Lesson learnt

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Nicola Sturgeon has learned a big lesson this week, and one that all politicians need to learn, even if late.

In backing down on full fiscal autonomy (your report, 16 April) she has, possibly in time, realised that there has to be a reality to proposed policies.

There also seems to be an air of realism creeping into her estimates of time scales, with the admission that replacing the Barnett formula could take years, not months. She will disappoint supporters who have hung on every word, but she may stop worrying people like me who believe her policies, and rampant Nationalism in 
general, to be dangerous for our great country.

Perhaps in owning their own airport the SNP believed that flights of fantasy were eminently possible.

Ken Currie

Liberton Drive

Edinburgh

Nicola Sturgeon’s policy on full fiscal autonomy was always a bit of ideologically-driven bravado. It originated from imprudent comments former first minister Alex Salmond made on 8 January, and it looked at the time as if Nicola Sturgeon had no choice but to back him.

Since then, the policy has been questioned as it would mean
the end of the of the Barnett 
formula.

This is key as over the past ten years Scotland has benefitted substantially from Barnett as our deficit has, on average, been higher than the rest of the UK and will continue to worsen as the oil price collapse is fully accounted for.

Nationalists started to get
nervous about FFA when Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy highlighted the Institute for 
Fiscal Studies report which has shown Scotland would lose £7.6 billion if Nicola Sturgeon had her way.

On Monday we learned that Alex Salmond was getting cold feet and on Wednesday Nicola Sturgeon followed suit.

This run of events raises two questions. Firstly, does Nicola Sturgeon think Scotland is too wee, poor or stupid for full fiscal autonomy?

If she does, exactly the same 
arguments apply to her position on independence.

The second question regards the SNP: who is leading the party? It appears that Alex Salmond has been guilty of making policy up on the hoof and the whole party, including Nicola Sturgeon, follows.

I can think of no other political party in my lifetime where a politician who is not the leader has so much power over the party.

(Dr) Scott Arthur

Buckstone Gardens

Edinburgh