The ability to transform our country, the power to shape the destinies of others, the responsibility that comes with the influence of government – these are privileges known to a few, an elite of which you and I will never be part.

But if we were, what would we be doing now? 

I like to think that a future FM or PM of Scotland will have the power the giftie gied us. To look at our country with all its beauty and its flaws, and to be able in some cases with a single stroke of the pen, to remove much of the injustice, want and deprivation we see daily.

Scotland needs a can do attitude, the confidence and the cocky bravado, the pure gallusness that comes with self-determination. In its absence, to save Scotland, we have to learn now, this very day, to live in the early days of a better nation. If we do not, the future will remain bleak.

Poverty of aspiration hurts Scotland as much as a lack of personal wherewithal. We’ve a country of bounty world renowned and envied. Farming, forestry, tourism, history, whisky, fishing, electricity, gas, oil, our education system, health service, an egalitarian approach and a national character appreciated around the globe. Why then are we so reticent and at times cowardly in asserting our right, our entitlement, our prerogative of self determination?

40% of our people live in poverty; empty cupboards and fridges, cold homes, bairns and old folk freezing with their arms up the sleeves of the duvets. Thousands imperilled by addictions mainly without support. Still the sick man of Europe diseased as we are by the ills of deprivation and lack of hope. 

Life expectancy in Scotland is falling in the toughest of areas. Death by suicide rising. Child neglect, infant mortality and adolescent mental health are in crisis. 

All of these, every single one, will benefit from our taking the economic powers of this country into our own Scottish control. We will then have the ability to make our own priorities. Those will be eradication of poverty, promotion of education, the return of hope. Breed, barley bree and painted room – an old start but still the best one. Let’s make it happen Scotland. Now is the day and now is the hour.