IT was well worth the long wait for the report from Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission. To my mind this is the most impressive economic document to have appeared in Scotland since we got devolution in 1999.

Not that I agree with every word of it. In fact it seems to me at certain points too kind to the many enemies of the Scottish Parliament, as it is or might be. I don’t really agree we should accept a liability for part of UK public debt, not at least unless we get a share of UK official reserves too. I believe that the GERS figures, supposedly detailing government tax-and-spend in Scotland, are just wrong, and that the report should not have built them into the base of its own argument.

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But what I like most is how the report directs our gaze away from the quibbling grievances of the past towards the opportunities of the future. It tells us a free Scotland will be a new kind of country, a country of the twenty-first century, not forever digging up the grave of 1707 or griping about Thatcherism. In Andrew’s own words, “Hope must conquer fear … but that hope needs to be grounded in clear-sighted reality and a rigorous plan.”

All to the good, then, that the report is written (mostly) by professional economists rather than as an exercise in political partisanship. It is a serious piece of work that deserves to be taken seriously, both by Unionists whose first and mistaken knee-jerk reaction is feigned scorn and contempt, and by left-wing nationalists whose suspicious mutters can already be heard.

I can understand the suspicion. Winnie Ewing said: “Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on.” It’s taken a while, but this report shows us at least hailing the bus and preparing to board. It sets economic growth as the main policy goal for Scottish government.

Otherwise, all other goals will be beyond our reach, short of eye-watering levels of taxation. If we cannot offer Scots enough of a chance of economic growth, in other words a more rapidly rising standard of living, we will not persuade them to vote for independence at the next referendum. Nationalists espousing different kinds of goals are in for a long wait.

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The second main goal is to make public expenditure sustainable. At the moment in Scotland it is unsustainable. It can go on so long as we remain part of the UK fiscal system, but we will need to fend for ourselves once we move outside.

We will have to balance the books or else borrow from those international markets willing to trust us (which at first they may not). So there can be no spending spree after independence. We will need to learn and enforce discipline. And then we can throw away the begging bowl for good.

Thirdly, the report sees the choice of currency not as a fetish, but as a matter for rational judgment. From the moment of independence we can, if we want, continue to use sterling because it is a reserve currency open to everybody to use, with or without formal monetary union. After a period we can move to establish a Scottish currency if that suits us, which will be an essential step towards eventually joining the euro – something we should probably set as our ultimate aim.

All this means an independent Scotland will join the global capitalist system, no ifs, no buts. This is in fact the only course the future nation can follow, unless we want to join a socialist bloc with Cuba, Venezuela and, erm, North Korea.

Even so, Andrew Wilson may find his work cut out in selling this prospect to a Scotland, and to an SNP, where too many still believe socialism makes sense and that our nation, by a simple act of will, can have it.