ANOTHER very insightful article from Michael Fry on Tuesday (Good social policies need a thriving economy to take root, April 3), in which he analysed pretty much what is wrong with the SNP today. They are too intent on imposing their social will on the general public, often with policies that are not liked and not really needed.

He touches on much of the economic outlook that is being ignored and needs closer attention. He outlines the waste of money we are enduring through an over-preponderance of quangos. Quite rightly he demonstrates that we have lost a very good financial wizard through moving John Swinney sideways into education, and he finishes his article with two sentences that highlight the problem Scotland faces: “Unless the Scottish Government can give us a reasonable prospect of becoming richer after we leave the UK, then the referendum will be lost again. For that reason, it is vital to get the economics right – as the Scottish Government is at the moment not doing.”

I have said it before and I will say it again: we need someone with financial ability. The SNP could choose between John Swinney or Alex Salmond or both, or indeed one of the many other economic advisers available to them, who would sit down and show exactly what an independent Scotland would cost us and how it would be funded.

Instead we get the minimum alcohol pricing that will do nothing but harm to the whisky business, which is one of Scotland’s most profitable exports. Minimum pricing is not needed and it’s not nice. It treats everyone like criminals. We are all punished financially for buying alcohol, even if our consumption is within the government’s recommended limits and even if we are sitting quietly at home drinking it and not harming anyone. What is needed instead is a policy of harsher punishments for those who are abusing alcohol and causing trouble through that abuse; coupled with a policy of helping those who are addicted to it to throw off their addiction.

I would respectfully suggest to Nicola Sturgeon and her government that they stop and think for a minute. While they do so they might ask themselves the question: “Did we lose seats at the last election because people are swayed towards other parties, or because people want to punish us for the unpopular policies we are introducing?”

I’ve noticed a number of your correspondents recently stating that they will stay with the SNP until we get independence because it’s the only way, but after that many have said they will go over to the Greens or perhaps to a truly SCOTTISH Labour Party. I have to say that as a staunch SNP supporter since the 1970s I am fast moving towards that position myself (I’ll probably go Green). Unless the SNP change their way of working and move towards a more appropriate economic programme, instead of concentrating on developing a more stringent “nanny state”, they will be ushering in their own demise.

Charlie Kerr

THE way Michael Fry, everyone’s favourite not-so-cryptic English Tory, tried to make decent wages, social justice and public-sector provision conditional on “a thriving economy” (translation: limitless profits for the rich) isn’t just alien to us. It’s alien to logic.

“Growth” as a primary “moral” imperative always demands more growth, something threatened at every point by even a reasonable degree of public spending. This “justifies” a dubiously constant “deficit” being curable only by inhuman austerity, while tax levels – raising which even temporarily could do more to reduce this deficit than anything – are minimised. It is short-term and blinkered thinking taking the place of real longer-term planning.

The Tories will never be any different. They can never escape their asocial psychology. Different political (read: national) culture is what’s needed. Fry exhibits the blinkered southern conception of the world only as a shop. The existence of social community and its legitimate human demands he dismisses as a cost to it.

The current New Statesman offers evidence from Portugal that defeating austerity can be combined with a “thriving economy”. But Englanders, whether Little or Greater, will never want to know.

Ian McQueen

THERE have been letters in the National from correspondents affirming their desire for an independent Scotland while opposing the EU “neo-liberal political club” (Andy Anderson, Letters, April 4). I have been puzzled about how they would see an independent Scotland going forward, and it seems to me that the only possibility would be to make trade deals around the world as proposed by the UK Brexiteers.

Andy says that though he does not like the people who run the EU, he has no problem with being in the customs union and single market like Norway. This would mean having to obey rules made by these very same people (apart, perhaps, from on farming and fishing), having no say in making the rules but paying for the pleasure. There may be reasons for preferring to be in the single market but not in the EU itself – but, logically, simply not liking the EU political class which is responsible for the single market is not one of them.

We don’t live in a perfect world and the EU is not perfect; personally I would much prefer an independent Scotland to be in the EU, helping to shape reforms in partnership with other like-minded members.

Tom Crozier