Blogs Coffee House

Alex Salmond remains trapped in a currency quagmire with no way out in sight

11 August 2014

4:45 PM

11 August 2014

4:45 PM

It has not been a happy few days for supporters of Scottish independence. It remains too soon to say whether – unusually – last week’s debate between Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond has had any long-term impact on the race but the short-term impact has certainly been bad for the nationalists.

Not just because the tone – and detail! – of the press coverage has reinforced the idea that Darling won the debate (an idea bolstered by the fact it’s true) but because every day that passes in this fashion is another day in which the Yes campaign is not getting its message across.  Every day that’s spent talking about the things your opponents want to talk is another day not spent talking about the things you want to talk about. It’s like bogeying a hole in golf at the same time as your opponent makes a birdie.

Campaigns rely on oxygen and, right now, the Yes campaign is being suffocated.

Even if you allow that YouGov’s polling has generally frowned on the nationalists there’s no way you can put a smiley face on a poll that puts the No campaign 20 points ahead. Perhaps YouGov have somehow got it all horribly wrong but it’s not in their interests to do so.

The problem for the SNP is that there’s no good way out of their currency dilemma. A sterling zone makes some sense – a lot of sense, politically speaking – but it’s not something that Alex Salmond can guarantee. Because it is something that would need to be agreed by Westminster.

Yes, that Westminster. The place that Alex Salmond and his fellow-travellers tells us is unavoidably hostile to Scottish interests. The place that threatens Scottish prosperity now. The place that frequently acts in ways both short-termist and stupid.

After independence, however, that place, populated by the same people, will miraculously see the light and realise that its own interests are best served by, well, by agreeing with Alex Salmond. Which is why they will agree a currency union. Because they are not stupid. Even though they are stupid at the moment.

Now it might happen. It might be that Labour and the Tories (and even the Liberal Democrats!) are bluffing. Perhaps they will concede that, yes, a currency union is the sort of thing with which they can live. That concession, mind you, must come with a price tag attached during any post-independence negotiations. So a formal currency union could happen even though manifesto commitments to the contrary plainly make it less probable than would otherwise be the case.

But, again, you see there is a problem: the Scottish government assures us that Scottish interests are not uniformly the same as UK interests. Indeed, the independence campaign has in large part been predicated upon the fact that our political interests and cultures are diverging.

Westminster might agree. It might say that if you want independence then you should have it. It might take the nationalists at their word. If our interests diverge does a full monetary and banking union remain the most efficient, appropriate way of organising our affairs? Maybe. But maybe not.

[Alt-Text]


Which is why the Yes campaign are keen to maintain the fiction that sterlingisation – clearly Salmond’s “quite attractive” Plan B – is effectively just the same as a formal currency union anyway. The pound in your pocket will remain the pound in your pocket. You won’t notice any difference. Not really. We’ll use the pound “come what may”. You see it’s our pound and we’re keeping it. 

Aye, laddie, but on what terms? It is unfortunate, though, that sterlingisation – the not-so-secret Plan B Salmond will not admit to having in his pocket – is the one currency option pretty much ruled out by the First Minister’s own much-ballyhooed Fiscal Commission. You know, the one with the two Nobel Laureates?

And there are good reasons for that. Financial services account for 15% of Scottish exports and 9% or so of GDP. It doesn’t take a polymath to appreciate that a Flight of the Bankers is going to have an impact on Scottish prosperity.

But, look, nationalists say, RBS and Bank of Scotland have already pretty much gone. There’s some truth to that. But almost no-one thinks sterlingisation would have anything other than a terrible impact on a financial services industry that, whatever you think of it, is the most significant single part of Scotland’s onshore economy.

But we could renege on our share of the UK’s national debt and begin life blissfully debt-free! True, we could. But this too must surely come at a price during the independence negotiations. And after them. It is not the sort of thing liable to impress lenders.

Moreover, sterlingisation would still leave policy being set in London. Interest rates will be set with no regard to the Scottish economy and they will be set in the context of a rUK economy in which London and the south-east of England are even more dominant than they are at present. In other words, a situation the SNP deem unsatisfactory now will be even less satisfactory if their apparent Plan B goes ahead.

There are other puzzling things to consider. It is an article of faith in nationalist circles – or at least in those circles in which you find Journalists for Yes – that the UK will agree a currency union for its own interests. The theory goes, in as much as it makes any sense, that Scotland will be fine come what may but the rump United Kingdom desperately needs Scottish contributions to the UK’s balance of payments account and so on and so on. I don’t know. I suspect the UK will be able to muddle on through without us.

And Denmark! And Hong Kong! What about them, eh? Well, Hong Kong has run a surplus most years for most of the last half century. It has foreign reserves of more than $130bn. Scotland, starting out on independent life, is unlikely to have reserves of more than £6bn. Hong Kong is not very much like Scotland.

As for Denmark: true, its currency is pegged to the euro and, yes, this places a brake on Denmark’s independence and Denmark still does fine. But Denmark still has its own currency and its own central bank – which, in other words, puts it in a rather different position to anything the SNP is proposing for Scotland.

Ah yes, a central bank. This is one reason why the SNP are coy about coming out and admitting that sterlingisation is their Plan B. Because EU rules say that you need a central bank to be a member of the European Union. No central bank (or comparable monetary facility), no membership of the club.

Now you may object that Scotland might be treated as a special case and that these unfortunate difficulties can be negotiated away. And you know what, perhaps they can! But not in the 18 month timescale the SNP envisages for the pathway to independence. Again, even granting this, what will Scotland have to sacrifice to persuade the rest of the EU to turn a blind eye to these other difficulties?

More significant than these technical matters, however, is the political difficulty. There are reasons the nationalists chose a Plan A in the first place. Admit that Plan A might not work and you’re self-evidently left with a Plan B you previously rejected – and rejected for good reasons.

Which is perhaps why some nationalists suggest that a formal currency union or sterlingisation would only be for the short-term anyway. Grand. But that means there’s a Plan C lurking somewhere in the background and it’s not altogether unreasonable for Unionists to ask what it is. Awkward. Especially five weeks from polling day.

So it’s a mess and the SNP are in a rare old fankle. One largely of their own making though, admittedly, none of the options available to them were wholly attractive. A separate currency, as favoured by Salmond’s critics within the nationalist movement, would have been a tough sell too, not least on account of the ease with which Unionists could point to the problems caused by increasing costs on Scottish business.

As it is, however, the SNP’s preferred policy is for Scottish borrowing levels and Scottish interest rates to be chiefly determined in London. Which, hey, might not be the worst thing in the world even if they would be determined, in large part, by UK governments likely to be right-wing more often than is likely to be the case, given current voting patterns, under the present constitutional arrangements. But, hey ho, that’s the way the game goes.

So, in the end, perhaps the logic of monetary and banking union is political union too? Just a thought but one prompted by the SNP’s own arguments.

Is it all too dry and technical for voters to worry about? Perhaps. But interest rates and borrowing and the future of the financial services industry are not small things of no account. They do have an impact on everyday lives.

More to the point – at least for now – this remains a political quagmire for the nationalists and one from which there is no obvious escape. If I were a nationalist I might even consider it an act of unpardonable folly.

 

 

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • komment

    The Financial Times has a revealing article on the consequences of NOT having a Currency Union. Woth a read.

  • komment

    Debt has nothing to do with the currency, they are separate issues. Assets and their distribution will effect the share of UK debt that Scotland is willing to pay, if the share is equitable. In the final analysis the debt will belong to the rUK. Scotland will have no debt, it follows therefore there can be no default on a zero debt.

  • komment

    The Financial Times has a revealing article on the consequences of NOT having a Currency Union. Worth a read.

  • Roger Hudson

    A national bank is a private bank, the Bank of England and the Fed. are both private. Scotland had two big banks, one even called the Royal Bank of Scotland, and it wasn’t Scotland that bankrupted them. Scotland should buy RBS out of its current pathetic near bankrupt state.
    Nationhood may need a Bank and a currency with a thistle on it but nationhood is more about the soul than the pocket/sporran .

