I NOTE the eulogy you printed for the late Andrew Hughes Hallett (World-class academic and Yes supporter who wore his genius lightly, January 3). He was a good and valued friend of the Scottish cause. Therefore, I do not seek to contradict the praise heaped on his undoubted expertise in the field of economics. But I do want to suggest that our attitude to that subject must now change.

Until recently, competition was the ethos of that subject. Global climate change, however, has thrown a spanner into the mechanism. It requires of us that instead of competing and growing at the expense of others, we should cooperate and try to help those who used to be competitors, in order to succeed and quietly prosper. We need to recognise that, and to be willing to reconsider our objectives as we engage in commerce.

READ MORE: Andrew Wilson: Goodbye Andrew Hughes Hallett, a world-class economist who wore his genius lightly

If I may offer a rather far-fetched analogy, imagine that the rules of football have changed. Instead of rewarding teams for having scored more goals in a game than their opponents, points would be awarded to teams by a panel of observers who assessed them for “sportsmanship” and good manners. Consider the chaos which would ensue. For example there would be no more “diving” in the penalty area. Players would “celebrate” their opponent’s goals.

For those of us who do not take football very seriously, that chaos could become a form of entertainment, but for those who do take it seriously, this would be disastrous. A few star players could make the transition but many would not. Traditional expertise would become a handicap, especially in coaching staff. Most would resist the changes that were needed and argue that their own expertise was the “solution”.

They would be deluded.

READ MORE: Andrew Hughes Hallett: Tributes paid to world-leading economist

Switch back to economics. No longer would very large firms try to crush their competitors out of business, or buy them outright. Mutual tolerance would be the desirable norm. This would cut out wasteful transfer of goods from one country to another. There would be no point in keeping expertise secret. Sustainability would be the desired aim.

The transition would undoubtedly be painful for some. However, in the long run I think it might be rather jolly. It would certainly be less painful for all than the reverse – as we can see currently in Australia, and among small, low-lying island communities.

Hugh Noble

TAX expert Richard Murphy makes a very compelling case for the SNP moving away from what he rightly calls “the culture of economic dependence” on the dubious GERS figures (Why it’s time for the SNP to ditch the GERS figures, January 3), and in so doing further reveals a more debilitating mindset of SNP dependency on existing UK political models which will ultimately be self-defeating to the independence cause. Andy Anderson and Alasdair Galloway (Letters, January 3) both make very cogent points about this in their respective letters concerning the list system.

It is a law of political life that the closer parties get to power the more they seek to broaden out their electoral appeal beyond their core vote. Therefore, I do not expect the 21st-century, post-devolution SNP to be the same beast that I joined back in 1979 when its collective parliamentarians could be counted on the fingers of one hand. However, it is reasonable to expect to see genetic resemblances between the two, and in this I struggle.

READ MORE: Richard Murphy: Why it’s time for Scotland to ditch the GERS figures

If a new kind of rapproachment is to be developed between the SNP and the Greens in the build-up to the 2021 elections, or indeed between a larger number of pro-independence parties with different independence visions, the current SNP leadership could do much worse than to search back into its radical policy documents from the 1970s as inspiration. At that time a decentralist Scotland was frequently on the lips of leading SNP intellectuals such as the late Andy Currie, Stephen Maxwell, and the redoubtable Isobel Lindsay, and they, unlike present SNP MSPs, would have had no difficulty in allowing Scottish local authorities to set their own businesses rates as part of a larger decentralisation of power, which the Greens recently supported at Holyrood.

The real risk is that if there is little substantial difference between the UK status quo and the present SNP vision of a post-independence Scotland, a significant number may conclude that a change of flag without a change in society is not worth the effort, and simply stay at home.

Cllr Andy Doig (Independent)
Renfrewshire Council