I’VE been door-to-door canvassing over the last weeks and had a few people discussing welfare benefits in Scotland. Not that they were pleased at the mitigations put in place by the Scottish Government to the worse of Westminster’s excesses. No, I heard claims that benefits are too high.

Both examples I’ll cite were related to women working as carers. The claim was that their wages were less that benefit rates. That did cause me food for thought, not about benefits per se, but about the poor wages paid in parts of the UK, including Scotland. With an average Scottish wage of £31,899 per annum and the Living Wage set at £9.90 an hour (£20,592 PA), no wonder people are concerned. The answer isn’t to knock welfare payments, it’s to campaign to be a higher-waged society through increased productivity.

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I used to think that national productivity was about firms producing more widgets, and doing more on longer working hours; it’s not. It’s about the wealth-producing businesses that can be brought to an area or country. So how would we increase Scotland’s productivity? Independence – moving out of the orbit of London and the south-east of England, which draws all opportunities for wealth creation in. Do you know that there are parts of Cumbria that have a lower GDP than the Czech Republic’s? It’s not just Scotland that is suffering.

An indy Scotland would bring in embassies, the military, large company HQs, financial and banking HQs, increased civil servants and national broadcasters to name a few. We could even have an international ferry terminal or two. Also consider the Scottish Government’s plans for a just transition to sustainable energy and the jobs that go with it.

All these bring wealth, attract investment and give Scots the opportunities for high-wage employment. They increase national productivity.

By the way, the maximum total amount a couple over 25 can receive in benefits for their household from the Westminster government is £20,000 PA, less than the Living Wage for one person. Not so good, eh!

Dr Jacqui Jensen

STEWART Hosie is quoted as saying, in relation to the AIM Yes Code of Conduct pledge: “People are going to disagree on policy. Whatever the policy, I think the key thing is when we’re setting out our vision of the future, let’s do it in the most civil, decent way we can. If we disagree on a matter of policy, then just agree to disagree.”

I think he is absolutely right in this, as far as he goes, as its relevance is limited. The ultimate aim of independence is surely for the Scottish electorate to take their own decisions about who governs them and the policies which that government will implement. The implication of this is that many of the policy disputes during the last referendum could only ever have been provisional debates about matters that would not be resolved till the sovereign Scottish electorate elected their first truly independent government.

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In short, much of it was a debate that was some years too early about the actions of a government yet to be elected. Of course a vision of what a future Scotland might be like is necessary for any future referendum debate, but it should not try to present policies as certain to be implemented. Perhaps as far as we can go prior to the election of a genuinely autonomous Scottish Parliament, is to point to what is possible, and that the final arbiter will be the Scottish electorate, as it will be about independence.

Alasdair Galloway

ON the first o the month A cryed on ye, forenent Mike Small’s scrutiny o Unionist paranoia, tae throw aff the gloves an tae agane employ visual satirical bite by wey o the lyke o Greg Moodie tae counter aw thair snash.

Aw throu Friday’s National the want o anither dimension tae aw the sherp an smert an aft-read wirds ris forrit. Ye richtlie plantit the eimage o the aw-hir-lane Weida Windsor alangside Joanna Cherry’s identifyin that, pit aside the nicht afore’s pairtyin at No 10, as "the most iconic representation".

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Guid verbalisin! But whaur neiborin the murnin HM alangside the picter o BoJo gless held aloft wad hae been crude an courss an rejecktit, a photie montage cartoon featurin the lyke wi a bit o PM Piggie platitudisin in balloon wad hae cawed the cuddie/hit the merk.

Cannibalisin the owre view o the Rise an Rise o the sayed Boris purvied in Mark Brown’s piece could plenish a hail cartoon series about the toxic wan. Paul Bassett in the Long Letter poses the possible "need for a more trenchant additive to break through" and "a more robust messaging".

Kinna juist whit A’v been sayin!

Reid Moffat

WEE Ginger Dug sums up merry England’s Queen (May 31). I wonder if Hanover in Germany are celebrating her royal ties. King Edward VIII certainly would have, especially if his pal Adolf had won the war. Yes, it’s good for Unionists to learn a wee bit of history on this merry week.

Glen Peters