"The UK Scotland voted to stay in doesn't exist any more"

Bella interviews Alex Salmond

We kick-off the first of a series of interviews in the run-up to the Holyrood elections discussing Brexit, the indyref, the oil figures and the currency question with Alex Salmond.

Salmond responds to the remarks of former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King in his new book, The End of Alchemy. In the book Mr King accuses the No campaign of being “misleading” in their suggestion that the use of sterling would have presented any serious difficulty. He says:

“To admit that there was a simple and straightforward answer to the currency question would have undermined its argument that independence would be an economic disaster. That proposition was always implausible. There are many small successful countries in the world and there is no reason why Scotland could not have joined them.” Watch the full interview here:

 

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42 Comments

  • Flower of Scotland 4 months ago

    Enjoyed that interview immensely Mike. Nice to see an interview when the interviewee is allowed to finish a sentence without interruption.

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    • Donnie MacLachlan 4 months ago

      Novel and refreshing, enabling the interviewee to answer the question. Makes them far less guarded, more expansive and shiftiness or honesty are more apparent.

      Some interesting points from Alec, not least the current state of unionism, that unionists have absolutely nothing positive to say about Scotland, her people, economy and future! This is not a sustainable position. You can almost feel labour politicians wanting Scotland to loose at football or rugby, the last thing they want is Scottish success and that success celebrated and Scots confidence boosted!

      unionism depends on malleable people who lack confidence or vision, these are not the foundations for long term success!

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      • Bella Caledonia Editor 4 months ago

        Thanks Donnie

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    • John B Dick 4 months ago

      What the interviewee said was interesting enough, but the interview style was remarkable. The usual thing is to interject from a brief originating on the opposing side of the LAB/CON divide and focus on personalities and career ambitions.

      This is what passes for 'balance'.

      I understand that Bella is Pro SNP, but you should consider whether allowing political opponents to expose their thinking in this format would benefit the SNP cause.

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      • Bella Caledonia Editor 4 months ago

        I dont quite understand what you mean John?

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        • John B Dick 4 months ago

          Interview eg Kezia Dugdale in this format. Ask the questions and see how she can cope by just being given enough time to expose the weakness in her argument.

          Try it. You have the option to bin it if doesn't work, though that isn't 'balance.'

          Here's a question: 'Do you agree with Brian Wilson that list MSPs are a waste of space?

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3154158.stm also see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scoHtland/3155434.stm

          Here's another: "We can be sure that at most top two, sometimes three and rarely four in the Labour list in each region will be elected. That being the case, you will know now already what sort of party Labour in the Scottish Parliament will be. Are they predominately anti-Corbyn new Labour, trade union Old Labour, ex-Glasgow council or Monklands mafia?

          Or: Has Anas Sarwar been drafted in as your successor and will he take over immeditely after the election? Will he be taking a leading role in the management of the campaign?

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  • muttley79 4 months ago

    As much as I admire what Alex Salmond has achieved for Scotland in his career (which is very substantial, given his roles in the 1997 and 2011 referendums, and the further powers gained after 2007), I disagree that the BBC being biased was that important to the outcome. The EU issue was initially handled badly, the pensions issue was not handled adequately, and the economic case for independence was not presented as well as it could have been either.

    Before going into a independence second referendum, we need to research the role of a central bank, what it can do and the benefits it can bring to society, and get that information out to those who support independence or are at least willing to hear the case. On currency, we are going to have to decide between having our own currency, or whether it should be pegged to another currency. The option used in the first independence referendum is surely off the table. The Yes side also need to debate what the future banking system is going to look like in Scotland.

    As Robin McAlpine says, the SNP response to the GERS figures was not good enough. The Yes side need to rethink the economic case given the collapse in the oil price. We need to be bolder and more critical in our thinking imo, because next time we need to have our case as full proof as possible. Since September 2014 elements in the independence movement have been taking pot shots at each other. This is understandable in a way, given the disappointment, the closeness of the result, and the fact that fighting elections inevitably creates frictions and tensions. But we also need to get some of the spirit and the probably most importantly, working together across parties, groups, independents back again after the election in May.

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    • ronald alexander mcdonald 4 months ago

      Let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

      To be fair to them they had to pick themselves up for the UK general election eight months after the referendum. It will be only a year from that to the Scottish elections, then a month later the EU referendum.

      However, they will have to produce a fresh economic argument for Independence. Let's wait and see what they start to produce from the summer.

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      • Kenny 4 months ago

        I don't know how this would have played to a wider audience, but after the great Osborne intervention, I thought the SNP line should have been "we said we'd negotiate but Osborne has ruled that out. We will take no debt and we will take no responsibility for people's pensions either. NI contributions have been paid to Her Majesty's Exchequer and it is the Exchequer which will pay the pensions. If it is the view of the UK Government that Scotland would be a brand new country and that this is not the ending of a co-equal union of two sovereign kingdoms then it is as if every pensioner and worker in Scotland has moved to a foreign country. And so, just as if I retire to Spain and retain my UK pension, so it will be with pensioners in Scotland retaining their UK pensions."

        In fact, that was exactly the position that the UK Government had taken. They knew they were liable for all the debt and all the pensions; they just kept pretty quiet about it and stamped their feet and shouted "DEFAULT!" when Yes campaigners talked about walking away from the debt. In the absence of debt and not taking on full responsibility for Scotland's pensions until perhaps 100 years after independence (there would have been 16 year olds paying NI on day one of independence who would thus be entitled to a tiny UK pension 50-odd years later, when we can assume life expectancy could be up over 100), the Scottish economy would have been in a spectacularly good position on day one.

        There's another big factor no-one mentioned in the economic case: we'd have been setting up whole new departments for a Scottish government IN Scotland that we already pay for down south. By my reckoning, 10% of the staff and costs of defence, foreign affairs and the Home Office adds up to about £1bn and 30,000 jobs. This is roughly what we already contribute to the UK, yet most of those jobs and most of that money is in London. The creation of a full Scottish civil service would see those jobs and that money moved immediately to Scotland. 30,000 new jobs equates to maybe £300m from the Scottish social security budget and close to the same coming in as tax receipts from those workers. Then there's all the money those people spend in the real economy and the jobs that supports. All in, the difference between a Scottish civil service in Scotland and UK civil service in London is about £2bn to Scotland's coffers.

        On the currency question, I felt Salmond in particular really missed a trick in the debate with Darling. When Darling squawked "I don't want to be like Panama for five minutes!" it would have been wonderful if Salmond had turned calmly to the camera and said "On behalf of the people of Scotland, I as First Minister would like to apologise to our Panamanian friends for Alistair's rudeness. I can assure you that most of us here in Scotland have the greatest of respect for Panama. And since we're discussing Panama, let's point out that not only is it home to one of the greatest marvels of engineering in the world, but its largest industry is financial services and it has the world's sixth most stable banking system. These are facts that Alastair claims are impossible for a country using a shared currency but his lack of respect for Panama is only exceeded by his lack of knowledge about it. Moreover, despite Alistair's assertions that a country using a shared currency cannot run a deficit, Panama does run a small deficit and has done for several years. As amazing as Alistair may find it, with his rather sad lack of vision and his failure to understand the wider world, but a country of only four million people can actually do extremely well for itself using almost exactly the model that Alistair says would lead to doom and destruction for the Scottish economy. I would perhaps suggest to Alistair that the last Scots who tried to tell Panama what was best for them ended up losing every penny they had in the ill-fated Darien adventure. Maybe he would do better to listen and learn than to laugh and lecture as he has done so far tonight."

        Boom. Panama actually gave us a lot of the answers we needed AND a stick to beat Darling with, but we never really took it. I don't know for sure that having no central bank is a catastrophe. I know a lot of theorists argue that with appropriate regulation in place to ensure bank liquidity, it can actually be a benefit. Indeed, free banking is the reason we have a variety of "pounds in our pockets" today. The issuing banks all physically hold Bank of England notes of equivalent value to the notes the issue in a vault at the Bank of England. There is no reason we couldn't have said that they must retain those (thus maintaining a precise 1:1 peg with Sterling at no cost) and that we would consider those notes as well as BoE notes to be the common currency of Scotland. There is no "legal tender" in Scotland for this same reason - to create a legal tender system would inevitably privilege one issuing bank over another - so that argument becomes rather weak. Then we could demand that during the transition to indepedence and in the years immediately following, the banks in Scotland, starting with the issuing banks, would have to increase their asset base to ensure greater liquidity. The government could even have given loans to assist this process at a little above the borrowing rate that the newly independent country faced. These could be long-term loans, ensuring that Scotland would have some money available in the long term to service its debts with a very modest profit on top. Meanwhile, the banks (just like in Panama) would be forced to maintain that greater liquidity and ensure that their lending and borrowing were prudent because there would be no central bank available to bail them out. Savers would have it made very clear that their savings were at risk if the bank collapsed and therefore savers would hopefully become more prudent too and would demand prudency from their banks to ensure their money was safe. The shift would take a lot of getting used to for the banks but in light of the crisis of 2008, I think many people would see it as a positive that the banks were being required to take greater responsibility and that bailouts could never happen again. If we also made it easier for small banks to start up and harder for bigger banks to acquire and subsume them, we would begin to see more and more small, local banks achieving success through real local connections and actual, honest-to-God trust between bank and customer. Those would also be more reactive to local conditions and local economic needs and could provide a very useful baromoter to central government of where the economy was performing well and where it needed a little extra support.

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        • Crubag 4 months ago

          Panama has its own currency. And central bank.

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          • Legerwood 4 months ago

            Panama does have its own currency fully exchangeable with the US dollar on a 1 for 1 basis but it does not have a Central Bank The absence of a lender of last resort serves to concentrate the banking mind and has ensured that the banks did not indulge in casino banking.

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  • Almannysbunnet 4 months ago

    Wow, ask a question and listen to the answer, what an amazing concept. I can see why the BBC don't go down that route.
    Great to hear a reasoned point of view put across in a calm manner. You continue to give us hope Alex and Bella, keep it up, if we can't get a fair hearing in the corporate media then we will create our own.

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  • muttley79 4 months ago

    As a wee after thought, I think Alex Salmond did well not to swear or even react negatively when Alex Bell's name came up. How many times has Bell been used by unionists since before, and since the referendum to attack the SNP? Impressive self control from Salmond!

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  • Scottish Independence Guy 4 months ago

    'Since September 2014 elements in the independence movement have been taking pot shots at each other'..
    Yes, that's glaringly obvious.

    We in Twitter tend to look upon ourselves as the custodians or 'elite' of the independence movement, the vox populi of independence if you don't include actual MPs and MSPs. That's a reasonably fair assumption as we do tend to obtain first-hand and early information from the most reliable sources before it's provided by msm. Are we holding this position responsibly? Most of the time we are, but certain 'slow-news' days have produced damage, fractured the community and driven folk away from the harmony built during Ref times. I've seen a definite lapse in tweets, likes and appearances from many followers, disappointed by in-fighting and bitter disagreement. What the hell *was* all that about?

    Social media was a major factor in our success of Sept '14 (yes, it was a success of sorts) and we're stronger and more effective if we work as a team.
    Also, criticism of rank-lying, unfairness and propaganda is expected, but constant bleating and carping (I've done this) doesn't look good on us. Twitter-storms of Question Time Dundee panels etc is healthy (and necessary), but I much prefer the positive image, the same positivity that almost won independence for Scotland.

    I enjoy a little drama now and again and there's a degree of sense about the words uttered by Maximus Decimus Meridius:

    '“Whatever comes out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together”'

    We'll do well to remember this.

