Boys of the Old Brigade

Steadily shoulder to shoulder, steadily blade by blade

Marching along, singing a song, like the boys of the old brigade

 Eyes right! There goes Labour in lockstep with their political allies the Conservatives upholding the ultimate power of the British state to block a movement for democratic change. Try to exercise your rights – enshrined in the preamble to the UN Charter – for self-determination and the people’s party knows where its allegiance lies. The party which was founded on working peoples’ rights and campaigned for self-determination and freedom from domination by economic super powers in countries from Nicaragua to Palestine, stamps its foot and salutes in loyalty to the chocolate soldiers of vainglorious Britannia. Respect and progress are aspirations for people around the world who offer them no threat but closer to home when it means they might lose some control, the imperial mind prevails. And we discover it was all brought together by a Labour MP, Alistair Darling.

It is today as clear as it has ever been that the differences between Labour and Tory are Chinese walls, paper-thin and translucent, slid around into alternating positions to confuse the viewer and all the time flimsy enough to push your hand through. Joining in a loose arrangement to resist independence while working openly to create a new devolution settlement, would have been the right thing to do. Instead they formally joined Better Together, are led and dictated by Britain’s most right-wing government ever, casually setting aside their claims to moral outrage at the evisceration of working family incomes, the heartless treatment of the unemployed and the impoverishment of the disabled in order to fight, not for democracy, but to uphold the self-serving British state to which they belong.

You can find confirmation in the names and “occupations” of the Better Together funders, almost exclusively moneyed, corporate and mercenary individuals, by instinct Labour-haters who donate millions to the Conservatives. It’s just that they hate the Nationalists more.

How clever would it have been for Labour to have run its own anti-independence campaign based on what could have been a more socialist Devo Max script, leaving the hated Tories and their Coalition fags the Liberals to be arms-length makeweights…working on the same principle, they could have quietly demurred from the united sterling threat and said while it may be difficult to construct a currency union, they didn’t want to do anything that might damage a future Scotland and the interests of the rUK. It could await the referendum outcome and the election of a Labour government. That would have left Labour with a foot in Scotland’s camp. The only reason there was a need for “clarity” on the issue was the implied refusal by Osborne that didn’t make clear he meant it. We must now assume – for the purposes of the referendum – that he does mean it.

Why does Labour have to wrap itself inside the Union flag beside him? The answer comes partly in Ed Balls remark: Welcome the real world…That is, in his mind, aimed at Salmond and the SNP but in the typical mistake of the English supremacist he confuses the Nationalists with the Scots. This kind of bravado plays badly in Scotland where anyone from outside picking a fight and attempting to lord it over the Scots gets the sullen stare…name and number quietly filed. You can see the same anti-Scottish contempt in the commentators – we had two examples last night on television in Simon Pia and John McTernan where their loathing of the SNP and specifically Salmond is visceral. They know that Salmond is head and shoulders above anything Labour has to offer, he has overturned their applecart of domination and patronage and they hate him for it. So when they think their side has stolen a point back as they do over the currency, their glee is unconfined. They lack the perspective to see that their reaction is not widely shared beyond the Labour laager, otherwise why did the Scots vote for Salmond, why is the SNP out of sight in the Holyrood opinion polls and why have cruised their way into a seventh year in office? The cold reality is that the Scots look to the SNP as guarantors of Scottish interests – not independence, it is true – but, minus the constitutional status, it is the nationalists who best express what most Scots feel which is a self-assured national pride and an flinty reaction to British superiority being shoved in their face. Scottish Labour is being smeared by the London party bosses and their friendly commentators as agents of the Tories, helped by Miliband joining the ranks of Labour leaders grateful to Margaret Thatcher. It is very difficult to ‘stand up for Scotland’ when you are marching in time with the people most associated with destroying your country’s interests.

