THE anger among public-service workers is palpable. They have seen their incomes reduced by 30% under Tory austerity the past years. Strikes will continue. The Tories would rather invest £5.5 billion in Ajax vehicles, which are six yeas behind schedule, than £1bn on health service workers (or in education). Perhaps they should ask voters where they would rather see investment? NHS Scotland has huge waiting lists and a lack of staff, partly the result of Covid and Brexit, but mainly the result of austerity policies and the lack of funding under the Tory UK Government.

The UK is no longer a super power with a captive empire, and should not be spending billions on weapons of mass destruction – but rather on ways to save our planet! The British empire collapsed after the Second World War, after which 62 nations sought their independence. The Tories’ lack of investment has seen a lack of productivity and average UK incomes have fallen by £11,000 since 2008. The Unionists are living in a romantic past of an imperial British empire that no longer exists – it’s time to look to our future prosperity and potential. Trickle-down economics is a lie.

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The Scottish Parliament has only very limited control over budgets. National columnist George Kerevan writes that “being hamstrung to a failing UK, the Barnett Formula is like a vice around Scotland, holding us back from pursuing policies that could make a real difference to peoples lives.” The south-of-England elites only care about the financial global economy of the super-rich and with a lack of UK manufacturing, the British economy has no solid base.

The UK Government has refused investment in many future innovative Scottish businesses. It appears that Unionists see their future potential as a “managed decline”. They may be disparaging of a wellbeing economy, but a healthy, well-educated society is necessary for investment, businesses, infrastructure and a thriving economy.

Ireland, with fewer resources than Scotland, decided 20 years ago that for future success it should focus resources on education. This has paid dividends, with a well-educated workforce, record investment and a healthy economy.

I’m beyond angry now. We have such high levels of poverty and inequality, and Scotland needs land reform and fair opportunities. 20% of children live in poverty in Scotland, but how far can the Scottish Parliament, with its limited powers, mitigate damaging Tory government policies? (Or the Red Tories who are equally as bad.)

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Scotland needs control of its energy policy, immigration, VAT, and all economic levers. The reality is that Scotland has world-leading universities, major international arts festivals, tourism, leading renewables.

I worry for our children’s future. It’s good that Kate Forbes won nearly half of SNP votes because we need change. We urgently need a focus on businesses – this is half of the coin for a wellbeing economy. Sweden, for example, pursues a healthy, inclusive capitalism while also providing a decent standard of living – we need both, Humza! Change is necessary and possible.

Scotland needs investment and a stake in future industries such as ScotWind – but Westminster has control of Scotland’s energy; Scotland needs more immigration to sustain our working-age population but Westminster has control of immigration; Scotland needs to invest in infrastructure but Westminster has control of all economic levers; Scotland needs investment in it public services (NHS, education, security) but it's impossible as Westminster has control of austerity policies.

Scotland needs a new way forward – independence. We can do better, why not? How angry are we? What are we afraid of? Time to speak up!

P Keightley