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  • Onwards 4 months ago

    There are pros and cons with every currency option.
    A different Project Fear at the ready for each scenario.

    The option the YES campaign ran with was judged to be the 'least scary' to the average person. The continuance of the present situation as much as possible, and most likely to keep the finance industry in Scotland. It did depend on some goodwill and common sense though.

    And it's all related to the other issue mentioned in the interview - how every country is interdependent. When we do become independent it is surely better to do so on friendly terms.

    Scotland has a strong hand when it comes to negotiations. But issues regarding the debt and assets were toned down. It could be perceived as threats and blackmail, and running a positive campaign was the main objective.

    Looking back, I think we could have done with taking a more balanced campaign, and playing hardball a few times. There should have been billboards with comparisons with Norway and their giant oil fund - making people *angry* at UK mismanagement. Lamenting our population loss under the union, and why so many people have had to leave for a better job. An emotional angle on the pride and self-respect that comes with self-government.

    Even now, Nicola seems reluctant to get into negative territory when it comes to questions on the alleged deficit under independence.
    We wouldn't have built up half the debt so it's only reasonable we wouldn't be paying for all of it. And our share of the assets.. what about that ?
    That would help to cover a good chunk of any start up costs or initial deficit.

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  • Papko 4 months ago

    I like Muttleys proposals , our own central bank , and our own banks already print pounds , keep them call them Scottish pounds , and peg them or float them , whatever .

    I see the independence debate as a great river in spate , it is not going to stop , where any of us "want it to " , it constantly changes and reinvents .

    I believe the AS underestimated his own hand , and the whole concept of currency union was political , the case for YES was made to appeal to as broad a front as possible , and those of us , not keen on "any " change were accommodated to the point of lunacy .

    Oh keep the pound , keep the BBC , keep your British passports , were all going to the promised land .........

    This debate is about Scotland being a country , and if you want that , you want it come hell or high water , oil prices , service cuts , watching Eastenders , are just flim flam .

    Sure it did convince some people to vote YES , it also crucially hardened and augmented the determination of others to vote NO .

    For ref2 our starting argument , is 10 years of austerity a hundred is all one , keep your pound , your debt and your Falkland islands weather stations , we are off .

    Thats what the only country ever to vote to leave the Union did , and they went through 50 years of turmoil , just so they could run their own country ,
    And that and only that is what Scotland will have to do .

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    • muttley79 4 months ago

      I should point out that having a central bank is not my proposal, if we were to be independent and have our own separate Scottish currency, we would require a Central Bank. I think this would be the case if we were to peg our currency to another currency as well.

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      • Papko 4 months ago

        I see Muttley , and whatever we do , propose or initiate , there will be a counter , (could be integral in the human condition , whatever )

        I do think that the referendum campaign and result , was something AS never anticipated . (the landslide in 2011 was equally unexpected )

        Just like David Cameron with his EU ref promise , to break the back of the UKIP , support , so AS found himself playing in the final .

        This would explain , some inconsistencies in the campaign , currency , EU , were poorly thought out , yet designed to appeal to as wide a remit as possible .

        But the great swell of support for YES in the last few weeks of the campaign was something far more powerful , 45% of us had decided to grasp the mantle , and go forth , and all such squabbling over who did this and that , was not important .

        Yet the glaring gaps , could not be reconciled , and the NO vote hardened in its resolve .

        Nobody can predict the future or agree about the past , or ever will , indy ref 2 is a simple ,for Scotland right or wrong .

        without anything to counter and dissect , the Union will have to adopt the opposite , Britain right or wrong .

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        • muttley79 4 months ago

          I suspect there is a fair amount of reality to what you saying Papko. I think the SNP must have known they were going to do well in 2011 in regards to their own private polling. I very much doubt they expected to effectively break the voting system used for Holyrood, and be in a position to hold a referendum on independence. It would explain the lack of depth and preparedness on the EU question, the currency issue (the SNP went for the most conservative option there). In hindsight I think it was vital that we held an independence referendum in 2014, even though the result was not what many of us wanted or desired.

          I think the process of the referendum, which Alex Salmond rightly acknowledged, the debates all over Scotland, the engagement, matured Scottish politics considerably. It is now the SNP that are being challenged, and put under some pressure by more radical ideas and policies from the likes of the Greens and RISE. I think the SNP will do well in May (I hope so anyway), but they have to be challenged on policy. If this does not happen, then they will get too complacent. That is what happened to Labour in Scotland, and they gradually lost support and respect.

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          • MBC 4 months ago

            I tend to agree with your points about the SNP's 'small c' conservatism. But they are a centrist party, for sound political reasons of needing to hold the centre ground in order to appeal to the majority of voters, and thus beat the system Holyrood was set up for, that no party could dominate. Perhaps as they grow more confident of their support they will be bolder if they feel that people are behind them. They could do this by being radical in areas that are unlikely to affect their mass support, for instance, in land reform.

            Perhaps too, the entire shape of Scottish politics is being recast. Not as between left and right, but between nationalist and unionist. Once the Lib Dems are extinguishied and Labour forced into third place, this will become clearer. As the Conservative Unionists will be the main opposition, if former Labour voters decamp to the SNP, and the Blairites rally to Ruth Davidson, who is, after all, a Blairite rather than a traditional Tory.

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  • william 4 months ago

    The currency question was a big factor for people and the Yes campaign did not handle it right. A tougher stance on the issue should have been taken. I personally feel that Scotland needs to start her own currency to set it in a good position come the next referendum.

    The position on Oil is always very unclear when the SNP talk about it. They need to say they don't have control over decision making and that currently we get a population share (I think) of about 8.3%, then paint the bigger picture of what 100% of that revenue would look like under independence. The SNP need to point the blame more at Westminster and not shy away of using negative language underpinned with the truth rather than outright lies that the No campaign used.

    Great interview all the same but there should have been a question on the Edinburgh agreement that was broken. I would have liked to have heard the opinion of salmond on that matter.

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    • John B Dick 4 months ago

      Currency and oil dependency are BT agenda issues. What YES needs to speak about are a vision for post-independent Scotland and also things that London media know nothing about.

      In my opinion the greatest benefit of the Union may turn out to be the fact that the potential for development of the 20% of the UK landmass that is rural Scotland has been ignored and so preserved for more sustainable development in the 21st Century. Renewables are only one part of it.

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  • Matt 4 months ago

    Agree with the comments above, the approach next time round should be the eventual launch of the Scottish pound. This doesn't have to be "spun" in any way. It is enough to say that we realise the previous economic proposal was rejected by the electorate and we accept that. So we have returned with a new proposal. Simple as that.
    I would advocate the Irish model of using the pound sterling in the immediate aftermath of independence, but transitioning to the Scottish pound, when the economic circumstances for doing so are favourable.

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    • MBC 4 months ago

      Agree. And we can put them on the back foot this time by saying that the main reason for doing this is not so much economic (though there would be economic advantages to having a central bank, for instance being able to borrow independently on world markets) but political, because of the cussedness of Osborne and his ilk, in refusing reasonable co-operation in the Bank of England. We would say we are proposing this to avoid political risk. There was nothing wrong economically with Stiglitz's plan to share sterling. Mark Carney admitted this. But it would require co-operation, and as Osborne made clear, a co-operative attitude was not forthcoming!

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  • Ian Kirkwood 4 months ago

    "Delivering a more robust monetary framework which is sustainable when George Osborne (pretends he) says no, would be a major difference in fighting election (Indy) again."
    That more robust monetary framework is Annual Ground Rent (AGR) which promises to sustain double the historic Sottish growth rate (i.e. plus at least 2%).
    AGR please!

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  • Scott Young 4 months ago

    Superb interview. And good to get a face to a name.

