The National:

MY Scottish friends remind me time and again that compared to those resident in England, at least they can live in eventual hope of something better than a government in which the Prime Minister can describe one of his own senior ministers as "totally f****** hopeless", and yet leave him in post for more than another year (and we’re still counting). I agree: That is Scotland’s hope.

On the other hand, I have a warning to offer. If Scotland is to succeed then it needs to learn from what has dragged English politics to the gutter in which it currently resides. Three vital, lessons stand out for me.

The first is that England’s failing arises from placing too much power in the Prime Minister. This is the consequence of a previous belief that even more power should be invested in a monarch in whose name that prime minister still, too often, acts.

Second, to succeed Scotland must have a Parliament willing to hold its ministers to account. In Westminster this is all but forgotten, with ministers persistently lying to parliament and neither the Speaker or MPs being willing to hold them to account.

The National:

Third, Scotland must, to achieve these goals ensure that there is ready access to its political system so that a sufficiency of both view and talent is attracted into that system to sustain it. The two-party, first-past-the-post system has crushed any such opportunity at Westminster, the odd seismic disruption, like that from the SNP, apart.

Which brings me to the SNP. The Tories like to think of themselves as the most successful electoral machine in the history of democracy, but in some ways the SNP does at present make them look like amateurs.

I stress, I know all the reasons why a strong, largely unified approach to the politics of independence might be thought necessary right now. I get all the reasons why the SNP succeeds despite the odds, including the phenomenon that is Nicola Sturgeon and that was previously Alex Salmond. But as a political economist and commentator I can’t help but worry.

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Too much power in the hands of one person and their coterie is always dangerous, not least when the succession eventually and necessarily must happen. Just look to the ANC after Mandela for the evidence of that. Just look at the Salmond/Sturgeon split as well. The omens are not good.

Too large a majority can also be dangerous. The very art of coalition building is, I think, essential to good government. It makes clear the compromises required to govern well. It has accountability built in because of its necessary vulnerability. And coalition recognises the importance of difference. Not only must Scotland not have a first-past-the-post system after independence, but it must also have more political parties dedicated to independence from across the political spectrum if it is to succeed and take the whole country with it.

And Scotland really must be able to secure talent to nourish its political system. It should not be possible for Scotland to ever suffer an equivalent of Matt Hancock, universally known to be useless and yet still responsible for the health policy that has so obviously let large numbers die unnecessarily.

The National:

Can Scotland embrace the political logic that allows this diversity? The signs are not good at present, because the SNP holds power too close and too tight right now, even for the comfort some of its strongest supporters. That makes me uncomfortable in turn.

The Scotland of the future needs to be diverse. Its politics need to reflect that. It’s my belief that independence is more likely if there is a belief that this diversity will be the foundation on which the new country is built.

The SNP is at a moment right now when it can afford to show its belief in this diversity. My question is in that case a simple one: Will it? Has it the confidence in what it is about to really reach out to those who don’t share its views and show that they will be welcome in the big tent of a new Scotland? Surely, it should? I just don’t see it doing that, though. And that worries me