Free! My Plan B

I am blogging today because I don’t have a Plan B. I asked myself what else I would do right now if I opted not to blog and couldn’t come up with a convincing answer – no Plan B. I imagined Jim Naughtie asking me…’Derek. Bateman. You say you’re going. To. Blog. But what if. You don’t. What will. You do instead? Plan B, Mr Bateman! What it is. Your Plan B?’

Basically, I end up admitting that I have no Plan B. Oh yes, I could lay more tree bark under the garden swings or I could take the girls to the pool. But I don’t actually have a real Plan B at all, just this – my Plan A. Now I have tears in my eyes. There’s only so much interrogation a man can take. Keep asking the question and everybody agrees – he has no Plan B.

(You can hear a Gilbert and Sullivan chorus in this, can’t you?

Unknown

We all agree…He has no Plan B…he has no currencee…

Britannia, hoist the flag!…the referendum’s in the bag….

BBC voice: ‘That chorus formed part of the overture to The Pirates of the Union…’)

 

Now I’ve harassed a few politicians in my time and I have no sympathy for public representatives who don’t tell the truth (or journalists either, come to that). But I also know how an issue forms into a trail of blood that turns the hounds mad. The hounds aren’t following for the fun of it, they’re driven into a frenzy by the primal urge to rip the weakened beast to pieces until its whimpering ceases.

So with journalists. They form a horde, a collective pack, and drive each other on. ‘I’ve got the trail’, says the Record. ‘Over here’, shouts the Times. ‘Got him now’, echoes the BBC. They can’t help it. Like the hounds, it’s in the DNA. That’s why it takes good or even exceptional journalists to think differently and stop running and panting. They ask themselves…Is this worth it? Who set us running? What if we chase after different prey?

You could, for example ask the now notorious Plan B question of any side and any scenario. Let’s try.

The No side ignores David Cameron’s plan for in In/Out referendum on the EU – quite rightly because it complicates their message and throws up questions they can’t answer. If Britain votes to leave the EU and Scotland votes to stay in the referendum, what’s your Plan B?

What will you say to Scots whose jobs depend on membership and wish to continue as EU citizens? What will you tell the SNP government with a Scottish majority behind it and which insists on remaining inside the EU? Where will the trading partnerships come from to replace the UK’s biggest market? What is your Plan B?

Bank+of+Scotland+currency+20+Pounds

That’s fair, isn’t it? It’s based on the current government’s declared position and the known stance of the SNP which will likely still form a government in 2016. It is credible position which may arise. And it scares the daylights out of big business. But is the media asking that question? Is every Unionist pursued on it? Do the words Plan B ever arise? Of course not. And if it is ever asked the answer is simple: ‘We don’t believe that will happen.’ Exactly the words of Salmond on the pound.

Simpler still…the UK government famously will not pre negotiate (although a currency refusal is exactly that). But they can only guess at the outcome of the referendum. So if Scotland votes Yes, Minister, what’s your Plan B? You have no plans for example to deal with Trident, what you call the rock of our national defence, therefore what is your Plan B in the event of a Yes? The people are entitled to know, are they not? How will they be defended if Scotland gets rid of the subs. Answer, come on.

The only answer is, again, that they don’t believe that will happen. Exactly the same as Salmond’s answer on currency. So where is the questioning and pursuit? It isn’t there because the media bought the Union line from the outset…they loved it, absolutely loved it when the three parties said No to the pound being shared and haven’t stopped to question it since. Almost everything said in the referendum is a negotiating stance calibrated to be acceptable to either side’s main support. Even the pound itself is causing severe difficulties for the UK by depressing exports (and manufacturing) which the country as ever badly needs to increase but the poor exporting record of Britain is not made a referendum issue while volatility of oil prices is.

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

All this is the consequence of an Establishment and an Establishment media which treats a desire for democracy as a threat to the country. In the Express this is explicit and is portrayed as a battle for Britain like taking on the Nazis (that’s you and me) so that even the BBC should not be impartial

At the same time, like Alex Salmond in the debate, you cannot permit yourself to be portrayed as weak, or weaker, than your opponent. The public couldn’t care less about the Fiscal Commission, and just wants a simple explanation on currency. The case has not been strong enough that London is uniting to rob the Scots of their rights over the pound, the effect of Scotland’s contribution has not been spelled out powerfully and while any alternative is open to attack, what’s wrong with giving an alternative preference? Any and all answers are pulled apart no matter what, so what’s the problem in this case? No central bank for example means tighter discipline is necessary in tax and spend – what’s wrong with that?

Why not say…we will be asking the Scottish people if they would prefer their own currency after independence and are examining that option.

We can do whatever we like as a free country. What has happened is that we are in a Westminster snare now and what that tells me is that I and others were right back in February to say we want nothing to do with the pound and with Whitehall. I want no British Treasury oversight of anything in Scotland. To put it bluntly, they are liars and spivs who have cheated Scotland for decades over public spending and oil receipts and who will never act in our best interests. The SNP have been far too soft and indy lite on this issue and far too charitable.

