2007 - 2020

Money Trouble

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Now that is embarrassing. After weeks of carefully contrived coordination between Tories red, blue and yellow, the Great Currency Union Bluff seems to have fallen apart with an inadvisable briefing to the Guardian’s chief political correspondent Nick Watt:

A currency union will eventually be agreed between an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK to ensure fiscal and economic stability on both sides of the border, according to a government minister at the heart of the pro-union campaign.

The private admission comes amid increasing jitters at Westminster, after opinion polls showed an increase in support for independence despite the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all arguing that Scotland could not keep the pound after a yes vote.

“Of course there would be a currency union,” the minister told the Guardian in remarks that will serve as a major boost to the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, who accused the UK’s three main political parties of “bluff, bluster and bullying” after they all rejected a currency union.

The minister, who would play a central role in the negotiations over the break-up of the UK if there were a yes vote, added: “There would be a highly complex set of negotiations after a yes vote with many moving pieces. The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union – you can see the outlines of a deal.”

The frank statement, contrasting sharply with the public position of ministers, comes amid soul-searching on the pro-union side after a series of opinion polls showed Scottish voters do not believe the UK would refuse a currency union with an independent Scotland.

Not only does that just shatter the remaining scraps of credibility of this position, it also will send the various No campaigns into bitter recriminations. The campaign, led variously by Gordon Brown, Blair McDougall, Alistair Darling, then occasionally fronted by the Prime Minister and the Exchequer is suffering from a weird and wild strategy being pulled in all directions. It is both incoherent and ineffective.

Nicholas Watt for the Guardian points out that:

“The emphatic rejection of a currency union by the three main parties was taken on the specific advice of the former chancellor and Better Together chief Alistair Darling and the main Downing Street Scottish adviser Andrew Dunlop.”

As speculation sways between Danny Alexander, Vince Cable and Michael Moore, someone’s in a lot of trouble. But it may be the last straw for Darling’s role in the campaign which Tories described as ‘comatose’ a few months ago.

Liberals are difficult to sack. They’re the Tories human shields. But Darling may take the hit for this. Not for the leak, but for the utter failure of this political strategy.

Abuse of power comes as no surprise but being found out like this is humiliating even for professional politicians.

New strategies may emerge but Better Together’s problem is much more fundamental: people don’t believe them any more.

The image above is by the artist Jenny Holzer. Here’s another one…

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Comments (77)

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  1. Peter A Bell says:

    The comments by an, as yet, unidentified UK Government Minister certainly blow apart the currency union bluff. But that is no great shock. Only the most blinkered British nationalists took it seriously anyway. Pretty much everybody else knew that the British parties would do a U-turn on this eventually. It may even be that this apparently off-message revelation was actually quite intentional and intended to prepare the ground for some gentle back-pedalling. Watch out over the next few days and weeks for somebody else “close to the UK Government” chiming in with remarks about there being arguments for retaining the currency union.

    But don’t expect to see Darling taking a fall for this. Even if the mystery Minister’s comments were not part of a ploy, Darling’s role is to be Cameron’s stooge and take the flak when the referendum produces a Yes result. He knows that is his fate. Which is part of the reason he is so angry.

    Others know it too. Aware that it is a poisoned chalice, who would take it from his hands? Jim Murphy may be arrogant enough to think he can turn the anti-independence campaign around. But is that arrogance enough to overcome his instinct for self-preservation?

    1. ian chisholm says:

      Interesting ground peeper at I on to a currency union was Carney saying Scotland would need to give up some sovereignty AND a stable long term agreement. But I question whether any negotiating Scottish Govt even giving this pawn could be held to it. After all any future Parly would be sovereign….actually the people would. Consider an outcome of EU negotiations being relief of our negotiators in accepting our conditional joining of the ERM….(I think we are all agreed a Pound Sterling would be transitional… To give comfort before the referendum… And stability immediately after) I would be happy joining the Euro…. It survived the crisis of Greece and measures have been taken to prevent future problems. The danger of our own currency would be a very strong oil currency making our exports very expensive . Exciting times we are priveleged to be in.

      1. ian chisholm says:

        Predictive txt crap…. First should read interesting ground preperation…

    2. Alex Buchan says:

      That UK minister was fibbing it has absolutely nothing to do with Trident. I picked this information up on another blog

      The reality is that the UK Treasury and Bank of England are no longer free to choose what they want to do. The giveaway was the recent, rushed-out late on a Sunday night, statement by the UK Treasury Secretary to the money markets. The Secretary was forced to re-assure the markets that the UK Treasury would honour all UK National Debt up to the referendum, regardless of the referendum result

      The reality is that the perceived need for a currency union following a yes vote is now ‘in play’ – and no longer in the gift of Westminster. The UK Treasury and Bank of England will give (as they have long done) first preference to the actions and demands of the money markets. If the money markets require a currency union for their own needs (with an eye on, for example, the oil asset and Sterling) then it will be.

      1. Peter A Bell says:

        We can’t simply disregard the fact that Trident will be part of the negotiations – although not in the way that the anti-independence campaign and their friends in the media are trying to suggest. Neither can we pretend that the different facets of the negotiations are not connected. That is the foolish mistake that Osborne and his cronies made when they thought they could rule out a currency union without this having any effect on talks about, for example, liability sharing.

        That retaining the currency union is, on balance, the best option for both Scotland and the rUK is not in doubt. Osborne and the rest go on about it “not being in Scotland’s interests”. But they do not explain why this is so. Instead they offer rationalisations that are based, not on the effects of currency union, but the impact of low-level economic sanctions imposed by rUK and/or terms for a currency union which are dictated by rUK for the sole purpose of “punishing” Scotland – regardless of the adverse effects on the economy of rUK.

        Why would Scotland sign up to a currency union under such circumstances?

        One thing that the Mystery Minister said was undeniably true. After a Yes vote, things will change. The rhetoric of a political campaign will give way to the language of diplomacy. Everything will be negotiated in a reasonable way. And that includes both currency union and the arrangements for removing Trident.

        The world will be watching. The British state can’t really afford to carry over the attitudes of the increasingly unpleasant anti-independence campaign into negotiations.

      2. Alex Buchan says:

        Nicholas Watt said as much on Radio Scotland. He said the coalition and Labour are completely focussed on winning the referendum. Journalist in London are obviously aware that the nature of the game is that this is a propaganda war. Propaganda works, but it only works if the masses believe it. The responsibility for ensuring that they get the full facts so they can see through the propaganda is all our responsibility, hence my posting of the above information regarding the importance of money markets in determining the UK governments position after a yes vote. I’m aware that everything will come into play in negotiations, but the issue isn’t the negotiations, the issue is demolishing the credibility of the UK government’s propaganda about a currency union. If that propaganda is exposed as such then the no argument isn’t just weakened, the credibility of the British state is weakened in the eyes of Scots. That’s why Mike Small has just said in a tweet that this is about the fact that the UK government has been found to be telling lies. It’s our responsibility that everyone in Scotland is made aware of the fact that they are telling lies, everything else is academic because only with a yes vote will negotiations take place.

  2. Alex Buchan says:

    For me the most important point in all this is the radicalisation of large swathes of Scotland. I don’t think the UK government’s main concern is losing the referendum, I think that they still don’t believe that could be possible; no their problem is that, even if the win the referendum, British legitimacy in Scotland is shot. We are moving into a situation I never thought I would ever see where Scotland’s trajectory is starting to look more like that of Ireland’s before Irish independence. Each move compounds the UK’s problem of re-imposing control over Scotland. The Scottish Daily Mail ran a front page story today on the shambles of the no campaign, and that was before this story broke. It will be interesting to see if the broadcast media carry this story. If not we will be able to, then, continually ask why not. This is what I mean about how they are now on a slippery slope; in uncharted territory. I will be interested to see how civic Scotland reacts to this. I see that George Mathieson and others have broken ranks in the financial services I expects others in other areas of Scottish life may now feel compelled to break rank.

    1. Jamse Davidson says:

      Westminster is teriffied that a YES vote will produce a genuine left wing government in Scotland, which if successful, and there is no reason why it should not be so, will encourage demands for federalisation in England. Do not forget we are not the only area of the Britain to have suffered under the Coalition. Westminster could see its influence just draining away and if they vote to leave the EU they are going to feel very lonely and isolated. What a shame.

      1. Alex Buchan says:

        Irrespective of what kind of government, left or right, Scottish independence is the death knell of the Westminster system. The hold that the Palace of Westminster has over England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is based on the myth of greatness (that’s why greatness is always stressed above all else whether its Wimbledon or the Olympics). When that myth shatters, then Westminster is seen for what it is; a throw back to Empire. It might take a while for the full effects in rUK to start to appear, but Westminster is finished. We have been led to believe that Irish independence didn’t have much impact, but that is a rewriting of history. Irish independence was the death knell of the Empire. It emboldened national resistance in each of the countries of the empire and when Britain started losing its empire France and the other European colonialists knew the game was up. So the Irish started an avalanche that brought 19th cent colonialism to and end. We will be starting an avalanche that brings the post-empire pretensions of Westminster to an end. They sense it. They know that Westminster is a kind of long running costume drama, but when that show starts to look ridiculous the people in England and Wales will want better, only the Northern Irish loyalists will refuse to see what’s obvious to everyone else.

    2. Muscleguy says:

      It was covered on the late Scotland Tonight yesterday (Friday) evening. It’s also on the BBC and STV news websites. It’s still front page on the Guardian website. The Herald covered it too. Hard to ignore or miss.

  3. John Bell says:

    Eaun McColm is tweeting that Deep Throat is ‘…(an) uncomfortably senior Tory’.

    1. Perhaps McColm’s Deep Throat is Hammond. He is not a member of the No campaign as such, but for years has been ensuring the withdrawal of military personnel from Scotland. And he is in the Cabinet and will have a significant say in indy negotiations.

      It may be dawning on him that he’s in for some tricky and uncomfortable decisions if there is a Yes vote, and is thrashing around for a deal to ensure his toys stay at Faslane.

      I suspect to many of us Trident’s removal is non-negotiable — okay there may be a few months leeway to ensure it’s achieved safely – but no extended period. Its removal will be a signal to Scotts and to the world that Scotland is standing on its own feet, ready to play its own part within the community of nations.

  4. derekbateman says:

    Maybe they’re SOOO clever that the currency was just a con to get us to agree to retain their nukes in return for the pound…it’s so sneekily smart it could only be devised by Johann with Paul Sinclair and Richard Baker…how am I doing?

    1. Muscleguy says:

      Considering the trauma the SNP went through in Perth to get the opposition to NATO dropped I expect Alex Salmond will be defenestrated and strung up by the ankles on a lamppost on the Royal Mile by his party if the nukes are traded off.

    2. jim hannan says:

      johann,smart!

      1. jim hannan says:

        The no currency union horse was never going to come under starters orders.The rUK would be faced with the following after a yes vote. Loosing 10% of its tax base and North Sea oil revenue. It then needed to finance 100 billion to replace Trident, 42 billion for HS2 and all the other toy projects that south east need, 3rd runway at Heathrow etc. All this and more with a 1.3 million deficit, a record balance of payment deficit and the cost of financing their deficit with only 90% of the tax take.

        The money men don’t like these scenarios and would make their feelings show with dumping the pound. The smart guys in Wall Street would be salivating on the prospect. There’s more people in the game than just the UK.

      2. FlimFlamMan says:

        The debt and deficit become a problem if the rUK gives up its currency sovereignty. Without its own currency rUK, thanks to that balance of payments draining money from the economy, would be forced to pay whatever bond yields were demanded by the markets. Assuming they wanted to buy at all. Without it’s own currency rUK would become Spain.

        This isn’t the reason Westminster has given for refusing a currency union, instead they spout nonsense about bailing out Scottish banks, but it is a valid reason. A currency union would be a disaster for the rUK economy; the only question is how long that disaster would take to arrive.

        Money men on Wall St and elsewhere may well welcome this; they would have the opportunity to hold the rUK hostage as they have the Euro nations which run external deficits. That doesn’t mean it should happen. Whether or not it does depends on how corrupt/incompetent Westminster politicians are.

  5. Well put, Peter. The Westminster Establishment have known full well, for decades to say the least, that there is absolutely no defensible case to answer against an Independent Scotland, even more so as information became easier to access and cover-ups became uncovered…through political chicanery or otherwise…but equally, they could not allow the perception that they would just “roll over” without a murmur. There can be no legitimate or moral argument against Scotland reasserting its rightful status among self-governing nations of the World following on a correctly observed referendum protocol, and even the most rabid Colonel Blimps have had to acknowledge that they will have to negotiate the best terms they can. To this end, they have conspired to delay and obfuscate to the nth degree…sadly for them, the people of Scotland are wise to their machinations, and the rUK’s Machiavellian ploys are now beginning to come back to bite them. The days of history being written by the “victors” are long gone…much more difficult in the modern technological age to hoodwink people and hope misdeeds and falsehoods will go unpunished. Even some of the Scottish media are beginning to see the light, to their faint credit, and the momentum for Independence is now unstoppable. Darling is cannon fodder, and expendable. In my view, the real victims are the true Labour supporters whose inherent socialist ideals have been sacrificed by their leaders for their own ends…whatever they might be. For sure, they are not for the benefit of a more equitable and fair socialist Scotland, which we can only start to build with the fresh impetus of Independence.

  6. “The minister, who would play a central role in the negotiations over the break-up of the UK if there were a yes vote, …”

    Surely that rules out many players, including Alexander and Moore. Doesn’t this bear the hallmarks of Vince Cable?

    1. Peter A Bell says:

      It does rule out Moore, who would otherwise have been my first pick. But Danny Alexander is a minister. I agree, however, that it sounds like Vince cable. Frankly, I don’t care that much. I’m just happy to see the No campaign disintegrating.

      1. Alex Buchan says:

        Would Cable play a central negotiating role in state negotiations? Alexander is part of the quartet; Cameron, Osborne, Glegg, Alexander. Alexander would be in on the negotiations.

        1. Peter A Bell says:

          Pretty much anybody in the UK Government could claim to be in line to play a central role in independence negotiations. How credible that claim might be is another matter.

  7. Douglas says:

    But obviously the message in the leak is Trident and Faslane, surely?

    “You get to keep the pound but you dinnay bust our balls over Faslane”….read the quote again, that was why they leaked it….

    I would rather have a separate currency altogether and get rid of Trident and Faslane.

    1. Peter A Bell says:

      There is absolutely no question of Trident being allowed to remain in Scotland. When the mystery Minister talks about the “outlines of a deal” he can be referring to nothing more than a bit of leeway on the time-scale for the removal of this obscenity. And that is something that the Scottish Government has to be prepared to negotiate on anyway as any attempt to force early removal could be portrayed as taking unacceptable risks.

      But when we are talking about leeway on the time-scale we aren’t talking about much. The mystery Minister almost certainly overestimates the importance of the sterling zone to Scotland and fails to take due account of how important it is to the economy of rUK.

      The Scottish Government must be seen to be reasonable in negotiations. But there are limits. In the end, politics is all about compromise. The essential thing is to know where the lines are drawn. I haven’t the slightest doubt that Salmond and his team are very well aware of where the lines lie as regards Trident.

      It would be unfortunate in the extreme if those with understandably strong feelings about WMD allowed themselves to be manipulated by political mischief-makers to the detriment of the independence campaign.

      1. Douglas says:

        Peter, I don´t agree. I wish.

        It is a trap.

        You get the pound, Scotland. The pound which is already ours!

        Then post indie, comes, and the UK govt walks away from negotiations because we won´t play ball over Trident, backed by NATO and the USA. Ah, then you don´t get the pound…

        Think, Peter. Who is leaking this and why? If somebody in Whitehall is trying to be reasonable, it´s the first time it has happened in the campaign.

        And in the same breath, Trident….Read between the lines.

        1. Peter A Bell says:

          If it’s a trap it’s a damned poor one. Scotland doesn’t need the currency union. It’s not that big a bargaining chip for the UK/rUK. Certainly not important enough to be bought at the price of allowing Trident to remain.

          If there is a trap being laid it is intended to catch the more gullible independence supporters who can be duped into believing that the Scottish Government might make such a trade. It would suit the No campaign very nicely to have people within the independence movement attacking the SNP. They would see that as weakening the Yes campaign. The media would have a field day banging on about “splits” and “U-turns”. And it would be difficult for the Scottish Government to put the matter to rest without revealing the hand they intend to play in negotiations.

      2. redcliffe62 says:

        It seems clear to me that the rUK requires uncertainty to win the referendum.
        The solution we need to find is a win-win.

        Advise London that whilst rUK is uncertain Scotland most assuredly is not.

        As per the Edinburgh agreement we are happy to do an amicable arrangement to share ALL assets and debts; not some, but ALL.
        However should ALL assets and debts not be shared amicably then we accept the secondary option of rUK keeping ALL the assets and debts of the UK as it stands.

        Those items in rUK remain the property of the rUK and those items in Scotland remain the property of Scotland, as of and effective 19th September 2014.

        If the rUK refuses to share assets and debts then the negotiated period through to 2016 becomes a little bit irrelevant. Scots do not lile being held to ransom and getting the option of not paying off by then a foreign debt not even incurred in Scotland will seem a marvellous idea and easy to pitch ina debate. We tried… they want to keep all OUR money… what can we do… typical Tories….. what can you expect?

        As an intention of goodwill we expect full acceptance of ALL shared assets and debts, includingTrident and the pound, to be confirmed formally by 30th June 2014, otherwise we have to regretfully assume as currently advised both privately and publicly to Edinburgh by rUK government that they will endeavour to cause ongoing friction between Scotland and those it wishes to trade with and work within future.
        This is intimidatory and unacceptable.

        based on this answer, a simple YES or NO, we will offer the people of Scotland the opportunity to work closely in a currency union, NATO, and in the EU with those in London, or conversely if we accept London will not work closely as it is offended that it has lost another “colony”, then as the successor state they get all the assets and all the debts within rUK.

        We are happy either way, both have advantages, we simply need the UK government to make a decision so we can move forward without all the lies deceit and innuendo.

        Should no answer be provided, merely innane verbal promises of things happening as and when in the future, we will assume a no shared asset/debt situation is the position of London and will approach all international agencies at that time to advise where we stand and what we wish to achieve on a Yes vote some eleven weeks later.

        It is clear the mere mention of a no debt option from an unoffial SNP source this week petrified the London markets, who realise where the collateral for debts now comes from, and the ability to repay future 1.5 trillion pound debt without oil revenues, corporation tax, whisky exports amongst others and energy is laughable,

        Giving a timeline to provide an answer is fair and hard to argue with. Scots already assume they will get dudded by the Tories, so why wait for that confirmation until September, use it as a leverage tool in the September vote.

        Scott

      3. Muscleguy says:

        @Peter A Bell

        Alex Salmond is on record as saying Trident is non-negotiable. He said it again in his New Statesman speech in London. Barring time for the safe removal of the stored warheads at Coulport and from the current subs since they have nowhere else to go they will be gone.

        The MoD is known to have investigated alternatives when it rejected Portsmouth as too risky meaning Pompeyites are more valuable than Weegies. So I would be astounded if there are not plans in hand for when our negotiators make this plain. All they really need are some more covered concrete bunkers at Aldermaston. They can’t take too long to build, 18months – 2 years should be ample.

        The amount of time planning permission and the judicial reviews would take for a new base somewhere else would take an age and be unacceptable. No, it would be the end of Britain’s submarine based deterrent. They will have to repurpose them for cruise missile delivery as the LibDems have proposed.

      4. Illy says:

        “Those items in rUK remain the property of the rUK and those items in Scotland remain the property of Scotland, as of and effective 19th September 2014.”

        They really won’t like that one, because then Scotland gets the Nukes, and we know that we’d dispose of them as safely as we can.

        And they don’t like the alternative, which is them not throwing their toys out of the pram, again…

        Rock and hard place, anyone?

    2. Muscleguy says:

      “I would rather have a separate currency altogether and get rid of Trident and Faslane.”

      Me too. Getting rid of Trident is reason enough of and by itself to vote Yes. If it is traded away for short term stability then I will be very, very angry.

      1. Douglas says:

        Me too muscleguy, but my prediction….

        Yes will win…

        We will keep the pound…

        Trident will stay for much longer than we wanted….

        The timetable will be extended…

        The mysterious source is making an overture to the SNP to keep Trident.

        The SNP are already half way down the road by accepting NATO.

        NATO is a pointless organization which has contributed to the tension and the conflict in the Crimea and has done nothing but cause trouble since the Wall came down.

        The most senior General Commander of NATO is a man named General Breedlove. He was recently quoted in The Guardian re Russian troops in Crimea as saying….

        “There is absolutely sufficient force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Trans-Dniester if the decision was made to do that. That is very worrisome,”

        This sounds like gibberish straight out of “Catch 22”.

        If the SNP are so daft as to want to be in NATO, then they are daft enough to listen to overtures from unnamed sources maybe.

        Or maybe I´m just a cynic.

  8. Douglas says:

    “There would be a highly complex set of negotiations after a yes vote with many moving pieces. The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union – you can see the outlines of a deal.”

    That is the information in all the baloney.

    Just more bullying….the sweet side of the rough wooing. I would rather we committed ourselves to nothing until negotiations. The SNP have no reason and no mandate to commit us to the English pound, much less if it means keeping WMD.

  9. Douglas says:

    Peter, I take your point about splits and U-turns, but I, like so many in YES, am not in the SNP, so can be accused of neither.

    I´m in favour of Scottish independence and always have been since the day I was born, I merely draw your attention to a very strange leak which happens to fall right into our lap at this precise juncture. A gift, nothing more deadly than a gift, a debt or a compliment.

    Given the SNP´sU-turn on NATO – a massive mistake, forgive me – I would say that somebody in Whitehall is sending out a few weather balloons to see how the land lies.

    And the land lies pretty fair from what I can see from your posts.

    1. Peter A Bell says:

      I’m not sure what you’re reading into my comments. But I suspect it may be something quite different from what I wrote.

      1. Douglas says:

        Nothing untoward, Peter.

        I just mean that the dangling bait in the headline is Scotland keeping the pound. The hook under the bait is the suggestion that Scotland keep Trident.

        That´s my reading, but I may be wrong of course.

