SNP and Scottish nationalism

Sir, – It was generous of you to devote so much space to Joanna Cherry's response (Letters, January 19th) to Fintan O'Toole's article from Saturday's Irish Times ("Brexit could help Scotland's first minister overcome some of the obstacles to independence",Opinion & Analysis, January 16th).

The article did not appear to be an attempt at a comprehensive history of the SNP, but rather a summary of the present situation of the independence movement in Scotland – aside from Alex Salmond, no mention was made of John Swinney, SNP leader from 2000 to 2004.

In her enthusiasm to defend Mr Salmond, Ms Cherry claims that he “very nearly won” the 2014 independence referendum. That vote was lost, much to my regret, by 55 per cent to 45 per cent. The independence movement includes, but is much wider than, the Scottish National Party. In the face of a determined unionist opponent, we need to avoid any self-inflicted wounds which might arise from factionalism within our ranks. – Yours, etc,