    • The Wiganer

      The current value of RBS is £22 Bn. So you want Scotland to pay £3500 per head to buy it. Then you just have to cover the bank’s loans from the UK government.

      • David Booth.

        Or £9000 per head if the burden falls upon taxpayers only.

    • David Booth.

      “……..nationhood is more about the soul than the pocket/sporran .
      Aye that’ll put shoes on the bairns feet and food in their bellys?
      BraveHeart was a made up film you numpty!

  • The_greyhound

    In a brief statement salmond announced that Scotland would keep the Union Jack and name “United Kingdom” after independence. “They are as much ours as yours, and you can’t stop us using them” he added.

  • disqus_FjrORlefjQ

    Scotland will still have the pound the day after independence.

    • HJ777

      What, just one?

  • disqus_FjrORlefjQ

    What happens if the people of Scotland call Westminsters bluff and vote Yes? Where is the British establishments Plan B?

    • HJ777

      Plan A is the UK continuing.

      Plan B is continuing with Sterling and the BoE, as now, and no currency union.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      We don’t need a plan B you idiot. We are not going anywhere and have our own currency, central bank etc etc. You are voting for Scottish independence not the right to dismantle the UKs institutions you arrogant tw*t.

  • IainRMuir

    I’ve stopped bothering with stuff like this because it simply isn’t going to happen (unless Cameron reintroduces the Poll Tax or something within the next four weeks).

  • sarissa

    “renege”

    Def: to refuse to do something that you promised or agreed to do.

    No amount of repetition of the term will make it apply to a post-Yest Scotland.

    No successor state status = no responsibility for paying any of the debt unless the rUK government can persuade the SG to service part of it as part of a wider agreement.

    Given rUK’s current approach of threatening bloody-minded scorched earth wrecking policies, there seems little likelihood of that happening.

    • HJ777

      The threats are all coming from Salmond and Sturgeon, in case you hadn’t noticed.

      For some reason they think they can impose their policies on the rest of the UK and are making threats when they are told that they can’t.

    • Denis_Cooper

      They would persuade the Scottish government to service part of the UK’s debt as part of a wider agreement, but that wider agreement would not include a continuation of the present currency union. Forget about your “successor state status” legalese, the simple practical reality is that the UK Treasury borrowed money on behalf of all of the UK, always with the authorisation of the UK Parliament including representatives elected in Scotland, and part of that borrowed money was used for extra public spending in Scotland to the benefit of people in Scotland. Therefore the SNP should not expect that Scotland’s share of the repayments could be shuffled off onto people in the rest of the UK, that is an idea which is as absurd as it is disreputable and it is doomed to fail. It would not happen, and probably that is just as well because if it were to happen then the Scottish government would have made enemies of the most important customers for Scottish exports and put at risk about a third of Scottish GDP and so roughly speaking a third of jobs in Scotland. Believe me, you do not want to make us your enemies; seeking to make people in the rest of the UK foreigners for the people in Scotland is one thing, but making those 60-odd million people enemies of the people in Scotland would be another thing altogether.

  • CortUK

    Oh dear, the ScotsNats just can’t stop fantasising and plucking stuff out of thin air, can they.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11026966/Eye-catching-Alex-Salmond-independence-claim-was-based-on-no-economic-modelling.html

    Damn that FoI Act – another thing la Sturgeon will have to purge come the revolution.

    Leon Trotsky is 134.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Salmond is very foolish to make threats about not accepting Scotland’s fair share of the UK’s debt. If all of the borrowed money had been used for purposes which were of no benefit to people in Scotland then he might have had a case, but clearly that is not the case because it was used to supplement tax revenues and pay for higher public spending across the whole UK and not least in Scotland.

  • Maidmarrion

    Scotland will use the POUND Mr Massie ,just as New Zealand did, just as Ireland did.

    Not difficult to understand unless you make a big effort .

    I watch with interest the same commentators below the line shovelling their ignorant comments on to any article about Scotland and I marvel at the number of folk who think themselves smart by decrying Scots and Scotland.

    I wonder how many of these rabid Britnats have a vote in the forthcoming referendum and suspect few.

    I also wonder why they are so keen to hang on to these naughty ,selfish teenagers who have the temerity to want to leave home.

    Comments like this quite take my breath away,

    “Like a 17 year old kid who thinks he knows everything, leaves home, then realises he can barely wipe his own backside without calling Mummy.

    “Can I borrow some more money please Mummy? What’s that? What do I want to spend it on? That’s none of your damned business, I’m independent now woman! Can I have twice as much as last month?”

    • Rosedale

      I take it that you are a Scottish separatist which may account for the fact that the first part of your posting is in almost every respect complete nonsense. (The rest of it is just trolling really, so best ignored.)

      New Zealand, Australia and the Irish Free State did indeed, for a period, all use a currency that was called ‘the Pound’. The point is however that these were not British Pounds, but New Zealand, Australian and Irish pounds respectively, and their values vis-a-vis sterling were determined by their respective governments’ use of monetary policy, (and also by the fact that for much of this early period all currencies operated under a gold standard).

      The Australian and NZ pounds had for example values that ranged from parity to 20% under parity (16/- sterling to 1 £NZ ). The Irish government elected to keep the Irish pound at parity, but only with with the co-operation of the UK, and in so doing ceded much control of its economy to the hated English (amusingly).

      For most people with an elementary grasp of economics, none of this is particularly hard to understand, but Salmond seems to have a very keen appreciation for the ignorance of his Scottish electorate, and so continues to parrot these idiocies, and be believed by people such as yourself.

      The point for you to grasp here is that it is Britain that holds all the high cards in this particular game. While nobody plans to prevent Mrs. McGregor in her wee corner shop from accepting a British fiver in exchange for some porridge oats and the Daily Telegraph, a currency union isn’t on the cards because it won’t really suit the rest of us.

      So there 🙂

    • Tony_E

      I’m not sure that the EU can accept use of the pound for Scotland without accepting that as a principle for other accession states. The treaties suggest that each country must have its own central bank. Even if Scotland decided to call its currency the pound, it would have to have the power to issue the currency itself to meet EU criteria for a nation converging on Euro membership.

      To be honest, I can’t see what the hardship is. Scotland is perfectly capable of running a central bank – the inconvenience would be the setting up mechanism. But past that, and if Scotland is to be as economically strong as Salmond suggests, the currency would hold up well to the market.

      So it should only be an issue to set up a central bank and currency if there is some underlying problem that would make that currency weak, or render it too unstable to support a lender of last resort during a sudden downturn.

      However. It’s all academic now.

      • dougthedug

        The treaties suggest that each country must have its own central bank.

        No they don’t.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Article 282 TFEU starts by saying “The European Central Bank, together with the national central banks, shall constitute the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).” Clearly a country which had no national central bank could not be part of that ESCB. Whether that would automatically bar it from being a member state of the EU is another matter but it seems very likely that would be the case.

        • Tony_E

          I think you’re wrong as Denis points out below. However – I still don’t understand why you aren’t making the argument that Scotland is big enough and strong enough economically to set up and run its own currency – if not in 2 years then very soon afterwards.

          I don’t think you realise how much of a weakness in the Nationalist argument that this exposes – the inability to set the parameters of one’s own fiscal and financial policy renders the state impotent. It is not truly independent. surely that is the lesson of the EU and the Euro?

          What’s the point if you don’t have that? Or is it that if you can keep one currency union the EU cannot force you into a worse one?

          • Denis_Cooper

            Salmond wanted to join the euro. At that time, he condemned sterling as a millstone around Scotland’s neck. Then it was realised that continuing to advocate that Scotland should join the euro would lose a lot of votes in the referendum, so for the time being it was better to pretend that he loved the pound and was determined to keep it. Then when he was told that there was no prospect of the rest of the UK agreeing to a continuing currency union with an independent Scotland, which would be a foreign country, he dug himself into an even deeper hole by starting to issue foolish threats that Scotland would refuse to accept its share of the UK’s accumulated debt. In the inverted world view of the SNP, Scotland is a rich and powerful country and the rest of the UK is dependent on its generosity, apparently forgetting that about a third of its economy depends on its exports to the rest of the UK, and there are few areas where disgruntled English taxpayers landed with the bill for paying off Scotland’s debts would not have the choice of taking their business and their money elsewhere in retaliation. Why should I take a holiday in Scotland if the Scots had voted to land me with their debts? Why should I then buy anything from Scotland, or do business with any Scottish company, if I can possibly avoid doing so? Salmond has been steering an increasingly dangerous course, I just hope that enough Scots will see that before it is too late.

    • CortUK

      Oh bless, is that the worst “BritNat” comment you can find? Oh how terrible, you are so precious and melodramatic.

      You still don’t get it, do you? No-one says you can’t use the pound. They say you can’t have a currency union. You are too ignorant to know what the difference is. Or is it that you are full of panicked bluster like la Salmond?

      Oh, and there is no such things as a British Nationalist. How can there be? There is no such thing as a British nation. The UK is a union comprised of four nations, and those who wish those four nations to remain in a union are called unionists. Do learn to understand the words you are using.

    • Rosedale

      Anything else you’d like to take with you when you leave?

      The National Health Service, or the Tate Gallery perhaps? London Zoo?

      • CortUK

        Why not? They belong to Scotland. Everything belongs to Scotland. It’s all Scotland’s. What’s Scotland’s is Scotland’s, and what’s England’s and the UK’s is Scotland’s. The oil in Scottish waters is Scotland’s. The gas in English waters is Scotland’s. Who says so? THE WORLD.

        FREE-DUM!

        PS None of the debt is Scotland’s. That is mostly the fault of stupid Englishmen like Gordon Brown and Fred Goodwin.

        • HJ777

          FREE-DUMB, more like.

          • dougthedug

            Now that’s more like what you get on here.

            • CortUK

              Thanks for revealing your age.

              Back to school soon? Will you be holding a mock election? Hot tip: the party that says “free things for everyone” always wins. So, the SNP then…

              • dougthedug

                Now son, I’m not the one who’s been shouting FREE DUMB to anyone who wants it on this thread.

                • CortUK

                  No, you’ve just been claiming everyone in the UK will do as they are told and the world will back you up.

      • dougthedug

        Anything else you’d like to take with you when you leave? The National Health Service, or the Tate Gallery perhaps? London Zoo?

        There is no British NHS. We’ll just keep our Scottish one.

      • Maidmarrion

        Scottish NHS – yours is being privatised.

        • Richard Ferguson

          Because two-thirds of us here want to thwart you.

      • Richard Ferguson

        Can you just make sure you keep Russell Brand?

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

    The concept of Union has always meant security from outside invasion. What else would bring two diverse cultures together, the Celts of Scotland and the Anglo-Saxon Normans of England? And the threat of foreign invasion is more subtle today, even unseen, because the enemy is weak in numbers, hence the enemy’s need to conceal its identity. Who is this enemy that threatens Britain?

    The enemy is within and without, and are Marxists who’ve co-opted the political parties of the West, including the West’s leading institutions, from the media to religion. We know this to be true not only because we were warned of the enemy within by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn in 1962, but because the West’s institutions failed to warn its populations that the collapse of the USSR (and East Bloc nations) was a strategic disinformation operation, as proved by the West’s failure to not only verify the collapse, but de-Communize the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps (which was 90% Communist Party officered in late 1991), and failure to de-mobilize the six-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Ministry of Interior and militia to control the populations in the larger Soviet cities.

    The West’s fate depended on verification of the collapse of the USSR, verification’s absence proving co-option of the West’s institutions. On the Soviet side, there could be no collapse when (1) the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps remained Communist Party dominated; and (2) six-million vigilantes continued to control the population.

    In order for Scotland to decide on Union or independence, Scots must be armed with all the information that’s necessary to make the correct decision. The co-opted media will not present the facts as laid out above.

  • Rosedale

    Salmond and his separatist movement continually threaten to repudiate Scotland’s share of the UK’s debt if they don’t get their way on the currency question.

    Even if they do get everything they want, it is surely prudent to take precautions against the not unlikely event of an independent Scotland turning into a northern version of Venezuela or Argentina, and a future Scottish government deciding that it had better things to do with its money than to pay its debts to London.

    Below is one way of insuring against this risk.

    Once the quantum of Scotland’s share of the UK’s debt has been agreed, the UK would retire an equivalent amount of its present debt, and replace it with a new issue of debt in the form of ‘semi-gilts’ which could be held only by Scots and other non-rUK residents. Payment of interest and repayment of capital on these ‘semi-gilts’ would not, as in the case of true gilts, be guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the rUK Government, but would rather be contingent on Scotland continuing to make the agreed payments to the rUK Treasury.

    The burden of any Scottish default would therefore fall not on the rUK taxpayer, but rather on Scots themselves, or upon those who would reasonably regard themselves as Scotland’s overseas creditors.

    A default would of course completely destroy an independent Scotland’s credit rating and with it Scotland’s ability to fund its borrowing requirements.

    Scottish separatists, and those considering voting Yes in the forthcoming referendum, would do well to reflect on the realities of a life lived in the shadow of a much larger neighbour, and to remember that divorce invariably leads to much expense and bitterness.

    • Denis_Cooper

      To reassure gilts investors and remove the uncertainty so foolishly and irresponsibly created by Salmond and the SNP the UK Treasury has already laid out its plan of action in the event of a “yes” vote in the referendum.

      It has guaranteed that all those who hold gilts issued by the UK Treasury will be repaid exactly as promised, and it will then be down to the UK Treasury to recover Scotland’s share of the repayments from the Scottish Treasury.

      Thus the reputation of the continuing UK as a reliable counterparty would be fully protected no matter how much damage Salmond did to the reputation of an independent Scotland as a reliable counterparty.

      SNP activists have tried to spread the lie that this means the UK government has already conceded that Scotland will be freed from any obligation to meet its share of the UK debt, which is not the case; it would be simply a matter of the UK Treasury extracting the money from the Scottish Treasury rather than gilts investors having to try to do that for themselves.

      http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/treasury-pledges-honour-uk-debt-3017586

      “An independent Scottish Government would become responsible for a “fair and proportionate” share of current liabilities, according to a paper issued by the Treasury.

      In the event of independence, a new contract would be needed between governments following extensive negotiations.

      There would be no change to UK-issued gilts, or bonds.

      “Instead, an independent Scotland would need to raise funds in order to reimburse the continuing UK for this share,” the Treasury paper states.”

      • dougthedug

        it will then be down to the UK Treasury to recover Scotland’s share of the repayments from the Scottish Treasury.

        The negotations after a yes vote will be for assets and debt. No asset transfer to Scotland, no debt transfer to Scotland.

        What nonsense are you talking about with, “the reputation of an independent Scotland as a reliable counterparty.”?

        Scotland has entered no debt agreement with anyone and even if it took a share of the UK’s debt in return for a share of the UK’s assets then it would be paying the UK Treasury to help pay off the Treasury’s debt to other parties not paying off any debt directly.

        A Scotland as a successor state will have no debt contracts at all.

        • Rosedale

          I don’t quite understand what it is that you are trying to say.

          • dougthedug

            Scotland walks away with nothing. No debt, no assets.

            It’s then up to negotiations between the rUK and Scotland to work out what debt Scotland is willing to take in return for getting an equivalent value in assets.

            • Denis_Cooper

              I hope you’re not under the delusion that sterling is an “asset”.

              • dougthedug

                No, but in negotiations for debt anything whether asset or agreement can be regarded as a fair swap for debt.

                • CortUK

                  Isn’t it amazing how the CyberNats have an answer to every question, but forgot to check with the people making the decisions?

                  ScotsNats: “We will have a currency union. Fact!”
                  HM Treasury: “Er, no you won’t.”
                  ScotsNats: “You will change your mind!”
                  HM Treasury: “No, we won’t.”
                  ScotsNats: “It is in your interests.”
                  HM Treasury: “No it isn’t. We’ll decide what our interests are. If we thought currency unions worked, we’d be in the Euro.”
                  ScotsNats: “There will be a currency union. Our commission says so.”
                  HM Treasury: “Your commission is not binding on us.”
                  ScotsNats: “There will be a currency union.”
                  HM Treasury: “Bye. Thanks for all the fish.”
                  ScotsNats: “Please. We’re begging.”

                • dougthedug

                  HM Treasury: “Bye. Thanks for all the fish.”
                  ScotsNats: “Thanks for none of the debt.”

                • CortUK

                  ScotsNats: “Please can we borr-”
                  Markets: “F*** off.”

                  But don’t worry, I’m sure all that secret oil Westminster is hiding from you will pay for everything.

                • dougthedug

                  ScotsNats: “Please can we borro”
                  Markets: “F*** off. We’re still trying to extricate ourselves from the rUK debacle. Speak to us in a mo.”

                • CortUK

                  There was no rUK debacle. There was a UK one. Thanks, Gordon and Fred . Be nice to be rid of Scottish “prudence” once and for all….

                  In case you hadn’t notice, we have no problem selling our debt, borrowing at an extremely low rate, and all the markets think we’re doing better than any other developed economy.

                  But once again, they are all wrong, and the ScotsNats are right.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Look, chum, a third of Scotland’s GDP, so roughly speaking a third of all the jobs in Scotland, depends upon the willingness of people in the rest of the UK to buy from you. You really do not want to make enemies of us with your stupidity.

                • dougthedug

                  Who’s talking about enemies?

                  If we take some debt, we take the equivalent in assets.

                  No debt, no assets.

                  Currency agreement, proportion of the debt.

                  Which ever way it goes the agreement will be cost neutral for the rUK.

                • CortUK

                  “If we take some debt, we take the equivalent in assets.”

                  Says who? Have you asked HM Treasury or is this another one of your delusions in which the SNP tell the UK what to do and they do it? Wet dreams.

                  Talking of fantasies…

                  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11026966/Eye-catching-Alex-Salmond-independence-claim-was-based-on-no-economic-modelling.html

                  Just gets better and better.

                • dougthedug

                  Say’s the world?

                • CortUK

                  The world? Can you give me their number so I can check.

                  The world. That’s hilarious. Is that all you’ve got? Do tell George, he will be most amused.

                  The world. No wonder Scottish voters are abandoning the good ship Alex in droves this past week.

                • dougthedug

                  You do realise that the UK likes its reputation as an honest broker in the world and if plays silly buggrs with the Scots then it trashes that reputation. The world will be watching.

                • CortUK

                  Oh bless. It’s all falling apart, isn’t it? It won’t be the UK “the world” is watching. It will be you.

                • dougthedug

                  How does the world know where I live?

                • CortUK

                  Don’t worry, the world will make sure everything is all right.

                • dougthedug

                  A reassurance I’m sure you’ve heard many times.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  It’s Salmond and his supporters who are playing silly buggers, and arguably the UK government has gone too far in allowing him to do so.

                • Wessex Man

                  oh dear, oh dear Nurse, nurse!

                • Denis_Cooper

                  The world would not be at all sympathetic to a new state which unreasonably tried to walk away from its liabilities. The world would think “Are these people to be trusted?”.

                • dougthedug

                  What liabilities? Scotland owes nothing to nobody.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  People in Scotland had the benefit of extra public spending funded by part of the money borrowed by the UK Treasury on behalf of the whole UK including Scotland, under the authority of the UK Parliament including elected representatives of the people in Scotland, and if you think that people in Scotland would be let off repaying their share and would instead get people in the rest of the UK to pay it for them then you are very much mistaken. That is not going to happen, just as a continuing currency union is not going to happen.

                • dougthedug

                  Yes….only Scotland has paid more to the Treasury than it got back but that is another issue.

                  The UK has built up liabilities and assets. The basic plan would be to take a population share. 8% of the debt and 8% of the assets. Can’t say fairer than that as a starting point for other agreements to be negotiated.

                • CortUK

                  All this bluster and fantasy, but in reality if Scotland votes yes Alex will be going into that meeting room in HM Treasury on his knees.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  It is questionable whether Scotland has paid more to the UK Treasury that it got back or it has got back more than it paid, but either way the difference is marginal. I hope you’re not under the other SNP delusion that Scotland has been keeping the rest of the UK afloat.

                • Wessex Man

                  Scotland has been subsidised by England since 1888 with first the Goschen Formula then the Barnett Formula, they are subsidy junkies!

                • dougthedug

                  Then why are you so mad we want to leave?

                • Vera

                  We’re not mad you want to leave – we think you are very, very foolish; we really would like you to stay, however if you decide otherwise the up-side would be the loss of all those Labour constituencies.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  We are not if it rids us of idiots like you.

                • Wessex Man

                  I’m not ‘so mad you want to leave’ I even offered to saner nationalists than you, to come up to help them campaign for a Yes vote.

                  They thought it best that I stay commenting here in the hope I would upset idiots like you so much that you would definately vote yes!

                • Vera

                  LOL

                • Vera

                  Ah a double negative

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Are you terminally stupid? Scotland is responsible for a per capita share of the National Debt and any repudiation of that debt will be deemed by the markets as a default. Can you imagine the negotiating stance of the UK when faced with a country which has walked away from its share of the debt?

                • Wessex Man

                  I have come to the conclusion that it’s probably best to ignore him.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  I repeat, I hope you are not under the delusion that the pound sterling is an “asset” which can be swapped for debt.

                  In the event of Scotland separating from the rest of the UK I’d say that it was certainly entitled to a pro rata share of the net assets of the Bank of England which issues the UK’s currency, to help set Scotland on the path to having its own central bank which could then issue its own currency.

                  Guess how much that would be.

                • dougthedug

                  In negotiations Scotland is quite entitled to say. A currency union or no debt. Any agreement will involve more than a simple division of debt and assets.

                  In any case the assets of the UK are much more than the Bank of England. This list is from 2007 but you get the idea.”

                • Denis_Cooper

                  As you don’t know, and as like Salmond you may be under the misapprehension that the Bank of England has huge assets to be shared out, all those gilts which it owns as he said, we want our share of them, here are the most recent accounts:

                  http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/annualreport/2013/2013boeaccounts.pdf

                  The figure for the net assets, the total equity attributable to the UK Treasury as the sole shareholder, is shown on page 54; on February 28th 2013 it was £3,352 million, so pro rata to population Scotland’s share would be under £300 million.

                • HJ777

                  And the rest of the UK would be quite entitled to say “Then no share of any UK-owned assets either”.

                  So a seceded Scotland would have no central bank and no debt repayment record, so no-one would lend it any money.

                • dougthedug

                  Of course. A modern european state with a lot of natural resources including oil reserves and no-one wants to lend to it.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  It doesn’t matter what resources a country may have if it has a rotten unreliable government, and Salmond and the SNP are already telling the world that would be the position for Scotland if it became independent under their leadership.

                • dougthedug

                  Please lay out three simple examples of the current Scottish Government’s rottenness and unreliableness.

                  Or do you mean that they might try and negotiate the best deal possible for Scotland out of the dissolution of the UK? That’s what they were elected for.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  “Please lay out three simple examples of the current Government’s rottenness and unreliableness.”

                  No, I don’t agree to do that.

                • dougthedug

                  Fairy Nuff. Assertions with no evidence.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Just a little object lesson that other people are not bound to agree to whatever you may care to demand.

                • dougthedug

                  I apologise for demanding evidence.

                • HJ777

                  One that had reneged on debt, had no central bank, no track record and is (according to the SNP’s own figures) running a larger deficit than the country from which it has just seceded.

                  One with substantial costs and disruption to come (like setting up a tax revenue system).

