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Osborne nixes currency union; Salmond hops around claiming it’s only a flesh wound

13 February 2014

13 February 2014

An interesting day, then. As I suggested yesterday, George Osborne has ventured across the border on a punitive raid. Nothing like a spot of rough wooing to get you through the winter.

The reaction from Scottish nationalists has been interesting, to say the least. Some seem most affronted. Who the hell does George Osborne think he is, anyway? He’ll no be telling us what currency we may use. Perhaps not but he – or Ed Balls – is certainly entitled to set out his view of what may be in the best interests of the rest of the United Kingdom. And if that view differs from the Scottish view then tough.

Be that as it may, it never ceases to amaze me that nationalists, having declared war upon the British state, are so shocked or appalled when the British state fights back. They’re like boxers complaining it’s unfair that the other guy has biffed them on the nose.

On the other hand, there are some nationalists who still seem to be in denial. Among them, Alex Salmond himself. The First Minister tweeted (or, rather, had one of his staff tweet):

Currency stance of UK government will be very different the day after a Yes got to the campaign rhetoric we are hearing today.

Well that’s OK then! Of course the UK government might change its view on the desirability of a currency union. But, hey, it might not and the prudent investor might take the claims made by the Treasury and all three main Westminster parties seriously. The SNP prefer to assume that this is just bluff and bluster, campaign froth not to be given too much credence.

Is this a bet Alex Salmond really wants to call? For that matter, does he have enough chips to cover the bet without going all in himself? The answer to both questions is No.

In fact the First Minister and his acolytes resemble no-one so much as the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Their desire for a currency union has – at least for now – been lopped off and yet still they hop around insisting this grievous loss is nothing more serious than a flesh wound.

If that were the case the nationalists wouldn’t have pursued a currency union in the first place. This was always a risky strategy since said union is not in their gift. But it was a matter of politics, not economics.

For more than twenty years the SNP’s approach to independence has been built on gradualism. The party leadership recognised long ago – twenty years ago in fact – that there’s no such thing as independent independence in the modern world. The party has opted for a gradualist approach, sometimes an approach so nuanced it’s not always been clear what independence would actually amount to. Most of the true believers have held their tongues, accepting that some loaf is better than no loaf.

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It has been, you might say, Project Reassurance.

That reassurance has been necessary because a) most Scots do not think Britain irretrievably broken or illegitimate and b) the SNP recognises that Scotland is a conservative country. If that were not the case the SNP manifesto might be more radical than it is.

This, naturally and understandably, irritates genuine radicals but, facts are facts and these ones will not ding either. Salmond is a very modest revolutionary even if, in the grander historical context, his plans are still very revolutionary. The break-up of Britain is no small thing, however quietly you wish to do it.

So, keep the pound. Not because that’s necessarily the best option (though from a Scottish perspective it might be!) but because it’s the approach that will frighten the fewest ponies. A form of Continuity Nationalism, if you like.

The euro once seemed to offer a safe harbour but when that ceased to be the case, a sterling zone was the best thing available. Not, again, for economic reasons so much as for political ones. A separate Scottish currency, complete with central bank, would be risky – or easily caricatured as risky – and an approach liable to upset business.

And since much of the case for independence rests on the economic arguments (thin and bloodless as these may be) keeping business sweet has been a central part of the SNP mission these past 15 years. For things to change, many things will have to remain the same.

So what next? There is, of course, the Panama option. Or the Montenegro gambit. But this seems unattractive and not the sort of thing liable to persuade Scots to vote for independence. If it were, this might have been SNP policy all along. That policy, remember, has been crafted to secure as many Yes votes as possible. It follows, then, that the Panama option is, by the SNP’s own analysis, sub-optimal and liable to frighten more voters than it persuades. A vote loser, in other words.

Hence today’s denial. George and Ed and even wee Danny don’t really believe what they are saying. They will change their mind once the need to do so is forced upon them. Move along, now, nothing to see here.

It’s a point of view, I guess.

The other impact of today’s developments, however, is to harden the strength of feeling on both sides of the argument. Despite the witless bampottery of a relative handful of zealots (on all sides) this campaign has hitherto been conducted with a notable lack of rancour. That may not last.

Scots already persuaded to vote Yes will complain Scotland is being bullied by England. Their resolve will be hardened. In some cases, their distaste for anyone who simply disagrees with them will increase. There will be more and more frequent accusations of Uncle Tamism or accusations that so and so is a self-loathing Scot.

On the other side, committed Unionists will be convinced Salmond and Co are nothing more than a bunch of wreckers and lunatics.

So we can expect the electorate to become increasingly polarised. The number of genuinely undecided voters is smaller than the opinion polls suggest (since many of them already lean one way or the other).

The nationalist ploy, it seems to me now, is to present Osborne’s speech as an attack on Scotland itself. This is not, the nationalists will say, a question of the detailed prospectus for  independence per se but rather on whether Scotland can be free to pursue her own destiny. Are you with us or are you against us? Osborne is against us having that right. Do you agree with him? Do you really want to take his side or do you choose Scotland’s?

It is an audacious gamble even, perhaps, a bluff and one that many will reject as a false choice but it might also be the best bet available to the nationalists after what has been, by any objective standard, a bad, black day for the Scottish independence movement.

 


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Show comments
  • Daniel Maris

    Barosso now applying the thumb screws…that’s going to cause some of you anti-EU pro-unionists a stress headache. :)

  • Sheumais
  • Radford_NG

    Osbourne has set-out the technical case.This doesn’t seem to be understood;not in Scunthorpe if BBC1 QT[last Thurs]is a mark.
    He now needs a political sound bite.
    THUS:
    “Our policy today,and for the future,is that we will not enter into monetary union:not with Germany or Greece or Iceland or,if it comes to it,Scotland.This is our policy now and will be at the next election.It is,then,the policy we are committed to for at least the next six years.This is not a threat to Germany,nor to anyone else.It is,and has been,our policy.”

  • No1important

    Salmond doesn’t give a damn about Scotland, he’s just on an Anglophobe glory hunting ego trip. Scottish independence is a complete lie; it is about him going down in the history books as the guy that “freed” Scotland from the English, and then handing sovereignty and decision making over to an even more remote power in Brussels dominated by cultures not shared with ours on these isles and resulting in virtually no influence on any policy. How any intelligent Scot can fall for this con is beyond me. A break up of the UK will only diminish both the UK and all countries involved, as well as breeding resentment and friction on these Isles, it’s already started and it will only get worse, unearthing tribalism buried over 300 years ago. The argument about why a sterling union will not be accepted has been laid out and can be seen in what happened in Greece and Cyprus, although reading the comments below it seems the pro independence Scots not want accept logic and to spin this as English bullying tactics, but only because it doesn’t fall into line with independence dictated on their terms. I also can’t accept the spurious argument that they don’t have a government they vote for. What a pile of crap, all countries of the UK vote for a parliament that then makes decisions for whole. We’ve not long escaped a Labour government run by Scottish PM’s and chancellors. So the most powerful positions in the collective nation were held by Scots, so the argument you have no power and influence is baseless and nor did you hear the other 95% of the population complaining about undue Scottish influence or not getting the government they voted for. Honestly it’s depressing having to read the tantrums and feet stamping of those that want tear apart the nation was born into for no reason other than avarice and spite. I hope common sense and logic win out and the wheels of Salmond’s Emperors New clothes spin are revealed for the naked lies are.

    • allymax bruce

      The media are bombarding the Scots populace with Scotch Labour Party
      -designed ‘dark noise’ (all rights reserved to allymax), propaganda;
      it’s all about pumping primal Depressive fixations into the Scots
      society, thus fixating Scots society on their fears. That’s why The
      Scotch Labour Party have gone all ‘more moral than thee’, by ‘moralising
      the amoral’ (all rights reserved to allymax), when, in-fact, The Labour
      Party are the most corrupt mafia in World Politics. The meeja in
      Scotland, all of it, BBC News, STV News, all the tabloids, especially
      the Glesca Herod & Scotchman, all work for The Scotch Labour party,
      of whom, is ‘directed & led’ by a super-rich conglomeration of
      corporate Republicans; of which, also know Scotland will vote Yes,
      but they want their own sleekit easily-bribed troughers, aka, Scotch
      Labour, in political power in iScotland. Thus, the media concentrate more on
      defaming, smearing, & inciting hate against our Good & Gracious
      Alex’ Salmond & SNP, than they do about the Referendum, or
      iScotland. The ‘concentration’ of ‘dark noise’ against our First
      Minister Alex’ Salmond is all designed to instil a Yes for iScotland,
      then a ‘no’ for the ‘target’ thereafter! Labour are the ‘dark masters’
      of psychological warfare; just look at all the nasty cringing journos in
      Scotland that take their 30 pieces, and do their bidding. In-deed, you
      don’t get into the Scotch journo clique unless you are a nasty cringing
      hate-inciting Labour-voting scumbag!

