I READ with some personal interest in Tuesday’s National the article on the launch of the Scottish Government’s latest independence white paper. Apparently the launch took place at “a rain-drenched Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery in Fife.”

Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth MSP apparently said there are a “number of things” in the paper – the twelfth in the Building a New Scotland series – that are reserved and that an independent Scotland would do to improve outcomes for children. No surprise there then.

I confess that, like 99.99% of the population, I have not yet read it in great detail. It will no doubt be like the other papers – a half-finished blueprint for a component part of an independent nation which does not yet exist, and given the current political situation is sadly not likely to exist any time soon.

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I am pretty sure that parents and we grandparents of the children in the CURRENT Scottish education system overseen by Ms Gilruth would much prefer her to address the problems of today rather than speculate on the education system of an independent Scotland of the distant future.

Increasing incidents of violence combined with falling attendance rates, falling teacher numbers and exam results need to be addressed and resolved long before there is any hope that any part of the wish list in this paper will see the light of a Scottish day.

I was struck by a photo from the event that showed a number of small children, in welly boots and waterproof coats, camping out for the day under a tarpaulin with Ms Gilruth and Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn smiling in the background. The photo was shared by Hepburn on his X account.

It only served to remind me of the fact that almost 10,000 of Scotland’s children are currently classed as homeless and that a further 45 are falling into homelessness every day in Scotland.

While none of these children are living under a tarpaulin in the woods (I hope), the fact remains that in 2024 they do not have a permanent home to call their own. This must have a seriously detrimental effect on their educational prospects. Politics is about priorities, and before our politicians conjure up any more fantasy future policy papers surely they need to address the urgent housing problems of today.

Iain Wilson

SO Scotland is still too wee and too poor to become an independent country? So say the Unionist opposition north and south of the Scottish Borders.

Regardless of the fact that the Isle of Arran is larger than the independent island of Malta. And that since 2014, Scotland has paid more than £14 billion to the English Treasury in taxes alone.

It beggars belief what we could have done to make Scotland a better country with £14bn had we not lost that 2014 referendum.

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With all the positive information floating around social media outlets that demonstrate why and how Scotland would survive as an independent country, myself and others wonder why some Scots might still choose to vote Labour in the coming General Election.

Salvo and its sister movement group Liberation.scot have published much information about Scotland’s historical heritage with regard to its existing and legitimate constitution involving Scotland’s “Claim of Right”. Not forgetting the Westminster government’s recognition of this. Importantly, the SNP government is also aware of the fact that Scotland’s people are sovereign, as opposed to the parliament as in the English parliament.

So why is it that the people have been – and still are being – ignored, considering the majority vote they have provided for an SNP government over the past several Scottish elections? And why is it that the current SNP government appears to have forgotten the fundamental reason for its very existence, that of Scotland as an independent country?

Alan Magnus-Bennett

GEORGE Kerevan is right when he argues for a fundamental review of the way local government is funded. Council tax is one of the few taxes which is actually 100% used for its intended purpose. Other taxes such as road tax and National Insurance are collected on a UK-wide basis but disappear into the greedy maw of Westminster government never to be seen again.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: We need to talk about local government funding crisis

In my own time as a transport engineer working for Strathclyde Regional Council, we were very successful in securing funding from the EU for transport infrastructure. It was supposed to be extra funding to allow us to do more, but it seemed Westminster took the view that every pound we got from the EU was one less pound that they had to give us in Strathclyde, so we never did get the full benefit of the funding. Now of course we no longer have the benefit of EU funding – unlike our colleagues in Ireland.

We urgently need a system of finance for local government that is fairer and more transparent and which reflects the needs of individual councils. Let us see that as an early commitment in the manifestos of the major parties.

Ian Lawson