THE increasing enthusiasm for indyref2 expressed in your columns as we enter a new year is as refreshing as it is welcome, while Thom Muir (Website Comments, The National, January 10) admirably expresses the acute dilemma that this challenge presents for our First Minister.

A decisive result this time will be essential, and September 2018 is a crucial date given the submission of the UK Government’s final Brexit proposals the following month. Just what will it take to win?

Success will not be achieved by grassroots sentiment alone, welcome although this is. Rather, a sound socio-economic case linked to an educational initiative targeted on the substantial numbers of doubters – what Alex Salmond terms “the feartie Scots” – is assuredly what is required. We have been promised this before, at SNP conferences and elsewhere, but so far it has not been delivered.

We should recognise also that the many articles printed in The National’s pages, excellent though they are, all have one feature in common – they preach to the converted. So a substantial change of approach is needed, presenting a compelling and positive case for Scottish independence that will decisively convince a majority of the many doubters in our midst. We need to acknowledge too that it is not just the Tories who stand in the way of independence – regrettably, as things stand at present, it is a majority of our fellow Scots, whose hearts and minds need to be won over for success to be guaranteed.

The FM has described the next few months as being a “window of opportunity”, and has expressed her belief that in 2018 a new Scotland will emerge as “an emboldened, more confident and assertive nation” (The National, January 8). We owe it to ourselves to unite behind her inspiring leadership to do everything that we can to translate her vision into reality in the months that lie ahead.

Alan Johnson

JIM Taylor may huff and puff, bluster and misconstrue my letter and my discontent with the EU, but sooner or later he will have to face the fact that my view is shared by many others (Letter, January 10). For instance, in Tuesday’s edition, Greg Russell quotes a former SNP MP, Dr Paul Monaghan, who said that “Catalonia’s continuing impasse with Spain’s central government is causing increasing concern to the international community” (Monaghan raises concerns over the legality of election called by Rajoy”,The National, January 9).

Other correspondents have, like me, pointed to the responsibility of the European Court of Human Rights to live up to their charter and bring pressure on the Spanish Government to recognise the democratically expressed view of the Catalan people. That is why Carles Puigdemont is conducting his appeal for democracy in Belgium. He has gone to the heart of the EU to prevent them turning their backs on the Catalans, to remind the EU of its legal responsibilities to support democracy in its member states.

I am encouraged by Dr Monaghan and others to hope that respect for democracy will gain momentum and bring to an end Rajoy’s illegal measures to deny Catalonians their victories.

I am aware that the process might take time and Catalan politicians are too, but, Mr Taylor, they need – and in my opinion are entitled to – our support in terms of political influence and due legal process. No doubt it will infuriate Mr Taylor, yet again, but I offer another quote: “It’s comin yet for aw that”.

Lovina Roe

YOU can always rely on Councillor Eileen McCartin of the LibDems to cheer you up on a drab Wednesday morning (Letters, January 10). Yet again she’s twisting and turning to try to promote a second referendum on the EU but will block any attempt at a second Scottish independence referendum. It seems Ms McCartin is obsessed with being part of the EU but then again, the LibDems have sold out Scotland for years when it comes to British nationalism and putting the UK economy first, so it comes as no surprise that Scotland’s interests should be put even further back simply to keep her obsession with all things EU going.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren

ON learning yesterday that the amendment to clause 11 Brexit Bill will not be announced and debated in parliament this week, as indicated earlier by the Scottish Secretary Mr Mundell, I wrote expressing my disquiet to Colin Clark, my local MP.

The suggestion that these changes will be introduced in the House of Lords – where the SNP are not represented – is an affront to democracy. I have urged Mr Clark to fight to ensure that the rights of the people of Scotland are appropriately safeguarded. I hope that constituents throughout Scotland do likewise.

I Gibson

THE nearly Cabinet shuffle was a magnificent attempt by Mibee May to do, not too sure what, but let’s assume something. A well-planned people draughts move where no-one really wanted to move. Ms Evil returns to the fold, Grayling gets promoted for nearly 40 minutes, and Greening is last seen slamming a taxi door in the huff. I hope Grayling has the wit to claim a proportional salary increase for time he was Mibee’s number two(ish). This latest strong and stable pishery has Monty Python and Terry Pratchett written all over it. Next episode please.

John Keast