    2. fynesider2 says:

      “The minister, who would play a central role in the negotiations over the break-up of the UK if there were a yes vote, added: “There would be a highly complex set of negotiations after a yes vote with many moving pieces. The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union – you can see the outlines of a deal.”

      No way Jose….

  10. andygm1 says:

    Euan McColm has tweeted that the source is a senior Tory.

    1. deewal says:

      Ooooo. A Capo de tutti capi. I don’t believe a word that comes out of these gangster’s mouth’s.

  11. I am always sceptical of these “senior government figure” told somebody something,it does smell of another ploy,but I cant see the bait being taken by Alex,he will manage to work around it and use it at an appropriate time.Its all in the timing,and Alex has a good watch.

    1. fynesider2 says:

      Certainly wouldn’t even consider playing poker or chess with him…!

  12. The negative approach hasn’t worked,now we will get some major sucking up,the important thing is to remain focussed on the only goal that matters INDEPENDENCE.SAOR ALBA!!!!

  13. I too am a wee bit suspicious about that suggestion of a deal re Faslane, that they might be trying to sew the seeds of dissent. On the other hand, given how ineptly they’ve conducted the No campaign, I’m not sure they’re smart enough to be that Machiavellian. Maybe this mystery minister is trying to distance himself from the bullying bluster, because he realizes he’s going to have a hard time in an independent Scotland if he doesn’t?

    1. Peter A Bell says:

      Good point. While it is always a mistake to underestimate your opponents, neither is it wise to credit them with exceptional devious skill. Especially when there is so little evidence of it.

      1. Douglas says:

        When an anonymous source leaks something to the press, there is always an intentionality behind it. That is why they pick up the phone, these people are hardly gossips, and the Whitehall machine is well versed in this kind of thing.

        What is the intentionality here? To help the YES campaign? Highly unlikely I would say…

        In any case, there will be a lot more jockeying for negotiating positions in the months ahead, a lot of things left open or hanging in the air, or hinted at or pointed to.

        The good news is that London obviously now thinks it likely that YES will win.

  14. tartanfever says:

    Mike,

    It can’t be Michael Moore, he’s not a minister. You’re thinking of Carmichael surely ?

    1. Alex Buchan says:

      It can’t be either because they represent Scottish constituencies so they would be excluded from any UK negotiation role and the Guardian said the minister would have a central role in those negotiations

  15. Abulhaq says:

    No way! Keep “your” currency if the price is your NATO nukes on our soil which, as we know, will cost a small fortune to remove and install elsewhere. This is just another piece of malevolence designed to foment factionalism within the camp.

  16. Either way that you look at it, this has become a “perfect storm” for the no camp. Let those in Westminster test the water as every word out of their mouths hammers another nail into Better Together’s coffin. What a lovely situation to be in as a yes promoter and supporter.

    If we’re careful and re-double our efforts we can win the referendum.

  17. Tim Fraser-Granados says:

    This is going to lead to more infighting in the No campaign. What continues to frustrate me is that the Scottish Govt won’t talk about using a Scottish Pound. However, if the rump UK insists on Trident staying on Faslane in exchange for a currency union, then surely such a deal is dead on arrival. I don’t know how fellow Yes campaigners feel about this, but a currency union is making me genuinely uncomfortable. I don’t want our interest rates set by the Bank of England, and if the BoE is the lender of last resort, doesn’t that mean it’d have a role to play in the negotiations for Scotland to remain a member of the EU? I’ll be voting Yes in any case but a currency union seems to me to be more in England’s interests than ours. Using our own Scottish pound and pegging it to Sterling on a 1:1 exchange rate would still make trading with Scotland desirable for English businesses. Can we not get the SNP (for they’ll be the negotiating Government and be re-elected in 2016) to change its policy on this? We shouldn’t resort to the Scottish Pound only because negotiations with rump UK might break down. Thoughts?

    1. Greenwich says:

      A currency peg on a one for one basis between the UK and Scottish pounds could be a disaster. Remember what happened when the UK tried to peg to the German mark from 1989 to 1992? Black Wednesday. If you want to have a Scottish pound, let it be free like other world currencies, or risk calamity.

    2. Muscleguy says:

      The options have been clearly set out by the Fiscal Commission Working Group. The SNP need say no more about the options than refer to that. The reality is that since our notes are different anyway and would not have to be reprinted for a Scottish pound pegged to Sterling most people won’t notice any different. We already wait until getting there or get English notes from a Barclays machine when heading South.

