: Repeal Bill is a threat to democracy and a power grab too far, The National, July 21).

I have however heard him described as a “British monarch” over the years on several Suthron TV history programmes.

In fact Scotland never had tyrant monarchs like the Tudors. Henry VIII’s connections with Scotland were the brutal invasions of the mid 16th century, known to the Scottish people as the “rough wooing”, when he tried to enforce an incorporating union with England, a century and a half before the catastrophe actually occurred, by the marriage of his infant son the Prince Edward to the infant Queen Mary of Scots. We were finally saved from that when almost the entire French fleet moored off of Dumbarton Castle and took Mary to marry the Dauphin. Brexit I fear is just another example of England intimidating Scotland with the assistance of its Scottish agents.
Alan Clayton
Strachur, Argyll

I SYMPATHISE with P R Yates (Letters, July 21). I feel much the same about Michael Fry’s articles.

However, I’d say: “Don’t give up on the Tuesday edition. Just don’t read Fry’s page. But do glance at it. Every now and then he says something which you’ll feel you ought to read simply to keep up to breast with the opposition opinions. It’s easier to knock something down if you’ve had the chance to consider it. And others will say the same thing as Fry even if only because they’ve read and been taken in by him!”
Catriona Grigg

CAN I just say, I think Neil Slorance’s cartoons are an absolute joy, actual proper works of art. Long may he continue in The National.
Eric Balloch

MY wife and I have sent cards to Brian Quail and Angie Zelter held in prison after being arrested for their anti-Trident protest. They will appear in court on August 3. Often we do not get around to do things we feel we should. May I therefore give the following information to any sympathetic reader: Brian Quail, HM Prison Low Moss, Crosshill Road, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, G64 2QB Angie Zelter, HM Prison Cornton Vale, B823 Cornton Road, Stirling, FK9 5NU Apart from cheering Angie and Brian up, the more cards that are sent to them, the more approval of their stand against this obscene – and now arguably newly illegal – weapon will be quietly expressed.
Victor Moncrieff