I would have made a declaration that we will have our own currency and have no plans to share what is the UK’s national debt – first because it is theirs not ours and second, we’ve been paying for it for years anyway without any benefit. The line that the money markets will punish us for being debt free is laughable.

 

Small, highly educated, economically diverse western EU country with vast oil and gas reserves free of all debt would like a long term loan – any takers?

 

The reality here is the crippling debt and balance of payments deficit of the UK may finally crush the Unionist rump if Scotland goes and they can’t allow that to happen. They are saving themselves. If we said no deal on currency and no deal on debt, the boot is on the other foot and they would have to make the case to us for sharing the pound and the debt.

I want the full array of currency options laid out with the SNP government being open to a change of policy as they will have to be in negotiations. It is all on the table – everything from assets, borders, defence, nuclear, energy, shared services as well as currency so the pitch to the voters is that which ever way we go they still benefit and Scotland will still be successful. If the UK doesn’t want to deal, then we find another route. That’s what independence does – gives you freedom and flexibility. And it couldn’t be clearer from the gleeful threefull of Osborne, Balls and Alexander that we can never trust London and the UK on anything. The top civil servant weighed in with his own political statement in support. And remember John Jappy who worked there for years tells us how they lied to make Scotland out to be poorer than we really are. They are mendacious by instinct, threatening by demeanour and unprincipled by default. The MPs and the Treasury civil servants are not and never will be Scotland’s friends. Let’s stop pretending we can count on them because in the Treasury they can’t even count on their own fingers and get it right.

This episode proves the point – Scotland needs to get out of this stranglehold and set itself free of their corrupt interference. That’s why I want independence in the first place.

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88 thoughts on “Free! My Plan B

  1. Dr JM Mackintosh

    Just Brilliant Derek,

    Best Wine Club I have ever joined – worth every penny.

    I for one, will never pick up a UK newspaper again – there is no need to when we have journalists of your calibre on the Net.

  2. Roy Williamson

    Have read 2 excellent articles today. This and Robert McNeill in the Herald.Some journalist can think for themselves.

  3. superb,even stv have proven bias by ignoring the mori subjects and replacing them with their own
    had dinner last night with friends from luxembourg where they have been for 35 years ,they are disgusted by the british media,and are proud of junkers,and their government,where is our pride in westminster???

  4. I think we should start our own stash of Plan B’s to throw at them.

    1. What is your Plan B if quantitive easing does not work?
    2. What is your Plan B if you cannot replace Trident?
    3. What is your Plan B if you cannot stop the national debt from increasing despite austerity?

  5. Derek, if I knew where you lived, I’d send round a bottle.

    But it wouldn’t be of the same vintage as this piece.

    Quite simply, superb.

  6. Derek

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

    The only rational argument for a separate Scotland’s currency is a separate currency.

    The problem the YESnp have is that Mr Salmond hadn’t the political courage to go for that.

    That’s why he is currently experiencing problems from that petard he so arrogantly hoist.

    Yours for Scotland!

    Grahamski

    • Grahamski, By the way why don’t you post using your real name ? If the currency issue exercises you so much please tell us what your beloved, infallible Labour Party propose to do (your Plan A) about the 9 British Territories including Jersey which is not part of the United Kingdom but uses the pound ? Surely you can’t have the lesser beings in the regions being allowed to do what they want ? Oh, and could you tell us what currency the Irish used for years after independence, here’s a clue it starts with “P” and ends with “ound”.

      • Mr Brown

        You compare a newly liberated free Scotland with a British dependency?

        Yikes.

        Ireland used the pound after their independence without a fiscal union with cUK. Interestingly this option has been rejected by Mr Salmond’s economic Galacticos.

        Yours for Scotland!

        Grahamski

    • Creepski, weirdski, cockroachski. Total thicko traitor bawbagski.

      • chortle

        • Hey…got your giant chocolate medallion yet? Intelligent campaigning? Labour numpties.

          • Intelligent campaigning? I suspect it came from the same kind of wee clever monkeys (or daft weans) who came up with Ecks aliens and highway code carcrash.

            Don’t need gimmicks when Mr Salmond is fast becoming the gift that keeps giving to the Better campaign.

        • Creepy, creepshow freakshow creepski. I can smell your rancid Quisling Cockroach stench through the line

          A pathetic all time loser..

          Whit labour chimp are you blawin now for favours.

          Like a wee monkey in a gimp suit wi tambourines.

          Attention seeking mutt.

          “look at me Ewic, I’m pwetty, in my adult nappies!…Stick it in me ,I’m a punka$$! for you babes”.

          Jumpin aff oor road bridges is free now, thanks to our enlightened gov.

          Bwing a fwend or 50.

          Ya CREEP !

  7. by Jim McLean

    It was time for FM’s questions
    Johann Lamont stood up,
    Her look was stern, her look was glum
    Her face like a weel skelpit bum.
    She looked at her notes with her specs to see
    And asked Alec Salmond “What’ll your Plan B be?”

    He slowly rose from his comfy chair
    And fixed Ms Lamont with a baleful stare.
    “I’ve told you before, just take a look,
    The answers in the flaming book!”

    Across the chamber, with her boyish smile,
    Ruth Davidson spoke, head schoolgirl style.
    She shouted out her Tory views
    Selected from this morning’s news.
    “Both Johann Lamont and I agree
    Tell us what’ll your Plan B be?”

    Alec sighed and rolled his eyes,
    His patience gone, he looked at the sky.
    “I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again
    The answers on page a hundred and ten!”

    Wee Willie Rennie then got to his feet
    His voice between a squeak and a bleat.
    “I’ve just arrived, straight from my bed,
    Could someone tell me what’s been said?
    But I’ve a question, dear to me,
    Tell me what’ll your Plan B be?”

    But then in a flash and a puff of smoke,
    In a bowler hat and big, black cloak,
    A figure appeared on the chamber floor,
    To Tory cheers and a Hamden roar.

    “It’s me, yes it’s me”, roared the figure
    For Boris it certainly was!
    “I’ve come up from London to rescue
    The Better Together cause.
    He ripped the cloak from his shoulders
    And emblazoned for all to see
    In red, white and blue on his bosom
    In capital letters …. “PLAN B”

  8. innerbearsdenurchin

    Just thinking, now out loud.

    There is no plan B because there is a plan A which is nuanced and multivariate.

    The White Paper laid out the options and the path chosen from that is a political as well economic one

    This is not a G E and Scotland is not in possession of one of the options whilst evaluating which other one to take, which would be plan -A or B.

    Plan A is Sterling, with or without co-operation from Westminster. The options of a C U is to be decided within the period of negotiation and I would guess pretty sharpish, if the Civil Servants in Whitehall prise the steering wheel from Osbourne, or BoJo FFS.

    If CU is not acceptable to Westminster or the conditions attached are too onorous for Scotland, options 1,2,3,4 etc come into play.

    It is all very simple. Politics not overt public posturing.

    Looking longer term at the actual face to face and across the table negotiations, the following is my interpretation of the opening positions.

    A CU will be on the table but tied to conditions on Faslane, share of UK debt and a long term contractual lock-in, say 15 to 20 years.

    The Faslane condition will burn that stage, as will the long term lock-in.

    Unless rUK gives in, the non CU options come into play Nd, depending on how desperate the Treasury Mandarins are, we could end up, my preference, with £ Scots tied fraternally to the £ stg to allow easy movement of goods and services, with no historic debt inheritance.

    Hell, if the Claire field approaches yielding the riches currently rumoured, the Clyde and near shore West Coast reserves, might make a $ fix more logic long term, if the Greenback maintains its monopoly of designation.

    We may end up being the rUK’s lender of last resort?

    • It’s simple really, Plan B is not to take the debt.

      • As explained above, it’s not “Plan A” but a plan to use Sterling with or without co-operation from Westminster. Simple.

        Are we not fortunate to have such a brilliant team leading the way forward? Sure we are.

    • Pretty much.

      Mind you the opposition apparently aren’t to quick on the uptake and their arithmetic skills are somewhat questionable, but if we keep hammering away a lightbulb someplace will come on. 🙂

  9. Listening to the vox pop on GMS after the debate it’s clear some people want answers to questions which, in principle, are unanswerable at this stage because they will depend on negotiations with the rUK government. But if these people perceive this to be the SNP dodging the issues then they may consider a Yes to be taking too much of a leap in the dark and vote No.

    Plan B: I’m looking for a property somewhere sunny and warm with cheap vino.

  10. The 2016 general election in an independent Scotland will be the moment when the people of Scotland decide what government and what kind of currency the country will have.
    Fist thing first: Vote Yes.

  11. Excellent post and I think we need to focus more on who decides rather than what we decide. Do we let Westminster make the choice or do we make our own choice. A currency union is the current position of Scotland’s elected Government. We will probably be able to negotiate a reasonable basis to establish one with rUK. If not we will decide what option best suits the interests of Scotland. There are a range of options, but if it is Britain’s pound not Scotland’s pound, then it is Britain’s debt not Scotland’s debt, which makes sterlingisation look pretty damned attractive…

  12. Was discussing this topic yesterday with a friend. He told me that he was being “taunted” by NO supporters “What’s your plan B?” I gave him a simple answer. Ask them if you provided them with a Plan B would they vote YES. Of course not, Then tell them to F.. Off!

    The whole issue is an MSM and NO campaign diversion. Step outside the bubble and see it from the point of view of someone who hasn’t followed the issues. They will never get any valid information from the MSM, so the only way is face to face and the Web. If AS gets even a small percentage of these people to react against NO then he has achieved his objective. In a guerilla campaign you need to choose the battleground carefully. We have plenty – NHS, foodbanks, Trident, oil, democratic deficit etc. etc. Let’s not waste our time with the MSM’s set piece battles.

