BUSINESS for Scotland’s vision of a socio-economic model for Scotland is refreshingly progressive and visionary. It is a programme that should be able to be embraced by the SNP, the Green Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party, because it is liberal and social democratic, environmentally aware and ethical, egalitarian and entrepreneurial.

It is especially beneficial for small and medium-sized businesses and effectively sets the stage for them to play a larger role in Scotland’s affairs at every level. It invites greater participation by workforces and sets the parameters for a fairer economic system than the present model which benefits large, foreign-based, capital-intensive companies.

I just hope it is not rejected by Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians because it is friendly towards the concept of Scottish independence. It is, after all, compatible with a strengthened devolutionary settlement, proper Vow-like home rule and the federalism model.

There is only one thing I disagree with in Gordon Macintyre Kemp’s analysis. He says it is an alternative to the right-left political divide. It is certainly an alternative model, but it is quite clearly inclined towards the left simply because it advocates greater egalitarianism, which I see as the fundamental definition of democratic socialism. If he means that it is an alternative to state-run enterprises, then that is a different matter.

I believe that a mixed economy of private and public has served the best social democracies of northern Europe extremely well. I suspect Gordon actually favours the nationalisation or joint ownership by the public of the railways and possibly other large utilities which do not fall within the ambit of small and medium enterprises. As a lifelong democratic socialist I wholeheartedly endorse the vision which Business for Scotland has produced.

Dr David White

I WELCOME Stirling University’s study of how the Scottish Government analysed the potential impacts of unconventional oil and gas, including fracking for shale gas, coalbed methane extraction and underground coal gasification (Scotland leads world in fracking risk assessment, April 11).

Their comparison of the approach taken by the Scottish Government to 14 other countries concluded that “in terms of breadth, depth and scale, this approach appears to be more detailed than any undertaken to date globally”.

The public consultation process provided a very significant contribution to this process and had a very large number of respondents, with a strong majority being against this industry being allowed to operate in Scotland.

It should be noted, however, that although the UK Government was responsible for licensing gas exploration and development, both conventional and unconventional onshore oil and gas licensing powers were devolved to the Scottish Government under the Scotland Act 12016 on February 9 2018.

It has come to my attention that Onshore Petroleum and Development Licences (PEDLs) issued in the 13th round in 2008 see their initial term expire on June 30 2018.

A PEDL cannot move from its initial term to second term without drilling a well. Works undertaken in second term may include drilling of further wells to increase the understanding of the field, designing the the engineering facilities and planning further wells required for production, purchasing or leasing land for well pads and pipelines and any other infrastructure required for the development, gaining the necessary planning permissions and other permits and permissions to construct and operate the developments, and raising funding.

It should be noted that the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) can progress a PEDL to its next term in advance of the term expiry date and did so on a number of PEDLs in 2016. A PEDL cannot move from its initial term to second term without drilling a well.

The Midland Valley licence, PEDL162, was awarded in the 13th round, with its initial term expiring on June 30 2018.

This is an interesting licence, held by Ineos Upstream Ltd, where there has been no drilling, so the decision will be to either extend the initial term or relinquish the PEDL. The decision-maker, though, is not the OGA, but the Scottish Government. If the Scottish Government is serious about banning fracking, then this is its opportunity to demonstrate its intent by terminating this PEDL for noncompliance with its Work Programme. This would hopefully be the “final nail in the coffin” for fracking in Scotland and I hope the Scottish Government will take this forward. I have written to my Green MSP to raise this issue for discussion in the Scottish Parliament and look forward to the outcome.

Eleanor Jarvis

I SUPPORT the comments by Keith Brown MSP regarding SNP members having to be ready to campaign and win the next independence referendum. That is true, but we also need the wider independence-supporting public to be ready and able to join the ranks of everyone who supports independence to make sure we win. However, I would question why aren’t we ready just now? It’s been a long time since September 18 2014 – surely all the analysis of what went wrong has been carried out by now, and if not, why not?

We can’t be ready for a referendum unless we are out campaigning for it now. We can’t afford to sit back and wait – that’s time that we could be using to motivate our activists and members, encourage more people to support independence and be ready to launch our campaign at a moment’s notice. We’ve all seen the broken vows and are aware of how bad Brexit will be, so let’s stop talking and start acting.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren