Letter: Union fightback

While Alexander McKay and I sing from the same unionist hymnsheet, I think he is wrong (Letters, 10 June) to attack the Labour Party for not stressing, during the recent Holyrood election, the dangers of independence in relation to shipyard contracts, base closures and membership of Nato.

Respected commentators, in The Scotsman and elsewhere, declared that independence had been shunted into the long grass and that the voter could afford, for the time being, to ignore separatism and vote on other issues. Alex. Salmond fuelled this train of thought and presented himself as a pragmatic gradualist. Hence his declaration that the promised referendum would take place in the latter stages of the new parliament.

How things have gone wrong. Thanks to the Supreme Court affair and reports on high-profile meetings between Scottish and UK ministers, independence now dominates the political agenda. This change is not to the advantage of the SNP. The more the details and difficulties of independence are publicly discussed, the less likely it is to obtain majority support in Scotland.

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Furthermore, the unionists are now getting their act together and their campaign is likely to be backed by crucial political and business interests.

Given the large number of "fundamentalists" in the SNP, some of whom are now in the expanded SNP back benches, the argument in favour of tactical voting has been exposed for the sham that it always was.


North Larches