I HAVE read the First Minister’s piece (Nicola Sturgeon: This plan is ambitious AND credible – it can win us independence, The National). What a contrast to any British Nationalist politicians residing in Westminster.

I reckon most Scots are waking up to the fact that Westminster’s only concern is London. Brexit has further removed the scales from Scotland’s eyes. The First Minister’s article is clear, concise, and it explains very eloquently what should take place in the transition to our own Scottish currency.

She also reassures us that this will be done in a manner that will not be detrimental to us as citizens and also businesses. There won’t be austerity policies here. I totally agree with everything in Nicola’s article. I would trust this lady with my life. With Nicola as our First Minister and her party, I know that Scotland and its people are in safe hands. Let’s do it, people – we are strong enough, smart enough to choose our own destiny. We can be an example to Westminster as to how things should be done.
A Smart
Milton of Campsie

I have just finished reading the First Minister’s article on our “path” to independence. It is of no great surprise that it mainly consists of political double speak and, of course, as we inevitably knew, it supports Andrew Wilson’s “growth” commission report. Perhaps from a political strategy point of view this is the best option for attracting the more conservative of voters to the cause. For those of us perhaps light on political strategy but with a decent grasp of how fiat money works in the national economy, it continues to be a worry.

There still seems to be a lack of understanding that the adoption of sterling makes the attainment of the “six tests” more difficult with each passing day. For example, what makes a central bank “credible”? Well, probably its single most important function – the issuance of its own money! It’s like asking someone to adopt for the first time by proving their track record on adoption!

On the subject of growth, it is no accident that the biggest complementary currencies exist within the Eurozone where monetary and fiscal decisions have been removed from the countries concerned. Are central banks in Eurozone countries really “credible”? After all, they’re really just “sub-executives” of the European Central Bank.

So I would make a suggestion to the First Minister. Let’s have our own parallel or complementary currency and its issuing authority ready on Day One. Let individuals make the decision as to whether we use it. Offer the option of buying it with sterling and peg it on a one to one basis. As the acquisition of sterling becomes more problematic and expensive (as it will), you can start taxing in our own currency, thereby increasing the demand for it and its value. Have the infrastructure in place. You’ll be glad you did.
Scott Egner

I am not an academic or wizard at financial stuff, but I know a good read when I see one. And Nicola Sturgeon has provided some of the news us yessers have been waiting for these last few months of Brexit Mayhem.

The main piece of news that grabbed my attention, and I suspect a lot of other readers’ attention, was her acceptance of an independent currency for Scotland as a “policy position”, as she puts it.

There are obviously reservations, some her own opinion and others allied to the Sustainable Growth Commission. All of which are down as motions to debate at the coming SNP conference in Edinburgh. Nicola Sturgeon’s way of thinking is of a standard we have come to expect from her, and her article in The National reflects that.

Given that she has presented her vision for Scotland in advance of conference, this should please all those, including myself, who were beginning to get impatient. Her statement has proven my own thoughts that our First Minister and her team have been busy in the background preparing the ground and a road map for independence which, by the looks of things, could be happening within the next 18 months.
Alan Magnus-Bennett

I have had misgivings about the perceived slow approach of the currency position of the Sustainable Growth Commission and considered Common Weal’s perceived faster approach to be reasonable. However, I am reassured by Nicola’s comments and would agree with her balanced position of taking the six tests. These tests are not yet set in stone so we have to rely on what our SNP delegates debate and decide at conference.

What is beyond doubt is that we must take forward a clear and understandable stance on our future currency, otherwise we will fall at this hurdle AGAIN!

Our First Minister has clearly demonstrated that she has considered all the options to take us forward to independence. What we, the supporters of that aim, MUST now do is to trust her judgement.
Alex Thomson

I DON’T see any need for a long drawn campaign as the UK Government will do exactly as it did in 2014: run another Project Fear and produce propaganda on what the situation would be like in an independent Scotland following the same policies as the UK or hypothetical policies with answers that can neither be proven nor disproven without independence or a crystal ball.

Independence is not about economics, it is about having a fair society with a fair taxation system, taking care of those who are in need.

This precious union is a farce. We have suffered a decade of austerity due to the government’s incompetent management of the financial sector and face another decade or more after Brexit, the product of splits in the two Westminster parties.