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  • john young 4 months ago

    All you that are putting forward financial arguments,what are you basing your views on? where were all the "experts" at the last fiasco? where will all of you be at the next? the global financial model is set up for/by the brigands/plunderers,those that really know how rigged the banks/markets are,we have no influence in these fields and never will,so don,t get too hot under the collar,you are going to get shafted again and again,any of you heard of "delinquency bonds",I hadn,t but it sure as hell scares me.

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  • Alf Baird 4 months ago

    If only we could have politics without career politicians; no matter what they say, they all sound the same.

    Dis onybody ken whit thon 56 "roaring lions" ir daen doon thair?

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  • william 4 months ago

    what about the companies that are registered in England but trade in Scotland, Under independence we would force companies to register in Scotland so that Scotland retains the tax revenue.

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    • MBC 4 months ago

      Good thinking. Another reason for our own central bank and currency.

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  • john young 4 months ago

    Exactly Alf Baird "Venus fly Trap" it would appear still functioning as it always has,have they also fallen for the "baubles/bangles/ beads approach,not too many raised voices of late.As for politicians they are by dint self absorbed careerists,I much favour the Common Weal over any/all political parties,elect bespoke people close to the communities.

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  • MBC 4 months ago

    Re indyref2: let's not forget that circumstances have changed since indyref1.

    1. Many No voters placed their faith in the chances of a UK Labour government. The central plank, 'we're better together', WAS influential, especially when combined with 'we're too wee, too stupid' narrative. Events since have cast doubt on that likelihood. Yet a Labour government is still a distant possibility given IDS's resignation last night at Osborne, and the Tory party tearing itself apart over welfare reform and Brexit, all of which appears to vindicate Corbyn.
    2. The collapse in the oil price is both positive and negative for the indy campaign. If we can show that the economic case doesn't rest on oil - that Scotland's economy is robust enough and diverse enough that it can survive a 'worst case scenario' - then the collapse in the oil price is actually a positive.
    3. Agree with Muttley that we would need our own central bank (not for economic reasons, as it is perfectly viable to continue to use Bank of England and a shared currency, but for political reasons, in order to avoid the cussedness of the likes of Osborne putting the frighteners on people and refusing reasonable co-operation). Therefore we would need our own currency. This should be the £Sc, pegged 1:1 with the £sterling.
    4. If there is a Brexit, and a successful indyref2, we should use the combination of both to establish our own £Sc. We should on no account be pressurised into accepting the toxic Euro. If there is a Brexit, and we want to remain in the EU, the EU would be inclined to make us a generous offer and allow us to keep our own currency.

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  • Redgauntlet 4 months ago

    Great to see Alex Salmond on Bella, and well done to Mike Small and his team for this excellent interview.

    The currency question was badly handled, but to be fair for those calling for a Scottish currency, if that had been announced during the campaign like sharing the pound was, the effect would not have been that much different...it would have been spun too..

    For under such proposals, there would have almost certainly have been capital flight from Scotland to England in the build up to the referendum, and the press would have gone to town on that too....you can imagine the headlines...J.K Rowling moves her millions to London etc etc...

    ...the timing was wrong, the currency question should have been tackled much earlier. But the SNP, to be fair, had been up for the Euro until the Euro crisis began - and the Euro crisis will not be solved until the key institutions of the Eurozone are democratised and made accountable. So the SNP were caught on the backfoot, because the situation suddenly changed about 2012, unexpectedly...

    In terms of the Euro, and for all that it has major structural faults, nobody in the south of Europe is calling for a return to the Drachma or the Peseta, say. So people like the idea of the Euro on the continent. What needs to happen in the Eurozone is greater union, not less...we need the political levers to run the Eurozone democratically. If that happens, the Euro may become palatable again...

    My criticism of the SNP's campaign is that it concentrated far too much on the economics of independence, and not enough on nationhood and the principle of self-determination.

    No country I can think of ever voted for independence for economic reasons...obviously the media were setting the agenda, but the White Paper was a bland document, and there was no Big Idea in it...it was soulless stuff and pretty underwhelming....