  13. As Derek points out, the Plan B disparity was always going to be integral – it’s the essence of how No have chosen to frame the debate. So, make no mistake, *whatever* the SNP’s currency position, we would be here now. Had the SNP rejected the idea of a cu, Westminster would be united in offering it (and saying ‘they want to take your pound away!’).

    In that context, I see four major factors. 1 – The view that either ‘Scotland’ or the SNP ‘want’ a currency union is an external construct – radically different than the idea that either might be rationally prepared to do things we do not want, because they are the most practical option for a successful economic disentanglement. 2 -It would be ridiculous and irresponsible not to *try* continued cu – the CR & Slovakia tried it, then tried something else, and that worked fine. Currency union is not an option which can be put on the table – it is *always* on the table in independence negotiations, and so has to be *taken off* the table. The simple act of proposing it made Westminster do that for us. 3 – One *cannot* expect to come out of negotiations with everything one said one wanted – but Westminster has spent their sanction on cu, and that’s a plus. A plus for which they have already also traded a) any illusion of distance or distinct economic thinking between the parties, and b) revealing their actual view of Scotland’s economy and decision-making. They’ve had to say: ‘Independence? Let us define even that for you – you’re too stupid to know what it really means’.

    Finally, what independence needs is not just a Yes vote: it needs a Yes vote which understands the uncertainties of independence, and is ready to support its processes. Anyone willing to vote Yes *only* if there is no uncertainty about currency, isn’t committed to the process of becoming an independent, democratic, country where things are decided by debate not fiat. It is as well to sort that now, because it’s the only issue which cannot be sorted later.

    Westminster will do as they’re told by self-interest and the markets. But the current stramash gives the Scottish Government total flexibility on the issue of currency in the negotiations – if Westminster does want cu, they won’t be able to dictate it, and if Westminster doesn’t, they cannot paint that as ‘our’ fault, with the added third option of if we don’t want cu (even if they turn out to) we will be in the unique position of being able to reject it with impunity. I cannot think of another position which would have offered all of that, plus infinite free airtime on the UK’s true attitude to Scotland?

    Independence isn’t about Alex Salmond’s political courage – it’s about ours. It isn’t up to Alex Salmond (or the UK) which currency Scotland uses – that’s a decision we have to make, and *keep making*, post-independence, and post-negotiation. But only after the mandate, and after the negotiation, will we have the information and opportunity we need to make the first of those long-term decisions in May 2016.

    No can be achieved at any price. Yes must be a true ‘yes’ to what independence involves. That *is* more difficult, but it is also better – and isn’t that our point?

    • Thanks for an intelligent and articulate analysis of the CU/Plan B stramash.

      All those who are undecided should read your post. They need to be reminded that there are unknowns and they will remain so because WM are using them as political FUD tactics against the voters and will not discuss them or pre-negotiate.

      These unknowns will only be resolved once negotiations begin AFTER a YES vote.
      I don’t regard it a ‘leap of faith’ to vote YES in these circumstances, as there are so many viable currency options.

  14. innerbearsdenurchin

    How very ill mannered of me not to say what motivated me to post what I did above.

    The excellence of the article.

    Thank you Derek

  15. Robert Roddick.

    I’ve just you and Mike Small, Derek. Two of the most sensible articles this week. you guys should really be writing for a so called national newspaper. On second thoughts, I like the fact that you are independent.

  16. “I want the full array of currency options laid out with the SNP government being open to a change of policy as they will have to be in negotiations.”

    If the media have to take some share of blame here, it is that politicians aren’t allowed to reconsider. Instead this is pounced upon as weakness (getting a ministerial car doesn’t give you omniscience!) or at best as “wobbling” or “flip-flopping” to use mediaspeak. Salmond can’t now make a mature response to the question without having questions of “character” raised by the media. In any other walk of life, when the facts change you change your mind.

    But there have only ever been two serious options. A currency union as with Luxembourg/Belgium, where there are two central banks issuing mutually exchangable currencies, with the governments running their national economies in concert (and which is where it went wrong for Czecho/Slovakia).

    Or our own currency, the best option. Salmond’s reluctance up till now to allow Scotland a central bank (why? because it would have an identifiable cost?) has meant that any change will now be seen as a “wobble” rather than maturity.

    The sterlingisation option is only favoured by the Adam Smith Institute school of free-marketeers as it means very limited government borrowing and a shrunken state sector.

  17. Imagine! After a YES vote and the negotiations that follow, we will never have to listen to the Force 10 whine of the Westminster elite and their MSM again! Sheer bliss. The news will be our news, which will undoubtedly include dispatches from abroad but from our own angle and not simply parroting City of London concerns. It’ll be like Norway or Denmark or Switzerland – free to set our own priorities, form our own alliances and use our own currency for the good of the majority. No more neo-liberal lies and mendacity. No more foreign owned press and media.Worth voting for in my opinion.

  18. If the No camp is so committed to ruling out currency union (or any other post-Yes agreement) why do they not put their money where their mouth is? The No camp has cross-party support in WM so surely it would be straightforward for them to rush through emergency legislation ruling out anything they like ahead of the referendum. It is disappointing but not surprising that no-one in our media has pressed them on this basic point.

    The Yes side should call this bluff and urge them to legislate as it is a win-win approach:

    Either the No camp will stick to their guns, progress the necessary legislation and as a result both spook the markets, and cause a massive boost in support for Yes amongst people who react badly to being dictated to by London;

    Or they are forced to accept publicly that there is in reality nothing they can sensibly rule out ahead of post-Yes negotiations, at which point this currency bluster is revealed for what it really is. And we can then all get back to discussing more important things, like how to make a better country.

  19. Steve Asaneilean

    Salmonid should have called Darling’s bluff and simply listed the 5 options whilst pointing out that CU was the preferred one and that’s the basis on which we would be negotiating after a Yes vote. Only if those negotiations failed would we then look at other options.
    He should also have asked Darling in what way ruling out a CU at this stage squares with the vow to have no pre-vote negotiation. Every time Darling said “we’re ruling it out now” Salmond should have quoted “no pre-vote negotiations” back at him.

  20. brilliant piece Derek

    Superb Comments too .

    Lets get a YES vote first and deal with the rest later. WM is not going to negotiate anything until then.

    Funny thing is they are going to be tracking back tripping over themselves if we the people decide no CU.

    Use the pound till we sort our own currency and let them keep the debt they run up through mis management .

  21. Nice one Derek

  22. With all the discussion with the currency and would Scotland be ‘allowed’ to keep the pound, I am now completely convinced that we are hearing the BIG LIE from the British Establishment. This being told loudly and often and from many voices like good propaganda should
    In the back rooms of Westminster we have an elite who are really beginning to show signs of real fear and panic that the YES vote will carry the day. The disastrous impact of a YES vote on Westminster’s finances has not been exposed or explained in the event by this elite. So they hammer away at the pound and plan B.
    But has anyone asked Tesco, BP, Honda, Ford Motor Company or even Aldi what they would prefer when the YES vote is declared. These companies are quiet, maybe silenced, because they would clearly want Scotland to continue using the pound. But the Westminster elite continue with the BIG LIE. There will be a currency union. It will likely be framed in an International Agreement or Treaty and we’ll all be happy with that, even Westminster

  23. I’m more than happy that our First Minister is sticking to his Plan A. A politician of his calibre knows what is needed to negotiate effectively with the rUK post referendum. No need to play all the cards at once.

    • I very much agree with you on this. I watched the ‘debate, and any answers given were from the FM almost exclusively. Did Darling answer a question throughout the whole farrago? The FM answered the question firmly at Question time yesterday. ‘We will keep the pound’.
      As Wings points out, it’s either a CU or the pound outside a currency union (so-called “sterlingisation”)

      Right on Alex.

  24. “Small, highly educated, economically diverse western EU country with vast oil and gas reserves free of all debt would like a long term loan – any takers?”
    Sums it up nicely 🙂

  25. What astonishes me is that Darling only appears to have a Plan A when it comes to countering independence.
    When we got the ‘Sermon on the Pound’ from the London based parties, the effect was to offend a greast deal of Scots and this was reflected in a shift in the polls towards Yes.
    Darling has persisted with this nonsense which has continued to see further shifts towards Yes.
    It may have gone down well with the die hard Tory supporters in the STV audience but not with those who were undecided.
    If Darling proceeds with his Plan A,his Plan B must entail a new day job.

  26. I agree,the Scottish Currency would be best option.

  27. “Small, highly educated, economically diverse western EU country with vast oil and gas reserves free of all debt would like a long term loan – any takers?”

    Except that the only way it could have no debt is by walking away from its existing debt. And you think that’s a good way to persuade lenders to hand over their money?

    • Oh dear. To date the Uk has said all the UK’s sovereign debt is THEIR debt. ALL of it. In ALL circumstances. NONE of it is Scotland’s. Scotland has NO DEBT. There is NO existing debt to walk away from. Lenders hand over money to good customers and debt-free, rich customers are a good bet. True, we will need a repayment track record but that won’t take long. they are not moralists, I fear, but profiteers in the markets. (Why doesn’t your email work? Are you a fake address for Union trolling?)

      • Silly me. And there was me thinking Scotland was part of the Uk at the moment. If Scotland hasn’t got part of that debt, maybe England, Wales and Ireland haven’t either. In which case, I wonder exactly who it is the debt belongs to?

        • Do try and keep up at the back there. It was the Westminster Treasury and the Bank of England who declared to the markets that they took responsibility for ALL the debt. We keep being told that the BoE is nothing to do with us, not an asset etc, and I hope you aren’t suggesting Scotland gets a share of the WM Treasury after Independence? I can’t see that going down well in the Shires.