The UK is now pursuing a policy of restoring its imagined position and influence on the world stage, a rented nuclear system, massive aircraft carriers with few aircraft or supporting fleet abroad. If the UK wants status in the world it should stop placing UK troops in US-led invasions and emulate Cuba which provides around 20,000 doctors and more medical personnel to the developing world than all the G8 countries combined.

At home, we have grandiose, unrealistic projects like London Crossrail, that has a tunnel but no completed stations and trains that are incompatible with the signalling system; a HS railway project that is escalating in cost and shrinking in length; and Hinckley Point nuclear power station, guaranteed twice the current cost of generation if it is ever completed – to name a few. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the population are becoming poorer as foreign investors buy up our national assets at knock-down prices to extract the maximum tax-free profit for minimum investment.

Personal taxation policies have been tailored to suit the wealthiest members of our society who now have so many legitimate options available to them for avoiding taxes that if they pay tax it is only as an altruistic gesture. The people most in need of compassion from society are hounded by the government on to a welfare system that takes away even what they had in the past and the dignity that they strive to retain.

Anyone who has witnessed what passes for the UK’s government and opposition in the two houses of the Westminster parliament over the past couple of years must now be keen to see the back of this autocratic, uncaring, incompetent and undemocratic union.
John Jamieson
South Queensferry

WHAT is to become of us all? All you good people who keep the pages filled with wise and erudite comments on the mixture of joys and fates, depending on your point of view, which await us all. We awoke today to a world which seems to have forgotten the very word Brexit.

From the early morning radio news bulletins to later TV news, hardly a whisper! Even Jackie Bird has got the drift and decided to flap her wings in a new direction.

Whatever will they all do now? The silence is deafening. Will Mark Francois scurry away back to what must surely be his ancestral home, although I would doubt that, recalling the remarks he has recently shared with us? What about that tousle-haired Georgian example – is he busily trying to make contact with his Hanoverian inner self? Where is the tall bespectacled Victorian gentleman – limping home on his injured foot (remember he shot himself in it some months ago when trying to get rid of that pesky party leader)?

Speaking of whom – what is she going to do right now; perhaps retreat back home to await the flourishing of the May blossom in the hedges around her favourite wheatfield? Will the Leader of the House be able to Lead-some-more any time soon? And what of Doctor Fox, has he scurried off to hide in the bracken on the hillside where he can plot the downfall of the Scottish farming industry along with his great pals from the American food exporting conglomerates? Has Bill Cash disappeared back into his machine? I’d bet Mrs M hopes he has!

Seriously though, the minds of most of us are going to give a great sigh of relief and quietly enjoy the next few weeks as though nothing had ever happened to take up our attention since 2016. We might even enjoy our chocolate bunnies for Easter – if they’re wrapped in an acceptable colour of foil.

I have a horrible feeling that after they all return from their Easter hols we will just find ourselves back in the same old useless grooves, and at the end of the day, what will Monsieur Macron make of it all? With a name like his however, he should surely be a Scotland supporter!

Meantime, if we do find ourselves partaking in the European elections next month, we must make sure that the Scottish voice is heard loud and clear above all the English infighting.
George Mitchell

I WAS very pleased to see the item last Sunday regarding Paul Robeson.

I saw him at the Caird Hall in Dundee in 1958/59. I know I got him to autograph the programme, but as I moved house a few times since then I know not where it might be now.

He was stupendous, and I particularly remember him singing the Eriskay Love Lilt; I sat about 20 feet from him in the seats at the back of the stage, there was no problem hearing that deep, rich voice.

The Caird Hall staged many concerts and I recall Beniamino Gigli, Joan Hammond, The Vienna Boys’ Choir and the military band of the Black Watch; I particularly remember the last one, as I was accompanied by one of my pals who was into jazz and was a bit sceptical about a military band. He was astounded and I remember him saying in awestruck tones: “Six saxophones!” I knew a good number of the band as I had served with the Black Watch in Kenya and we had been on the same troopship, the Charlton Star, travelling there.
Jim Lynch

LAST week, in France, people wearing yellow vests who were protesting against government policy were arrested. This week, people with yellow vests on were in this country, arresting protesters against government policy. Strange world.
Drew Reid