Which is one reason why Balls’ speech this week is a more tricky task than Osborne’s as Labour voters look to him not just for clarity but surely too for an alternative. Simply saying No – as with independence itself – isn’t enough. It’s easy to write off an opponent’s thesis by saying it won’t work but if you represent a party with aspirations to run Scotland and creating a new working model, you can hardly brush aside questions about what currency solution might fit. The Tories have no such ambitions but when a Labour figure comes to tell Labour voters why they can’t use their own currency, they’ll expect to hear what he thinks might work. Without it, Labour find themselves in a position of awaiting a vote which might make us independent and with only one policy in place – that there will be no currency union. They are blocking the very thing they would want to campaign for post a Yes vote. Clever…

I’m not fond of military allusions but there is something bellicose about this pan-Unionist front in which the British brothers-in-arms lay down the law to us and imply they will do everything they can to wreck our economy. The only way to currency union is to vote No, said Labour’s Ian Murray, oblivious to democratic desire or national aspiration. It didn’t take him long to get into Westminster bully mode. We are being threatened and the Scots have to be aware that this is the first of many joint humiliations the new British alliance will attempt. Some stoicism may be needed as we discover who are friends are and how it is glaringly obvious now that when Cameron says he cares, he really means he doesn’t give a shit.

Personally I think this type of British bluster will scare a section of society which has always been Don’t Know but was likely to go to No as it doesn’t have the stomach for anything that might offend England or take £5 out of their savings account. But if this is the start of a long campaign of We All Agree You Can’t Have This And You Can’t Do That, then they misjudge us.

I confess to a sneaky sense of pleasure that the true face of Westminster has been revealed unvarnished and unspun so we can see who the Tories’ friends are. It has dispelled the notion that this is Scotland against England or against the Tories. It is now explicit that this is Scotland against the whole machinery of British government and all the Unionist parties are in this together, resolutely against Scotland unless  we do as they say. It must be salutary for Labour voters to watch Johan Lamont and think what she really represents.

I also have a frisson about the currency because I never liked the idea of the Treasury having oversight of our accounts. We have learned not to trust them in their manipulation of information about Scotland and I prefer using sterling without them. Remember, our balance of trade is in surplus – theirs isn’t. They run a huge current account deficit, as in importing more than they export, so they have to borrow overseas to fund the difference. And that deficit gap is the highest among the western democracies and getting higher. Remove Scotland’s contribution of say £50billion from ou North Sea and whisky exports and the rUK’s deficit mushrooms – probably doubles to such an extent that their creditors will question whether they will be able to repay. That’s when the charges go up and your credit rating comes under pressure. But the opposite happens in Scotland where our trade surplus acts to strengthen our currency and make us an even healthier prospect for lenders.

Also, on this mechanical economical stuff, can we dispense of the po-faced moralists who say ‘Scotland can’t default on its debts’? WE DON’T HAVE DEBTS. Britain does and only weeks ago confirmed its liability for all of them in all circumstances. There IS a moral obligation to volunteer to take a share of liabilities but only if we get a commensurate share of the assets. And since they are not our debts, who in the world community is going to say ‘naughty Scotland’? Unless they are contacted by the Foreign Office first, of course. It certainly won’t be the markets who take the moral high ground. They would have concerns about a country not paying its debts and therefore potentially not paying them back, but that does not apply to debts we did not run up. Instead they would see a rich country with a massive resource base and a ledger book bereft of debt. The only debt Scotland would need I think is a fund to buy the currency when its value was under threat. But that money can easily be afforded because of the profit Scotland would have on Day One of independence, as described by the FT.

It’s up to the SNP to decide their next move but they can’t go on for seven months denying what is now obvious – there isn’t a voter who will buy that. The trick about campaigning is being able to move, to be nimble. I think the simplest idea is to keep the pound – now there’s a slogan…It’s Scotland’s Pound – and that is reassuring for many and I’m not sure how much information voters will demand on how it actually works, since they don’t today. We say no to the debt in return and lose – probably – British support for our entry to the EU. The tit-for-tat they have started will go on down the line. We still have the nukes.

The other good thing is that since the three Unionists United parties can come together to deal with the currency it is axiomatic they must do the same with their plans for further devolution. It is no longer enough for each party to make an individual offer, as they have shown they can work effectively together in what they see as the national interest, it means they can do the same for their Devo Max plans. And, as John Curtice was pointing out, if we have clarity of currency, can we have it now on the BBC, Europe and every other contentious area or will their answer be: Oops…didn’t think of that.

