The National:

The English party conference season is over. It’s easy to summarise what happened. Labour was indifferent to Scotland. The Tories were contemptuous of everyone excepting their rich chums. And that was it.

Vacuous, policy-light, and dependent in both cases on the logic of austerity that has caused so much harm in recent decades, both Labour and the Tories showed off their true colours. If the LibDems had a conference I did not notice, and the Greens are different parties on either side of the border, to their credit.

But where does that leave Scotland economically? The answer is in a bad place.

That of course is in part because the UK as a whole is facing a tough time. Little of this has to do with Covid. As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is making clear this week, there might be some short term blips in the world economy as it reopens after Covid lockdown, but their impact should be over by early next year. The same is unlikely to be true in the UK.

The difference is, of course, Brexit.

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The UK would have some supply chain problems without Brexit: the fact that the world’s shipping is in chaos at present would ensure that. And Russia is playing with gas supplies, it would seem. But there are very few food supply chain disruptions in Europe. Nor are there any significant issues with fuel. Gas, come to that, is vastly better managed there than in the UK now because they share storage facilities and we seem to have almost none.

And if evidence is needed to support these claims, just look to Northern Ireland, which is still in the single market for goods. That things are working there is the reason why, it is thought, the UK Government wants to create new disruption there: it is too embarrassing for it that Northern Ireland’s supply chains are working when the rest of the UK’s are not.

The message for Scotland is clear. Not only are the Westminster political parties indifferent to it, they don’t even have the first inkling of an idea as to how to address the problems the UK now faces.

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Starmer could take a giant leap forward by saying that the relationship with the EU should be reset, starting the process that would lead to rejoining. But he hasn’t the courage to do that.

The Tories can’t go back on Brexit even though the single market that is so obviously helping Northern Ireland now was Margaret Thatcher’s creation. Until they ditch Johnson they are stuck where they are, and the rest of us are stuck with them.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon

Except Scotland need not accept those terms. Scottish politicians can talk about a return to the EU and how that might be planned. They could also acknowledge that this cannot happen until Scotland has its own currency, which should now deliver the final nail in the coffin of sterlingisation. But maybe for that last reason the SNP is still dithering, being only a little clearer than politicians in England on the detail of this issue right now.

If we have learned anything during both the Covid crisis and Brexit it is that politicians without a plan are very dangerous. It really is time that the SNP stopped saying it has time on its side and got on with explaining just what its desire for independence really means. If this is not the moment to do that it’s not clear when that will ever be the case.

Fence sitting and indecision might be the English way but surely it shouldn’t be the Scottish way as well?

It is time for the SNP, in particular, to get off the fence. There is a crisis that must be dealt with. The SNP must now show it has the ability to think through how to deal with such a situation. Surely, Scotland expects nothing less?