The Edinburgh Agreement on a referendum has been signed - can we now look forward to some inspiring vision of Scotland if enough of us vote YES?

The No campaign say that we should continue under the umbrella of the UK with its - what? Britishness, social inequality, fuel poverty, austerity cuts, involvement in foreign wars, Trident replacement (100b), the massive subsidies to London - no change.

The Yes campaign speak of a sovereign Scotland with Scots confidently deciding and shaping our own future.

The reality is that it is all about money. Not just the money in your pocket but the money the governments have available to spend. The UK government now relies solely on internal revenues to service the sovereign debt and fund the over spending government departments in London.

Alone amongst the regions, Scotland is solvent - with a surplus balance of payments into the UK treasury. Scotland possesses massive credit from her whisky, energy, food and water reserves. Scotland exports more than she imports - unlike England which is a net importer. The Barnet based block grant returning to Scotland less than half of the Scots revenues paid directly into the UK treasury.

The SNP tell us about our successful Scandinavian cousins Norway and Denmark which have both retained their own currencies. Why then, five years into a banking crisis, the euro staring into the abyss and politicians still dancing to the tune of the disgraced banking system, are we not looking at a viable alternative to bank debt. The solution is for Scotland to have a monetary system based on full reserve banking, national credit and our own currency - the Scots Merk, together with a simpler and fairer tax system.

Another SNP policy anomaly is over membership of the European Union. Considering the staggering trading surpluses EFTA is achieving, not least with the European Union's 27 members, any talk about full EU membership for Scotland, with all its restrictions, is wholly inappropriate.

In EFTA, with only a quarter of the costs and regulations we incur in the EU, we will be able to trade unrestrictedly with all of Europe, the Commonwealth and the rest of the world. In EFTA today, a Scots family of four would be paying some 1600 per year less for food.

Major wars are currently unlikely. Scotland can afford defence forces to protect our maritime assets, energy, water and territory. Neutrality is not an option and only in negotiated treaties with our neighbours can we attain mutual protection, while ensuring zero deployment of weapons of mass destruction within Scottish territories. Also, NATO is now a flexible defence arrangement, there is full membership, two different tiers of association and of course non-member observers.

At present none of the main political parties are giving us coherent and credible reasons to vote yes or no. Regaining sovereignty is not about party politics but about what sort of country we wish to live in. The Scottish Democratic Alliance now has a website where you can find some enlightened policies which do address these issues and provide a coherent picture of a sovereign Scotland in the 21st century.

Robert Ingram,
Scottish Democratic Alliance.