ONCE upon a time, there was a party that was growing in popularity and at the same time exerted iron discipline over its members. A prohibition on public disagreement between members was inserted into its constitution. But now the SNP is dissolving into factions. It seemed to start with the criticism voiced in party circles at the SNP’s Growth Commission’s report, especially the points about the need to rein in public spending in a separate Scotland. Already, former SNP MPs Alex Salmond and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh were running a TV show on Putin’s propaganda channel, RT. The supreme leader voiced her disapproval of that… to no effect. Now, Angus MacNeil, SNP MP proclaims his intention to continue to appear on RT, in spite of criticism from both Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford (“MP accuses MPs on RT of being ‘propaganda tools’”, The Herald, Seprember 13).

On Saturday, another risible Hope Over Fear event will be held in Glasgow (“MSP pulls out of speaking at rally organised by Sheridan”, The Herald, September 13). It isn’t clear whether the star attraction is convicted perjurer Tommy Sheridan or the fantasy film Braveheart, which many nationalists regard as a documentary. The event is not sponsored by the SNP, and its leading figures will not attend. But some SNP MSPs and councillors will be there.

The expanded membership of the SNP, claimed to be 125,000, is posing problems for the ruling party. Differences of opinion are being raised in public, with the “go for it now” tendency demanding another referendum asap and the party leadership more cannily deferring it. Mr Blackford has just suggested a decision on it, mooted for October, would now delay it until the end of the year, once Brexit terms are known January (“No decision on second indyref ‘until November’”, The Herald, September 13). When the reality of the referendum being deferred for months or years hits the radicals, they will not show restraint in making their displeasure known.

Jill Stephenson,

Glenlockhart Valley. Edinburgh.

SO SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, presumably on Nicola Sturgeon’s instructions, “leaks” that she won’t be announcing in October whether or not she’ll be demanding a second independence referendum – and it’ll be more like December or January.

As we know, Theresa May has repeatedly made clear in public and to Ms Sturgeon directly that “now is not the time” for a referendum – and undoubtedly that will apply equally in October, January and at least up to the next Holyrood election, irrespective of Brexit negotiation timetable or outcomes.

Naturally the SNP leader will insist whatever the outcome of Brexit, it’ll be bad for Scotland – and thus good for the SNP. She’ll then try to extract maximum grievance value out of being rejected again by the Prime Minister – and will continue until 2021 to use Holyrood as a soapbox from which to dispense anti-UK rhetoric.

Martin Redfern,

Woodcroft Road, Edinburgh.

JEREMY Corbyn continues to demonstrate his unsuitability for high office (“Commons probe over ‘security breach’ by Corbyn aide”, The Herald, September 13). Mr Corbyn has exhibited no concern in the past over UK security and recently has shown a similar lack of concern over the status of moderate Labour MPs as well as the Jewish community. His praise for somewhat extreme foreign governments and his attacks on friendly governments are all a cause for alarm.

As his followers continue to extend their stranglehold on Labour Party policy this lack of a security pass by his own private secretary speaks volumes. The moderates in the current Labour Party are fast running out of time to reverse the direction Mr Corbyn is on. Mr Corbyn’s Labour party in power would upend the status quo but lack of a credible Labour Party will give the SNP a relatively clear field to continue its plan to break up the Union. Either way, Scotland could sleepwalk into uncharted waters at a time of greatly increasing international upheaval – not a scenario that exudes confidence.

Dr Gerald Edwards,

Broom Road, Glasgow.

JUST what does David Lidington mean when he demands that “the devolved administrations ….. come together, to pull in the same direction and agree the ambitious and pragmatic Brexit that is in all our interests” (“Roaming charges warning as ‘pull together’ plea made to Sturgeon”, The Herald, September 13)? The fact is the devolved administrations have had no direct role in any of the Brexit negotiations with the EU, which are the consequences of Westminster alone. Indeed, Scotland voted that we should not leave the EU.

Moreover, does he not realise that Westminster is sovereign and that it is not necessary for the devolved administrations to agree any kind of Brexit? Westminster can simply pass the necessary legislation, or, as they have done with the European Withdrawal Act, treat the agreement or disagreement by a devolved administration as its consent to any proposal by Westminster.

I am certain that for political reasons Mr Lidington would be much happier if the devolved administrations did agree, and that they would “pull together” with Westminster. However, for any practical purposes the sovereignty of the House of Commons makes this unnecessary. So why not just be candid? Why not make clear that Westminster has been in charge and remains so. That the role of the devolved administrations is to accept whatever is handed down to them? Unless of course that would not be politically expedient?

Alasdair Galloway,

14 Silverton Avenue, Dumbarton.

FURTHER to Boris Johnson’s latest outburst and the continuing distorted Brexiter thinking, let one thing be clear, the UK is already independent. Like any other member state of the EU the UK sets its own levels of taxation including VAT, state pensions, all social security benefits and spending on public services. It also has full control over defence, foreign affairs, national security, its own currency and whether or not to go to war. The UK controls its natural assets, power generation, air and sea transportation, passports and a whole lot more. In other words the EU is not about sovereignty, it is purely about trade, social regulation and the free movement of its citizens within its borders in peaceful coexistence. While the British Brexit campaign is all about exclusion and immigration, the Scottish Yes campaign is all about inclusion and independence. Scotland will never be able to reach its full potential as a nation while shackled to a divided and debt-ridden Britain struggling with its imperial past to remain a world power.

Grant Frazer,

Cruachan, Newtonmore.