IT seems that I needed to be clearer in asking Michael Fry to explain why there is not already an economically conservative political party which supports independence.

I thought that Mr Fry, a political historian with close connections to the Conservative party, would be well placed to answer that.

Having read Tuesday’s article (Why Scotland should follow the (later) Irish path to economic success, July 28), I am a little puzzled by the way that he uses the term “capitalism”. I understood him to be arguing that the (economic) objective of a conservative party would be to promote this economic system, on the basis that this would promote economic growth.

The problem is that there are many economic systems which can reasonably be called capitalist. Mr Fry seems very interested in the role of institutions such as Scottish Enterprise and the planned National Investment Bank.

Now, if markets are sufficient by themselves to allocate resources, such institutions would be redundant. Mr Fry mentions “patient finance”, which can wait perhaps 20 years to receive a return.

That’s a very long time for a private institution to hold an investment, because in 20 years the world can change so much, and a large majority of investments will fail.

By commending public institutions, Mr Fry is lending some support to the socialisation of risk-bearing; and, in many cases, losses. He appears to assume that profits, on the other hand, should accrue as the result of effort, skill, and risk-taking to the owners of the business and so to private financiers. This is “last mile” enterprise, when most of the risks have been borne by society.

Now, Mr Fry may also have been thinking of the most recent Scottish Government document on economic development, which was published in June. Benny Higgins chaired a team which consisted of many academics, some with very wide experience of running organisations. It’s a measure of the seriousness with which the Scottish Government approached this work that it brought together this group at short notice.

The report sets out plans for recovery from the pandemic-induced recession. It’s a very rich document, bursting with possibilities. The two most important are steps towards developing an accounting basis for national wealth, and not simply consumption, within which there is recognition that higher education can do much more to enable graduates to contribute to national well-being.

Mr Fry suggested that Scotland after independence should follow a market-led approach to innovation. I concur, but would add – and in this agreeing with the Scottish Government’s advisers – that it is important to remember that private institutions, which have public purposes, will always have a role to play even in the most market-oriented capitalism.

Robbie Mochrie

I COULDN’T agree more with Harry Bickerstaff (Letters, July 30) regarding the car cavalcades in support of independence. He has explained well the seriousness of CO2 emissions and the problems that these cause.

There is no disgrace in deciding to cancel these cavalcades – in fact cancelling could actually work to our benefit. The backlash from cancelling will pale into insignificance compared to the battering we will get with going ahead and the real possibility of losing vital support.

I know it will be disappointing to a load of supporters (me too, on my motorbike), but let’s do the right thing. We will get huge plaudits if we do.

PLEASE cancel NOW.

Ken McCartney