This time voting can make a difference

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We ARE now only a week away from the most momentous election in a lifetime when voting for a political party can actually make a difference and have Scotland’s voice taken seriously in the Westminster corridors of power.

Recently whilst canvassing for the SNP, I was talking to a retired Hebridean fisherman who has been a life-long Labour supporter but found that he was now wavering regarding his voting options.

He had been very much impressed by the honest passion and utter dedication of Nicola Sturgeon in her desire to improve things throughout Scotland and beyond and – at the same time – quite unimpressed with Jim Murphy.

I explained that there was to be a meeting on 20 April – described by many as “critical for Scotland’s future fishing interests” as it impacted on North Sea fish stocks where Scotland has a dominant ­interest.

During the discussion, I highlighted the fact that our own Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead was excluded from such critical talks and that Westminster had already decided that the unelected peer Lord Rupert Ponsonby the 7th Baron de Mauley should lead the discussions on Scotland’s behalf.

It may be interesting to note that the Baron’s major claim to fame in 2013 was to set up a national strategy for bee pollination.

Fishermen who risk their lives to provide fresh fish for our plates deserve better treatment. Can I also add that this Lewis fisherman is no longer wavering!

Perhaps I am wrong, but I feel that this dismissive, condescending and negative attitude to Scotland and democratically-elected Scottish politicians is the rule in Westminster rather than the exception. No wonder people in Scotland are voting to demand a stronger voice in Westminster

John G MitcheLl


Isle of Harris

Nicola Sturgeon has the brass neck to lecture Westminster on “a basic lesson in democracy” (Your report, 27 March). Is there no limit to her hypocrisy?

Having failed to achieve independence legitimately via the ballot box, Ms Sturgeon intends to blackmail a needy Labour government into granting creeping independence by the back door.

Westminster’s “first past the post” system means that the SNP doesn’t need in excess of 50 per cent of the vote to accrue more independence powers, merely a sizeable chunk of Westminster seats. And the more seats the SNP secures, the more compliant Ed Miliband will be to Alex Salmond’s as yet undisclosed separatist demands.

That’s true SNP democracy for you!

Miss Sturgeon doesn’t even have the decency to be up-front with Scottish voters and admit that, for the SNP, the general election is also a dry run for the next referendum. We all know that austerity is a smokescreen. The number Miss Sturgeon will be scrutinising very closely is what percentage of the vote the SNP achieves in May and how this might play out in a second referendum. The higher the percentage, the greater the likelihood that a referendum will appear in the SNP’s 2016 Holyrood manifesto – it’s that simple.

The only game in town for the SNP is independence. It is even remotely possible that Miss Sturgeon could stop patronising us and admit the truth?

Martin Redfern

Royal Circus


It IS clear from comments made by several SNP parliamentary candidates (Your report, 27 March) that their main aim still, like that of their party, is to break up the UK.

This gives the lie to Nicola Sturgeon’s protestations that she wants to extend a “genuine hand of friendship” to the rest of the UK.

Now that Ed Milliband has ruled out any kind of deal with the SNP, there is still one more important statement that must be made by both him and David Cameron.

In order to make it plain that the only way Scots can influence business in parliament is by voting for either Labour or Conservative, both party leaders must make it crystal-clear that there will be no second referendum on Scottish independence, full stop.

Would the SNP have allowed a second vote if the Yes campaign had won? Of course not. We would have been told that the Scottish people had made their decision and that that was that. Well, the decision has been made and, indeed, that is that.

Equally, as Nicola Sturgeon knows, if Labour had done a deal with the SNP, they would have been destroyed as a party, as no one south of the Border would ever have trusted them again. Ed Milliband’s statement was essential for Labour Party survival.

Now, an unequivocal statement ruling out any further referendum must be made by both main parties. Not to do so makes a mockery of the final decision made last year.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive