THERE is no question that the First Minister gave a very good speech with lots of positive, but unfunded as yet, policies (“Cheaper energy pledge by Sturgeon steals the show”, The Herald, October 11). So far, so good.

However, it seems astonishing that the faltering, stagnating economy was almost invisible from conference debates and Nicola Sturgeon’s speech to the point that the Government seems to have given up on trying to grow the economy. Instead we are being buttered up to accept inevitable tax increases. It is quite remarkable that addressing our financial woes seem so far down the Government’s priorities.

Ms Sturgeon needs to face up to the “loss of economic credibility” that Kenny Macaskill articulated (“People want a better Scotland now, not a promised land”, The Herald, October 10) and get a credible action plan to grow the economy instead of focusing on spending money we simply do not have.

As Bill Clinton said: “it’s the economy stupid”, but sometimes populist politicians simply do not listen. If we fail to address the fundamental economic issues we are doomed to fall back into recession.

Ian McNair,

47A James Street, Cellardyke.

AT the SNP conference Nicola Sturgeon held out the prospect of cheaper energy bills for the customer with the idea of a publicly-owned, not for profit energy company. This idea is, as yet, an unfunded concept, lacking in specification.

It leads me, however, to recall the pre-Thatcher times when, between the late 1940s, after nationalisation , and the early 1990s, the period of privatisation, decisions relating to generation, transmission and distribution of energy were made in the national UK interest. Today we are in the hands of directors and shareholders of companies largely based outwith the UK. The decisions they make with regard to energy production and sale have little to do with our country’s national interest. The UK has become a cash cow in the hands of boards, in the main located abroad, and energy bills have become a huge item in the average person’s outgoings.

However, we are where we are and the reversal of privatisation is extremely unlikely to happen. The as-yet sketchy SNP proposal, if it ever comes to pass – its relationship with the major players in the energy market will be particularly interesting to see – appears to be a small step in the right direction.

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road, Lenzie.

IT will be interesting to see the setting up of a Scottish-owned energy company without shareholders or dividends and run by the SNP administration.

The track record of the SNP in handling commercial projects is abysmal, with many running over budget and with late completion dates; not to mention the bungling of the farmers' EU grant scheme with an over-budget IT system that still doesn't work properly.

Dennis Forbes Grattan,

3 Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen.

HOW wonderful would it have been if the Scottish Government had made a statement to the effect that, for a fraction of what has been spent on countless windmills which are hugely inefficient, a reasonable sum would be spent using Scotland’s exceptional engineering and technology skills to develop a safe and efficient way of extracting natural shale gas reserves?

As we all know, it didn’t, but I am sure it was not because it needs the Green Party.

Duncan Sooman,

Dumbrock Road, Milngavie.

AS Mhairi Black bathed in the applause of conference when she said: “We were fed a pack of lies during that [2014] referendum” ("Don’t put our independence on the back burner Black tells party”, The Herald, October 11) I suspect there would be quite a few squirming in their seats amongst the gathered faithful.

Robert Heeps,

McVean Place,

Longcroft, Falkirk.

DR Gerald Edwards (Letters, October 11) assures us that "the voters have gradually abandoned the SNP, a fact it seems to ignore" but I would suggest that it is Dr Edwards for whom "fantasy has taken over from reality" as the opinion polls indicate that the SNP, which won the recent UK General Election in Scotland, is continuing to outstrip all the Unionist parties.

In addition, the SNP conference showed a confident, vibrant party, solidly behind the leader it loves and respects, in stark contrast to Scottish Labour, engulfed in the latest row over its leadership battle, and the warring factions within the Conservative Party, as its beleaguered leader commutes between her enemies at home and the problems she has created for herself at the EU.

Nicola Sturgeon has her ball at her feet and her goal in sight; Theresa May's ball is burst.

Ruth Marr,

99 Grampian Road, Stirling.

IN the space of four years many of today’s voters will have died and many young people will have reached voting age; some at least of the personalities on the contemporary political scene will have gone and been replaced; events seen now as likely and events which no one has even guessed at will have altered the general political climate and altered many people’s voting intentions; Gabriel may even have blawn his tooteroo. Yet some people talk as if a poll predicting the result of the 2021 Holyrood election were worth so much as a passing thought. Ridiculous.

Derrick McClure,

4 Rosehill Terrace, Aberdeen.

AS MPs returned from yet another recess and Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) took up its normal slot on a Wednesday, there was a clear similarity to the first PMQs after the summer recess and that of today's: Universal Credit is back on the agenda. Try as she might Theresa May was unable to defend her Government’s policy on welfare.

Analysis followed on Radio 4 when Conservative MP Liz Truss admitted that the Tory policy on Universal Credit was leaving people in financial crisis, but went on to say things were now being sorted with same day help becoming available at local Jobcentres. So are the Conservatives listening? I would suggest not and that Ms Truss should refer to the Conservative Government’s announcement in July 2017, when confirmation was given that 10 JobCentres across Scotland, six of them in Glasgow, were to close. The Conservatives in action, at their heartless best.

Catriona C Clark,

52 Hawthorn Drive, Banknock, Falkirk.