      • l.davidson

        The Scotsman is a right wing paper. The Herald tries to portray all views as any cursory glance of the letter pages or the differing party opinions will display. The literacy level of both papers is of a high standard and do not rely on vulgar or puerile language to make a point.

        • allymax bruce

          And the ethical & moral differences, between puerile/vulgar, verses lying,cheating,conning/psychological warfare brainwashing propaganda, is exactly what, Iain? Are your Labour Party ‘more moral than thee’? No! Less moral! Can’t your Labour Party hack-it just being honest politicians; instead of all these ‘dark arts’ shenanigens? No! It was your Labour Party that invented this game of postmodern ‘dark arts’ politiking, so don’t try and con anyone, least your self, Iain, with fake faculties of virtue, when your Party professes in the highest priest of ‘dark arts’! The fact your soul popped up from the inferno means childish latin, (artfully expressed), is spot-on! The Scotchman, BBC News/STV News, Herod, are nothing but Labour Party hate propaganda transmitters. And, ‘right to reply’ Letters doesn’t excuse the overwhelming hate pumped out by the journos/tv programs. No other European country acts like this; why only Westminster Unionists? The Labour Party/Unionists are past their sell-by date, and getting more rotten by the minute; Unionist politiking is to all intents & purposes defunct; but yoos can’t see it. If you really want to see ‘puerile & vulgar’, then see Labour/Tories/Libs at Scotland’s Parliament; body language & faces so contorted with hate & aggression, anyone would think the Scotch Unionists need exorcism more than unionism!

  • michael brown

    Brigadier

  • JezzaP

    If Scotland were to retain Sterling, the Referendum must then be for all of the UK. I see no reason at all why I should back the Scottish taxpayer after Independence – he or she won’t be backing me.

    • orkers

      Cameron only holds referenda that he will win. Folk in England wont vote ‘Yes’ to a proposition that will cost their jobs. As Alex Salmond continually says, he’s proposing what’s best for both Scotland and the UK. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to click with the rabids on this Thread. If Osborne and Co were to follow up their bullying with action after a ‘Yes’ vote, great would be the carnage on both sides of the border. They wont, because bullies as everyone knows are deep down cowards.

      • JezzaP

        I sincerely you hope Salmond wins, as that will finally bury Labour in England. Note please I can’t stand any of them, but history shows that Labour always cause more damage. And it is a disgrace that 41 MPs from a country that already has its own Parliament can hold sway over England. But I stand by my point. If Salmond wants England to guarantee Scotland’s debt, then we in England are due a vote on it as well. Fair’s fair. But go, please go.

        • orkers

          I’m interested why you would think 41 Scottish MP’s ‘hold sway’ over 533 English ones? Even Alexander the Great couldn’t win with these odds
          …..and as to your last point we’ll certainly try to persuade all of the doubters up here to vote ‘Yes’

  • JPWREL .

    Massie’s right, the extremes are pressing on the rancor accelerator. As an American it reminds me of the intense idiotic spite in our own uncivil disputes. Assertions are substituted for facts and primitive tribal hatreds emerge.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Today’s front page story in the Herald is a game changer because it reveals current and disturbing thinking in Downing Street.

    A senior Coalition source has said, ” “A Yes vote in the referendum would be the start of a process, not the end of one; we would start negotiations. But if Alex Salmond made impossible demands, we would not just roll over and agree to everything he wanted. If we could not reach agreement, the status quo would be the default option.”

    So it would appear a decision has been made by the UK government not negotiate in any meaningful sense as a strategy to retain the status quo by default.

    • Richard T

      The sub-editor must have been blind drunk when writing the headline, as there is precisely nothing in the body copy to justify it. The salient points are 1) the utterly arbitrary 18 month Nat timetable for independence is wildly overoptimistic given the complexity of negotiations required, and 2) if the deadline is missed, Scotland will not yet be independent the next day.

      We knew this already.

      ‘Game changer’?. Only for the dangerously stupid or the cynically dishonest.

      The Herald used to be a decent paper, back in the day.

      • orkers

        The ‘game change’ quote affects only the Scottish electorate. Are you an expert?

    • flippit

      Well its been denied and it is only a ‘source’ so to get excited about it could be a waste of energy.
      If there’s a yes vote and negotiating begins it doesn’t matter what the uk Govt do, the SNP will stick with the line that Westminster are unfair, doing the Scots down etc, the bile vat will get bigger and fevered resentment and alternate crowing will make us all sick.

  • mightymark

    Q: What has the SNP in common with rapists?
    A: Both believe “No no no” means “Yes yes yes”!

  • Mike

    Let Salmond & his cronies make their own bed and be done with it BUT spell out in no uncertain terms to the Scottish voters what it could mean in practice. The UK lost far too many of its own descisions to the EU and

    If you want to leave a ‘club’ then you have no voting rights in that club nor any of its benefits, its that simple. Dumping Scottish debt from the banks that caused all the earlier problems would be highly beneficial to the rest of the UK and I’d like to see how Salmond could sell that one to the Scottish voters !

  • Peter Thomson

    Pity Alex Massie didn’t read what the Gideot actually said because courtesy of all the pre-blaw and national MSM rush to tell us how George was slaying the Unicorn they missed Gideot did not rule out a currency union in his weasel words. Sadly by then the damage was done, the MSM were in hue and cry and the London Stock Exchange saw a drop of 51 points by the close on Thursday because the international money markets want a currency union.

    Some corner, some politician … Gideot has now given Scotland a get out of the Union free of debt card. No currency union, no share of UK debt and before folk go on about ‘pariah state’ just think who are the international money markets more likely to lend to?

    A nation with £1.5 trillion (and rising) debt, a debt to GDP ratio of 72%, an economy heavily reliant on one sector for its foreign exchange earnings (a sector itself sitting on a huge residual debt) or a nation with a £1.7 trillion asset, a hard currency, a wide base economy, running a £15 billion surplus and a debt to GDP ratio of 45%. (IFS figures – FT 04/02/14 / McCrone Report).

    I think Wee Eck is right to consider this a flesh wound. He knows Ed Balls has said to a group of Scottish business people that if he is rUK Chancellor in May 2015 he will negotiate a currency union which is equable and equitable to both nations – the problem for the howling of the MSM they forget we Scots can read and are not locked into the Daily Record or the Telegraph for our information.

    So well done the Gideot – yesterday sees another rise in the Yes support and the London Stock exchange value take a big loss, very successful – indeed.

    • mightymark

      “…….. the London Stock Exchange saw a drop of 51 points by the close on Thursday”

      Your reading is clearly as back to front as your economics/politics – the FTSE 100 Index closed 15 points down on Thursday – mainly I seem to recall the result of some poorish company news.

    • Richard T

      “did not rule out a currency union in his weasel words”.

      He did, you know.

  • randomsausage

    I do think it’s really unfortunate that the “No” campaign has basically made this into an issue of £ vs €. To me, you’ve lost the argument on what’s best for Scotland when you reduce it to a simple, transient question. Because guess what….currencies change and 10 years from now the Euro could be flying high and Sterling could be in the toilet. What’s the argument for The Union then? The “No” campaign (led by Posh Tories and backed by West Coast Labour numpties) has just postponed independence when (if they had any balls or intellectual rigour) could have buried it for a generation.

  • flippit

    I thought it was a really good speech – detailed, dispassionate, professional. In particular he was unequivocal about the currency union. There will be no currency union, such a relief

  • Paul Bethune

    Gorgeous George saying nothing new. More bluff, more bluster and a definite playing of the cards to panic undecided voters. Ridiculously timed but probably to try and artificially push up their flagging poll support. A smoking gun like this should have been fired when the real campaigning begins, this is yet another own goal from an increasingly shrill Westminster. It’s like they are only just starting to realise that Scottish independence is a real threat to their security.

    His letter from Macpherson just underlines the contempt for an independent Scotland within the Westminster class. Scotland will have to take their share of the debt and have to accept to no negotiation on currency – and they believe it too! These lords and peers of the realm know their gravy train will take a serious battering when Scotland becomes independent.

    Westminster’s position of strength is now, while they have authority. That will all change when Scotland votes yes and the politicians cannot play hard ball at the table. It looks like a bunch of PR muppets have now taken control of Westminster’s position in the debate. Instead of real politics we’re getting this mickey mouse pantomime of a UK Government scrambling around for the best doom-ridden and scary “facts” they can muster. It’s black propaganda on a political scale unseen since the Iraq War. And still they learn nothing.

    Funny how Westminster are happy to unload a proportionate share of their debt, but not their assets. Whatever happens Scotland will use Sterling. It remains to be seen however if a deal will be made for the projected £1.5 trillion UK public debt – that Westminster has already confirmed they are responsible for, in full. Why are they backing themselves in to a corner if they believe the referendum is already won?

    I smell panic.

    • allymax bruce

      You smell your own shorts.

    • nicky rimbaud

      Beautifully written! Just a pity you’re not in a prominent position to deliver this sort of message to those who matter.

    • mightymark

      As Maureen Lipman might have said

      “they’re here again with the “bluiff and bluster”.

      I am begining to wonder whether it isn’t the accusations of “bluff and bluster” that are the real “bluff” here – bluster too perhaps.

      You see, I am puzzled by why the Nats who see the Tories as so opposed to the Scots ways and mentality while Scotland is still within the union, should play all nice with the Scots if they vote to leave the Union.

      As someone said “I smell panic”.

  • nicky rimbaud

    So Agent No 1 of the wee Paddy Raj running England has delivered his predicted clanger – after Agent N02, the Paddy from Canada who only got the top job at the Bank of England through ethnic nepotism, paved the way for the clanger by delivering his doom and gloom speech (doubtless written by Osborne) in Edinburgh a few days earlier. And of course we also got the same unionist propaganda by Agent No3, Danny Boy Alexander, the big lumpish ginger rodent who, like most of those other ‘Scottish’ MPs sitting in the English parliament, owes loyalty not to Scotland but the fatherland across the Irish Sea.

  • allymax bruce

    Where’s the UK Royal Coat of Arms?
    The last time a foreign (Westminster) politician made a speech from that very same podium, with that very same Edinburgh scenery backdrop, the UK Royal Coat of Arms was on the podium facia stand; for all to see & know it was under the auspice of our Monarch. Not this time!
    Osborne having a wee poke?
    Check it out, I’m right!

  • asalord

    Mr Salmond isn’t the independence movement. People will vote Yes for various reasons, including reasons with which Mr Salmond would not agree.
    It’s surprising to read Mr Massie making such a beginner’s mistake.

    • Wessex Man

      He must have taken lessons at your feet of clay!

    • allymax bruce

      The media are bombarding the Scots populace with Scotch Labour Party
      -designed ‘dark noise’ (all rights reserved to allymax), propaganda;
      it’s all about pumping primal Depressive fixations into the Scots
      society, thus fixating Scots society on their fears. That’s why The
      Scotch Labour Party have gone all ‘more moral than thee’, by ‘moralising
      the amoral’ (all rights reserved to allymax), when, in-fact, The Labour
      Party are the most corrupt mafia in World Politics. The meeja in
      Scotland, all of it, BBC News, STV News, all the tabloids, especially
      the Glesca Herod & Scotchman, all work for The Scotch Labour Party,
      of whom, is ‘directed & led’ by a super-rich conglomeration of
      corporate Republicans; of which, also know Scotland will vote Yes,
      but they want their own sleekit easily-bribed troughers, aka, Scotch
      Labour, in political power in iScotland. Thus, the media concentrate more on
      defaming, smearing, & inciting hate against our Good & Gracious
      Alex’ Salmond & SNP, than they do about the Referendum, or
      iScotland. The ‘concentration’ of ‘dark noise’ against our First
      Minister Alex’ Salmond is all designed to instil a Yes for iScotland,
      then a ‘no’ for the ‘target’ thereafter! Labour are the ‘dark masters’
      of psychological warfare; just look at all the nasty cringing journos in
      Scotland that take their 30 pieces, and do their bidding.

  • Barry Byrne

    It took me by surprise, I must admit. Sir Nicholas’ report advises that even with all the debt, the harm to rUK businesses and the effect on the balance of payments; it’s all worth it to avoid a currency union with Scotland.

    It’s obviously taken the Scottish Government by surprise too, since it means the UK are genuinely worried Scotland will go nuts with the credit card.

    But to say the independence movement is now limbless, ‘Black Knight’-style, is premature.

    We are now in a position where the Yes campaign can confirm Scotland will run an annual surplus, even with existing spending levels.

    And to top it off, it is George Osborne putting the rUK in that position: because after all, Scotland wanted to chip in to help cover the debt.

    Not exactly a tough sell

    • orkers

      Bear trap ………….and snap!

  • asalord

    Nothing new was said today. Of course the British nationalist press will echo Mr Massie’s “…a bad, black day for the Scottish independence movement.” That’s all to be expected.
    However, the most important development today has been the upping of British nationalist rhetoric. The unity of the “united” kingdom has suffered irrefutable damage today. It is fast becoming the case that the referendum result we be irrelevant since the “united” kingdom will never recover as a political enity. Ironic that such damage has been inflicted by those who profess to see the continuance of the “united” kingdom.

    • George Smiley

      The Scots in general, and the Scottish nationalists in particular, should be treated like a tempestuous young woman threatening a divorce; not a modern judicial dissolution, but by mutual agreement, the kind back in the 16th. or the 17th. century and available in the Protestant parts of Holland or Switzerland. Every effort must be made to remind of the Scots generally and the Scottish nationalists particularly that they, like a teenage girl, will be made disadvantaged in any pending settlement.

      • orkers

        Look everyone, read this and vote ‘Yes’

        • George Smiley

          Except of course you Scots can’t afford to actually do the impossible, for all good scroungers know which side of the bread is buttered! Shame that the Hadrian Wall wasn’t new, stronger and higher!

          • orkers

            Didn’t know you were a scrounger George?
            Would have thought such an erudite fellow as yourself would have read up on any subject he wished to comment on.
            A pity you didn’t.

          • Paul Bethune

            Generic anti-Scottish remarks only highlight the bigot within you.

            • George Smiley

              On the contrary. Like all the other natives of the British Empire, the Scots are essentially all children, certainly in terms of the mind, although some have the anatomy of adults.

              • Paul Bethune

                On the contrary you’re waffling on and talking like some stiff upper lip crustacean.

                • George Smiley

                  The Scots deserve all the contempt that they get for voting in the anti-English treasonous lot called Labour.

                • Paul Bethune

                  There we go, didn’t take much, just a wee scratch on the surface for your true colours to show.

                • George Smiley

                  I am not an anti-Scot and anti-Scotland per se, but I am most definitely anti-socialist and anti-Communist! All socialists should be lined up against the wall! The trouble is, most Scots are invariably socialists of some kind!

                • Paul Bethune

                  If it’s left wing politics you hate specifically then why not mention it? Why use Scotland, Scots and Scottish 4 times in your wee downton abbey vernacular.

                  You’re a bigoted old dinosaur who’s now back peddling.

                • allymax bruce

                  George, I think you are being sincere with your comments; as such, your opinions do matter, and I don’t think you’re bigotted nor racist for having your opinions on a political issue. There’s a lot to what you say in your comment I’m replying to, and I believe it’s something Scots & iScotland will have to acquaint itself with in political discussion. I think your beliefs that all/most Scots & Scotland are ‘socialists’ and/or Communists, are a myth peddled down in the Westminster political arena; because of the plural dichotomy (Conservative & Socialist), of the Westminster system. However, in iScotland, we won’t have that same political dichotomy; we will have the whole political iScotland system free from Class System politics, which means the term ‘socialist’ will have lesser Communist connotations, and more egalitarian connotations. You are basically judging iScotland’s political forum from your entrenched Westminster plurality. Please consider we think differently from Westmisnter.

                • Michael Rossi

                  But is that true? Actual votes cast in elections show differently and a vote for Labour isn’t per se a vote for socialism, given how the Labour Party is now

      • DougDaniel

        Wow, you’re a genuine nutter.

      • Wessex Man

        You ****** B******* go away and ask Boris if you can have a job as a bicycle warden!

    • Michael Mckeown

      Seriously? ‘a currency union is not going to happen’ seems new and self explanatory.

      • asalord

        They’ve been saying it months, at least as reported by the British nationalist press.

        • Michael Mckeown

          No, they have being saying it’s unlikely but today HM Treasury said categorically NO and the Conservative Party with the Liberal’s and the Labour Party all said a big fat NO as well so it’s a NO for the rest of this parliament and the next one.

          It does not get any more NO than the big fat NO that’s been dumped on Salmond today.

          • asalord

            We must be reading different papers.
            Although I do admit,as I said before: they’ve certainly upped the British nationalist rhetoric.
            It all looks good for a Yes vote.

            • Michael Mckeown

              Seriously? every UK newspaper is covering this along with the news channels.

              • orkers

                How many of them are Unionist and owned outside of Scotland? All I would certainly surmise. Perhaps they could possibly be a tad biased.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  How can there be any bias as there is not going to be a currency union at all and that is all there is to report, it really is difficult to see how one could report ‘NO’ with bias so since you get what I clearly cant then ill leave it to you to point it out.

          • orkers

            Capitalising ‘no’ doesn’t make it true. You sound a bit enervated by all this? Today was like a budget speech that seemed super when Gideon read it out, but on closer examination and in the fullness of time, will seem not to be very good for the Union. Bluster and rage, much like yourself Michael. Scots don’t react well to threats.

            • Michael Mckeown

              You are in denial, it’s a NO and a serious unequivocal NO at that not just for this government but for the next one as well.

              This is not a threat it is simply a statement of fact so you will just need to accept that there is not going to be a currency union and get over it.

            • Mike

              Its a promise not a threat !

    • HJ777

      Say what you like, it will not conceal the fact that the SNP has no credible policy on what currency a seceded Scotland would use.

      If you think that will make Scots more likely to vote for what Salmond wants, you are, rather insultingly, taking Scots to be fools.

      • asalord

        No,I think today’s speech from Osborne will make Scots more likely to vote Yes.
        If you think Scots think Alex Salmond IS the independence movement then you are taking Scots for fools.

        • HJ777

          Could you kindly let us know what the “Yes” campaign’s policy on a future currency will be now that it is clear that is has no right to demand a currency union?

          I think Scots might like to know.

          • orkers

            See above.

          • asalord

            Keep the pound after the Yes vote in September [England,as you know,can’t stop Scotland from doing so] until new elections in 2016. Let the people decide after parties have put forward currency proposals in their election manifestos.
            Personally I would go for a new currency, but ultimately it will be the people of an independent Scotland who will decide.

      • orkers

        Peg the Scottish pound to Sterling. It is after all a fully tradeable currency and Scotland doesn’t need to ask permission to use it. No debt, no assets from the rump rUK to Scotland. What could be simpler.

  • Mynydd

    Scotland should be allowed to join in a currency union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland following a yes vote in a 2064 referendum. This will give Mr Salmond’s independent Scotland 50 years to demonstrate he can manage a stable economy.

  • Kitty MLB

    Well done George Osborne.
    Someone needs to give the rotund William Wallace
    wanabee a reality check.
    Independence means going it alone, not
    expecting independence to be underwritten by the
    English taxpayer in the event of things going wrong
    for them.
    They can use an independent pound or create there
    own currency, I am sure the price of their
    gold reserves will help.

    • Kitty MLB

      Apologies Their own !!!!!

    • Doggie Roussel

      Excellent point !

      • Kitty MLB

        A rather clever little fox is wee Alex need
        to watch him.
        Yet it could be worse, as said elsewhere
        atleast the small Wallace wanabee
        does not ride across The Highlands
        on horseback with a bare chest like Putin.
        If that happened, Scotland would flee :)

    • asalord

      The bottom line is today’s lecture from Mr Osborne will increase support for the Yes campaign. That’s the thing which matters most at this time.

      • Clavers

        So you presume in your inebriation that Scots like me will bite off their nose to spite their face.

        • asalord

          No,that’s Osborne’s disability..

      • Mike

        Maybe but maybe not. No matter, as its a win situation for England & Wales which ever way the vote goes. If Scotland wants to stay in the UK I’m all for our Union to continue BUT if they want to go it alone, then I’m all for that as well as it will save us a bundle.

        The only country that has a lot to lose is Scotland without the financial support of the UK in a very nasty world market. That’s something that Salmond and his fellow jobsworths refuse to be honest about.

    • allymax bruce

      On the contrary Kitty; City of London send ‘envoys’ into the ‘palace’
      every morning, telling the cretins what to do. Independence for
      Scotland is always #1 on their list! Now, what does that tell us?
      It
      tells us that City of London gets what it wants; a more than healthy
      balance of payments sheets from an iScotland in a ASterling Zone!
      A sturdy & honourable neighbour in the
      EU, with a big vote. And, another way to institute comprise politics
      between Russia & America; it’s a leverage thing Westmisnter loves to
      wield. There’s absolutely no way Scotland can/will be refused the £. Stuff all your high moral ethics & Nationalistic ‘methane’, common sense in finance always rules the day.

      • asalord

        nemo me impune lacessit

        • Fergus Pickering

          I wouldn’t dream of it, my dear chap. Do you know the dictum of Theodore Roosevelt? Speak softly and carry a big stick Yours appears to be: Yell very loudly and don’t carry a stick at all.

        • allymax bruce

          I wasn’t talking to you; I was talking to Kitty. Of which, Kitty remarked to me I should accept a wee bit o’ humour in our comments. I was only trying to accommodate her sense of fun; didn’t realise you were the forum ‘wit’ moderator.

    • terregles2

      Have I understood this correctly? You and many others imply that the English taxpayer subsidises the poor basket case country of Scotland. You hate the Labour party for the poison that it is. You detest the fact that you are stuck with Scottish Labour MPs in Westminster.
      There is a chance that Scots would vote to leave the UK. We are constantly told that many English could not wait to get rid of us. The UK chancellor makes a speech promising to make things very difficult for Scotland to leave and doing all in his power to stop Scottish independence and you applaud him,?
      I would have thought you would have been furious with him.

      • Wessex Man

        My you have certainly shown your true colours, to any person looking in The Chancellor has merely stated where he, and his Shadow Chancellors, stand on the matter of letting an independent Scotland use the UK currency, They have shown that they as UK politicians will work in the interests of the UK electorate, as any sane person would expect them to!

        You would have thought that the Fat Controller would have considered what the UK reaction would be to being TOLD by a FOREIGN country that you have to share your currency with them.

        I don’t understand why he’s getting so het up after all, it was him who said that the pound was a millstone round Scotland’s neck!

      • Mike

        If you leave a club, you no longer get its perks, its nothing to do with making life difficult.

        For many decades Scotland had its pound notes tied to the English/Welsh pound note and it can continue to have a Scottish pound but it will be like the Irish pound that became the punt and wasn’t tied to the UK pound.

        Its your choice to make but don’t whine like a child if you don’t like the ramifications of independence. As I said, when you leave a club you don’t get to keep its advantages.

        • terregles2

          I never whine. I am a very upbeat person and I don’t believe in problems only solutions. With respect you have ignored the point that i made.
          I was genuinely curious about the reaction of some unionists to Osborne’s statement.
          The point I made was. So many posters on this forum say that they cannot wait to get rid of Scotland. They state that they are tired subsidising Scotland and they hate having Labour MPs in Westminster.
          Bearing this in mind I thought they would have been annoyed that Osborne’s statement might frighten some people out of a YES vote and turned them to no.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        The Chancellor of the Exchequer outlined what would be in the best interests of the UK if Scotland departed. He made no threats and bullied nobody. The wheels fell off the euro wagon which was, lest we forget, Salmond’s first choice. When the euro became a less attractive option and Scotland’s automatic membership doubtful! a Sterling zone became his next port of call. The absolute absurdity of a foreign country acting as a lender of last resort to a Scotland untrammelled by monetary, fiscal and public spending strictures had to be stamped on in the interests of the people of the UK. Today mr Salmond is looking at a range of alternatives which will lead who knows where. He, like you, has played the game and lost.

      • Kitty MLB

        I do not think of Scotland as a poor basket case country,
        I never said that.
        I have no idea of George Osborne’s motives, and I am most certainly
        not a Cameroon.
        I meant it quite simply, that independence means just that,
        Scotland can produce its own independent pound,
        she has oil and gold reserves, so most certainly not poor.
        I would also be very pleased to see the back of Labour MP’s
        as soon as possible.

        • terregles2

          Well whatever we may agree or disagree on we both agree that Labour MP’s are dreadful.
          Thank you for exchanging opinions with me without all the nastiness and personal abuse that so many display on this forum.
          I am sure that both Scotland and England will prosper after Scottish independence and hopefully both countries can enjoy more democratic government. We would always want to have good relations with our nearest neighbours and having separate governments does not affect our close family and frienship ties.

  • DougDaniel

    I think it’s a mistake to assume that the SNP haven’t war-gamed for this situation. It was always going to be the case that the unionists would say “okay, we categorically will not enter into a currency union if you vote for independence.” The only real surprise is that they’ve done it so soon – spanners are best thrown into the works at the last minute for maximum impact. This isn’t like the EU kerfuffle, which was more about language than anything – the currency union idea was clearly the culmination of some serious thought.

    So, you have to ask yourself: is it really likely that Salmond – regarded by many as this generation’s most wily political operator – wouldn’t have seen this coming? If it was truly such a blow to the Yes campaign, would the Scottish Government have even suggested the idea of a currency union?

    Put it this way – if the White Paper had simply said “we’ll use the pound the same way Panama uses the dollar and we’re not taking any of the debt”, Scotland would look like the bad guy. But by forcing the three unionist parties to gang up to deny Scotland its very reasonable proposition – “let’s share the currency and share the debt” – then Scotland now has the perfect excuse to go “oh well, looks like you’ll be paying all the debt yourself, then.”

    I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure what the strategy is from here – but I’d be very wary of thinking Osborne has managed to get the upper hand here.

    Incidentally, kudos on being the one and only journalist, commentator or so-called expert to correctly refer to the only situation under which Scotland can use the Euro – “the Montenegro gambit.” I’m getting really fucking sick of having to correct people that Scotland can’t “join the Euro” (i.e. Eurozone) without meeting the Maastricht Criteria first.

    • George Smiley

      A no-brainer, as long as England and the six Counties of Ulster remain out of the Eurozone. The fluctuations of the Euro would only unnecessarily harm Scottish importers and exporters to and from England and Ulster. It is less nonsensical for an independent Scotland to become a member of the EFTA to remain in the EEA but out of the EU (thus exempting the requirement), and to have a separate Scottish Pound pegged to the English Pound fixed at the rate of £1 GB : £1.5 SC.

      Montenegro is alas outwith the European Union, and thus her example is ultimately irrelevant. The unilateral Scottish use of the Euro, exempting herself (as well as her own new national central and reserve bank) from the jurisdiction of the ECB, would not be acceptable to either Brussels, Frankfurt, Berlin or Paris.

    • HJ777

      I think your analysis is wrong.

      You will remember that, not so long ago, Salmond slagged off the pound and said that an independent Scotland would join the Euro. And then the Euro crisis happened, so he had to come up with something else.

      His fundamental problem is that the SNP’s position is to promise something that is very clearly not in its gift – it requires the consent of what would be another party (indeed, the consent of what he wants to be a separate country). When told that that is unlikely to be an option because it would not be in the interests of the other party (in the other party’s assessment) he issues threats if it does not comply (rather forgetting that interfering in the democratically decided policy of what would be a separate country is hardly the behaviour of a democrat).

      We are entitled to ask what Salmond’s ‘Plan B’ is. It is quite clear that he doesn’t have one, and all his bluster and bravado cannot hide that from the Scottish electorate.

    • dougthedug

      In the event of a Yes vote the rUK government has also lost a negotiating lever.

      Scots will have voted Yes in the knowledge that the rUK has claimed full ownership of the pound so negotiations will come down to horse trading about Scotland’s share of the UK’s assets versus its share of the UK’s debt.

      If after stating that they’re not going to get involved in a currency union it will be egg all over the faces of whichever party is in power in 2014/15 if they have to turn around and offer a currency union for concessions on debt and the timescale for removing Trident.

    • mightymark

      You could of course argue that it is Cameron (of whom I am generally not a fan) who has played the blinder here. Everyone knows Salmond really wanted the “Devo Max” option on the ballot paper but Cameron turned that one down forcing him into what now appears an unrealistic “independence that isn’t really” position. To any argument, however reasonable, against that position, the only responses of which he seems capable are “unfair”, “scaremongering” or “bullying”. Doubtless that plays to the victim mentality he so assiduously fosters but sometime, somewhere his electorate, who are certainly not a stupid people are going to start asking awkward questions.

      • George Smiley

        No sensible British Government in Westminster would allow an Aruban, Dutch Caribbean, Hongkong Chinese, Macau, Gibraltar or Bermuda-style “Devo Max” for Scotland without a separate Scottish currency complete with its own international three-letter symbol and as a legal tender only in Scotland.

      • dougthedug

        “Everyone knows Salmond really wanted the “Devo Max” option on the ballot paper”

        Did he? That’s news to us in Scotland. Have you got a link/reference/quote to back that up that isn’t pure speculation from the press?

      • DougDaniel

        “Everyone knows Salmond really wanted the “Devo Max” option on the ballot paper”

        Anyone who says this can instantly be dismissed as a moron. Congratulations.

        • HJ777
          • DougDaniel

            Actually, from that article it would appear I’m dismissing Simon Johnson as a moron.

            That happens on a regular basis, however.

        • Pootles

          The article that HJ777 linked to carries direct quotations from Wee Eck on Devo Max – do you think they were untrue?

          • DougDaniel

            Maybe try actually reading the quote, rather than Simon Johnson’s interpretation of it.

            • Pootles

              Yes, I got that. But it does bear a different interpretation from the out and out dismissal that you gave to the idea that Devo Max had been on Wee Eck’s ‘wants’ list.

              • DougDaniel

                No it doesn’t. He says he can see why it would be an attractive option to people. I can see that too (people like middle options because then they don’t have to make a choice between two extremes), but Devo Max being on the ballot was the last thing I wanted.

                • Pootles

                  That’s fine, and I don’t think anyone in the rUK wanted it either – we wanted Scotland to choose in or out. And that’s my point, Wee Eck doesn’t seem to want independence, he wants to keep a mass of UK and EU elements that Scotland already has.

                • DougDaniel

                  Belgium had a currency union with Luxembourg from 1944 to 2002. Both have been in the EU/EEC since 1957. By your definitions, neither have been independent since 1944, even though the rest of the world (including citizens of both countries) would completely disagree.

                  If you can’t accept that voluntary membership of international organisations is completely compatible with the concept of national sovereignty, then that’s your problem, not mine.

                • Pootles

                  Do you know, you’d get a lot further if you just improved the tone of your posts. My question involves a whole range of issues, but, in reply to this question, I would say that the European institutions have changed drastically since the initial 1957 stage (although the functionalists’ aims were long-term union), and that the ‘common market’ was not only sold as a different entity, but, to a large degree was. The changes that came about in the 1980s, particularly the SEA (which Mrs T was instrumental in bringing about), meant that countries in the EC, as it was, had been drawn into a new stage, whereby, in my opinion (not ‘my problem’, just my opinion), they began to see a serious erosion of national sovereignty. As things stand now, any country – be it the UK, rUK, or Scotland cannot claim to be sovereign. The agreement that the UK signed up to, then, under Wilson, voted on, is not the process that is now underway. The voluntary membership of the EEC of the early 1970s, ratified in a popular vote, has not been retested since, and what was the EEC is now a state in being, a state that pays little regard to democratic norms.

                • DougDaniel

                  You seem to be confusing me with someone who’s interested in hearing about how nobody in the EU is independent, everyone’s run from Brussels, European superstate, blah blah blah.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Yes old boy but you are not going to get one with the UK. Now run along to tedious little idiot.

                • Wessex Man

                  well good for you, you really should have written the Yes Campaign’s strategy and bored the Better together Campaign into submission!

        • Pootles

          Do you think that the Daily Telegraph was lying in its report on Alex’s interest in the Devo Max option?

    • CraigStrachan

      If they have war-gamed it, how come Nicola Sturgeon was so woefully unprepared for the obvious questions on the Daily Politics?

    • ButcombeMan

      “I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure what the strategy is from here –
      but I’d be very wary of thinking Osborne has managed to get the upper
      hand here”
      *****************************

      You do not understand Salmond’s strategy, What you have not spotted is that Sturgeon does not either, as evidenced by her woeful performance yesterday on Daily Politics. She was excruciatingly bad.

      There IS no strategy, THAT is why you do not understand it. That is why she does not understand it.

      Wee Eck makes it up on the hoof, he is a slick talker and thinks he can carry on doing that. He is a double glazing salesman who offers you a price, gets rebuffed and offers you another.

      First the Euro, then the pound. What next?

      Even using the pound without a formal agreement, (which Scotland is free to do) will not meet Salmond’s European ambitions.

      He has to have a Central Bank so why not go the whole hog, do the right thing and advocate a Scottish currency. Why is he frightened of that? What is he not telling you?

      And

      What Osborne and the other two had to say yesterday was not about winning or losing, only chippy Scots think that.

      It was about spelling out why the UK is not going to underwrite a seceded Scotland’s debts or be any sort of lender of last resort to an independent Scotland.

      The UK taxpayer will not support it .

      UK politicians will act, will be bound to act, in the interests of the UK, not of Scotland.

  • Pootles

    As a very pro-Scotland Englishman, I do wonder just what kind of independence Wee Eck is promising. At the moment it looks like this : Scotland will stay in the EU, but not in the Euro; the Queen will still be head of state; Scotland will stay in NATO; Scotland will no longer have British nukes on British subs at Faslane, but it will have US nukes on visiting US ships (only the Scottish government won’t ask); Scotland will keep the pound; Scotland’s monetary policy will be decided in London; there will be no policed border between Scotland and England; mass immigraton from outside the UK and EU will continue. What’s the bloody point?

    • DougDaniel

      So none of the Eurozone countries are sovereign, then?

    • DougDaniel

      So none of the Eurozone countries are sovereign, then?

      • Pootles

        That wasn’t my point, but, no, I don’t think they are, any more than I think that the UK is sovereign while so many of its laws are made by EU Commissioners.

      • Pootles

        I’ve answered your question re sovereignty, now you answer mine – if an ‘independent’ Scotland is going to continue to have its monetary policy made in London, continue to use the £, continue to be part of the EU (but not the Euro), continue to allow nuclear weapons on its territory, continue to be in NATO, continue to have the Queen as head of state, continue to encouage greater mass immigration from outside the UK and EU into Scotland, what’s the bloody point?? Because if there isn’t a good point to it all, apart from flying the Saltire over Edinburgh Castle, then the whole business is doing a lot of damage. It is polarising people within the UK, it will polarise Scots in Scotland, and it has polarised Scots outside Scotland (who have not emigrated but are still in the country whose passports they have). What’s the point if very little will change?