The Dad’s Army of British clout is in Blackadder mode and marching itself towards a cliff edge. It’s all getting a great deal more interesting. Oh! What a Lovely War…




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0 thoughts on “Boys of the Old Brigade

  1. “Labour in lockstep with their political allies” only one quibble, Derek, ‘their political Masters’ may better describe them!

  2. Bullied by Osbourne/Alexander? Scary. Why are they hanging on?

  3. This is all blinking good fun watching how Westminster bluster and shout to hide their fear. What is next?

  4. It should now be crystal clear to Scots that only a Scottish government will ALWAYS act in Scotland’s interest and that Westmister,when it suits,will actually act against us.
    I am seriously wondering if the SG plan A on currency is really plan D.
    The idea of being in any union of any sort with Westminster does not fill me with confidence and the freedom of having our own currency is a far more attractive option.
    The Scandinavians trade amongst themselves successfully with a veriety of currencies so there is no reason why we can’t.
    Excellent Derek,thanks.

    • I was thinking that too. Was Plan A really for a Scottish Poond all along? State that your plan A is a currency union knowing that the Unionists will eventually pull the plug on it thereby angering the Yes and Dinna Ken voters and possibly even some No voters. Then you reluctantly say ‘well we tried’ so we will go our own way’. The same tactic worked with Devo Max not going on the ballot paper.

  5. “Britain’s most right-wing government ever” is perhaps a bit extreme; I suspect the Duke of Wellinton’s government might have given today’s lot a run for their money when it came to defending the priviliges of the Establishment and keeping the poor down. Qualify it with “for the last hundred years” and I will agree. Cameron’s public schoolboys make even Thatcher look moderate; she would never have dared do what Cameron has done to the English NHS, or to inflict the horrors of ATOS on the disabled, the seriously ill and even the terminally ill. Oops, it was Labour who brought in ATOS – these Chinese walls really are flimsy!

  6. Derek
    A fine piece of writing
    “How clever would it have been for Labour to have run its own anti-independence campaign ?” the clue is in the second word – no vision, no talent, no moral stance.
    “We are being threatened and the Scots have to be aware that this is the first of many joint humiliations the new British alliance will attempt.” No doubt they will what what can they actually achieve?
    How much clout does British state really have – getting France and Germany’s cooperation to keep us out of Europe? – don’t think so
    Keeping us out of NATO – see US Secretary of Defence (Bob Gates) opinion of UK muscle versus having a strategically placed friend in the UKIG gap and North Atlantic
    Membership of UN – an all inclusive club
    We have a lot going for us in addition to our economic strength and resources

  7. I’m glad this has come about. Now we DO indeed know our real situation regarding the westminster mob. They are ALL agin us. Good. Will make that Yes so much easier for many Scots.

    As for the nonsense from Pia and McTernan last night they are both plain crap.

    Pia always comes across as being half-pished and no more the lucid for it.

    McTernan seems like a man who has permanent toothache and likes to impose his eternal pain on anyone else who comes along.

    Roll on September when ALL these unionists dissapear into the mists of time forever. I hope their English masters will put a doghouse in the garden for them. Life in Scotland may be a bit chilly.

    • And it makes it more difficult for the “proud Scots but British” to pretend they have a foot in both countries – I wouldn’t like to be in the position of trying to defend GO & Westminster’s stance to a Scottish constituancy

  8. From BBC website:

    Osborne says Queen will be Shot if Scotland Votes Yes

    UK Chancellor George Osborne has said a vote for Scottish independence would mean shooting the Queen.

    He said there was “no legal reason” why the rest of the UK would want to share the Queen with an independent Scotland.

    The Scots government wants Scotland to retain the Queen as part of the 1603 Union of the Crowns with the rest of the UK in the event of a referendum “Yes” vote.

    Ahead of the independence referendum on 18 September, Mr Osborne set out his position during a speech in Edinburgh, as he published the latest UK analysis on the issue.

    The Chancellor continued, “The Scots have no legal or moral right over the Queen. It is quite/highly/possibly likely/unlikely that in the event of a Yes vote David Cameron will arrange for her to be shot, rather than fall into the hands of the Scotch. Alex Salmond has stated that Scotland deserves to get the Queen at weekends, every 3rd Thursday and for the month of August. We do not agree. If Scotland leaves the Union then they leave the Queen. Even though it would be in our interest to allow her to continue we would not want to miss this opportunity to cut our nose off to spite our face”.

    Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander supported Mr Osborne’s position, along with Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

    Following Mr Osborne’s speech, Mr Alexander said the Treasury had provided “crystal clear” analysis that sharing the Queen with Scotland would create unacceptable risks both for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

  9. Check out this piece in today’s Scotsman

    Analysis: Benefiting the UK is most logical option

    The debate about the currency options in an independent Scotland is intensifying. We may be about to find out what the Chancellor thinks, but the most helpful contribution so far has been from the Governor of the Bank of England in his recent speech in Edinburgh.

    Mark Carney’s account of the advantages and challenges of a monetary union was clear and dispassionate, but technical economic assessment can only take us so far. In the end it is for politicians and the electorate to decide the final shape of any actual agreement. My views are based on economic principles and observation of monetary unions elsewhere. They are about what is technically possible and identifying a clearly workable and preferable option.

    The Governor’s speech revisited issues that we discussed in the Scottish Fiscal Commission Working Group in our report on a workable Scottish macroeconomic framework.

    We emphasised the importance of clear governance arrangements, a framework for financial stability and a consistent regulatory structure. We set out recommendations and propositions that we collectively believe provide for a workable monetary union.

    SOME continue to believe that the Euro Area has shown that monetary union does not work. Mr Carney reminded us of the advantages of such a union, reducing transaction costs and exchange-rate risk, encouraging trade, competition and economic efficiency. Surely it is better for the English to be able to use their money in Scotland without paying to change it? That is not a trivial benefit. Nor is the absence of exchange risk, which otherwise has to be added to investment risk.

    But countries in a union may not respond well to a crisis. Some responses, for example devaluation or monetary expansion are unavailable to them. The Euro Area has suffered from this and some members have found adjustment very difficult.

    It can be argued that because of the wide differences among members some countries were not suitable for membership of the Euro Area. In contrast Scotland and the rest of the UK are very similar economies. Though there are some risks of asymmetric shocks, institutions can be built to adjust to them; and the costs are small relative to the advantages mentioned.

    We set out clear recommendations, based on the balance of evidence, to ensure the macroeconomic framework was robust and sustainable reflecting the types of challenges and experiences that have been faced by some parts of the Euro Area.

    The need for partners in a monetary union to share some sovereignty in common institutions is no disadvantage if monetary policy is then well conceived. Even if Scotland were instead to follow Hong Kong’s example and have a Scottish pound which a Scottish currency board keeps at parity with sterling, the interest rate would essentially be imposed on Scotland by world markets. Hong Kong exercises considerable autonomy in its fiscal and macro-economic policies. Scotland could expect to be able to enjoy comparable or greater autonomy.

    THERE also must be credible fiscal projections for net debt and borrowing to meet market requirements and agreement on an overall fiscal base for a Sterling area. This would still allow for flexibilities in the design of the underlying tax system and a range of specific policies tailored for each country. This would provide the autonomy and policy levers to target country specific differences.

    My commission colleagues and I also pointed out that a monetary union must have mechanisms that can respond in the event of an economic change to only one part of the currency union. The more integrated and similar the economies are the less likely that it is. The risk is mitigated to some extent by the degree of synchronicity between the members. It is nevertheless important to prepare for all eventualities. One way of doing that is to have a Stabilisation Fund, which we recommend – but there are a number of other options.

    Political debate will take place on the issue of a currency union. Technical discussions will continue. A continuation of sterling in its present area, which would be a benefit for all parts of the UK, is surely the most logical option. Politics may cloud that view as the referendum approaches.

    • Sir James Mirrlees is professor emeritus of political economy at the University of Cambridge and professor at large at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He won a Nobel Prize for economics in 1996.

  10. Excellently put Derek. Agree that listening to McTernan on Newsnight was hard, although I thought Alex Bell, was pretty good, especially his observations on the ignoring by HMG of the Edinburgh Agreement by pronouncing that they wouldn’t share the (or should that be ‘their’) currency.

    Incidentally, here’s Angus Armstrong, Nat Institute of Economic Research, who was also on Newsnicht last nicht, on Daily Politics today, saying that the effect of [Scottish] independence would be that:

    “the UK economy’s indebtediness would rise..which would attract the attention of the credit rating agencies..and for the Government and Treasury finances, that would make a difference.”

    They’ve got to be scared witless that their debt’s going to remain while their balance of payments plummets.

  11. They have just handed the SG and YES Scotland a really big stick to beat them with.

    Can’t wait. 🙂

  12. Osbourne has done little but ratchet up bitterness. Whatever happens on September 18th, my feeling is that we have won. For yes or no, the united kingdom will be broken, and life in it will never be the same again. Osbourne today cremated the UK as the post war generations have known it.

  13. Oh What fun ,isn’t it! Great article Derek. Spot on – you’re right; they have to come clean on their position on the other issues as well such as EU etc, and with every pronouncement they expose the Union Alliance’s true attitude to Scotland and the Scots. They believe the decision is in the hands of the Scottish people to decide for themselves but rather than let democracy have its day they’re determined to threaten and bluster.

  14. Well, it’s good to see that Ed Balls with his private school background has forgotten how to play the role of fag for Osborne, his superior. What must ordinary Labour people think seeing this guy trotting out Osborne’s script while pretending to be different? They’ve already had Wee Things Lamont trying to be more Tory than Major ever tried and now Thazzaband is going to rule like his helmet-coiffed idol. Maybe ordinary Labour people think that’s all okay, but the question now is, why don’t they just vote Tory and be done with it?

  15. It is no longer a case of vote for the Union because we are better together. It is now a case of vote how we tell you to or we’ll hurt you and your country – the true face of Westminster.

  16. Wow Derek. Best yet and will share this widely!

  17. The attitude and behaviour of Scottish Labour personnel does really puzzle me. Are these labour MPs so giddy with having “made it” to Westminster that they cannot recognise what they are saying and doing, and the reality of their status is in Westminster? That their behaviour demeans them? Are they so short of vision and ambition that they are unable to recognise that as MPs in an independent Scottish parliament they would have real decision-making powers rather than acting out their role as voting fodder at Westminster? And the meagre rewards for such behaviour is circa £70K per annum plus expenses, tedious travel up and down to Westminster,and increasingly the scorn of the Scottish people.

    • Gavin, I am not sure why you are puzzled by SLAB MP’s behaviour. They are not interested in Scotland. This is because they are political careerists. The privileges and perks they get from being part of the British establishment mean they have no loyalty to Scotland. Their loyalty is to their own self advancement and self preservation. There is no great political vision or principles that drive them. They like being part of the London political elite. It makes them feel bigger, more important. To them Scotland is a small, inconsequential region, compared to their rightful place at the heart of the British state, in the “Mother of all Parliaments”…SLAB MPs aspire to be ermine clad in the House of Lords. That says it all as far as I am concerned.

    • I totally agree, Gavin. Theirs is the role of Carson the Butler in the Downton Abbey world of Westminster. Carson would have felt uncomfortable and out of his depth if he had been really in charge without the master there to guide him. SLab MPs, SLib MPs and the SCon know they are not up to making the real decisions. That’s not for the likes of them, but imagine the kick they get from the grandeur and glory of being at the heart of things – like Carson looking around the drawing room. I almost feel sorry for them, because few people in their own country could name even five of them.

  18. Excellent yet again Derek, what worries me is that if, god forbid Scotland votes no there will be many ,many people in Scotland that will feel cheated out of their democracy .
    The downright lies and distortions being deployed by the Anti Independence campaign verge on criminal.
    The victory for the No Campaign could indeed be a poisoned chalice and result in years of turmoil between Scotland and Westminster

  19. I agree all this is despicable, and it may well be the last straw for some Labour people for whom this is just a step too far with their Tory cronies. (In a world which has a volkswagen, why would you want something that was like a volkswagen?)

    However, we need to be quite realistic about this. Osborne et al might have dug themselves a hole, some of the detail can no doubt be questioned and will be deconstructed as it has been already, we can no doubt say rightly that some of this is bullying and spin, but equally we should be sensible enough to realise that Osborne like a playground bully just grabbed our toy from us, smashed it on the ground, stomped on it, pi**** and sh** all over it, whilst saying, yeah you come and take me on, I have a whole army of other bullies to back me up. Now there are of course a whole lot of things we can do about this, but we need to be clever.

