SNP right to take fight to Westminster

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The real significance of former first minister Alex Salmond’s decision to stand again for Westminster is the credibility it gives the SNP’s general election campaign (your report, 8 December).

With the party’s deputy leader now an MP, and its former leader a strong ­favourite to win the Gordon constituency, there can be no excuse now for it to see the House of Commons as simply a distant distraction in ­making the case for ­Scotland’s autonomy.

Yet it seems scarcely credible that the party is still in the process of selecting candidates. Perhaps its leadership takes the view that five months is a long time in politics. Perhaps it feels that, so long as candidates are in place by February, there will be time enough to exploit its current poll ­ratings.

The real prospect of holding the balance of power means its candidates must find time to acquaint themselves with arcane parliamentary procedures.

An ability to exploit those procedures will ­determine whether the Smith Commission proposals can be ­implemented and ­possibly enhanced.

The outcome of the ­general election will help focus minds, too, on a key ­aspect of SNP strategy. Should it push for another referendum or look to Westminster to ­increase Holyrood’s powers gradually?

Post-referendum ­feelings are still very raw. It ­requires cool heads to assess whether another lengthy ­argument about citizenship, currency, defence, taxation and welfare is likely to win the argument lost in September.

A strong Westminster presence, with all the ­profile it will give the Nationalists on the United Kingdom stage, may prove more ­fruitful than another bout of ­pandering for a referendum.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court

Glenrothes

After two years of ­independence campaigning which has divided the ­country, Alex Salmond now wants to go to Westminster as an MP to cause division there.

Is he going to represent the interests of all the Scottish voters and the Gordon voters in particular?

No, he has stated that he is going there to represent the minority of Scots who voted Yes and to “rumble up ­Westminster”.

I hope that the Gordon ­voters see through this ­shallow ­politician.

Paul Lewis

Guardwell Crescent

Edinburgh

There seems to be a lot of brave talk of Alex Salmond returning to Westminster in the spring, as if this were a foregone conclusion.

If the unionists in ­Aberdeenshire can organise some ­tactical voting, ie get behind the best-placed ­opponent (in this case, the Liberal), then he will never see London.

The No vote in the area was about 60 per cent, hence this is ­feasible.

Indeed, I suspect there will be a lot of tactical voting in the next election.

William Ballantine

Dean Road

Bo’ness

West Lothian