        • DougDaniel

          What’s the point? Because we’d get governments WE elect, not governments another country elects.

          But as you’re the type of wingnut that thinks Eurozone countries aren’t sovereign nations, I’m not going to waste any more time on you.

          • Pootles

            Don’t be rude. For example, in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 general elections, the Scottish electorate voted for the party that formed the UK government at Westminster, and Scotland enjoyed 13 years of Labour government along with the rest of us. In other words, like the rest of the UK, the larger part of the Scottish electorate voted for the continuation of the nuclear deterrent, war, higher house prices, mass unemployment and mass immigration. It was Scotland’s government just as much as anyone else’s.

            And you still haven’t engaged with my question, but you have shown that the whole business is generating unpleasantness.

            • DougDaniel

              Ooooh yippee, we get the government we wanted when that happens to coincide with what the rest of the UK wants. How lucky! That’s almost democratic.

              • Pootles

                Nine times out of 18 since 1945 isn’t bad – especially as during that whole time we were all in it together in Britain. One might as well say that Bootle, for example, only got the government it wanted when the rest of the Britain wanted the same thing.

                • DougDaniel

                  Bootle isn’t a country, and a country getting the government it voted for anything less than 100% of the time is undemocratic. Pretty straightforward.

                • Pootles

                  Indeed, but from the 1945 general election to the 2010 general election we all voted as part of one country – the UK – and all our MPs went to the same Parliament. That will be different if Scotland votes ‘yes’, but not until then.

                • DougDaniel

                  Scotland had separate elections before 1945? Wow, never knew that!

                • Pootles

                  Oh, don’t be infantile. But, of course, Scotland also voted for the UK governments of 1935, 1932, 1929, 1923, and 1918 – I won’t go earlier as women (and a big chunk of the male population) didn’t have the vote. So, that gives a match between Scotland’s vote and that of the rest of the same country in 1923 (I’m leaving 1918 out for obvious reasons), 1929, 1932, 1935, 1945, 1950, 1964, 1966, 1970, F1974, O1974, 1997, 2001, 2005. And, during the whole period we voted as one country.

              • Count Boso

                “Ooooh yippee, we get the government we wanted when that happens to coincide with what the rest of the UK wants.”
                That’s almost a definition of democracy

          • Mike

            You already vote the government you get and make your own laws and social provisions so what more will you get from a yes vote !

            • DougDaniel

              How about powers over defence, foreign affairs, immigration, income tax, corporation tax, VAT, welfare, pensions, energy policy, broadcasting, telecommunications, various reserved transport matters, postal services… Just for starters, like.

              • Mike

                You get total fiscal powers when Scotland is independent if thats what you want but whilst it affects England & Wales, we’re all in the same boat.

      • CraigStrachan

        Is it SNP policy to join the Euro now that keeping sterling is off the table? And wasn’t that their last policy but one, give or take?

        • DougDaniel

          Two things:

          1. Nobody can just “join the Euro”. There’s a strict process in place (Maastricht Criteria) which prevents even countries who want to join the Eurozone from getting in – I was just making the (correct) assumption that Pootles would be a UKIP/Tory loon.

          2. If you think Sterling has been kept off the table, you’ve clearly never heard of a “fully convertible currency”. Anybody can use Sterling, no permission needed.

          (Same with the Euro actually, as Alex’s Montenegro example highlights, but that would be “using the Euro” rather than “join the Euro”.)

          • CraigStrachan

            If an independent Scotland just decided to use sterling, informally, Panama or Montenegro-style, who would be Scotland’s lender of last resort?

            • George Smiley

              The average Scot obviously has a lower intelligence than the average Englishman. Thick as thieves, the lot of them! I blame them yellow drink!

              • CraigStrachan

                You’re using “thick as thieves” in the wrong sense.

                • George Smiley

                  Subsidised Buckie courtesy of the Barnett Formula?

                • CraigStrachan

                  And by Buckie I somehow doubt you mean the town in Banffshire?

              • allymax bruce

                I know you will be surprised.
                Like the Columbia Inteligencia, never look a gift horse in the mouth.

              • DougDaniel

                If you’re going to claim an entire nation is thick, you should probably avoid highlighting your own lack of intelligence in the same comment.

              • allymax bruce

                And exactly what has any Englishman invented?
                Apart from ignorant sneer?

                • George Smiley

                  The Class System.

                • Wessex Man

                  The only problem with England is having to share it with D******** like you, grow up.

                • allymax bruce

                  Ha!
                  That’s funny, George.
                  Thanks for that.

            • DougDaniel

              Erm, you realise Montenegro has a central bank that acts as lender of last resort, aye? “Dollarisation” doesn’t stop a country from having a central bank.

              (Which could be set up with monies saved from not having to take on a share of the UK’s debt, since they’re not interested in playing nicely.)

              • CraigStrachan

                Which begs the question – why, if even poor wee Montenegro can have one, is the SNP not proposing that an independent Scotland should have its own central bank? And doing so consistently and proactively, not as a scrambling response to today’s rebuff from Osborne?

                • allymax bruce

                  If Scotland is pushed to have its own currency, then so it shall be. What’s the problem?
                  The fact Westminster is raising Cain over a purely acceptable ASterling Zone, while also knowing it’s what they really want, means only one thing; goading the Scots, while riling them to vote Yes; knowing full well iScotland is well able to institute its own currency.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Why should Scotland need to be pushed to have its own currency? Seems to me it’s something the SNP should be actively proposing, and campaigning on in the referendum. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they haven’t done that from the outset.

                • allymax bruce

                  It’s all a charade; Westmisnter want iScotland to be in a ASterling Zone. And, it will happen. The Scots are being ‘tested’, to see if they have the Hutzpah to carry it through.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Well, I’m here go tell you that the Scots definitely don’t have the chutzpah to carry it through.

                  They may, however, be just gallus enough.

                • Wessex Man

                  Congradulations CraigStrachan, you bambozzled them with common sense!

                • Mike

                  Because Salmond is a lily livered coward unprepared to put his Scottish Pounds where his mouth is !

                • Derick Tulloch

                  Better to let the Unionist intellects of a shining nature twist in the wind a little longer, don’t you think?

                  Us Gnats have to have some fun!

                • Mike

                  Osborne is not raising cain, he unlike Salmond has clearly spelled out that the UK wont underwrite a Scottish pound whilst having no fiscal control as that would be unfair to the UK electorate.

                  Its a pity Salmond and his motley crew of chancers can’t be as honest rather than spouting BS all the time. Not once has an SNP politico given a straight answer to a straight question but when Osborne does, they call it bullying. I’d have some grudging respect for Salmond if he was honest and answered straight questions but that will never happen based on past form.

                • allymax bruce

                  You’re getting all this out of proportion; it’s not up to Osborne to decide if Scotland & rUK enter into a ASterling Zone; The Chance’r is only telling us his opinion.

                • DougDaniel

                  Because they believe (rightly in my opinion) that businesses in England will not take kindly to any rUK chancellor who says “sorry guys, but you’re going to have to put up with huge transaction costs, purely because we feel like smiting those pesky Scots”.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Shouldn’t the SNP be more concerned with businesses in Scotland?

                • DougDaniel

                  Well, that’s kind of the point of sticking with Sterling…

                • CraigStrachan

                  So, the UK currency, backed by the Bank of England, is what’s best for Scottish business? Where does the independence bit come in, again?

                • DougDaniel

                  Ahhh, so it’s not enough independence? There was me thinking you were in favour of the union! My apologies!

                  Don’t worry though mate, the independence comes from the Scottish Parliament being able to decide how long we continue with whatever currency arrangement we have on Day One. Cos, you know, we can’t do that just now. Only Westminster can.

                • CraigStrachan

                  I’m in favour of a clear, honest choice between the union and independence. The SNP have hitherto been reluctant to frame such a choice, although that will probably have to change after Nicola Sturgeon’s woeful performance in the interview with real-Scot-frae Paisley Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics today. Nicola’s never looked more like wee Jimmy Krankie, caught with his hand in the shortbread tin.

                  Wouldn’t have been like this in Bill Wolfe’s day. Or Gordon Wilson’s for that matter.

                • DougDaniel

                  Considering most of his contributions to the debate to date, I can hardly think of a better endorsement for a politician than “you’re no Gordon Wilson, are you?”

                  And the SNP have been completely clear. They’ve even published a 650 page white paper to detail their proposition. You want more clarity? Tell Westminster to stop playing political games and act in accordance with the Edinburgh Agreement they signed.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Where in the Edinburgh Agreement does it say they have to agree to a currency union with Scotland, post-independence?

                • DougDaniel

                  It doesn’t say that of course – that would be silly – but you may want to have a look at page 8, section 30.

                • CraigStrachan

                  You mean this bit?