          We know who the debt belongs to because of that statement. Which was made after the Sermon on the Pound and the joint declaration. This spooked the markets who told the BoE they needed reassurance or there would be a run on the pound. That is independent of the effect of whether or not there will be a currency union, all the media aimed at investors are saying it is just a negotiating position and invest as though there will be a CU.

          IF iScotland is not in the Sterling Zone then rUK’s balance of payments, already bad, gets significantly worse. Scotland provides fully 1/3 of UK export earnings by value. Unsurprising really since we have 1/3 of the land area to exploit and more of the seas (our ocean facing intended coastline and offshore islands).

          Unionists and the media don’t want to talk about the balance of payments because they know it kicks the stool out from under the CU denial.

          This is not scaremongering it is economic reality.

          BTW if are not in the Sterling Zone we will want a separate unpegged currency, as the value of Sterling will plummet on the suddenly worsened balance of payments and the removal of the vast majority of the oil reserves from Sterling value calculations.

          You need to be careful what you wish for.

          BTW my email works, why doesn’t yours? You didn’t reply to that bit of Derek’s reply.

        • No Leslie. Westminster has been clear that, upon Scottish independence, they (the remaining UK) will be the continuing state with all existing international treaties and European ‘opt-outs’ intact. If they get that UK legacy, they also get (and have accepted) the debt.

        • Err, “Ireland” Leslie: Are you from another space-time-historico-political continuum? Or are you simply another BritNat troll meriting an F- for the poverty of your research of primary sources?

          You chaps and chapettes seem to be out in some force at the moment a la swarming birds of the Hitchcock movie – see “Scot Goes Pop”‘s last post, for example; and what seems to singularly unite you and your peers is the utter intellectual and factual poverty of your collective assertions. Your mutton dressed as lamb logic.

          Still, many thanks for all of your input in that you are all jointly and very publicly cutting the political throat of the “Union” so beloved of you all.

          Lang, therefore, may your lums reek on the dwindling reserves of faux-moral and sound-bite, pseudo-intellectual fuel left to you in this last lap to our aye unfond adieu to your Westminster masters (and you all?).

          What is your collective Plan B in this event? Will you all fall upon each others political flesh in a “bloody” orgy of self-preservation in order to gain a place-man’s and place-woman’s place within the rUK’s remnant establishment (and will they even entertain your craven, back-up, Uncle Jock and Aunt Jockette applications?).

          Perhaps, you all have a collective Plan C? Or a plethora of alphabetical alternatives?

          I think we should be told.

      • Oh and another thing, of course. If an independent Scotland wants to join the EU and assuming that Spain doesn’t veto it, a condition of accession, as for all new member states, will be that Scotland signs up for the Euro.

  28. I am imagining a scenario where a week before the referendum, Alex Salmond calls a press conference and announces that it is clear there is going to be a majority for YES. He states that In view of the stance of Westminster on Currency Union his government has decided to use sterling outside a CU and not to contribute to any of the UK debt.

    By latest the following morning the international money markets will be in shock and the UK £ will be in free fall. The Tory led Government will implode under international criticism of their financial ineptitude.

    I don’t know if this would help the Yes side win the referendum but it would be fun to watch.

  29. No being an economist or understanding how the markets work. The buying and selling of money to make money. Mental eh! Then there’s sums of money being invested overnight with piddling little interest but because the amounts invested (gambled) are huge, tidy profits can be gained. I think a few cooncils got caught this way lending to Icelandic banks when they went bust. If eh mind right the council tax went up in they areas so the services could still be provided.

    Anyway to the point – Westminster say that the Bank of England as a lender of last resort would not tolerate a foreign country (Scotland-that’s us) having the power to ruin the economy if it got into massive debt.
    They are doing that themselves as far as I can see when they printed lorry loads o extra money (quantitive easing – meh arse)
    How does the pound compare now with the Euro? If eh mind right back in aboot the year 2000 60p got you 1Euro now its aboot 80p for the same 1Euro. And that, remember, is the currency that’s supposed to be finished.

    Business companies will, and often do trade in any currency-Who actually gets paid cash in hand anyway nowadays. You work and an electronic digit records that you have a number in an account.

    We should create a currency that works for us….that’s what independence is about. Taking decisions, making choices, and living with the consequences.

    The bottom line is that the people are the lender of last resort. (Ask any football fan wha’s club has gone belly up).

    • conary O'Cleirigh

      Interesting to read how you Scots are so concerned about your currency before the referendum -Imagine HMG telling you that you cannot have currency union ever, regardless of the outcome! I don’t think so – all will be up for grabs afterwards. HMG will tell an odd fib to get the right result.on the night.

  30. I suppose my preference would be for a separate Scottish currency, perhaps initially tied to Sterling. However, I am concerned about the effect on rUK’s economy, bearing in mind that they are our biggest export market. Many comments have taken a hell mend them approach, but, if the rUK’s collapses, what effect will it have on ours?

    • I was living in New Zealand when the UK entered the EEC and the door to our exports of lamb, dairy and fruit slammed almost totally closed.

