By Bob Duncan

The first quarter of 2012 has seen an unprecedented level of growth in the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, that growth has been limited to the frequency of outrageous statements and grotesque assertions coming from arch-unionists in support of their anti-independence cause. This is hardly a substitute for economic expansion, but it is still worthy of some analysis.

By Sean Adams

Already, in the initial referendum debate sorties, Unionist politicians and their supporters have pointed out areas where they feel the SNP have not provided enough information on what Independence will mean. One area regularly cited is Defence.

Whilst actually having some sympathy with the view that the Nationalists have yet to put some meat on the Defence bones , it is also fair to point out that we are only a few weeks into a thirty month process. More details will inevitably follow. Indeed, as the First Minister announced recently, the Independence ‘campaign’ will not begin until May – at the end of the Consultation period.

By a Newsnet reader

I have yet to be convinced that Minimum pricing of Alcohol will be the solution to Scotland’s crisis relationship with this legal drug.  If we look across the North Sea, as we are frequently advised to do because of the many great successes of Social Democracy to be seen there, we can also see an anomaly in the Minimum Pricing argument.

Yes, Scotland is set to be the first country in the world to legislate a minimum price per unit of alcohol, but in Scandanavian countries Alcohol is taxed heavily, thus driving the price up anyway.  Alcohol is a serious problem in these countries,  as the following map, taken from the Economist,  clearly shows:

By Thomas M. Cross

This is a piece with many lessons for Scotland from the anti-imperialist struggles of the former colonies. Though it is dedicated to Jamaica, and the many enslaved Africans who fought for their freedom and the dedicated sons and daughters who struggled through the riots and hardships of the 1930s in order to gain Independence 50 years ago, there are lessons also for Scotland.

The people of Jamaica too were forced to play constitutional ‘games’ set  by London but with popular success through a Referendum they found political sovereignty . But their struggle isn’t over. The haves have too much, while the have-nots in the ghettos of Kingston have too little.

The following is a story which was published in Hebrides News Today on the 2nd of February 2012.

Highlands & Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, has accused the SNP Government of playing fast and loose with the Air Discount Scheme by excluding business, public sector and charities from the scheme.

The scheme was introduced by the Labour-led Scottish Executive in 2006 to address the social and economic disadvantage suffered by communities across the Highlands and Islands as a result of the high cost of accessing lifeline air services.However in April 2011 the Scottish Government cut any and all work-related travel from the Air Discount Scheme on the pretext that it was following demands from the European Commission.