The task that lies ahead for John Swinney is an onerous one.

During a speech yesterday when he accepted the post of SNP leader, he said he would “seek, with respect and courtesy, to persuade people of the case for independence”.

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Today one of our readers outlines the scale of that challenge.

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Alistair Easton of Edinburgh writes:

"The SNP has just proved that it is rather better at recycling than its former Green friends. Unlike Lorna Slater’s bottle recycling scheme, the SNP’s Former Leader Recycling Scheme seems unlikely to be blocked by His Excellency the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Of course this is the second time this century that the SNP has recycled a former leader. The last one brought back into office had some successes during his second term as leader. But history will primarily remember Alex Salmond for achieving an independence referendum which allowed us to reject his party’s number one objective.

If John Swinney wants to avoid a similar fate, he and his party must try to overcome the near-impossible challenge of coming up with a credible and economically feasible proposal for an independent Scotland. The disaster that is Brexit will make voters very wary of more make-believe predictions of streets paved with gold should we choose to leave another union. Mr Swinney should start by binding all the recent independence policy papers into one volume and entering it into a competition for fantasy fiction.

It would then be up to the SNP itself to try to draft a credible alternative. It is not a job for the Scottish Government’s civil servants who are there to assist in administering devolved powers, powers that do not include the constitution. Drafting a credible independence proposal will be somewhere between very hard and impossible. Will Mr Swinney’s SNP be up to the task?"