Contrast in policies either side of the border stark during cost of living crisis
Since I last wrote for the Blairgowrie Advertiser, the SNP conference has taken place in Aberdeen.
It was an excellent few days of exchanging ideas and visions for the party as well as the country and, indeed, the world.
There was a wealth of topics discussed, from climate change to our NHS and human rights issues around the world.
The conference culminated with an outstanding speech from our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, which included major policy announcements to help people through the Tory cost of living crisis.
It was revealed that the game-changing Scottish Child Payment will be made available to under-16s from next month, meaning that around 300,000 more children will qualify, and that the bridging payment will also be doubled from £130 to £260 – benefiting around 150,000 households.
These additional support measures for Scotland’s most vulnerable are a prime example of the fundamentally different ideologies now apparent between Holyrood and Westminster.
It is difficult to put into words the chaos that we have all witnessed since Liz Truss came into power just five weeks ago.
An unfathomably reckless mini budget which sent the economy spiralling and which provoked so many u-turns that it can now be more accurately described as a full circle of pandemonium.
A change of chancellor after 38 days, a Prime Minister without power but somehow still in charge, and millions of households struggling to make ends meet because of her utter incompetence.
This is a government existing on a day-by-day basis, and there will likely be more bombshells by the time you read this which will further derail the situation. It is as dizzying as it is grim.
The dynamic atmosphere throughout the conference showed that the SNP is unified and entirely motivated to continue delivering on our progressive agenda.
But the fact is that this vision can never be fully met for as long as Westminster controls the fiscal levers that influence the economy, interest and mortgage rates, pension fund security and market trust.
Time after time, Prime Minister after Prime Minster, misery has been inflicted on Scotland through their catastrophic misuse of these fiscal powers.
We did not vote for these people or their policies, and our nation is becoming surer by the day that we need to break free from the worsening damage they are causing.
It is entirely true to say that all governments across the UK must be laser focussed on protecting our NHS, our people and our economy as we approach what will be an extremely tough winter.
However, the contrast in approaches north and south of the border will speak to the wider question of what more would be possible if the Scottish Government at Holyrood had the full powers of a totally independent nation.