                  “30. The United Kingdom and Scottish Governments are committed, through the Memorandum of Understanding between them and others, to working together on matters of mutual interest and to the principles of good communication and mutual respect. The two
                  governments have reached this agreement in that spirit. They look forward to a referendum
                  that is legal and fair producing a decisive and respected outcome. The two governments are
                  committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it
                  is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom.”

                  Seems to me to be mostly about the process of the referendum, and about how it’s outcome will be fair and decisive, and definitely not about whether the rUK has to agree to enter into a currency union with Scotland on terms stipulated by the SNP, or at all.

                • DougDaniel

                  “The United Kingdom and Scottish Governments are committed, through the Memorandum of Understanding between them and others, to working together on matters of mutual interest and to the principles of good communication and mutual respect.”

                  Hardly consistent with “nyer nyer, you’re not getting to use the pound, just because.”

                  But whatever. I’m bored of this now. There are more interesting people to prod.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Except the Memorandum of Understanding deals with inter-government relations in the context of devolution, and sets out the process for the referendum. It does not commit either government to any stance, post-referendum, other than full acceptance of the result as decisive on the question.

                  But I’m sorry you’re bored, and I hope you enjoy prodding those more interesting people. Personally, I experience you more as a tickler than a prodder.

                • HJ777

                  It’s not “just because” though is it?

                  Osborne and others have laid out very clearly why a currency union would not be in the interests of the rest of the UK, so it would not be a matter of mutual interest, it would be a matter of differing interests.

                • Mike

                  The key words are ‘mutual interest’ and its pretty clear that England & Wales underwriting a Scottish pound is not in our interests when we have no control over their fiscal policies.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Has anybody read these 650 pages? Except Nationalists. I mean.I know Scots can be boring, but 650 pages. It’s longer then the Da Vinci code.

                • CraigStrachan

                  “It’s longer than the Da Vinci code.”

                  And only slightly better written.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  But nothing like as sensible or realistic.

                • Derick Tulloch

                  Smiling!

                • Ronnie Strachan

                  the SNP and the mighty Doug Daniel assume they can dust off the massive chip on their shoulders long enough to dictate terms to the rest of the UK in the event of a yes vote. This at the same time as charging English students to study in Scotland in direct contravention of EU law. The SNP blinded by their hatred of England actually do believe the sh*te they spout – they have repeated it like a mantra for years now and think the rest of the UK is going to bow down before them and accede to their Scottish interests. Even now, after agitating for this day for years, they are getting all precious today accusing the Union of bullying and scaremongering when all that has happened is the clarification on the £ that the public have been asking for. However dont be misled – Salmonds game all along is to join the Euro but he knows if this becomes knowledge before the vote he is lost and so is the vote. If a yes vote happens – I fully expect to see him on the steps of Bute House crowing that the treasury advice is correct all along and that a currency union is unworkable – and then we will be tied into the Euro – trust him not – he is morally like a rattlesnake but less principled

                • DougDaniel

                  Mate, go and google “Euro convergence criteria” and then you’ll hopefully realise why you’re speaking absolute nonsense.

                  And the “SNP hate England” stuff is really pathetic and extremely self-obsessed. We want independence so Scotland can make its own decisions, not because we want to smite the English for some reason. Which explains why there’s actually quite a large number of English people in the SNP (including several MSPs…)

                • Derick Tulloch

                  Paragraphs!
                  Honestly, some people.
                  Did you not go to school?

            • Derick Tulloch

              Can I respectfully suggest you look up Hong Kong (yes, yes I ken, basket case economy)’s lender of last resort.
              Clue: rather like the Positive Case for the Union. A rare beastie

          • Pootles

            Last thing from me before I go to bed (after having a few pints of Deuchers IPA at my local). You say: ‘I was just making the (correct) assumption that Pootles would be a UKIP/Tory loon.’ For the record, I am not. In 1992 I was the first demonstrator in Glasgow’s

          • Pootles

            Last thing from me before I go to bed (after having had a few pints of Deuchars IPA at my local). You say: ‘I was just making the (correct) assumption that Pootles would be a UKIP/Tory loon.’ For the record, I am not. In 1992, I was the first demonstrator in Glasgow’s George Square for the first ‘Scotland United’ demonstration (along with my 6 year old son – whose mother is from Lewis), I was then an active Scotland United campaigner, and I had been a Green Party activist at the time it became the Scottish Green Party. I have never been a member of the Tory Party or UKIP. Really, Dooogie, you’ll get much further if you stop trying to be offensive all the time.

        • Mike

          Salmond changes his policies quicker than a hooker drops her draws but at least with a hooker, you can see whats really on offer !

    • allymax bruce

      And, you were doing so well; you lost it at the last four points.

      • Pootles

        ‘last four points’ ?

        • allymax bruce

          “Scotland’s monetary policy will be decided in London; there will be no policed border between Scotland and England; mass immigraton from outside the UK and EU will continue. What’s the bloody point?”
          Ok, so I’m not really counting your rhetoric last point.
          (1) In our iScotland, Scotland’s monetary policy will NOT be decided in England. (2) Borders will be policed … (3) mass immigration will not be accepted in iScotland. (4) EU will continue, but not in its original form; we are looking at the abroggation of the EU from its original ‘usury’ owners, to a 21st century federation of Nation-States. That’s the bloody point. Sincerely, Ally.

          • Pootles

            Ally, if all that were true, it would be great, a fine thing. For a long time now (and particularly since the ‘Big Bang’ in the City), monetary policy has been essentially the control of interest rates. As you know, Gordon Brown, in 1997, made the Bank of England the vehicle by which that policy was conducted. The inflation target was to be set by the UK chancellor, but hitting that target was in the hands of the MPC of the Bank of England. There is no sign at all that that will change, so, if Wee Eck has the £, then he gets the BofE too. Will the border be policed? When was that announced? What border agency will do that? Where will the crossing points be into and out of England? As for mass immigration, you need to look at what the SNP are saying and have said – i.e., ‘England’s’ xenophobia is preventing Scotland from bringing in immigrants – the latest on that was re foreign students to Scottish universities. There is every sign that the SNP want mass immigration, and, frankly, that would be absolutely fatal for a small country like Scotland; it’s f***ed us here in England, but how long would it take before Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow, and Aberdeen became like London, Birmingham, Leicester and Luton??? I hope that never happens, but I’m damned if ‘d trust Wee Eck on it. And the same goes for your view of the EU – de Gaulle’s ‘l’Europe des patries’ lasted only as long as he was alive. Not a hope, and you know it. I’m extremely pro-Scottish, Ally, but I can’t see that the SNP have the guts to really choose independence.

            • allymax bruce

              It is written; trust the Lord.

          • monty61

            Hilarious. Clearly hit the good stuff early tonight.

            • Wessex Man

              and the best bit is he doesn’t even know he’s being funny!

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            That is world class gibberish. Bravo!

    • terregles2

      You are so very pro Scottish you sneer at the democratic choice of the Scottish people by referring to wee Eck.

      • Pootles

        Don’t be daft. He’s a politician – I don’t think much of ‘Call me Dave’ either. And since when did Scotland=Salmond?

    • Mike

      A very strange type of independence indeed !

  • Colin

    Scotland could create its own currency, called the Bawbag. One hundred pubes to the Bawbag. The upside is that Scotland already has a Chief Bawbag,in Eck (Noriega) Salmond – Perfect for the portrait on the reverse side of the Nine Bawbag note…

    • Wessex Man

      please don’t sink to the level of the Cybernat nutjobs on these pages.

      • Colin

        I know, I know. But, I couldn’t resist. I might start a petition, to name the new scottish currency the Bawbag.

        But, in reality, the result will be a substantial NO. That’s when the fun will start.

    • DougDaniel

      Aww, what a pleasant chap you are.

      • Colin

        That’s what they tell me. The Bawbag is the perfect name, though.

  • M2

    A far bigger issue is that both van Rompuy and Barroso stated that an independent Scotland will need to apply as a new member of the EU, and the EU rules state that all members (except UK and Denmark which have the opt-out) must adopt the euro. So an independent Scotland will have to choose between the Pound (even if they use it informally) or EU membership

    • DougDaniel

      Look up the following terms on Google: “Sweden”, “ERM II”, “de facto opt-out”, “Maastricht Criteria”.

      • M2

        You must know that while Sweden has no official target date to adopt the euro, it is obliged to do so under its treaty of accession?

        For the rest of the UK, why would we waste the effort to set up the legal framework to share the currency with Scotland if it is legally obliged to adopt a different currency?

        • DougDaniel

          Oh my god, this is so simple.

          Sweden is “obliged” to adopt the Euro at some point between now and the end of the universe. However, unless and until it enters the Kroner into ERM II, that’s not happening – and entering ERM II is optional. Ergo, de facto opt-out. Any EU member can do the same. Indeed, the Czechs have adopted the same stance at times and their current president has said that although he personally favours early adoption of the Euro, he would want the Czech voters to have a referendum on it first. Van Rompuy even backed this position.

