NICOLA Sturgeon says the independence referendum campaign is on again. I really do hope that she is right. But what I think is curious is that she began her campaign by publishing a paper on economics. I have read it. And to be clear, what it says is right and appropriate, as far as it goes. But note that last point because it is deliberate. Let me explain.

In essence what Sturgeon claims is that Scotland can be compared to a range of European countries of broadly similar size and experience. The choice is careful, and fair. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland all have reason to be compared to Scotland. Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand were rightly rejected as being inappropriate comparisons.

The whole intention of the paper, which is to suggest that comparable countries to Scotland do better than it, is supported as a result. The evidence is unambiguous on the tests that matter to the people of Scotland.

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But (and this is a massive ‘but’) it is not enough to say it will take time for Scotland to achieve compatibility, as the report does. And nor is it enough to warn that Scotland cannot exactly replicate any of those countries because each has its own culture and traditions. We know that. What we do want to know is what that means. And I do not think the report says that.

So, whilst I think it appropriate for the report to suggest that the current Scottish government has created some new Scottish institutions within the devolved framework I doubt that is enough to persuade anyone of anything. Revenue Scotland does exist, as does a Social Security Scottish, for example.

That’s the good news: there will be less to do as a result to create the institutions for an independent Scotland. But, again, it is what is not said that matters. For example, the reality is that much of the Scottish tax system looks incredibly like that of the rest of the UK at present. So too does much of its administration, weaknesses and all. What is not said, so far, is how that will change when Scotland is independent.

And that is the elephant in the room, which this paper can’t disguise. I think only the most churlish unionist really thinks Scotland too poor, too wee and too stupid to be independent, but it is that myth that this paper seems to be tackling. It succeeds in doing so, but that seems to me to be the wrong question to tackle.

Those on the margin between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ have, I suspect, never really thought Scotland incapable of being independent. Instead what they wish to know is how a future independent government of Scotland would close the gap between its current unacceptable state within the UK and what it might be as an independent country.

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The document we have does not answer that question. So, for example, whilst acknowledging the wish of most in Scotland to be in the EU the paper does not acknowledge that before this can even be considered Scotland will be required to have its own currency.

Nor is the question as to how Scotland will really transform its economy, taxes, benefits, and so much else as it frees itself from the City of London financial focus of the UK explained in any significant way either.

So, I am frustrated. Of course I am pleased that this process has begun. As the Westminster government heads towards seemingly deliberate collapse the chance for a better future for Scotland is overdue. And I, like so many others, believe everything that this paper has to say.

It is obvious that Scotland could potentially match many of the achievements of the countries with which this document compares it. But the documents to come have to say how the transition will take place. Without doing so this is not going to be the plan that Scotland needs. Sturgeon has to do better than this, is my summary.