LAST week, Nicola Sturgeon made a speech where she said that through a new constitution she would end child poverty in an independent Scotland.
Brian Monteith displays a remarkable and truly depressing paucity of aspiration. And no imagination whatsoever. He acknowledges the role of a constitution in establishing and defining the "institutions and processes" of a democratic nation. But he then ignores or denies the role of these institutions and processes in providing basics such as education and addressing the societal imbalances that are a "feature" of the capitalist economic system.
He treats commitments to providing education and to ending child poverty as if they are promises made in isolation - abstracted from the apparatus and infrastructure of the state. But that is not the case. Indeed, it is so obviously not the case that Monteith must resort to presuming to speak for Nicola Sturgeon in order to give his arguments a molecule-thin veneer of credibility.
Will Brian Monteith remember that it was he, and not Sturgeon, who spoke of using statistical sleight of hand to "banish" child poverty? Will other British nationalists recognise this straw man? Will they be honest enough to acknowledge it if they do?
The fact is that there is no reason whatever that a constitution shouldn't guarantee education. It is, after all, no more than an institution, or set of institutions, charged with delivering a process.
Likewise, there is no necessary impediment to actually ending child poverty. It is simply an aspect of the state's redistributive function.
The common factor here is choice. Governments choose to impose limits or restrictions on access to education. Likewise, child poverty is a consequence of the choices made by successive governments. It is perfectly possible to make different choices. All that is required is the political will.
The first step is to actually want change. To aspire to something better. Nicola Sturgeon has done no more than voice this aspiration. The knee-jerk negative response from the British establishment, which Brian Monteith exemplifies, is reason enough to believe that the British state is incapable of even considering different choices.
The British state will not deliver the better nation and society that the people of Scotland want. Only independence will allow us to choose better for our children.