Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What the Yes campaign should do if the three London parties "rule out" a formal currency union

1) Although this would be the bluff of the century on the part of the London parties, and although we know that as soon as there was a Yes vote they would reverse their position and seek a currency union in their own interests, the Yes campaign should be all too eager to take the announcement at face value.  Blair Jenkins and the SNP should point out time and time again that this is bullying behaviour by London, taking action that could harm the economic interests of England and Wales out of sheer spite against Scotland and our desire to govern ourselves.  Where is London's much-vaunted "love for Scotland" in this vindictive attempt to deny us access to a shared asset?

2) The Scottish government should announce that the London parties are welcome to reverse their self-destructive position at any time, but that if they don't, an independent Scotland would move ahead with either a nominally independent Scottish currency (still called the pound) pegged on a 1:1 basis with sterling, or with the use of sterling outside a formal currency union.  Either option would maintain the sense of continuity that voters are seemingly seeking.

3) The Scottish government should announce that because Scotland will be denied access to the important shared asset of sterling, the share of the UK's debt that we will be prepared to accept will be significantly reduced.  I emphasise 'reduced' - I doubt if it will be credible to say that we will take on none of the debt at all, but voters' sense of fairness will lead them to concur that there must be a quid pro quo (no pun intended) for London keeping one particularly important shared asset to itself.


  1. You can't be a little bit pregnant, it's all or nothing. Scotland can't pick & choose amongst the assets & liabilities

  2. I disagree, Alasdair - it's not credible for us to take the 'year zero' approach and say that we're not even interested in our fair share of military, diplomatic and other assets, and that we're going to start completely from scratch instead. We're the ones being reasonable here - we want to accept our fair share of both assets and liabilities. But if London refuse to give us access to one key asset, then there must be an equivalent reduction in our responsibilities on the liabilities front. Simple as that.

  3. James, I agree with your sentiments, but there legal and practical problems.

  4. I have read in a number of polls that the Currency issue is placed as a concern by only around 12% of people. So it is clearly not going to have much bearing on the outcome of the Referendum. Ordinary people do not engage with stuff like that. They assume correctly that it will all be sorted out in the wash.

  5. I find it hard to understand why the Conservatives and Labour would want to make an announcement like this now.

    (I exclude the Liberals because frankly, I doubt that anyone cares what they think; and in any case what they think at any given moment depends upon who or what is offering them ministerial cars and drivers.)

    I've always expected a bombshell within a couple of weeks of the referendum, and this was one of the possibilities I considered.

    But to drop your bombshell so early when there is time for the Yes Campaign to reassure people that this would not be the end of the world, seems misguided, especially when the Bank of England seemed at ease with the idea only recently. And when, as you point out, there are ways to keep the pound, tied to sterling, as the Eiran Punt was for so many years.

    I wonder what effects this will have on sterling and on the markets.

  6. Couple of thoughts here:

    What's wrong with us getting what's on our land and Westminster keeping everything else, including all the debt they've run up over the years?

    That's how all the other countries that left the empire did it, after all.

    Also, as to why they're announcing this now: Has anyone considered that maybe somebody is set to make a killing on the markets from the expected fallout from this announcement?

    Politicians using their position for personal enrichment is par for the course in Westminster, after all.

  7. I am with Tris here. Why do this so early? The Financial Markets may take a contrary view. I expect the news on the WoS site that the Yes campaign Group have a fund of £7m to spend (SNP & Greens excluded )will worry BT.

  8. "the share of the UK's debt that we will be prepared to accept will be significantly reduced"

    I may be wrong here James, but you appear to be saying here that the rump Uk will keep every asset and we will still be willing to pay part of their debt?

    I, like Illy, fail to see the equity in this.

    No currency union means we owe nothing to the rump UK as far as I'm concerned.

    Excellent Blog btw, it's a port of call for me every day

  9. The herd are beyond hysteria over on PB. AS you can imagine they think this is a master strategy of pure genius and are so shrill they can only be heard by bats.

    SeanT is still furious and it's comical how he keeps posting on Independence since he was forced to hide and cower in fear under the new name Gildas. He must know he's being laughed at very hard by now.

    As for Osborne, we'll have to wait and see of course but if Osborne really does want to make himself the face of NO in body and soul then the Yes campaign should (and likely will) do everything in it's power to oblige him. Make it about him 24/7 for as long as they want to try and keep this scaremongering up.

    Doesn't matter if Ed Balls or Danny agree with it or not. This is Osborne's bullying now. He's going to own it and scottish labour and the scottish lib dems are just going to have to like being cheerleaders for Osborne. Every time it's mentioned the tory chancellor Osborne must to be mentioned too.

    We'll see just how keen 'better together' are for an odious tory twat like Osborne to be the face of the No campaign from now on.

  10. I wonder if the herd got even more shrill when they heard that the Yes Campaign have £7m to campaign with?

    I suggest they walk the local streets here and tell people they cannot use our own currency.

  11. Shame to report that S goes P is now blocked on Edinburgh Council computers. Twats.

  12. Really? If only it had been Glasgow Council, I'd have taken that as a badge of honour.

  13. They've blocked this website on council computers?

    You should check if they've blocked some Unionist websites.

    We all know that only shutting down the pro-independance groups is par for the course, but we should still raise a fuss over it whenever we catch them at it.

  14. You can still get WoS but not this one. Makes no sense.

    Also nice to see the full might of the BOA fighting for the Scottish skater keeping her medal today. Scum.

  15. Excellent point, Mick.

    George Osborne must take full credit for this.

    That should hack people off. He's probably hated here even more than Cameron. And that's quite an achievement!

    I shall make it my business on MR to preface the currency question, on every occasion it is mentioned, with the words George or Gideon Osborne.