THERE is nothing surprising in a Tory politician being entirely comfortable with the Growth Commission policies – after all, they are familiar (Ex-Tory shadow minister: Andrew Wilson plan could lead to Yes victory, April 9). What is on offer is public expenditure reduced as percentage of GDP, so serious restraints on public services at a time when we need their expansion for environmental and social justice reasons. This is an agenda for austerity for the majority unless growth significantly increases, but the tools for stimulating development are seriously limited by having no control over monetary policy. It would also commit us to guaranteeing the rUK £3billion a year in “solidarity” payment before any negotiation had begun.

These policies would leave Scotland in a Catch-22 situation. The conditions for even considering a Scottish currency would be very difficult ever to achieve without already having a Scottish currency. The big difference between George Osborne’s approach and Andrew Wilson’s is that George Osborne was able to boost the UK economy by £400bn over a decade through quantitative easing (which went mainly to the wealthy) but a Scottish Government using Sterlingisation would have no such power.

Sterlingisation is not the same as just using the pound as at present, as Derek Mackay and Andrew Wilson have appeared to suggest. At least at present we have some support from a central bank, inadequate though this may be for Scotland. Scotland would be buying its currency in the London money markets with no protection from a real central bank. This is a very risky and unusual system which only four small countries in the world use, and they are not comparable to Scotland. Our Unionist opponents must be relishing the attacks they can make if the Growth Commission policies are accepted. The trouble is that the great majority of activists will struggle to produce any defence apart from that they will work for different policies once we have independence. That is not a great message to sell.

Isobel Lindsay

AS an apparent proponent of a free-market economy, National columnist Michael Fry is, in my opinion, persistently harsh in his judgment of Scotland’s devolved SNP government (Ministers shouldn’t be ‘saving jobs’ – they should be helping workers find new ones, April 9). He does, however, profess support for Scotland’s independence, which does help to redeem him for me.

But maybe Michael sometimes overlooks the limited executive power that devolved government affords, along with the relatively unlimited scope afforded private companies in the context of a free-market economy. Both these factors together can make political life difficult for any government, never mind an SNP one which is overseen by a hostile Tory government in Westminster.

I doubt if Michael, apart from some nitpicking, can reconcile what he deems as his ideal economic state with the actual conditions within which the present Scottish Government operates.

Also, I venture, he is unlikely to look to present-day China as an example of how a free-market economy might be managed without neglect of public infrastructure and services. Not maybe everybody’s idea of how to reconcile public and private interests, but at least a basic working model.

Instead of saying what doesn’t work, can Michael maybe put together all his recommendations about what WILL work? Then we can perhaps discard Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission report and replace it with Michael Fry’s.

I contend that no perfect ideal Utopia, Shangri-la, paradise on earth exists or ever has done and might never, because it is not quite befitting of human habitation. Us creatures are far too crabbit for such a circumstance. It would bore us stupid. We’d have too little to think about. I’ll settle for self-government in Scotland with a multi-party parliament, a fairly free-market economy, solid public services. It sounds almost utopian, doesn’t it!

Ian Johnstone

I FOUND the article “What is a customs union and why are MPs divided on it?” (April 9) highly informative. I noted that “Many Tories regard the ability for the UK to strike its own free trade agreements as the biggest benefit of Brexit”.

It would be interesting to know how many free trade agreements and their estimated value were ready to be signed by 29th March the date on which the UK was due to leave the EU.

If my memory serves me correctly we, the British public, were promised “Brexit bonuses” of £360 million per week to the NHS and 40 trade deals ready for signing by March 29.

Liam Fox MP, the Secretary of State for International Trade, is duty-bound to reveal to the House of Commons the success or otherwise of his quest to achieve the 40 or more new trade deals promised.

Thomas L Inglis

I’M sorry to see my friend George Kerevan lending his good name to the old superstition that you can make an economy grow by printing money (Currency issue was a big one in 2014 so it’s essential that we get it right, April 8).

If it were that simple we would have eliminated poverty centuries ago. Madmen in authority like Mugabe and Maduro have tried it and failed.

Even our present-day central bankers at the Fed Reserve Board, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank gave it a shot since 2008, and all that has resulted is a stock market bubble, impoverished savers, a mountain of debt and property owners laughing all the way to the bank. Rates of growth remain sluggish and well below the historical trend.

David Simpson