    ..We are talking about the Scottish nation here, the country of Big Ideas and great inventors, so you expected something there which never materialized....and, even as a political strategy, a Big Idea would have been a way of seizing the initiative...

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  • MBC 4 months ago

    On the euro, Sweden and Denmark have stayed out of it and are not rushing to join. It's not true to say that people universally like the idea of the euro on the continent. Scotland's economy is more like the Scandinavian countries, and unlike Greece's or Spain's.

    Agree with what you say about the currency question in the indyref. Whatever we said they would have attacked, and a new Scottish currency was a radical departure too far for most that would have been attacked even more fiercely. The policy adopted was the right one in the circumstances, and it would have worked economically.

    What was wrong with it was that it soon became evident that it was unacceptable politically by Osborne and his ilk. It required co-operation, which he would not give.

    But now that we have seen how xenophobic rUK truly is towards even Scotland, a partner for 300 years, lessons have been learned, and people now see how cussed Osborne's ilk are.

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    • Redgauntlet 4 months ago

      Hi MBC,

      I'm not saying we should join the Euro, I'm saying don't rule it out as an option.

      If the referendum had taken place in 2010, say, the currency issue wouldn't have been a big deal during the campaign. It wouldn't have been an issue. The SNP could have said, "If the Euro is good enough for Germany, it's good enough for Scotland..." There would have been no danger of capital flight. Politically, it would have been an easy sell...in 2010...but not so much today, I agree.

      It is significant - it's amazing in fact - that neither Podemos nor Syriza are calling for an end to the Euro. What they are calling for is an end to austerity economics....and they're not the same thing...the Euro crisis is largely down to mismanagement of the Eurozone...Trichet raised interest rates right in the middle of the recession...it was only after his policy had failed, and it was German policy, that Merkel allowed Draghi something of a freer hand... but as Varoufakis has pointed out, there are lots of things that could be done now to transfer the surplus from the north of Europe to the debt laden countries in the south, through institutions like the European Investment Bank...the reason that is not happening is political.

      Austerity economics, the neo-liberal consensus, is to blame in large part for the crisis. The EU was founded on the principle of solidarity, and without that principle operating in the Euro zone at least, you can't have a currency union...how long did it take for the Greek bond crisis to disappear once the POLITICAL decision was made to keep Greece in the Eurozone come what may? It was a matter of days..."I will do all that it takes to defend the integrity of the Euro zone countries" said Draghi....problem over, in terms of the bond markets...

      The bad design of the Eurozone is part of the problem, but it's not the main problem probably.

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      • MBC 4 months ago

        I've never understood why Greece wants to remain in the euro. They must have their reasons, but Lord knows what they are.

        Perhaps it's because their debt is now denominated in euros? Perhaps its because they continue to need to be bailed out in euros by the ECB?

        But the euro, or rather the rate it was pegged to the drachma when they came in, is a large part of their current difficulties. The drachma was over-valued. Their exports are uncompetitive whilst it is easy to import German stuff, thus creating an imbalance of trade in favour of Germany.

        I believe a Scottish £ pegged to the £sterling would be a stronger currency than the euro and would give us maximum control over our economy.

        But it would be a hard sell, given the hysterical hostility of the MSM and the natural conservatism and caution of the Scottish people.

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        • Redgauntlet 4 months ago

          Of course it's the debt...if Greece leaves the Euro, then any debt private or public, goes up by about 30, 40, even 50% in real terms...it's all denominated in Euros, naturally, the debt I mean, and then you are suddenly back to earning Drachmas... the Drachma would tank against the Euro...billions would never be repaid...

          Politically - though it took the North Europeans YEARS to figure it out, or at least, accept it - you solve nothing by Greece leaving the Eurozone...all you do is displace the same problem to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland....