    What won’t do, and where I completely agree with Derek. is that Sturgeon and Salmond cannot just keep going on basically sticking their fingers in their ears and remaining adamant that it is all a bluff and they will change their minds later. They might well, just as some of their reasoning and spin might fall apart in the hours and weeks to come, but that is not a credible position. If they adopt that position, I will no longer support the SNP, though I will be fervently committed to an independent Scotland until the day I die. To do so would be referendum suicide. By all means meet the challenge directly, question the economic logic and such, but THEY MUST NOW SET OUT IN DETAIL PLAN B. There is no choice, all three parties have said no to a currency union, and they haven’t left themselves an inch to manoeuvre. To refashion some lines from Alex Salmond: rocks will melt with the sun before these bastards agree to a currency union. They don;t have to and they won;t. And this is crucial, even if it was in their interests as Salmond argues they still don’t have to do it, and they won’t. There will not be a currency union and anyone that thinks so is kidding themselves.

    But you know, so what? Big deal! Thanks for being a vindictive bunch of wan**** chaps, you have given us certainty and we can move on. The pound is Scottish, that needs to be shouted loud and proud in every corner of our majestic country. So far we have avoided appeals to patriotism but there comes a point when you just have to a little and they should. Our currency is the pound, and will be the pound. They now have 8 months to sell people on what that means, because the economic advantages of this are well known. There are some downsides but that is why they need to be addressed head on. Otherwise Salmond essentially conceded a major area to his opponents. If he does this he is not the politician I thought he was and I for one will never support him again.

    Time to stand up and be counted Alex. Pick apart Osborne’s speech, call him a bully, appeal to patriotism, but there must be a coherent reasoned plan B. If this does not happen we are conceding too much.

    • I am not sure why you think Salmond and co must set out their Plan B now? That is exactly what the No campaign want them to do. You should know by now that they will attack anything the SG say anyway. You are also assuming that Salmond did not see this coming. I have to disagree with that. His ability to know what his opponents are going to do is uncanny. Remember when Cameron tried to take control over the referendum, including the question? Salmond ended up getting the question and the timing of the referendum he wanted!

      What about the second question issue? Unionists publically rejected the chance to have a more powers option; which they were supposed to support, because they were so determined to get one over him. They never twigged that Salmond was playing games with them. The thought never entered their heads, which is strange because they are always calling him a fat liar….

      You have done the same over this currency union issue. You are assuming that he has conceded major ground. How do you even know if Salmond even wanted a currency union in the first place? Salmond knows the British establishment as well as anybody, and what their real attitude towards Scotland actually is. He would know fine well that all he had to do was propose a currency union and it would be rejected.

      • I agree with you about the third question, Salmond played a blinder there, he knew he was in a no-lose position.

        However, this is different. Whether we like it or not this will scare the crap out of some people. We are trying to sell radical constitutional change, and if there is one thing people care about it is the pound in their pockets. People are entitled to some certainty, and are definitely IN VIEW OF TODAY’S STATEMENTS entitled to know what the plan is if the parties all hold to their declarations, as we must assume they will.

        I hope you are right and Alex has played a blinder and their position does unravel, but it would be reckless and naive to depend on this. Plan B is now a legitimate question, and I agree with Derek completely, there has to be a response that goes beyond, your wrong, lying, bullying etc. The debate has changed and we must adapt. Tear apart what Osborne said, but there must be a plan B, they must elucidate on how they feel us using the pound without a currency union would work.

      • I’m with you there. Salmond knows what he’s about. I have complete faith in his ability to lure the opposition to wherever he wants them. He’s done it so far. Why not to the final point? Wait and see!

  20. There is another point here, and it is something I will need to reflect on a little, but I think it might well be possible to challenge Osborne’s decision by means of judicial review, based on breaches of the treaty of union. Such action might be to some extent purely symbolic, but I think it is something to explore. There are highly complex legal issues here which are being airbrushed out. Just an aside, it needs more thought….

  21. Great stuff! There’s certainly mair o’ a jingle tae “Oor Scottish Pound and nae Debt!” than austerity till 2020 and beyond.

    • 2020, bloody hell you’re an optimist, my granddaughter was born 5 weeks ago and I reckon we’ll still have austerity when she starts work

  22. I can see an unaccustomed insecurity developing in Whitehall, simply because having to take on “social nationalism” in these distant parts of the British Isles is not something the mandarins were trained for. Should they decide a blank sheet of paper is required they may yet have an eureka moment and decide that Trident or such like may not be worth fighting over . That could just create new issues for YES.

  23. It is so narcissistic to believe “Westminster” is against Scotland. The unionist parties have a responsibility to defend the UK, which will also be independent – of Scotland – should the Scots vote for independence. It is not all about the Scots!

    As the Treasury advice lays out clearly, for numerous reasons, it would not be in the UK’s interest to enter CU. It’s not personal – it’s factual – and not particularly in the Scots’ interests either.

    Yet Nats paint it as some kind of selfish – they’re al agin’ us – act. They conveniently forget they’re the ones that want independence from the UK! Well they can have it, and be treated like any other independent country. Salmond and Sturgeon are acting like a pair of brats who can’t have their cake and eat it. It is embarrassing.

    • Never seen so much p*sh in a post since I read Grahamski’s last puerile effort. You don’t have to believe the treasury advice (and why should you) when you can read hundreds of other , equally valid reports from people far better qualified than ANYONE in the Westminster government.

    • The Scottish Government is following the advice given to it by the Fiscal Commission Working Group in it’s 226-page ‘First Report – Macroeconomic Framework’ published Feb 2013.

      The Commission examined four options in great detail, and concluded that Sterling, the BoE, and a monetary union was the best option for both countries.

      The Commission members are four of the planet’s most highly-acclaimed, trusted, experienced, and respected economists.
      All are completely independent, and between them have controlled, advised, and consulted for the US Fed, the IMF, the World Bank, the UN and EC, the OECD, the US Council of Economic Advisers, and dozens of governments and central banks around the world.
      All are leading Professors of Economics, two are Nobel laureates, and one is the UK’s leading taxation expert (he taught Mark Carney).

      Please note “the best option for both countries.”

      One senior Civil Servant in London disagrees and that makes him right? How does that work in your world Q?

  24. “The trick in campaigning is to be nimble. I think the simplest idea is to keep the pound – now there’s a slogan…It’s Scotland’s Pound – and that is reassuring for many and I’m not sure how much information voters will demand on how it actually works, since they don’t today. We say no to the debt in return and lose – probably – British support for our entry to the EU. The tit-for-tat they have started will go on down the line. We still have the nukes.”

    And Osborne has given the YES campaign the opportunity to BE nimble without much loss of face. And it must grasp the nettle and state categorically that the currency will be the £Scot pegged to Sterling at 1:1. Sturgeon had a very difficult time today when Andrew Neil asked a few simple Qs about what the SNP would do now that a Currency Union has been ruled out. Neil was not aggressive and gave her every chance to speak but she was in obvious difficulty and very evasive; not what we need in an Indy campaign. And every YES person between now and September wil face the same difficulty when currency Qs come up.

    • I think you are mistaken. Nicola did well. She is not about to break ranks because you thought she was in difficulties. Indeed she noted that no one can stop an iScotland from using any freely trade-able currency.

      I am quite confident that Nicola and the Yes campaign shall respond with definitive answers when the time is right and as far as I’m concerned it gives me no reason for insomnia to listen to the negativity and naked threats from the British establishment and their “Proud Scot” poodles.

  25. Never forget Alex Salmond grew up on the Westminster benches, under the watchfull experienced eye of the departing Donald Stewart and Winnie Ewing. No one on these islands knows the working of the minds of the Westminster elite than he does. He will not be drawn on to the field of battle by the posh boys who are still seething they were duped in to handing him the exact terms he wanted for the referendum. I am confident he has a plan A,B, and C up his sleeve. The time to reveal these are not now. Let them stew in the soup of their own making these posh boys. They are doing more to increase the YES vote than they will ever know. The closer we get to September the more rabid and irrational they will become. McTernan on Newsnight was a joke. Having failed in Australia he is back here to try and get his nasty oar in again, he looks more and more like Comical Ali each day and the message is as credible. he was the omne who stated emphatically “there will be no referendum.” How’s that going for you John boy?