      Yes, it was a shock but it stimulated business to look for other markets. NZ now does a lot of business both with Asia (free trade deal just signed with China) and the Middle East. We are besties with Iran, sell them sheepmeat, dairy and agritech.

      It was in the aftermath of that that the humble Chinese gooseberry was creatively renamed the kiwifruit and an industry was created de novo. The embryonic wine industry also got serious and grapes were planted in Hawkes Bay and Marlborough.

      I think that even in the event of a CU Scotland should look for new markets. It is not healthy to be so reliant on one. Just like our markets were curtailed when we entered the Union (one reason for the riots) so we can look for markets unfettered by rUK foreign policy. Instead of our industries scandalously having to pay for access to embassies while English ones don’t we will be able to promote our goods and services on our own instead of struggling for WM’s attention. Also the London media can bleat all the want about our FM flying to America to drum up business if we are independent.

      • BTW you can see the effects of that shock in the modern freezing works slaughtering sheep. The killing chains all face Mecca and the animals are humanely halal slaughtered, all of them. Imams are employed to bless the animals as their throats are slit moments after stunning. Temple Grandin herself approved the process and it conforms with animal welfare laws the equal of anywhere.

        The packs of NZ lamb in UK supermarkets do not shout this fact. But it is all halal.

        This both a matter of pragmatism, not having to trace and differentiate the indistinguishable and an indication of how thoroughly our markets for sheepmeat changed in the aftermath.

    • Dr JM Mackintosh

      That is why there will be a CU.
      Don’t worry !

  31. The fact that the BT no-hopers are getting so steamed up about Scotland’s future currency, even going so far as to enshrine a pledge against currency union in their manifestos for the UK general election in 2015, suggests that they are already conceding that Scotland will choose independence.

  32. ‘Why not say…we will be asking the Scottish people if they would prefer their own currency after independence and are examining that option.’

    PRECISELY!

  33. Derek,
    I agree with you. The Currency Union option is an albatross around the YES neck and is dead in the water as a Referendum campaign option. It has to be abandoned immediately. And SNP/YES need to come out ASAP with a very firm rallying statement, along the lines of,

    “In the light of the intransigence and hostility of the WM Gov to the YES campaign’s very sensible CU proposal which would be in the interests of both Scotland and rUK we will now abandon that option and instead set up and use a new Scottish currency called £Scottish which will be equal to £Sterling at a rate of 1:1. However for negotiations during the period before Independence Day we would be happy to continue to use £Sterling” (Or a similar statement using one of the other WP options)

    SNP/YES cannot now continue on current path. The canvassers must be given something new to keep morale up.

  34. Abandoning the Currency Union for a new currency or one of the other options may set new hares running for SNP/YES, but it would also cause consternation in some parts of the UK too, particularly if we also stated we would not take any part of UK’s debt.

    Maybe SNP/YES should just make the bare announcement immediately that it is abandoning the Currency Union option and will make a detailed statement later. And gdo that on the morning of the next debate so NO don’t have time to pick over it beforehand.

  35. The Scottish George Orwell

    The SNP needs to rename itself Project Daft – that’s Denial, Avoidance, Fantasy and Threats. It’s an unfortunate and a bitter mix, but .. so much better to face the facts. Just accept how DAFT the yes campaign has been. Just treat this as a learning ground .. for the next referendum. This one is lost .. and if the D in Project DAFT changes to Desperation, the yes vote will drop further.

    • Never was a poster better named

    • TSGO I am sorry but you appear to be attacking the SNP? This Referendum is not about the SNP it is about the constitution of Scotland. If you are talking daft then try looking in the mirror for Denial eg McCrone? The oil is there and plenty enough to see Scotland alright thank you. You just want to keep us from getting our hands on it, there’s also 3-23thousand billion tones of coal under the North Sea too(Google five quarters energy, deep gas winning) enough for everyone to supply all of Europe’s energy and chemical industry for 1,000 years. 6bn tonnes equates to every ounce of Natural Gas extracted from the North Sea in 50years.
      Avoidance: what happens if Scottish GDP and population share of Essential UK projects is taken out of UK balance of payments? I’ll tell you: UK deficit more than doubles to over £270bn a year, £1.35 Trillion over five years, taking UK National Debt to over £3trillion by the end of the next UK parliament. Do the sums yourself. (£1.3 Tn + 6x£100bn + £1.35Tn)
      Fantasy it isn’t Scotland that dreams of being a big player on the world stage and borrows big to buy big boys toys it can neither afford or afford to use, while there are hundreds of thousands needing hand outs at food banks.
      Threats where to start? Outer space, Terrorists, economic catastrophe, industries packing up and leaving, expulsion from the EU. Project Fear!

  36. AS said there should be a third question on the ballot paper for Devo Max, which the other parties refused. They wanted a straight Yes or No. He stuck with this until it looked really silly and we were tired of hearing it. Devo Max could have split the vote. Now all parties are belatedly promising vague versions of further powers which really hold no substance against what is on offer.
    With respect to your opinions, AS is a master at the political game and I will trust him to act in the best interests of Scotland, what ever that turns out to be.

