THIS column offers doubtless unwelcome advice to BBC Debate Night, set to broadcast the final televised hustings between the SNP leadership candidates on Tuesday night.

Firstly, since the top concerns amongst the public and SNP members are the health service, cost of living crisis and the economy, why not make those subjects the central debate and forget the moral issues with which the entire electorate has been super-served and about which most voters already have formed opinions?

My guess is that the large block of undecideds wants to weigh each candidate’s ideas about Scotland’s economy and relieving pressure on the NHS against worries generated by their leadership styles during that first fairly tumultuous week of TV debates.

There isn’t much time to get beyond soundbites, even with an exclusive focus on workers’ rights and the economy as the STUC’s livestreamed hustings on Saturday demonstrated.

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Humza Yousaf said in one answer “People won't be inspired if we import a failed Westminster model,” referring to the Scottish Government’s embrace of Green Freeports. Kate Forbes said in another: “Freeports don't fit into the Green transition. But they were either inflicted on us or we could choose to shape them. That was the choice and it's why I backed them.”

Those comments had the beginnings of a good debate on a vital policy area but there wasn’t the time. Are Freeports to be embraced as the only game in town, since Westminster can simply create them with or without Holyrood?

Are they an unashamedly good idea that will kickstart long overdue investment in places like the Cromarty Firth, or are they to be fiercely resisted as likely centres of money-laundering, casualised working practices and old businesses taking jobs from other parts of Scotland? And quite how Green would they be?

Freeports aren’t the central economic debate for Scotland, but that and the question of setting up a National Energy Company would showcase the thinking likely to be applied across the whole economy. So please, let’s find out. Even if it takes half the programme.

The other useful public function would be to challenge candidates on their own particular emerging weakspots. That takes a bit of nerve, because Debate Night is based on audience questions and the BBC might wish to avoid the possible accusations of bias that might arise if each candidate isn’t invited to answer exactly the same questions. But again, time is short and most folk interested enough to watch a BBC hustings programme have probably watched the rest as well.

The big question for Kate Forbes is not whether she is a social conservative – we know the answer – but whether she is an economic conservative too. She is the only candidate on the partly abandoned Growth Commission. Is that the way she swings today, with its emphasis on inward investment as the best way to revitalise Scotland, bearing in mind we’ve suffered from being a precarious, branch line economy for many decades?

For Humza Yousaf, the big question is whether he is run by HQ and Peter Murrell or is indeed his own man. There's no point dancing around the fact that lots of very similar looking videos have appeared in what looks like a highly orchestrated campaign to get him over the line. In one way that may not matter much – support from colleagues is what being the leadership candidate means.

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But what about the future and the hold Peter Murrell still exercises over the workings of the SNP? It's not enough for Humza to say he will talk to Mr Murrell about his future. To retrieve credibility with critical members he needs to say more about restoring the SNP’s internal democracy – perhaps axing the rules that make it next to impossible for existing MPs to relocate to Holyrood.

That might seem to turn Mr Yousaf into a caretaker leader, or a man who realises much of the party’s talent is stuck in the wrong parliament, due to the sheer coincidence of a General Election being the first electoral contest after the independence referendum. Will someone ask?

He also needs to defend his own record better than Nicola Sturgeon has been doing for him and when Ms Forbes has a pop, he must respond then – in that moment – not at the next debate, because there won’t be one.

Ripostes can be made pleasantly and assertively – again Ms Sturgeon is the gold standard with her excellent riff about Douglas Ross and his aspirations to becoming mediocre – and maybe that’s the unfortunate thing for Mr Yousaf. Since he is obviously the anointed one, he is automatically compared to a communications genius.

Ash Regan must square the circle about the tension between the Greens and Alba within her vision of a constitutional convention to push forward with independence. Since Ms Regan has made herself the Yes candidate, that idea needs to work. But it still seems that she’s not had a direct conversation with Patrick Harvie. Indeed, if she has managed to get through, she should patent the technique.

Organising the Supreme Court rally last November, I found the Greens would not return calls, texts or emails – I later discovered the reason was the inclusion of Alba MP Neale Hanvey in the line-up. It is almost impossible to get these two parties in the same room because of their different stances on gender recognition. So how will a convention actually work?

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Again, the BBC may be reluctant to focus on the micro-organisation of independence strategy lest they appear to be endorsing the cause. But it’s an SNP leadership campaign. C’mon.

Ash Regan also needs to explain whether she’s channelling the Alba Party in general and Alex Salmond in particular with her preference for EFTA not EU membership – can she explain it in detail please? – and blocking use of the Stone of Destiny for the coronation. It's not a crime to take ideas from different sources, but people need to know if an Ash Regan leadership is a Trojan horse for Alex Salmond's ambitions.

There’s a lot to tackle. Here’s hoping the estimable Stephen Jardine doesn’t miss.