    With regards to this article Derek, by Christ you can write some powerfull stuff. I read it and then ran out to the byre to fetch the claymore from the thatch only to see the cailleach sitting on the milking stool sharpening it. She has that look in her eye, as I backed out of the door.

  26. Osborne, Alexander and Balls are to ‘Lovebombing’ what Napalm is to Red Cross Parcels. However, Osborne has now, apparently, got Labour and LibDems to say that they are following his lead (yet again) on economic issues. How stupid are they?? Doh!!! Balls Up!!!

    After all, which Westminster Party has most to lose and which has most to gain by attacking Scotland? Yep, “Balls” Up!

  27. Osborne said it “won’t happen”. Not, “we won’t do it”. He gave three weirdly flimsy reasons why he thinks it won’t “happen”. It wouldn’t be a good thing, it would be unpopular and parliament wouldn’t vote for it. (This parliament? The next one?)

    The more you search his speech for a policy or a decision, the more the silence echoes. He only repeated exactly what they’ve been saying for week, just in a sterner voice. “Unlikely”.

  28. “They lack the perspective to see that their reaction is not widely shared beyond the Labour laager”

  29. One of the most powerful pieces I have ever read, not just on the currency issue, but the whole nature of the relationship between Scotland and rUK. This is an abusive relationship and we have to get out while we can.

  30. The wiggle room he has left is on a different footing than you suggest, it would be that the advice from the treasury has changed owing to a material change in the prevailing economic conditions/outlook. That would be the only way to extricate himself from statements such as: “If Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the UK pound.” The role if treasury advice here is crucial.

  31. The Labour party and its fellow leeches are now occupying the same gutter position the Blue Shirts did during the Spanish Civil War. No Pasaran.

  32. The fact that we now find out that dancing eyebrows posh boy Darling was behind all this like some 3rd columnist.Just speak volumes for his anti Scottishness.He I doing everything to help the British machine crush his own people its greasiness and utterly beneath contempt.Mind you its only treasoness if he is a a Scot?

  33. These unionist spell checkers have sabotaged my post…should be treasonous not greasiness.

  34. Really enjoyed the read Derek. Thanks.
    After the blatant “There will be no… Nada… zip…nil… none currency union” BBC propaganda guff over the last 24 hours, we find out today what we always knew all along… that Westminster were just throwing idle threats… quite simply, because the mysterious-rare-Yeti-Loch Ness Monster of a possitive case for the union, remains as illusive as ever.

  35. “Our own wee haw-haw manny” on GMS, and now “Gideon’s fag”. What a set we’re going to have by the time this is all over.

  36. Watched Danny Alexander being interviewed on Channel 4 news giving a reason why a shared currency wouldn’t work or didn’t answer, just saying it wouldn’t work. Though hang on a minute, isn’t Danny Alexander Scottish. Why is he working against is own country? A rhetorical question. I think the Scottish Government are playing a blinder here, leading the Unionists up a cul de sac. Please don’t ask me to explain, just a gut instinct.

  37. @ Anne: Gut feeling, some call it intuition, that nagging uncertain feeling when your logic points you in one direction BUT you hold off your decision. And so often you find your intuition has guided you well. Don’t ask me how or why but I experience it often.

  38. Thanks for a very lucid and informative article article. I fully support independence – and my God the time is surely ripe – but I fail to see how seeking monetary union via £GBP / BoE and membership of the EU helps constitute a plan for independence. Sure, booting London into long grass would be very nice, though that’s perhaps more akin to getting an annoying supervisor sacked at work rather than finding any meaningful degree of autonomy (given the EU does dictate 75% of laws in its supposedly sovereign state member countries).

    And indeed there’s perhaps the issue that whilst Scots are currently obliged to accept English notes and coins, there has never been a legal requirement for the English to accept Scottish notes.

  39. Would much appreciate if you would change the heading on this.’Boys of the old Brigade’ is a ballad regarding the struggle in Ireland, and should not be linked with any political parties,especially labour and the conservative/unionist parties, many thanks

  40. Davie Reynolds

    Wise words Derek.
    Has anybody else of a certain vintage noted a similarity between ‘Chuckles’ McTernan and Russell Hunters character Lonely in 70’s TV prog Callan?

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