MICHAEL Fry puts the cart before the horse in his latest article (Capitalism will create the solutions to our environmental problems..., The National, January 23).

For Scotland to achieve his idea of growth, we first need freedom – freedom from restrictive Westminster practices and freedom to control Scotland’s economic levers! We are shackled to an outdated and failing UK economic model – of heavily lopsided centralisation, dependency on consumer debt, overspend on military vanity projects. The Scottish Parliament only has very limited powers and not real devolution at all.

I would love to get Fry and the two other main National columnists on business matters – George Kerevan and Gordon McIntrye-Kemp – together to debate these important issues. I’m not against growth, but the UK is working on unsustainable growth and unregulated capitalism, not based on producing or small businesses, but on the greed of a tiny elite.

It is unsustainable. While wealthy pensioners build themselves expensive homes and enjoy ten holidays per year, many young people are neck high in debt with few prospects of ever owning their own home. I went to a talk by McIntrye-Kemp in which he spoke eloquently of a more rounded economic model – one that not only focuses on finance, but on other measure of a healthy economy: health outcomes, education, apprenticeships, happiness, infrastructures and more. We need to change the culture.

This is not only about pushing numbers around, it’s about changing attitudes. This UK top-down approach, as if the money the elite hoard in overseas banks or ten houses will filter down to the rest of us, is simply not true. In the 1980s the rich were around six times richer, now they are 120 times richer than the rest of us. It’s criminal.

Independence will mean the real freedom to make our own choices. Free to choose! Freedom from: Westminster’s Health Secretary deliberately demoralising doctors or privatising the NHS; the Westminster PM deciding to bomb Syria; Scotland’s oil money being spent on London rail projects; and English voters wanting to leave the world’s largest trading bloc. Freedom of control over our own economic levers and to make deals in our best interests. And freedom from not being treated as a second-class citizen in my own country.

Many continue to believe the lies and propaganda of establishment Britain’s nationalist media by burying empty heads in tabloid gossip. We need freedom to debate. The trouble is, many today appear to want simple yes/no answers. Why should they read up on important issues when a simple slogan might do? But then sadly we are lost. To improve and succeed – that is, succeed in improving health outcomes, early education, quality of life, greener environment – we must all engage. We can’t expect a few Farages, Trumps or Mays to provide sufficient (if any!) answers. It’s not possible.

What we do need is rich debate of different points of view. We might never reach achievable consensus but we must at least try! Anyone who believes this doesn’t matter or isn’t urgent should look closely at the recent dire lessons of capitalist UK scandals – the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers, PFIs, endowment mortgages, Grenfell tower, Carillion, the 2008 crash.

We in Scotland can be free of all this and free to make our own decisions, as other independent nations are! And really at TV level all we need are slogans on the side of a bus (£1,200 a year more per person) and a nifty extra-large poster of a Scotland being shackled and dragged down by a failing UK model. It is ironic that many voted for Brexit to escape from global elites – when London is the biggest unregulated, corrupt haven for the global elites to hide their money!

Pauline Keightley