      I expect John Swinney has that option all scoped and ready to roll with the rules for the banks on how much script they can issue etc sorted out and tucked in a side drawer for use at need. I expect the negotiators will be apprised of this as well. I’m relaxed on the issue and would as I say above be very angry if we buy currency union by agreeing to host Trident for longer than is necessary for the safe removal of the warheads.

      I’m quite happy to get arrested trying to blockade Faslane. Never done it as getting a referendum and voting Yes seemed a better route. But I’m happy to get on the train from here in Dundee and make my displeasure plain. I expect there will be more than a few like minded Yes voters feeling so betrayed. The problem is we know now how to organise a grassroots political campaign and will have experience of so doing. The SNP will have a tiger by the tail if Yes voters feel betrayed in significant ways. A tiger of their own making.

      1. Perhaps you’re getting a wee bit ahead of things here. I don’t think there is any chance whatsoever of Alex Salmond or the present Scottish Government accepting Trident in the long term. Over many years they have made that perfectly clear

        And apart from the blot that it remains on our landscape (in a beautiful part of the country on the doorstep of the National Park which aims to attract more visitors), Trident at Faslane hinders oil exploration in the Firth of Clyde as well as gobbling money that John Swinney has earmarked for other more necessary items on the agenda such as ridding Scotland of poverty (as much as is possible) and working for a more vibrant economy that provides the finance to make Scotland a better country for all who stay in it.

  18. Alex Buchan says:

    For what its worth my take on it is that Salmond rightly sees Osborn’s move as an attempt to get him to specify a plan B which they would then set about demolishing trying to push Salmond into having to defend a second plan in the hope that they can show that the whole thing is hopeless. The currency union makes sense politically because it is the one with the least disruption. I went to a debate last night and Patrick Harvey who opposes a currency union recons that, even in the Scottish government, nobody sees it as more than a temporary arrangement

    1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      During the transition negotiations to independence Scotland would logically continue to use sterling anyway. That might last a couple of years at least. Unravelling the British State its mechanisms and adjuncts may spotlight things the establishment might consider best kept in the dark.

  19. I think I speak for us all when I say, I am sick to the back teeth with the lies, and the scaremongering and especially this attitude from George Osbourne that he can dictate whether or not we keep our own currency! The pound is just as much ours as is it theirs! How dare he tell us we can’t keep it!

    1. Douglas says:

      Don´t worry about it Mark, by the monotonous logic of London and the MSM, if they get to keep the Bank of England, we get to keep Scotland Yard…. ; )

  20. MolliBlum says:

    Trident vs currency union? I don’t think so.
    Somebody’s trying to sow a little disharmony here.
    The Trident issue has to be non-negotiable.
    Currency. not so much.

  21. Evan says:

    If the people of Scotland cannot comprehend that a people’s sovereignty lies in their unity and what sovereignty means, stay where you are, vote no….

    To be a sovereign people you need your own flag and your own currency…..Sovereignty cannot lie in a monarch…The executive branch in the government has to be the people…study and research what has happened in Iceland the previous five years!!! Your own currency means that you inflate and deflate your currency in accordance to your economy’s needs….Your currency has to be a national currency and not like ‘private’ currencies that are printed by private hands like bank of england or federal reserve..

    These need to be researched by the Scottish people and understood, otherwise, you will end up like examples in Ireland,Greece,Italy,Spain,Portugal and many nations around the world…in these places,these people are not sovereign but debt slaves…So, if you do not organize your own National Currency you are all headed towards FAKE INDEPENDENCE!!! This eventually will lead to future clearances, that is why you have so many Scots living outside the country!!

  22. Derek Coghill says:

    “The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union – you can see the outlines of a deal.”

    No deal; I value the opportunity to get rid of the missiles far more highly than I do a a common currency.

  23. JBS says:

    Osborne and Alexander have responded by issuing a joint statement emphasising that there will be no currency union if Scotland becomes independent. Lovely. More votes for Yes, I reckon. Keep it coming, guys.

  24. Douglas says:

    This summer, the people of Scotland fall in love with the idea of deciding things for themselves, of being an actor on the world stage…and vote YES massively for independence.

    1. Douglas says:

      Or maybe just a parable of what will happen between the left in Scotland who are for YES and the SNP if there is any kind of shift on the position of Trident…. ; )

  25. Alex Buchan says:

    As I said above it has nothing to do with Trident.