                  There would be lenders. The interest rate would reflect a substantial risk premium though – a bit like borrowing from Wonga.

                • dougthedug

                  running a larger deficit than the country from which it has just seceded.

                  No, its a smaller deficit.

                • HJ777
                • dougthedug

                  That’s Scotland in the Union.

                  An independent Scotland would have less of a deficit. And that’s with the debt.

                  By independence in 2016/17, Scotland’s fiscal deficit is forecast to have fallen to between 2.5 per cent and 3.2 per cent of GDP, assuming that we take on a population share of UK public sector debt; with a historic share of UK debt, our deficit is forecast to be lower still, at between 1.6 per cent and 2.4 per cent of GDP. By contrast, the UK is forecast to run a deficit of 3.4 per cent of GDP in the same year The International Monetary Fund estimates that the average deficit across the G7 economies will be 3.2 per cent in 2016

                • HJ777

                  If you believe the extreme optimism of SNP oil revenue projections and if the SNP don’t raise spending as they are promising to.

                • dougthedug

                  What’s your evidence for an independent Scotland with a bigger deficit then?

                • HJ777

                  This:

                  “In 2012-13, the UK as a whole ran a current budget deficit, including 100 per cent of North Sea revenue, of £91.9 billion (5.8% of GDP).

                  In 2012-13, Scotland’s estimated net fiscal balance was a deficit of £17.6 billion (14.0% of GDP) when excluding North Sea revenue, a deficit of £17.1 billion (13.3% of GDP) when including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a deficit of £12.1 billion (8.3% of GDP) when a geographical share of North Sea revenue is included.

                  In 2012-13, the equivalent UK position including 100 per cent of North Sea revenue, referred to in the UK Public Sector Accounts as ‘net borrowing’, was a deficit of £114.8 billion (or 7.3% of GDP).”

                  This details the case if a geographical allocation of oil revenues was made – approximately what the SNP is promising. That’s as good as it could be because, were Scotland to secede, it would have many additional costs associated with secession to pay – for example setting up a new tax revenue system.

                • dougthedug

                  That’s Scotland in the Union. I said an independent Scotland.

                • HJ777

                  Why would it be better in an independent Scotland?

                  Does the SNP propose to cut spending or raise taxes?

                • dougthedug

                  Certainly. No Trident costs, no HS2 costs.

                • HJ777

                  Trident replacement is only 6% of UK defence spending so the saving would be small and in any case, Salmond has proposed spending more on other areas of defence.

                  HS2 (which is a waste of money) is just one small part of infrastructure spending. You would have to demonstrate that Scotland currently gets (and would need in future) a disproportionately smaller share.

                  So you can point to things Scotland wouldn’t pay a share of, and I can point to things where Scotland would have to pay the full costs instead of the UK taxpayer contributing. Where has the SNP said that public spending would be lower overall? It is promising higher expenditure, not lower expenditure.

                  Try again.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Are those projections based on the economic model that the Scottish government has now admitted does not exist?

                • dougthedug

                  And it has no debt to “renege” on.

                • HJ777

                  Let’s see whether the money markets agree with your assertion, shall we?

                • Vera

                  Oh please. You’re hilarious!

                • dougthedug

                  I’m glad that you’re so easily amused. You can stop clapping now.

                • Wessex Man

                  she can’t! you just keep giving!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Not if you are perceived to be a debt defaulter.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Not if they have defaulted laddie?

                • Wessex Man

                  You do realise you are debating with a half-wit?

                • Denis_Cooper

                  I think it’s more like a robot programmed to keep repeating the same SNP mantras. And one which would not pass the Turing test, I think.

                • Wessex Man

                  you could be right.

                • Richard Ferguson

                  I’m not so sure: I had one tartan unicorn paradise-dweller yesterday complain that there was a currency union between the US and the UK which lasted from the 1940s until the 1970s.

                  When you can’t tell the difference between the Bretton Woods agreement and a currency, you have to wonder whether it’s desperate mantra-breathing or plain stupidity. Perhaps it’s both – like some sort of a Caledonian version of a North London Guardian reader?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No currency union laddie. There is no advantage to the UK in guaranteeing the debt of a foreign country without being able to limit how much that country borrows or for how long. You are in the absurd position of demanding independence but insisting that your former ‘oppressors’ fully underwrite your economy. No thanks.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No assets and no capacity to borrow in the international debt markets then.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  You do realise that successful negotiations require both sides to agree? You would not get a currency union because the other 60 odd million people in the present UK would not agree to a continuing currency union, but you would pay your share of the UK’s debts because the other 60 million people in the present UK would not agree to let you off repaying. You would do better to cure yourself of these delusions of grandeur where you visualise Scotland as being a mighty country so when the great leader Salmond speaks the rest of the world jumps. All we have to do is stop buying anything from you and you’d be bust within months, and why should we want to have any dealings with people like Salmond and his SNP cohorts?

                • dougthedug

                  “but you would pay your share of the UK’s debts because the other 60 million people in the present UK would not agree to let you off repaying.”

                  You’re good at talking about delusions but you fail to understand the central point. An agreement on the acceptance of a proportion of the UK’s debt only comes with an agreement on the concomitant transfer of assets.

                  No agreement means no assets but also no debt.

                • CortUK

                  Delusions? Every argument you make is an assumption about how the UK will behave. Or maybe you have secret legal advice hiding in an invisible drawer again.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  No agreement means no independence, unless Salmond is prepared to lead a rebellion.

                  Would he do that, and would you join him?

                • dougthedug

                  They have already agreed that if it’s a Yes Scotland becomes independent. The agreement will be on splitting up the debt and assets of the original UK.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  That’s right, just ignore the small legal detail of the UK Parliament having to pass at least one Act to terminate the 1707 Treaty of Union and put in place new arrangements before Scotland can become independent legally rather than through an illegal rebellion. I ask again, do you think Salmond would be prepared to lead a rebellion, and would you join him?

                • dougthedug

                  So you think that unless the Westminster Government gets exactly what it wants in any post Yes negotiations it should deny Scotland its democratically gained right to independence?

                • Denis_Cooper

                  I think that it’s stupid for the SNP to antagonise people in the rest of the UK with this nonsense about “It’s our pound” (even though previously we said it was crap and we wanted the euro) and “It’s not our debt” (even though part of the debt funded past public spending for the benefit of the Scots) when a) Scotland cannot become independent legally, as Salmond said he wanted, without MPs elected by those other 60-odd million people passing a Bill to terminate the Treaty of Union; and b) Salmond would need Cameron’s help to keep Scotland in the EU; and c) in any case even if Cameron succeeded in getting treaty changes so that Scotland could stay in the EU and therefore in the EU Single Market that doesn’t mean that the people in the continuing UK would be prepared to keep Scotland’s economy going by buying its exports.

          • Wessex Man

            don’t worry nor does he!

        • Denis_Cooper

          If you go to a restaurant with a group on a common tab and then having eaten you slip out before the bill arrives so that the others are left to pay your share then does tend to affect your reputation.

          • dougthedug

            When you leave a marriage and your partner keeps the house are you still expected to pay for the mortgage?

            • CortUK

              We get to keep the house?

              Great! Where are you all going?

              You CyberNats are hilarious. Answer for everything, plucked out of thin air. And funnily enough, the answer is always “Scotland”.

              What’s Scotland’s is Scotland’s, what’s England’s or the UK’s is Scotland’s….

              FREE-DUM!

              • dougthedug

                You have a style all of your own.

                • CortUK

                  So where are you all going? We keep the house!

                  Panama?

                • Wessex Man

                  sadly so do you.

                • dougthedug

                  And even more sadly you have no style at all.

            • Wessex Man

              good grief! are Alex Salmond’s script writer?

              • dougthedug

                Thank you. It’s nice to have your talent recognised.

                • Wessex Man

                  If you take that as a compliment you are sadder than I though, bless!

            • Vera

              If she has kids and needs the house, yes you still pay the mortgage

              • dougthedug

                So rUK will need Scotland to subsidise it after independence even though it’s got no kids and it’s own job?

