IT is refreshing to hear Holyrood's Minister for External Affairs and International Development, Humza Yousaf, clearly lay out the position an independent Scotland would take when it comes to international aid and global affairs.

The minister is right to point out that, despite its comparatively small size, Scotland has the capacity to become a clarion voice and world leader in its approach to aid provision overseas.

That challenge – borne out by academic research – is something other small nations have admirably risen to. Such ambition is to be welcomed as is the fact that any future SNP Government intends not only to hit the UN target of dedicating 0.7% of gross national income to global aid, but to go beyond that commitment.

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For the past 40 years the UK Government has failed to do just that. Cancelling third world debt, something also being considered post-independence, would show Scotland's willingness to embrace radical thinking on the aid issue. While not everyone will agree with the proposals, they augur well, displaying confidence and a Scottish government willing to think for itself in following a different agenda to its Westminster counterpart.

Just as importantly at this precise moment, news of the aid proposals provide the ideal antidote to the slew of scare stories which predict post-independence doom and gloom that reached their nadir recently when Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander said Scots would be worse off under independence ... by £1 a year.