          Why would the UK waste that effort? Because otherwise, you’re forcing your own businesses to pay extra transaction costs for trading with Scotland. That’s why the currency union will end up happening, despite what is said just now.

          • HJ777

            Clearly you did not hear Osborne’s comprehensive and convincing refutation of your blithe assertion.

            • DougDaniel

              Clearly you don’t understand the concept of politicians saying whatever suits their needs at any particular time.

              • Juggzy Malone

                Salmond is a politician.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                You’ve lost lad. Time to go home.

    • DougDaniel

      Look up the following terms on Google: “Sweden”, “ERM II”, “de facto opt-out”, “Maastricht Criteria”.

    • MichtyMe

      The EU has said that it will give no opinion unless asked by the member state and the UK will not ask, probably because it fears the answer.The European and External Affairs committee of Parliament has been taking evidence from experts in recent weeks on this. One was Graham Avery, European Commission Hon Director General, who stated that the suggestion that Scotland would have to apply as a new member as perplexing and absurd, as was Scotland being required to join the Euro or Schengen. Other witnesses agreed with this opinion.

      • M2

        The European and External Affairs committee has indeed been taking evidence from experts on EU membership after independence. Graham Avery was in the minority in suggesting that the accession process would “seamless”. Even under his optimistic scenario (i.e. the use of Article 48 to “accelerate” the negotiation), the continuing member state (i.e. the rest of the UK) will need to sponsor the new separatist state. So it’s not really in Scotland’s interest to impose their idea of a currency union on the remaining UK

        • MichtyMe

          Professor Sir David Edward former Judge of the European Court of Justice concurred that use of Article 48 was appropriate.

  • dougthedug

    George Osborne, “I could not as Chancellor recommend that we could share the pound with an independent Scotland.”

    Ed Balls, “Labour will not negotiate a continued sharing of the pound and the Bank of England with an independent Scotland in the future.

    Danny Alexander, a currency union “simply isn’t going to happen”.

    The unionist alliance, Tory, Lib-Dem and Labour arm in arm. Better Together singing from the same hymn sheet.

    Why is it a surprise? It was always coming but they’ve gone too soon, seven months out not a month out from the vote. Plenty of time for Scots to get angry.

    • mightymark

      Why should they get angry at the truth?

      • Angus McLellan

        What is truth? Don’t they say “count nothing true before it has been denied officially”? That aside, it’ll be the ambiance of the thing which grates with many. Tim Nasty-but-Dim’s jaunt, up to deliver the Sermon at the West Port. Haste ye back,

        • Pootles

          Angus, old fruit. Could you give us your response to my question further up this line of posts?

          • mightymark

            I think Angus’s seems to be the “line to take” today for the SNP’s keyboard warriors – having been caught out by facts, waffle on about the “nature of truth” and hope no one will notice they have got no response to what has happened today – beyond the usual childish “unfair” and “scare” to which we can now add “bullying”, Which, of course, they haven’t.

            • Angus McLellan

              I reread my comment and I still don’t see the words “scare”, “unfair” or “bullying” anywhere in there. Osborne is perfectly entitled to come up and tell us what his view is on a currency union. I happen to agree with it, although I think the risk runs in the other direction. But that doesn’t mean I have to think he’s doing a good job in any respect. He’s not. He’s a crap chancellor and he’s the wrong man to deliver this message. And before you ask, no, Balls wouldn’t be any better.

              • mightymark

                Thumbs up on the move away from the philospohical musings – thumbs down on the ad hominems. We were not so far as I recall discussing Mr Osborne’s or Mr Balls’ “day jobs”. We were however discussing what appears to be their agreed position that the a “rUK” would not enter a currency union with an independent Scotland. If you don’t think that is true it must either be because one of the three options you dismiss (or some other kind of as yet unspecified underhandedness). If you do think it is true it demands a response in the form of a “plan B” from the SNP and/or supporters such as yourself – which has not yet been forthcoming.

          • Angus McLellan

            I’m an “a process, not an event” guy, so an argument based on what things might, perhaps look like on day zero isn’t on my wavelength. All that’s certain is that things will be different, and they will get more different as time passes. It would be nice if better came into the picture too – although my better might not be yours, or Doug Daniel’s – but in the short term just different will do me.

            • Pootles

              Well it’s difficult to argue against that, as in the future anything might happen. My own take is that given the strength of the EU ‘project’, given that the political elites of the UK, including Scotland, are committed to that project to one degree or another, then questions of national sovereignty will have less and less traction. Also, from my standpoint, there is a fundamental change that is well ‘in process’ and that is a demographic one that, so far, is having the greatest impact on England.

        • monty61

          Clearly, the Gnats can’t handle the truth.

    • M2

      Just as Merkel flies around the EU firing heads of states in Greece and Italy, an independent Scotland that uses the Pound will be more, not less, politically reliant on England than it is now. If you really want independence, do it for real

      • DougDaniel

        It is entirely within the powers of Westminster to simply close down the Scottish Parliament tomorrow. How on earth is that MORE politically reliant than being a sovereign nation state that just happens to cede some sovereignty willingly?

        • Pootles

          ‘some sovereignty willingly’ – only that ‘pooling’ of sovereignty is not fixed nor finite, rather by joining the EU a nation gives away its sovereignty, and gives it away within a framework that is constructed to bring about ever increasing union. If you don’t like that sort of thing in relation to the UK and the UK parliament (where Scots have a strong say), why would you wish to enter into the EU where Scots will be a tiny minority and law-making is in the hands of totaly unelected civil servants?

        • M2

          As least if Westminster decides to close down the Scottish Parliament, it would be subjected to the democratic process. When Merkel fired the head of the Italian and Greek governments and replaced them with “technocrats” there was no democratic scrutiny

          • DougDaniel

            Westminster has no need to ask Scotland if it wants to get rid of the Scottish Parliament. It could simply abolish it without our permission. Just like most decisions made by the current Westminster government, who are there against the will of Scottish voters.

      • orkers

        How is it possible to be more politically reliant on a former country you’ve gained Independence from than when you were almost 100% powerless under their rule?

        • M2

          Scotland has 59 MPs in the Parliament. Any dissolution will have to be passed by the Parliament. However, after independence there will be no Scottish representation So which one gives you more say?

          • orkers

            From my point of view that’s precisely why I will vote for Scottish Independence. ‘Yes’ supporters want Holyrood to have all the the fiscal powers that are currently barred to it. Westminster holds no interest for us as far as Scottish representation is concerned. Why should it? I presume you are aware of self determination as a concept?
            Sorry, but I can’t fathom the point you are trying to make.

            • M2

              That is the whole point – With a currency union you would not have fiscal independence from Westminster, and worst of all you won’t even have any representative in Westminster to fight your corner!

            • M2

              That is the whole point – A currency union will deprive an Scotland of fiscal independence. Your budget will have to be scrutinised by Westminster, and you will have no one there to fight your corner. You end up in the worst of all possibilities!

              • orkers

                “fis·cal

                adjective ˈfis-kəl

                : of or relating to money and especially to the money a government, business, or organization earns, spends, and owes”

                In what way will a currency union deprive us of fiscal independence? If you mean it will be somewhat constrained then you may have a point, but that constraint works both ways.We’ll be fighting our own corner thanks very much.

                • M2

                  If you want to see how a currency union deprives the smaller partner of its fiscal independence, have a look at Greece, or Ireland, or Portugal, or even Italy.

                • M2

                  Unfortunately for you the constraint will _not_ work both ways. What can Scotland do if rUK breaks any fiscal agreement? Will Scotland walk away and establish its own currency? You see, by forcing yourself on the rUK you have lost already all the chips on the table

                  You will end up like Greece, which needs Berlin’s approval to build a road or a hospital. So much for independence.

                  Of course Scottish nationalists will say – “But we are different, it will not happen to us” – just as the Irish once did.

                • orkers

                  For there to be an agreement and a currency union it MUST work both ways. If one side of the agreement is a profligate spendthrift (money no object Cameron) then there will be no currency union. I agree in that respect, but it will be the rump UK that will be the agreement breaker, not Scotland. To compare a rich country like Scotland to the economies you name is just laughable. Keep up with your logic and eventually England will be on it’s own within twenty years.
                  You wont be able to say you haven’t been asking for it.

                • orkers

                  Yes it will and if the rump UK doesn’t act responsibly that’s what Scotland will do.

                  Comparing our economy to Greece is just incredibly dim of you and Ireland is doing OK as is for instance Iceland.

                  Get it into your head Scotland doesn’t need England, but we prefer to share the pound until it becomes overly difficult to peg ourselves or have a currency union with you.

                  I’ll say it again ‘we don’t need you’.

                  Sorry, but I wont be posting on this subject again.

    • allymax bruce

      It’s not up to them, Danny Alexander (Sanctimony?), George Osborne (Sanctimonious git?) etc, City of London tells them what their agenda is, and it’s an iScotland!

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