        • ButcombeMan

          Scotland will also have no central bank and no currency, if you believe Wee Eck.

          It will have no way of running itself. It will not have the key requirements to get back into the EU.

          The currency is not Scotland’ s, the much devalued Scottish currency was exchanged for English pounds at the Act of Union at a rate of 12 to 1.

      • Rosedale

        Yes, that’s what I said.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Well, no, the UK Treasury would not retire any gilts, it would just pay the holders of all gilts exactly as promised and then recover part of the money from the Scottish Treasury. That could mean for example that the Scottish Treasury provided the UK Treasury with a bond or bonds with future payments set to match Scotland’s share of the repayments to investors made by the UK Treasury.

          • Rosedale

            Well, nobody knows at the moment of course.

            What if the Scots don’t feel like paying? I imagine that in a future Scottish downturn a debt to the old UK would come well down Salmond’s list of priorities.

            • Denis_Cooper

              They would be well advised to do so.

              No doubt Scotland could be a respectable and prosperous sovereign independent state, but it would be a small state and so it would be wise to keep on good terms with its much larger neighbour to the south.

  • Kennybhoy

    This post has been up for eight hours. Where are all the cyber Nats…? 🙂

    • Richard Ferguson

      Painting themselves blue…and into a corner.

  • Sandra Scott

    honestly people – it will get worked out in a fair manner

    Do any of you really think either side is doing anything other than campaigning right now?

    Scotland will start from a no debt position and work up the way from there to get the things it wants

    UK will work down the way from having all the debt till they both end up with what they each mostly want

    Common folks – let be realistic

  • Jim Station

    You know, I am just getting sick and tired of the same tired arguments
    which have been defeated being aired by the nats. I have come to wonder how on
    earth they can keep on going churning out the same old tat about independence
    (eg affordability, currency, eu membership) without providing coherent credible
    facts to back up their claims. I look forward to after Sept 18; then maybe we’ll
    get some peace!

    • Vera

      Don’t be silly – even if they lose comprehensively they will never stop whining and grudging – it’s in their water.

      • Jim Station

        You may have a point sadly!

  • The Masked Marvel

    More importantly, what will Scottish independence do to the price of single malts?

  • TH

    Actually, the First Minister did answer this question in Scottish Parliament.

    http://goo.gl/zOK6oL

  • dougthedug

    the one currency option pretty much ruled out by the First Minister’s own much-ballyhooed Fiscal Commission.

    Ehh…no it wasn’t. From the Commission:

    7.26 As an aside, there is the option for Scotland to adopt Sterling through an informal process of ‘sterlingisation’. While this option would retain some of the benefits of a formal monetary union there would also be some additional drawbacks. In this instance, the Scottish Government would have no input into governance of the monetary framework and only limited ability to provide liquidity to the financial sector – this would depend on the resources and reserves of the country. The amount of currency available would depend almost entirely on the strength of the Scottish Balance of Payments position.

    It isn’t as good as a formal Currency Union in some respects but as it comes debt free it has a lot of advantages.

    I had a look at your link to Bill Jamieson’s article and Good Old Bill just doesn’t get it. Scotland can’t repudiate a debt it doesn’t owe. All the debt is UK debt and if the UK claims it will be the continuing state with all the rights and obligations of the original UK such as membership of the EU, NATO and trade organisations it can’t try and shuffle off its obligations such as part of its debt to Scotland. In any case the UK Treasury has already said that all the debt is the UK’s debt.

    If Scotland leaves with no rights such as EU membership it leaves with no obligations either.

    • HJ777

      No debt share – no asset share.

      No share of gold reserves. No share of anything currently owned by the UK taxpayer (and that includes the Holyrood parliament buildings). The rail network is currently owned by Network Rail (indirectly owned by the UK government). Do yo want me to continue?

      • dougthedug

        Fixed assets stay with the new countries. Movable assets can be split.

        Here’s a good one. Hello Westminster, what’s your price for not kicking trident out on day one of independence?

        • HJ777

          Only by convention. Debt would be allocated accordingly only by convention.

          What would be the price for stopping all fiscal transfers before a seceded Scotland had any tax revenue raising mechanisms?

          Two can play at the threats game.

          • dougthedug

            Scotland has tax raising mechanisms. HMRC Centre 1, East Kilbride.

            • HJ777

              Yes, that’s my income tax office. I live and work in the south of England…

              • dougthedug

                Then it’s going to muck your tax up if Westminster starts playing silly buggrs.

                • HJ777

                  It could be transferred to Portsmouth overnight – just as it was to East Kilbride. Its a UK HMRC system, not a Scottish one.

                  Of course, I don’t suppose that staff in East Kilbride would take very kindly to losing most of their work. You might find yourself very unpopular.

                • dougthedug

                  They’d be doing the scottish taxes.

                • HJ777

                  They do a much larger proportion of UK taxes than the Scottish population share. This is because of part of a plan to disperse HMRC work to such areas. Therefore they would have much less work.

                  They’d also find it much more difficult to do it for Scotland without a computer system. You know, the one ICAS says will cost at least £650m and a few years to set up.

                • CortUK

                  90% cut in work and employees overnight then. Good paying those dole cheques.

                • dougthedug

                  Out of all that oil money.

                • HJ777

                  Oil money minus fiscal transfers. Seps aways forget to subtract the fiscal transfers that fund higher public spending in Scotland.

                • CortUK

                  Ah yes, that infinite amount of money that never runs out which will grow after that secret oil field Westminster is hiding from you is extracted.

                  But anyway, how can you spend that oil money and save it all at the same time?

                • dougthedug

                  Oil is a finite resource and it’s going to run out? I thought gnomes made it under the sea.

                  Scotland’s per capita GDP is 99% of the UK average without the oil. The oil’s a bonus.

                • CortUK

                  While you are in the UK. Let’s see where it is when the markets drop you on day one and you have to spend what you raise (or borrow…).

                • HJ777

                  It’s about 97% (not 99%) including fiscal transfers from Westminster that fund public spending £1200 per head higher in Scotland.

                  Do you think those would continue?

                • dougthedug

                  Eh…no. We’d be independent and we’d keep our tax that funds that £1200 and more.

                • HJ777

                  My point was a simple one – but you appear unable to understand.

                  Scotland’s GDP per head is 97% of that of the rest of the UK including the fiscal transfer of £1200 per head from the UK Treasury. Were Scotland to secede it would have a much greater share of oil/gas tax revenue but it would lose the fiscal transfer of £1200 per head. The two would roughly cancel out.

                • dougthedug

                  Sorry my bad. It’s GVA not GDP.

                  GVA is the value generated by any unit engaged in a production activity. It is measured at current basic prices, excluding taxes (less subsidies) on products. GVA plus taxes (less subsidies) on products is equivalent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

                  And the actual figure is 98.6% from the ONS.

            • morbidfascination

              Yes a building, but stripped bare of the UK’s computers and related infrastructure … ?

    • HJ777

      Since when is EU membership a “right”?

      Since when would it be in the power of the rest of the UK to grant it to a seceded Scotland?

      • dougthedug

        It’s a right not to have to negotiate a new one.

        • HJ777

          A new one would have to be negotiated since the current UK agreement would be entirely unsuitable as it is not applicable to a separate Scotland. There would be all sorts of issues relating to payments etc.

          In any case it would be nothing to do with the UK government. Try threatening the EU if you like…

          • dougthedug

            Yes that would be easy. Hello EU? Do you want to keep 25% of your North Atlantic and North Sea Fishing grounds? The only ones Norway wanted access to when it negotiated access for EU boats to its waters.

            • HJ777

              You think fishing grounds would be a decisive issue?

              A seceded Scotland wouldn’t get very far by threatening everyone if it didn’t get its own way.

              It’s very easy to be macho until you are actually faced by someone bigger than you…

              • dougthedug

                These aren’t threats. These are negotiating positions. In any case the EU is sensible and they’ll drag Scotland in before we get a chance to give the door a second knock.

