IN congratulating the Scottish Government on its Programme for Government one must remember that even if Scotland has the most competent and caring government, that in itself does not deliver independence, which is the central ambition of the Scottish National Party.

There were two reasons why the Yes vote did not win the 2014 referendum. The first was that the Scottish people were not prepared for independence. Most of us didn’t act as if we were already independent, whether as individuals, councillors, parliamentarians or government ministers. As a nation, we didn’t think as if we were independent.

The second was that most Scots are Haves. We live in our own bought, if not paid-for, homes. We are relatively comfortably off and we shamelessly enjoy the many public benefits bestowed on us by the Scottish Government.

Unless the UK economy is hurtling towards an economic iceberg and/or the Scottish Government can secure control of public revenue while creating the conditions for an era of entrepreneurship, then the promised land of independence may leave campaigners struggling to keep the time clock of life expectancy at bay.

Any impression that our First Minister is reluctant to promote independence as a concurrent part of her Programme for Government should be misguided, simply because she can’t stop our Unionist opponents from challenging her independence intentions ad infinitum. That agenda is carved in the stony hearts of the Unionist, because it’s the only agenda they have and can’t be denied. Nor should it.

But it can be gladly accepted by the Scottish Government and all in the Yes movement as it is a rich seam from which we shall deliver an independence vote.

I do hope our First Minister appoints a cabinet secretary for independence whose responsibility will be to prepare the nation for independence and ensure that all policies and legislation promoted by the Scottish Government pass the simple test: do they advance the cause of independence? The Scottish Government already has the powers to take control over all public funding. By using our land and property to effectively replace all current taxation as the source of our public funding, we can release our entrepreneurial juices to create a property-owning democracy which no Unionist will ever achieve, while also providing a Citizen’s Income which will lift everyone out of poverty in a sustainable way unaffected by the uncertainties of the global market. That will give the Haves the reason to vote Yes.
Graeme McCormick
Arden, Loch Lomond

IT was not surprising to hear the opposition parties’ breathtaking attacks on and criticism of the Programme for Government delivered by the First Minister.

It attempts to limit the damage of Westminster austerity cuts and get on with keeping the infrastructure of the country running, and to that end announced that the cap on public sector pay would be lifted – a very wise and welcome announcement. Those opposition parties should have taken the trouble to look at the facts and figures of the SNP in government. Scotland currently has the highest employment in the UK, the highest spend per head on health and the lowest crime figures. Those facts speak for themselves and have only come about because the SNP Government has demonstrated a strong commitment to social justice and the day job.

It would have been refreshing if those opposition parties had taken the opportunity to present their vision and Programme for Government instead of only having criticism to offer.
Catriona C Clark
Banknock, Falkirk