          The Euro crisis would never have happened under Mitterand and Kohl....they were real Europeans, and billions were poured into the south of Europe via Development Funds for decades to align the South with the North....then we get the Euro crisis, and we get Angela Merkel, a vastly overrated politician, she only stands out because the rest are so forgettable, and they come out with the same failed neo-liberal dogma which has seen TWO MILLION Spaniards forced into exile and hammered Greece and Portugal into the dust, with no end in sight...

          The problem with the Eurozone is that the people who run it are fanatical neo-liberal zealots...idiots in a word....I don't know of there is any political system which protects a country from stupidity....the worst crop of European leaders on record, and there is no way of sacking the Eurogroup...they can carry on with the same egregious monetary policy from here until the end of time, and there is no way of actually of challenging them, much less holding them to account.

          Merkel is so crass she even had the Spanish Constitution amended - the only time that has ever happened; the price to pay for a bailout by the back door - and by the way, how smart is it to announce that you are going to take one million Syrian refugees without actually providing the means for those refugees to get to Germany?It's utterly reckless politics...

          You just keep hoping neo-liberalism will one day fade away, it is a completely bankrupt ideology....the Great Crash proved it, but still they carry on, still 25% of Europe and the UK votes for them...

          By the way, there's no panacea here...all the economies in Europe, including the UK, are in the same mess, deflation, low or negative interest rates. Draghi got the idea to set negative interest rates in the Eurozone from Sweden, who did it first...

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          • MBC 4 months ago

            Some good thoughts there Redgauntlet, and if the UK votes for Brexit we in Scotland should count it a potential blessing. Seize all opportunities. Every cloud has a silver lining. We should use events to our advantage, whatever those events are, and constantly recalculate where our advantage lies as events unfold.

            Whilst I see no real advantage to the UK leaving the EU and will vote to Remain - the UK would lose sovereignty, not gain it - for a small country like a future independent Scotland, there's far less advantage. Because most of our (UK's and Scotland's) trade is with the EU, so we would continue to have to recognise EU directives on a whole host of legistation in order to continue that trade, just as Norway and Switzerland do.

            Only we would no longer have a say in framing EU legislation.

            In the UK's case that voice would be a large one, and Brexit would leave France and Germany in control of the EU project, but in the case of small nations like Norway or an independent Scotland, it would be an insignificant one. That's why Norway feels it as no real loss not to be in the EU, but within EFTA, as not being in the EU allows Norway to maintain control of her protectionist fishing and farming policies, which are important to Norway. Also, her own currency, as Switzerland. Similar advantages would be possible for an independent Scotland.

            If there is a Brexit, we should aim for our own currency pegged 1:1 with sterling in an independent Scotland.

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        • ScottieDog 4 months ago

          The problem with pegging currency is that you're monetary policy has to mirror that of the country you're pegging with. So it kind of defeats the object of having the separate currency.
          A floating currency gives the country more flexibility.
          We should be having a serious discussion about all these pros and cons now, not during a referendum campaign

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  • ScottieDog 4 months ago

    We are heading for another recession with an exposed and unresilient economy which is based on private debt. Scotland will be entirely exposed to future recessions as part of a currency union.

    The SNP and the wider YES movement need to come up with a plan for a sovereign Scottish currency and a scottish central bank.
    More and more people are becoming aware of the problems associated with our debt based money system but we need to educate many more people about the failed economic myths which are being used to run (run down) the UK economy.

    The monetarist policies of the past 4 decades of UK governance will hopefully come to an end soon. I just worry about how many lives have to be destroyed in the process.

    I believe we need to have something more radical in monetary terms to propose to the nation in the event of indyref2. That should be the basis of the campaign - a money system which is democratic and used for the needs of the population with a goal of full employment.

    Perhaps it's time we developed a written constitution for Scotland whether we are independent or not.

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    • John Page 4 months ago

      The written draft Constitution for a free Scotland is a must before IndyRef2

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      • David Sangster 4 months ago

        It already exists : see "A Model Constitution for Scotland" by W. Elliot Bulmer , Luath Press, reprinted 2013.

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