Balance of power

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Would a “Yes alliance” in Scotland enhance the prospects of the independence movement at next year’s general election? I think George Kerevan is right to point out the intellectual, practical and political difficulties in such a set-up (Perspective, 26 November).

Surely the main objective of those who seek autonomy must be to hold the balance of power in Westminster by the second week in May.

That can best be achieved by putting forward candidates with a clear aim, clear backing and clear commitment. Whether we like it or not, the Scottish National Party “ticket” is the vehicle that will help get candidates elected to hold that balance of power in the House of Commons.

The very good poll ratings for the Nationalists should not encourage complacency.

Ukip, the Democratic Unionists in Northern Ireland, the Greens and Plaid Cymru all aspire to hold real influence over whoever becomes the government in the spring.

The timetable for selection of SNP candidates appears to be very tight (in Glenrothes and Central Fife, for example, the SNP hopes to have a candidate in place by early February to help overturn a Labour majority of over 16,000).

The voters have yet to be convinced that the Nationalists take their representation at Westminster seriously.

The publication of the Smith Commission proposals will help the party focus clearly on the objective of ensuring that they become eventually legislation. It will be no easy task if the rhetoric of some Conservative backbenchers is anything to go by. But it will be made easier if the public are not confused about where the allegiance of pro-independence MPs actually lies.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court