THERE seem to be a growing number of questions surrounding what a post-independence Scotland would look like. Most of these discussions are, of course, pure conjecture, as we haven’t enjoyed being independent for more than 300 years. However, as far as prompting discussion as to the main issues we would quickly face after a Yes vote, the SNP’s Growth Commission report is a pretty good starting point.

This document at least offers some insight as to the strategies we may adopt post the ending of the Union, and allows us to discuss and analyse them fully. Discussion and analysis are good, and we should welcome the opportunity. No wonder many prominent Unionists are entering a state of some panic on seeing us independence supporters actually investigating possible solutions to the big problems we will face in the future. They prefer to paint us more like English-hating, Braveheart-believing, cult-following independence zealots, who have no hold on reality and are marching blindly on into a promised land that will never materialise.

Well, I’m sorry to disappoint them, but the vast majority of independence supporters are fully aware of the problems and hurdles we will face after a successful Yes result. Scotland would become a small, modern, independent, Northern European nation facing very similar problems to all other nations in the same boat. The difference would be that these problems would be dealt with by a Scottish Government elected absolutely by the voters of Scotland. No longer would we find ourselves in the position of being governed by a party that the people of Scotland did not elect, as has happened on far too many occasions in the past. This is the fundamental prize of independence: it allows the people of Scotland to enjoy self-determination. All decisions in an independent Scotland will be taken by future Scottish Governments that we, the voters of Scotland, elect. We don’t yet know which part of the Scottish political spectrum these governments will come from, that will be decided by us. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

It goes without saying that all of the big issues facing an independent Scotland will have to be tackled post-independence. Questions over the future of Trident, currency, macro-economic strategies, immigration policy, austerity etc can only be truly addressed once independence has been achieved. At least the SNP are willing to put their head above the parapet and put into print proposals regarding how they think things might turn out. But, of course, even they don’t know for certain. Nobody does. How can they?

However, in studying how countries of similar size and situations have fared, we can at least have a stab at it. For this, the SNP and the Growth Commission report must be commended. I’ve yet to read anything from the Unionists outlining their proposals for a post-Brexit UK. They are simply stumbling along in their internecine battlegrounds with no vision whatsoever.

Therefore, the message for all Yes voters is pretty straightforward. Independence first and foremost. Then we can get on with tackling the issues that independence will bring. However, the SNP have stolen a march on all the others, as they are at least considering possible future scenarios. The Unionist parties will find themselves right up the creek, as their level of preparedness for independence seems to revolve around the ostrich-like mantra of “now is not the time”. I think they will find that they will be rather quickly proved wrong.

Alan Carroll

I WAS present at yesterday’s East Lothian Council meeting when the decision was taken by ?ve Labour councillors to impose charges for instrumental instruction in schools. Unimpressive Head of Education Fiona Robertson was forced to admit that no consultation had taken place with parent councils nor had children been formally consulted. Indeed the instructors themselves appear to have had little involvement.

The decision, taken solely by the Labour Cabinet, is lamentable for many reasons, the most important of which is the goodwill on which this service runs.

Despite an impassioned plea from a parent of a dyslexic student and a young student who hopes herself to be a music teacher, this unlistening body pushed ahead regardless.

Not once in the discussion was it mentioned that instrumental instructors offer hundreds of hours of their own time willingly during lunch breaks, after school, in the evenings for school concerts and even at weekends for regional ensembles. Without this goodwill, the service and all the bene?ts that go with it – discipline, team-building, pursuit of excellence, companionship, performance skills and sheer joie de vivre – will evaporate.

Admittedly concessions will be made to those, for instance, who are on free school meals and those with other difficulties, but that misses the point. This service brings everyone together regardless of background.

Today, these ?ve people who supposedly represent us (accompanied by two hours of playing outside the window) have removed the backbone of something transformative, empowering and life-changing from our community and they must live to regret it. Indeed, it was only on a point of order raised that these ?ve individuals had to have their names minuted as passing this damaging day’s work.

I was entertained to see two Labour councillors pinned to the wall of John Muir House by protesting students afterwards – indeed they were still trapped 15 minutes later as I drove past.

For once, politicians are having to face the music!

I have also heard this morning that retiring instructors will not be replaced and our service is already becoming depleted. Commitment to the future?

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