                • HJ777

                  You said its a ‘right’ not to have to negotiate a new EU membership agreement.

                  Now you are talking about a negotiating position for an agreement.

                  Self contradiction doesn’t make you look too smart.

                • dougthedug

                  I’m sorry I’m lost here. The UK as the continuing state will continue to be an EU member.

                  Scotland as a new state which has inherited neither the memberships or debt of the original state will have to negotiate its terms and conditions for full membership.

                  What have I said that is contradictory? Please explain.

                • HJ777

                  dougthedug:

                  “It’s a right not to have to negotiate a new one.”

                  Short memory.

                • dougthedug

                  Yes… For the continuing state, the rUK.

                  It will continue to be an EU member.

                  Short attention span.

                • HJ777

                  dougthedug:

                  “If Scotland leaves with no rights such as EU membership it leaves with no obligations either.”

                  It was you who described it as a right. It is not a right and it is not in the gift of the UK to grant it. So it has nothing to do with UK debt obligations.

                  You really have lost the plot.

                • dougthedug

                  I think your plot is in two co-ordinates.

                  The central point again.

                  If the UK is the continuing state then it keeps its right to membership of international organisations and continues on as exactly the same state. It keeps everything including the debt.

                  It can however negotiate with the new Scotland for a debt and asset transfer agreeable to both parties.

                • CortUK

                  Like most Scottish Nationalists you’re too busy falling in love with your own reflection in a calm pond to realise that there is no such thing as “the EU”. What there is is a group of 28 member states and every single one of them has a vote or a veto. Even the UK.

                • dougthedug

                  I always thought the EU was just one country.

                • Wessex Man

                  So why on earth do you want your independent Scotland and then to join the ‘country’ of Europe?

                  You are spinning so much you are going to spin up your own backside soon.

                • dougthedug

                  on earth do you want your independent Scotland and then to join the ‘country’ of Europe?

                  That’s the problem of sarcasm with the stupid. They don’t get it.

                • Wessex Man

                  Your replies, here there and everywhere convince me you occupied the stupid house before I could enter!

              • Wessex Man

                No of course he doesn’t, he like the Fat Controller is desperate and desparately sad just like the Fat Controller bully.

        • CortUK

          How? You will be voting to leave the UK and walk away from all its treaties with other states and international organisations.

          • dougthedug

            Including the debt.

            • CortUK

              Not if you want a currency union.

              Still don’t get it.

              • dougthedug

                How difficult is it for you?

                UK debt has to come with UK assets.

                • CortUK

                  You tell that to George and the international money markets. Because they will own your a** in a currency union.

                  FREE-DUM!

    • CortUK

      We’ll keep the pound – it already belongs to Scotland!
      We’ll keep the BBC – it’s ours too!
      We’ll keep HM The Queen – she’s our Queen as well!
      The debt is nothing to do with us – it belongs to the UK.

      You CyberNats are funny.

      • dougthedug

        We’ll keep the pound – Even though its an internationally tradeable currency
        We’ll keep the BBC – You’re welcome to it.
        We’ll keep HM The Queen – Somebody has to.
        We won’t have any of the debt – Even though it belongs to the UK.

        You CyberBrits are funny.

        • CortUK

          You won’t keep the pound, you’ll use it. Hilarious that you don’t understand the difference.

          The BBC and the Queen? But la Salmond and the SNP inist they’ll remain, so you seem to have deviated a bit from the attack sheet. No payment for you this week!

          Try harder.All the statements I posted were made by the SNP, genius.

          • dougthedug

            Interesting. This is what the SNP say in their whitepaper about the BBC.

            Alongside the commercial channels serving Scotland, we plan to create a new public service broadcaster, the Scottish Broadcasting Service (SBS), which will initially be based on the staff and assets of BBC Scotland.

            • CortUK

              Exactly. You’ll keep the BBC. You’ll just change its name.

              Next.

              • dougthedug

                And kick out the management.

                • CortUK

                  Well, you would need those purges of the undesirables, wouldn’t you. No doubt you’d suspend employment law and employee tribunals for those not deemed Scottish enough, too.

                  FREE-DUM!

                • dougthedug

                  Can’t do that under EU law.

                • CortUK

                  So how will you do mass sackings of undesirables to rid FREE-DUM! of people with unapproved political views?

                • dougthedug

                  I think you’re off in a little future dystopian world of your own imagination.

                • CortUK

                  Try again.

                • dougthedug

                  I think you’re off in a little future dystopian world of your own imagination.

                • Wessex Man

                  but you won’t be in the EU!

                • dougthedug

                  The EU will just wave good bye to 25% of their most productive fishing grounds, 66% of their crude oil production and a wealthy country of 5 million people which is fully converged with the EU convergence criteria.

                  Don’t be stupid. The EU may be bureaucratic but it’s not stupid.

                • Wessex Man

                  To the EU Empire you are but a carbuncle to the north of England, a carbuncle who they rather wish wouldn’t make so much fuss

      • HJ777

        Children often are funny – usually unintentionally so.

  • Monima O’Connor

    I think I heard Nicola Sturgeon say on interview several weeks ago to either Andrew Neil or Andrew Marr that the Scots are taking financial advice from the American Economist/Academic and Nobel Laureate Joe Stiglitz. Has no-one told the Scots that Stiglitz had been dispensing financial advice to the Greeks just before their near bankruptcy ? In a heated Newsnight debate against another Scot , Hedge Fund manager Hugh Hendry which can be found on YouTube, Stiglitz was repeatedly saying the Greeks could afford pay their euro debts. Highly recommended YouTube watching for the Scots …check out Newsnight/Hugh Hendry/Joe Stiglitz……… ( Hendry ending up wiping the floor with Stiglitz).

  • ButcombeMan

    A few short weeks ago, any article here on Scottish independence produced loads of interest with Yes defenders all over it.

    Now?

    All very slow. Not much interest.

    I conclude it is all over bar the shouting.

    What an absolute numpty Salmond turned out to be. An empty vessel.

    • CortUK

      All waiting their orders from Sturgeon. Apparently Salmond was never very good and never the best bet to guide the Scots to FREE-DUM! Sturgeon was always the one, and they all knew it – they just forgot to tell anyone until after the debate.

      Lots of negative briefing about Salmond coming out of the Sturgeon camp in the last week, if you believe the evil, imperialistic right-wing London press such as the Herald….

      Leon Trotsky is 134.

      • ButcombeMan

        There is something very stupid about her too.

        Was it not she who first threatened not to take on any of the national debt?

        A more stupid attitude to introducing an independent Scotland to the fickle world money market and the EU it wants to be part of, would be hard to come up with.

        The wheel is off the wagon. The recriminations have started.

        • HJ777

          Yes, she took part in a car crash interview with Andrew Neil (it is somewhere on YouTube) talking about ‘sharing the pound’ and making threats about debt.

          Andrew Neil was visibly exasperated with her stupidity.

          • CortUK

            Isn’t it hilarious how many stupid and arrogant people go up against Neil and expect to come out best?

            • HJ777

              Well, she thought that by simply repeating stupid assertions, rather than answering any questions, she could get away with it.

              She was wrong, of course. What’s really hilarious is that she probably thinks she did get away with it.

  • Colin

    It’s not too late for the SNP to announce a new currency !

    Arise the BAWBAG ! One hundred Pubes to the BAWBAG. And into the bargain the phrase “As bent as a nine BAWBAG note”, has a certain ring to it.

    Note to professional offence takers: By bent, I mean dodgy, corrupt, etc. Not gay. So, there.

    • Vera

      Bring back the groat.

  • El_Sid

    Scotland, starting out on independent life, is unlikely to have reserves of more than £6bn

    If they try to walk away from the debt, then I suspect the Treasury might think twice before letting them have any of the reserves…

    Also worth noting that Panamanian banks have adapted to the lack of lender of last resort in a dollarised economy by having Tier 1 ratios of 16% on average. That would cut the Scottish banking sector in half.