  37. In a flash of insight the tatics on Currency now become clear…well, I think they do to me.

    On the advice of very eminent economists, the preferred option for the Scottish Government is currency union. It in a White Paper on Independence, outlining how Scotland forward towards independence So there you have it, its the position of the Scottish Government will take in POST YES vote negotiations.

    The whole of the white paper is !! All of it, its a vision of preferred options should there be a YES vote. Its the basis for POST independence vote negotiations. It could all change, it all depends on whats best for both countries, dependant on reaching an amicable settlement on division of assets and liabilities.

    But what we are seeing it a move by the Unionist Parties to start pre negotiating now by ruling out currency union. They say NO currency union under any circumstances, maybe thats their position they would bring to the table, but there are clear indications it isnt. The Scottish Government is adamant that it IS in the best interests of both countries, and that this ruling out of currency union, before there has even been a vote, is simply a political tactic to undermine the YES campaign.

    Not only has some Unionists admitted this but look at the language, the Scottish Governments preferred OPTION, whereas the Unionists are staying that this is their FINAL POSITION on Currency and indeed have claimed ownership of the UK pound, before we’ve even had a vote and whilst we are still part of the UK.

    Seems the Unionists are hell bent on publicly negotiating currency before the referendum rather than afterwards. Plan B, of course there is and C,D,and E., but the Scottish Government is really saying we will talk about all this in the post YES negotiations moving us towards an independent Scotland. Holyrood has many options, apparently the UK has only one course of action (or has it), anyway surely the time for this currency debate is after a YES vote, after all, I dont hear anything about Westminster’s final and irreversible stance on anything else…………..funny that…….

    • Bugger [the Panda]

      @ alzo

      See my post at 10.52 above.

      There is no Plan B because there is no Plan A,

      The white Paper is the preferred option but there are a number of alternatives to be played out during the negotiations.

      Darling doesn’t understand that and still sees it in 2 dimensional Punch and Judy Westminster terms but be sure that MacDougall at least does.

      That is why Darling was fitted up with Bluetooth Joe 90 glasses and he wAs told to shout what and when.

      I made that last bit up, or did I?

      Take a Bluetooth jammer in to the BBC debate and squelch him.

      The glasses are available on the internet from France at € 300 and the jammer for €200.

      Anybody up for it?

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      The no side have started to negotiate or at least have revealed their hand. Very poor negotiating technique. They now need a Plan B as post a Yes vote the Yes team just spell out what the consequences of the No position are. The Mandarins will tke over and Dave will resign, as will Osbourn, as it was he who started it.

  38. Two points Derek,
    What is Osbourne’s Plan B?
    We are reliably informed that we must endure ever deeper Austerity in order that HMGov’t can eventually live within its means by the general election after next. It was supposed to be this one but circumstances dear boy circumstances. Last year the Coalition borrowed £121bn to keep the economy afloat.
    I make Scottish GDP about £145bn according to GERS. The same source puts Scottish payments to service UK national debt interest at near enough £4bn, or will be by the next general election. We also contribute around £1bn to upkeep Trident and the same again for ‘essential UK projects’ that benefit mainly London and the South East (HS1&2, London Crossrail 1&2, London Sewer Project @ £85billion)
    My point being if you add that little lot onto the UK’s borrowing requirement because Scotland has been taken out of the Sterling Zone and UK balance of payments then you are looking not at £121billion a year but borrowing an eye watering £270+bn a year, or DOUBLING the current UK National Debt over the next term of the UK Parliament.
    What price Austerity then?

    Second point
    UK Public Assets
    We hear ad nausium about UK National Debt(£1.3Trillion) and Scotland’s population share of it come independence. Will we, won’t we, have to stump up?
    I hear absolutely He Haw about the other side of the ledger:
    According to the UK National Audit Office web site; UK Public assets are audited at £1.26Trillion!
    Take our population share of this (£108bn?) from our population share of UK National Debt (£112bn?) and I would imagine Scotland could cope no bother with covering off the difference over the first term of a newly elected independent Scottish administration.
    No debt, no need for a guarantor for that debt, no need for a Lender of Last Resort, no need for Austerity to clear the annual fiscal deficit. No worries!

    Have I missed something?
    To me this should’ve been Salmond’s game changer the other night

    • Meant to add: if UK national debt doubles, then it follows that debt interest will surely more than double, from £68bn today? I cannot imagine the UK’s AA+ credit rating would remain intact, so expect bad news on that score too. So stick another £500bn- £1Trillion to the bottom line on that one aswell, and you are heading for super inflation, and where it leaves the basket with all of the UKs eggs in it, the City of London?

  39. My plan B is to go to the pub on the 19th of Sept and greet crocodile tears into my pint at the thought an Indy Scotland will be starting from scratch with No debt and the landowners like Dan Snow will have to sell their Scottish land inheritances on the cheap to keep up appearances.

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