Risking a schism

Allan Massie (Perspective, 17 December) suggested that in spite of its “surge in membership and riding high in the polls” the SNP is, in certain quarters, “more unpopular than it has ever been” as a “consequence of the ­manner in which it conducted its referendum campaign”.

Depending on the outcomes of the general election north and south of the Border and of the possible referendum on Europe, independence may ­become almost inevitable on the basis of a significant consensus among the Scottish people.

However, unless YeSNP learns its lesson and becomes much less aggressive, more ­understanding and conciliatory, a deep split could remain within Scottish society, a bleak outlook for a newly created state.

John Milne

Ardgowan Drive


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I am grateful to Douglas Turner (Letters, 19 December) for explaining how democracy works by reminding me that “a number of MSPs” defected from the SNP as a result of its most ­recent U-turn on Nato.

Mr Turner also rightly points out that political parties are ­allowed to change policies. ­Indeed, so adept have the SNP proved at this strategy that ­perhaps they could be more aptly named New SNP.

A change of approach from the SNP which would have been very much welcomed was ­signalled by Nicola Sturgeon’s vow to adopt a consensual and listening approach – as opposed to the wrecking ball tactics ­favoured by her predecessor.Unfortunately, Ms Sturgeon’s willingness to listen seems to be somewhat selective. She continues to turn a deaf ear to suggestions, for instance, in relation to the nonsensical state guardian policy – such as ditching it.

She promises, on the other hand, to be all ears to discussions on replacing or revising the council tax. Does she, one wonders, fear that the long-held SNP policy of a local income tax would prove to be unpopular with voters and should be quietly kicked into the long grass?

Why not try a bit of Salmond-like sleight of hand then and disguise the change as not so much a policy U-turn but rather a willingness to take on board the views of the opposition parties in the new “listening” spirit? Not much evidence of a new SNP ­approach there!

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue


I enjoy the letters page most days but of late I almost hesitate to open it in case there is another increasingly personal battle between Messrs Hamilton and Turner.

Both gentlemen are clearly committed to their respective causes.

Could you not consider giving them each other’s e-mail addresses and letting them carry on their tiresome arguments in private because for the rest of us, enough is enough, thanks.

Mike Provan

Main Street

Townhill, Dunfermline