    The reality is that the UK Treasury and Bank of England are no longer free to choose what they want to do. The giveaway was the recent, rushed-out late on a Sunday night, statement by the UK Treasury Secretary to the money markets. The Secretary was forced to re-assure the markets that the UK Treasury would honour all UK National Debt up to the referendum, regardless of the referendum result

    The reality is that the perceived need for a currency union following a yes vote is now ‘in play’ – and no longer in the gift of Westminster. The UK Treasury and Bank of England will give (as they have long done) give first preference to the actions and demands of the money markets. If the money markets require a currency union for their own needs (with an eye on, for example, the oil asset and Sterling) then it will be.

  26. Tony Philpin says:

    If there is a reciprocal deal possible on Faslane it has to be a short term one – so instead of insisting on shifting the base within one parliament they get two. That would be a reasonable tradeoff for a spell using a sterling union. The issue then becomes what level of UK debt do we accept in the short term in the knowledge that sterling isn’t such a great currency anyway ? There is lousy control over the finance sector which runs rings round government when it isn’t driving it, and we do not want to be saddled with extended debt liabilities over the medium term when we only want to use sterling as a stop gap. Paralleling the £ is a better option except for the fact that the uncertainty factor over the £ – the socalled trump card – seems to put people off voting Yes.

  27. David Agnew says:

    It seemed to me and still seems to me to such an idiotic argument to make anyway. No currency union, not because it wouldn’t work, but because it was never Scotland’s pound. It was only allowed to use it and contributed nothing to it. Osborne undid 300 years of union by reducing it to a strange state of affairs were Scotland agreed to run by the English in return for pocket money.

    The union was nothing more than well meaning charity. The “proud Scots but” brigade didn’t attack this but openly celebrated it. I suffered such a severe attack of Brit-cringe that I through my back out for a week. Or at least I am blaming Bettertogether’s wretched display of happy clappy joy at being reduced to a street beggar asking for loose change.

    I am not saying bettertogether have reached bottom and then started digging – but they are pretty close. I simply cannot see how any Scot is going to feel pride after a no vote. Scotland is not going to be thanked for voting no. It is going to be punished for wanting to say, because staying is declaring that we are the welfare queens Osborne accused us of being.

    The one thing that is not going to survive a no vote – is the Union.

  28. Douglas says:

    Sorry for posting a Greece video, I jist lost it for a minute….

    1. Douglas says:

      Mental note to myself….”try not to make a fanny of oneself on the worldwide web when the whole world is watching, and appraisng the QUALITY of our debate”….

      …Och shit…I just did it again….

      1. JBS says:

        Quick, nurse, the screens 🙂

  29. dennis mclaughlin says:

    Steady lads….let’s not start the infighting before we win the vote….
    AS is a very canny operator with a good crew round him.
    Let’s concentrate on convincing more folks of the YES argument!.

    1. JBS says:

      Yes has a lot going for it and one of its greatest assets is George Osborne. Please come back to Scotland, Mr Osborne, and tell us again what we can’t have if we vote for independence. Perhaps while you’re here you can seek out Johann Lamont and give her an encouraging pat on the back.

  30. Douglas says:

    “I don´t believe in God, I just believe in Alex Salmond….”

    1. JBS says:

      I don’t believe in Alex Salmond. I do believe, however, in George Osborne, Danny Alexander, Alistairs Darling and Carmichael, and Johann Lamont. They are mystical beings with magical powers. They have the ability to transform a leaden No into a golden Yes.

      1. Douglas says:

        Right on, man….

        …the tide is unstoppable.

        Si
        Yes
        Aye
        Oui
        Ja
        Bu choir

        indie Scotland@2016, it´s coming yet for aa that… : )))))))))))

  31. Gordon says:

    I agree with many of the above comments that Trident and Faslane will not be bargaining chips in the retension the £ and the Bank of England. They need us in. Don’t let the Westminster Government even hint that Scotland is so desperate that she would exchange the expulsion of nuclear weapons on her soil for the retention of the £. We don’t have to trade anything to keep the £. Many profitable businesses in rUK would be ruined if we were forced out of the currency. It is, therefore, blindingly obvious that they want us to stick with sterling. There is no logical reason on earth to deny us its use.

    1. FlimFlamMan says:

      Use is one thing, and Westminster cannot prevent Scotland using sterling. A currency union, with Westminster no longer controlling the issuing of sterling, is entirely different. Without that control, the ability to issue currency and control interest rates on any bonds that are issued, the rUK would face the same constraints on financing its external deficit that are faced by the likes of Greece and Spain.

      Compared to that loss, the need for businesses to engage in additional foreign exchange transactions isn’t even a problem; it’s a minor irritant.

  32. Iain More says:

    I disagree with some of what is written as Darling takes his orders from London, it wasn’t his Strategy, it was the one his London Masters told him to employ, he is after all London’s lap pooch.

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