Sturgeon’s statesman-like speech was made with an eye to next year’s poll

There’s no doubt about it, Nicola Sturgeon is canny; you have to admire her political skill.

She knows public opinion is deeply divided over Syria and, to some extent, transcends party political boundaries.

The First Minister has an eye to next May’s elections. She must perform on major issues to be returned decisively.

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So Ms Sturgeon attempts to adopt a statesman-like role, maintaining there’s “an honest difference of opinion” with the Prime Minister over airstrikes. By assuming this seemingly measured position, she reaches out to those of us both for and against military action.

Yet – and this is the clever bit – she’s making certain her party’s standpoint is different both to the majority of Westminster MPs and, crucially for her, the rest of the UK. The First Minister is fond of conflating the SNP with Scotland and so, when the Syrian conflict is behind us, she will claim Scotland’s stance in international affairs differs from the rest of the UK.

What’s significantly less clever – in fact, it’s downright unacceptable – is that the SNP is ­willing to use British military action to perpetuate its divisive narrative.

Martin Redfern

Royal Circus, Edinburgh

One of the more depressing aspects of the Syria debate is the utter certainty of many people in the face of a very difficult and complex situation.

In most walks of life, total certainty usually indicates a lack of understanding. Indeed, it is blind faith and utter certainty which is creating much of the current problem.

It is entirely understandable that politicians in the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties are divided on the issue, and each individual will vote with his/her conscience. This demonstrates that they are struggling with the complexity of the situation.

But not so the SNP. They “know” the answer to this problem, always a worrying sign. Just as they “know” that paying GPs less in deprived areas is a demonstration of social justice, perhaps?

Carole Ford

Terregles Ave, Glasgow