YOUR leader on 1 March summarised the history of tactical voting in Scotland, and was right to note the Nationalists’ recent enthusiasm for it. However, we contend that your analysis of the current political situation missed some important points.
Scotland In Union will be a positive force for Scotland and the UK, and has long-term aims which extend beyond May this year. We will help to heal the divisions caused by the referendum – divisions not just within Scotland but also between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
In the short term, healing those divisions will not be helped by a raft of unreformed nationalists making trouble at Westminster, with many elected by a minority of their constituents thanks to the “first past the post” system. People all over Scotland are already talking about tactical voting to prevent this happening, and we should have the courage to discuss it openly.
Rather than it being “naive” to discuss tactical voting at this juncture, it is naive to ignore the subject, or to deny its prevalence. People need proper information on how tactical voting works, and the situation in their own constituencies, so they can make their own minds up. They do not need denials of the reality of politics in Scotland today.
Alastair Cameron and Felicity Kane, Scotland In Union, Glasgow
YOUR front page story and subsequent editorial headlined “Tactical vote would backfire” (1 March) fail to understand the dynamics that currently exist in Scotland with regards to pro-Union tactical voting.
The current initiatives encouraging tactical voting are not driven by political parties, or even by political activists. They reflect the simple reality that a large proportion of the population have developed this view in their minds. The issue that should have been resolved last year is still there, and the political chattering classes and those in the journalistic/internet bubble seem to be taken in by this at the expense of examining the nuts and bolts of more powers and how they might work. People resent that.
People thinking about tactical voting are not naïve, and nor should they be written off as “Brit Nats”, which is SNP- speak and derogatory. I think the final election result will be closer to that seen in 2010 than many people seem to think. With a diversity in representation we will have a diversity of opinion and that will serve us much better going forwards in what are, unquestionably, interesting but unsettling times.
Victor Clements, Aberfeldy
I WAS a little taken aback reading last week’s editorial to find that I am to be considered “naïve in the extreme”, in seeking ways to oppose the continuing onslaught of Scottish nationalism. My surprise and disappointment is heightened by my suspicion that hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland might well hold similar views to mine and that this piece was in a newspaper which normally seems to take a more measured approach.
You may think it odd that I take your editorial so personally, but the nationalists’ refusal to properly accept the outcome of September’s referendum and their cynical attempts at every turn to seek to undermine the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK is for me a very personal issue. Again, like hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people in Scotland, while I have lived in Scotland for many years, elsewhere in the UK I have family, friends, colleagues and customers of businesses that I have worked for, that I care about and want to remain close to. I do not want to find ourselves divided by the Scottish Nationalists’ separatist ambitions and their language of false and exaggerated grievance.
Surely I am right to be deeply concerned when I see that the SNP are seeking to have people elected into Westminster with the sole purpose of undermining that Parliament at every turn as they prepare the necessary groundwork for another referendum?
It is, of course, perfectly reasonable that the great majority of people in Scotland will in all likelihood simply vote for the party they usually favour and it is understandable that none of the unionist parties will publicly support any ideas of tactical voting. Equally though, is it not just as reasonable for those of us who view keeping our country together as the main priority, to vote however we feel will best further that cause?
You seem to be suggesting that because the SNP propagandists will try to dismiss tactical voting as some kind of underhand deal between Labour and the Tories, that those of us deeply troubled about the direction our country is potentially heading in should simply meekly stand down and let the nationalists have it all their own way.
But surely we all know after the last three years of campaigning that the disingenuous SNP leadership along with their fervent supporters online will cry foul whatever their opponents do, no matter if it is good, bad or indifferent.
So, can I politely say thanks but no thanks for your advice. Instead, I’ll choose who I will vote for and why.
Keith Howell, West Linton
Challenges posed by antisemitism
DANI Garavelli was quite right to condemn antisemitic attacks in her Insight article last week.
It was interesting to note that the article also suggested that there was considerable support for the state of Israel amongst the Scottish Jewish community.
I think the article presents two challenges. The first challenge is for political parties and individuals to do all they can to rid our society of antisemitism and other forms of bigotry.
The second challenge is for more members of the Scottish Jewish community to reflect on how the government of Israel conducts itself.
Hopefully upon reflection more of them might then be prepared to condemn the cruel and heartless blockade of Gaza and the continuing illegal settlement building being carried out by that government.
Arthur West, Irvine