DESPITE everything, it has to be SNP for me. Regular readers will know I have a low opinion of the Scottish Government. That is mainly on account of its economic policy, which is thoroughly misguided and counter-productive, in practice slowing down growth when we need to speed things up. But I separate in my mind its ultimate goal of independence from its passing aberrations along the way. I’m not the only one.

I can go further. There is the bigger problem of the Government’s whole attitude to politics. It assumes itself to be in principle omnipotent so that, to tackle any particular problem, all it needs do is weigh in with its panoply of powers and the problem will be solved. No room is left for private initiative of any importance.

The Government clings to these assumptions even when policy does not work. The NHS is the worst. For example, by comparison with similar countries, Scottish life expectancy is falling, not rising. A big reason is that it takes longer for Scots than for people of other nationalities to be seen by a doctor and treated. This is just one among endless problems we face in a service which is “financially unsustainable” (Audit Scotland).

Here as in many spheres, the excuse given us for the last three years has been Brexit. Fair enough, Brexit has been a huge burden. But one day before long the Brexit burden will be lifted. Then we’ll see how much of an explanation for everything it has been.

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All that said – still much less than I might say – these are the last dissident words I will write before the General Election. As an SNP voter since 2005, I agree with my columnist colleagues who urge supporters of independence now to sink their differences and wage a united campaign for victory on December 12.

Can I do it? Readers will be welcome to write in and berate me if I fall from the standard I set myself. In fact, Alex Salmond, when I appeared on his RT show at the weekend, was sceptical whether I could defend an SNP vote from a point of view that is right of centre, to put it mildly.

So let’s have a go. The SNP have formed their practical view of how government should work over a dozen years since they first won power at Holyrood. Their outlook and habits have become ingrained. The basic story is that Scotland would solve all its problems if only it could spend enough money, but UK austerity has put paid to this.

The Scottish outlook and habits are so ingrained I would not expect them to change, not at first anyway, even after independence. But the context will have changed entirely. Instead of having the UK Government in charge of the cash Scotland needs to sustain its public spending, this must in future come from international money markets.

Rather than lobbying in London, we will have to issue securities that foreign financiers are willing to buy. The bonds will require a rate of interest to attract those who might be intrigued by Scotland, the new kid on the block, but will take a searching look before handing their own funds to us. They must be convinced Scotland will not default on its loans, as Greece would have done without its euro rescue in 2010. Its interest rates then reached 35% – try that for your mortgage. Investors will look all the harder when, as I wish and expect, Scotland launches its own currency.

The National:

The whole structure will come under the supervision of a Scottish central bank. Its ability to raise the funding and then defend the currency will depend on persuading investors that Scotland can maintain the exchange rate. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot do this, just like any other any independent country in the world. But if we run persistent deficits, then we will also need to borrow persistently and at some point wary investors might test our ability to borrow further. This could lead to a fall in the value of the currency. The easiest way for the Scottish Government to gain credibility with investors is to prove it can run surpluses. For preference, it should do this in advance of independence as the signal of an ability to borrow and to save, in that way also removing any doubt about future capacity to repay.

After independence, a government surplus would probably mean a current account surplus, on visible trade and on invisible payments. This would again reassure investors. With a separate currency as the aim, we should start demonstrating how we can actually run surpluses before being asked to do so by the markets.

This, sooner or later, is why I expect the Scottish Government to conform to the behaviour expected on those markets. Certainly I do not think the markets will alter their expectations just for love of the wee country but big spender Scotland. Prudent policy is the way to ensure control of our economy remains in our hands. Otherwise, foreigners just take over, as many errant nations have found out.

We will be leaving the junior game and moving to a professional level where an infinitely higher standard of behaviour, discipline and maturity is needed to survive. It’s no good standing around moaning. We’ll just get trampled underfoot. Welcome to the capitalist system. If you prefer the socialist league, you’ll find them kicking about on a derelict site, with ragged jumpers for goalposts but ample room for new members – Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea being the only ones left from its heyday.

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Councillor Andy Doig of Renfrewshire wrote in a couple of weeks ago to urge on me the view that enterprise and social justice are not mutually exclusive. Andy, I don’t disagree. The only thing I’d say in reply is that we should have an order of priorities, as every sensible person or organisation has an order of priorities.

We must see to the conditions for enterprise being right first, before we can hope to achieve social justice. In this country we have taken the reverse to be true: only when we have settled all other claims, for welfare, for benefits or whatever, can we even start to think about the conditions for enterprise.

It’s no use pointing out to me that enterprise and social justice go together in, for example, the Scandinavian countries. These countries have, and have had for a long time, growth rates twice as high as ours. They have nurtured world-beating private sectors, when we can show next to nothing. They take the view that first you must earn the money, then you can spend it. We want to do things exactly the opposite way round. They succeed, we fail. I set out these facts not because I am a heartless ideologue with an implacable theory. Beneath my economic views I believe in liberal democracy under a small state kept prosperous by the capitalist system. Devolved Scotland has gone in the opposite direction. It is not liberal but politically correct. Its government is not limited but rampant. Its economics is not capitalist but statist – and not bringing prosperity either.

But, hey, we’re in election time, and with my vote I can at last help in a personal way to make Scotland a better nation. To quote myself above, “despite everything, it has to be SNP for me”. Since it is presenting to me a candidate I highly approve of, this may well be one of the most valuable votes I ever cast. It’s obvious that to achieve independence the SNP must reach out beyond the party faithful, and I am a useful example of the kind of people it has to win over or, in my case, hold on to.

What’s more, I stay in a marginal constituency bound to be among the SNP’s top target seats. So I’ll welcome the canvassers when they chap my door. Come away in for a dram, I’ll say, to warm you on these freezing winter nights. Just don’t talk to me about socialism.