JOHN Robertson, MP, obviously doesn't do his research very well, as his letter (January 18) showed. Far from announcing on Newsnight on January 16 a "new" policy on the currency, Alex Salmond, MP, was simply restating what was in Section 5 of the SNP's Raising the Standard paper published in November 2005. It stated that in an independent Scotland: "The currency shall continue to be sterling until such times as parliament decides to change that position. Any move to adopt the euro will require the sanction of the people in a referendum." It tells us a lot about John Robertson's level of industriousness that he didn't know this.

This is a perfectly reasonable position. The whole point of independence is to allow the Scottish people to take their own decisions about the big (and small) issues affecting their own country. Why should their ability to decide on any changes to currency policy be pre-empted by politicians prior to independence when there is no need to do so?

Our policy also makes economic sense. As a people, we will need to make a judgment as to the most appropriate currency policy for Scotland and the most beneficial nature and timing of any changes to that policy depending on the prevailing national and international economic circumstances at the time.

Clearly, any change will have to be properly thought through and planned for, and all the implications of any proposed change for the future of Scottish trade and industry, private pensions, the financial services sector, etc, examined in detail prior to any decisions being taken.

Meantime, the independent Scottish government can use fiscal policy and the many other tools that are available to a sovereign state to expand the Scottish economy, reduce unemployment and poverty, and improve the standard of living of our people; all quite impossible to do as long as we are stuck with Westminster.

Alex Neil, MSP, The Scottish Parliament. JOHN Robertson, MP, will wait a long time if he is looking for an explanation from Alex Salmond of how allowing either the Bank of England or the European Central Bank to set interest rates and control monetary policy for an independent Scotland will benefit Scotland. For the past eight years, since the SNP decided that it would join the euro after independence, I have tried to get any member of the SNP to explain to me how allowing Frankfurt to control monetary policy equates with independence. I have debated with some of the leading members of the party and have yet to get an answer of any kind.

Mr Salmond's latest policy statement, that Scotland would keep the pound sterling until a referendum could be held on whether or not to join the euro, beggars belief. What if the Scottish people decide against the euro? Given the problems Italy and Spain have with the euro, will the eurozone still exist? Will an independent Scotland's monetary policy continue to be dictated from London?

For decades, the SNP claimed, quite justifiably, that monetary policy in the UK was set with the interests of south-east England in mind, and that interest rates set in order to curb inflationary pressure there were detrimental to the economic interests of Scotland. That still applies.

Until Mr Salmond decided this should be SNP policy, control from London was anathema to Nationalists. Now, it seems it is perfectly acceptable, at least until control can be transferred to Brussels. Should Scots not now be asking the SNP: "Independence, what independence?"

Jim Fairlie, Finance Spokesman, Free Scotland Party, 1 St Ninians, Heathcote Road, Crieff.