Readers' Letters: Make 4 July General Election Scotland's Independence Day

This coming General Election is on the US Independence Day; let us make this Scotland’s Independence Day, an opportunity for independence supporting parties to come together in an Alliance for Action to demand independence.

A new approach is needed as there is no parliamentary or judicial route to independence. All parties go into a General Election looking for a mandate. It is the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to decide what is to happen in Scotland. All parties should work together for that mandate to be for independence, where a majority of voters across Scotland are asked to vote for independence-supporting parties – turn the General Election into a referendum across Scotland.

The answer to the question on how to get independence used to be to vote for the SNP. However, their recent record in Westminster and the Scottish Parliament has led to much division on the Yes side. Majorities of SNP seats at UK elections should have led to independence negotiations. The UK has said No, the courts have said No, and the SNP have accepted the situation.

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The failure of the SNP has led to the formation of other independence-supporting parties – Scottish Greens, Alba, Independence for Scotland Party, Sovereignty, Scottish Libertarian Party, and there will be Independents for Independence as well. All these should commit to the Alliance for Action to make all votes count.

Reader says it's time to revive SNP legend Winnie Ewing's cry of 'Stop the World, Scotland wants to get on' (Picture: Terry Fincher/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)Reader says it's time to revive SNP legend Winnie Ewing's cry of 'Stop the World, Scotland wants to get on' (Picture: Terry Fincher/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Reader says it's time to revive SNP legend Winnie Ewing's cry of 'Stop the World, Scotland wants to get on' (Picture: Terry Fincher/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Any vote for any independence-supporting party should be counted as a vote for independence, a majority across Scotland supporting independence would mean that the voters have instructed the political parties in Scotland to implement independence.

Given there is no parliamentary or judicial route to Independence, a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) is what remains open. UDI is the way forward for Scotland. To be clear, UDI is not a request to Westminster to give permission to grant a referendum. It is Scotland starting negotiations for independence.

Party leaders should gather in Edinburgh after the election to take their mandate forward.

SNP legend Winnie Ewing once declared, “Stop the World, Scotland wants to get on”. UDI is the start of that process, for Scotland to become independent.

Brian Nugent, Burra, Shetland

Pragmatic union

The 2022 Census results released this week underline the fact that for many north of the Border, the Union is simply an economic one. With 65.5 per cent of the population identifying as Scottish only, up from 62.4 per cent in 2011, and those who describe themselves as Scottish and British dropping from 18.3 per cent to 8.32 per cent, it is clear that pragmatic Scots seem happy to stay in a union as long as it appears to be a safer economic bet than the risk and uncertainty of going it alone.

Thus, to preserve the Union, particularly with the prospect of a border poll in Northern Ireland, the new Labour government (as it looks increasingly likely) must be mindful of this, given that the majority of those living in Scotland, having voted to stay in the UK in 2014, also voted in 2016 to stay part of another economic union, that of the EU. For unionism, the identity argument may be lost, but the economic argument still persuades.

Stuart Smith, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen

Peers review

“General Election” is a misnomer. The election will be a “House of Commons Election” for its members, limited by law to 650. It will not be an election for any members of the House of Lords, the UK Parliament’s unelected second chamber that is essential to the passing of UK legislation.

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The UK Parliament’s website currently lists 784 “sitting” members of the House of Lords, whose numbers fluctuate and are not limited by law. It defines them as “eligible Members of the House of Lords who can scrutinise bills, investigate government activity through committee work, and questions government through oral and written questions, as well as debates”. In addition, there are 36 members who “are currently not eligible to take part in the work of the House of Lords”, mostly because they are on “Leave of Absence” for unstated reasons.

Which possible new Prime Minister – Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer or Ed Davey – will bring about a fully elected second chamber, and when? Not one of them?

E Campbell, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire

Whinger school

In response to the news that there's to be a General Election, virtually the first broadcast response we hear from John Swinney is a petulant whinge that it'll be during the Scottish school holidays. Not a trenchant comment on the economy or astute observation about the NHS. Of course not. Is such puerile, victim-playing drivel really the best he can offer? And here's the thing: there's also postal voting!

If that's Swinney's best shot, the SNP is going to give its opponents little cause for concern over the coming weeks.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Do the maths

Would someone reminder John Swinney regarding the UK election that not all schools are on holiday on 4 July and the facility to vote by post in available to all. So much for an ex-Education Minister and Central Belt thinking.

Martin Calder, Aberdeen

London bias

Can anyone recall a General Election being held in July?

The Prime Minister has called a General Election for 4 July, when many Scottish people take advantage of holidays before the travel companies and airlines hike up their prices for the English school holidays.

Holyrood will be on its annual recess by then. Many council officials will have booked their holidays in early July as most Scottish councils don’t hold meetings that month.

So will the Returning Officers, electoral officials, polling clerks, the press, the count officials and all those who stay up all night to count our votes, who have already booked their annual holidays in early July be expected to cancel them? What compensation will there be, I wonder.

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All this to suit a London-based Prime Minister? Did no one in Westminster realise this when deciding the time of the election?Would the Prime Minister have called a General Election in August, during the Westminster recess and in the middle of the English school holidays? I think not.

Fiona Garwood, Edinburgh

Be afraid

On Wednesday, SNP leader Stephen Flynn called the Prime Minister a "fearty" for not calling a summer election. A few hours later when Rishi Sunak did actually announce the election for 4 July, SNP First Minister John Swinney described this as “disrespectful”!

A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries

Election irony

An election on US Independence Day is ironic given the Tory party has lost its way since the Brexit vote of 2016. That was meant to herald the UK taking back control of its borders but has ended up with a resurgent Brexit party in the guise of Reform and a failed Rwanda policy likely to get trashed by legal challenges. Many Brexit voters feel cheated given recent record net migration. Reform votes will help ensure a Labour majority given their impact in traditional Tory areas during the local elections. A crumb of comfort for the Tories is a Labour vote only gaining 3 per cent, potentially not enough to guarantee a majority.

Political expert Professor John Curtice had previously stated that the SNP may use an independence vote as the price to prop up a minority Labour government. This seems unlikely now and recently Prof Curtice cited the polls showing Labour about 20 points ahead as enough for a majority, albeit Labour too faces a challenge from Reform and from the Muslim vote due to its stance on Gaza.

Judging Rishi Sunak on his record means his five pledges, of which only halving inflation has been achieved. A cut and run election confirms that stopping the boats, growing the economy, cutting waiting lists and reducing debt will be missed. It points to Sunak having had enough of division within his own party and his government’s lack of progress however he spins it otherwise.

Universal cheers in the Commons heralded Tory MP Craig Mackinlay on his return from recovering from sepsis. Given this rare show of parliamentary unity perhaps he is one of the few Tory MPs confident of retaining their seat!

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Low blow

Just when you thought the SNP could not sink any lower, new First Minister John Swinney, declares he will not support the sanctioning of one of his MSPs, Michael Matheson, who breached the MSP’s code of conduct over an £11,000 iPad bill. I understand that the last thing that Mr Swinney wants is a by-election that would cost money that the SNP does not have and perhaps also a seat at Holyrood if Mr Matheson were induced to resign. Nevertheless, Mr Matheson has been found by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to have breached the MSPs’ code of conduct, with a committee of MSPs recommending a penalty of exclusion from Holyrood for 27 days and forfeiture of salary for 54 days. At Westminster, but not at Holyrood, such a recommendation would lead to the MP involved facing a recall motion.

This case demonstrates clearly that the conventions of the Holyrood parliament are not fit for purpose.

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It is beyond time that, at the very least, they were scrutinised and revised.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

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