  • ITB

    So, Salmond was quite scathing of Cameron’s recent actions in Brussels and accused him of isolating the UK from the rest of Europe. We may even be inching ever closer to a referendum which sees us pull out altogether. Yet, what is best for Scotland, in Salmond’s view, is a currency union with said isolated UK?

    He says he wants to be closer to Europe than at present. However, not so close so as to share a currency with Europe. Nope, he wants that with the same people he says don’t have Scotland’s interests at heart.

    For the past 6/7 years, we’ve been able to watch from the sidelines as Europe’s currency project failed spectacularly. It has been disastrous. Salmond & Co., however, chose to overlook this and believe that a currency union is what is best for Scotland.

    Salmond, and the rest of the Yes campaign, claim that what they want is what is best for Scotland. Sadly, the truth is, they’re letting down the very people they claim to be fighting for.

    • HJ777

      “Sadly, the truth is, they’re letting down the very people they claim to be fighting for.”

      Deliberately trying to deceive the very people they claim to be fighting for, in fact.

    • Wessex Man

      Germany is now going into recession and I can’t see the Euro lasting now we have the trade war with Russia.

  • Denis_Cooper

    I think we already know what the lurking Plan C would be, because it was Plan A at one time when Salmond was condemning sterling as a millstone around Scotland’s neck and saying that the euro was the thing, that is before the SNP decided that it was better to pretend to love the pound because openly preferring the euro was too much of a vote loser,

    • Bo Williams

      Correct. Salmond will say anything to (try) and win the vote. Once Scotland has voted Yes he can blame the English for not agreeing to his “preferred choice” of currency union and move on to what he really wants – Scotland in the EU with the Euro.

      • Vera

        Well good luck with that.

    • CortUK

      Whatever happened to the fabled “Arc of Prosperity”? Anyone?

      Whatever happened to the last time some countries came together in a currency union “that was the best way forward for all of them”? Anyone?

      If the UK believes currency unions are a good idea we’d have joined the Euro. Fortunately we were never that stupid – mostly. Salmond and the SNP, on the other hand…

      • Wessex Man

        Or indeed the letter that he held guarranteeing Scottish membership of the EU, then spent tens of thousands of taxpayers money not to give it up because it never existed.

    • Vera

      How is it ‘being independent’ if you belong to the EU? Explain please.

      • Denis_Cooper

        It isn’t, of course; but all that the SNP really want is for Scotland to be independent from England, and what they see as being rule by the English, and in particular rule by English Tories.

  • wolfpaw1972

    If, or rather ‘when’, the referendum returns a ‘No’ vote, the Scottish Nationalists will only have one person to blame: Alex Salmond. His handling of the entire campaign has been atrocious. He possesses a most unattractive mix of pugnaciousness, aggressiveness and dishonesty which has proved to be both divisive and ultimately self-defeating.

    • HJ777

      “He possesses a most unattractive mix of pugnaciousness, aggressiveness and dishonesty which has proved to be both divisive and ultimately self-defeating.”

      You forgot arrogance.

      • CortUK

        English colonialist bully!

        Etc etc…

  • flippit

    Yes supporters do seem to have the idea that because the UK is coaxing them to stay in the Union that the cUK will collapse without Scotland, that the UK is ‘feartie’. They can’t see it’s not even about the cUK. They want determination, well, start determining. Figure out the plan without depending on others to be nice after the vote and give Scotland what it wants and needs because it’s supposedly in their interests.
    What a way to become a new state anyway, get everybody to cushion you because if they don’t you’ll bring them all down with you.

  • RavenRandom

    Blackmail, give us what we want or we will not take our debt share, and reneging on debt is not likely to endear a new Scotland to the EU or indeed any international partners. Says a lot about Salmond’s unscrupulous character.

    • HJ777

      Yes, but apparently when Salmond tries to blackmail you, it constitutes “bullying” and “scaremongering” on your part if you refuse to be blackmailed.

  • RavenRandom

    If after all these years the SNP don’t have a clue about the currency, it doesn’t say much for their economic competence or any of their other ideas. Salmond is all wishful thinking, his politics is all assertion without evidence, unicorns and castles for all.
    If any disagree with him he claims they are lying, well I guess the world must be full of lairs then… or someone so desperate to be the big I am that all logic has fled and only deceit remains.

    • CortUK

      Like a 17 year old kid who thinks he knows everything, leaves home, then realises he can barely wipe his own backside without calling Mummy.

      “Can I borrow some more money please Mummy? What’s that? What do I want to spend it on? That’s none of your damned business, I’m independent now woman! Can I have twice as much as last month?”

    • Wessex Man

      He’s a bluffing bully, whose bluff has been called and has now reverted to pure bully mode.

      It’s a shame really, I wanted the Scots to become ‘independent.’

      • Vera

        There would have been an up-side – the loss of all those Labour constituencies.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          That’s not an upside its heaven on Earth!

    • Alex Creel

      Whilst we’re supposed to have faith in the 2 party system which, despite all the oil, gold and every other resource they’ve laid their grubby hands on, have us 1.4TRILLION in debt! At least the SNP have balanced the books each year of their administration – the economic competence of Westminster is based on ‘too big to fail, lets borrow some more’. Why would I fear independence????

      • HJ777

        The SNP don’t have to raise tax revenue and the spending of Holyrood exceeds tax revenue just as it does for the Westminster government – as their own figures clearly show.

        • Alex Creel

          Interesting. Do you have a link to those figures please?

          • HJ777
            • Alex Creel

              So, now to the semantics. Was it a planned deficit – in which case falling within the deficit could be termed ‘balancing the books’. Was the deficit in 2012-13 less than that of the previous year – in which case not only ‘balancing the books’ but presiding over an ‘improved fiscal outlook’? Just applying the same twisted logic as Westminster does to the UK deficit.

              • Wessex Man

                oh dear.

    • Vera

      If companies feel they cannot rely on the currency they will leave Scotland.

  • Tony_E

    This particular odyssey is reaching its natural endpoint, without some significant event in the next few weeks the Union will remain.

    The most important question now is what kind of Union that will be. How much autonomy will the Westminster parliament be willing to negotiate with Edinburgh, and what will be the price extracted by the English in terms of English national democracy and the reduction of Scottish influence at Westminster over English policies?

    As an Englishman, I rather fear that Salmond will wait until he has a Labour PM to deal with, and the Socialists will stitch England up – giving Scotland everything it wants but leaving its MPs to hold the balance of power on English only matters.

    • HJ777

      Salmond’s credibility will be shot to pieces after the “No” vote (even more than it is already) and he will be thrown out at the next SP election – if he doesn’t stand down before then.

      • CortUK

        Well according to plenty of CyberNats over the past week they never thought much of Salmond. Sturgeon has always been the best bet for them – they just forgot to mention it until an hour after last week’s debate. Funny that…

        • HJ777

          They need to look on YouTube for Sturgeon’s car crash interrogation by Andrew Neil on the subject of currency.

          Once they’ve done that and decided they never really thought much of either Salmond or Sturgeon anyway, who will they go for, do you suppose? Sean Connery?

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Yeah because she was really impressive up against Andrew Neil. Not.

    • Wessex Man

      Yes it’s a worry for ENfland what ‘accomodations’ the Scots will get and yet still vote on English only matters in the UK Government’

  • Luke

    “But we could renege on our share of the UK’s national debt and begin life blissfully debt-free!”

    You go on to question that. Another problem with that is that other EU countries (Spain, Italy) *might* (I stress *might*) object to Scotland joining the EU in order to deter Catalonia or Lombardy getting ideas. Now imagine what they would think about setting a precedent that a part of a state can secede, leave 100% of the national debt with the remaining state, and then join the EU.

    • RavenRandom

      Also it’s not a good idea for your first act as an independent country being to renege on your debt. Neither is blackmail an endearing characteristic.

      • Moderator

        “renege on your debt”

        It would not be Scotland’s debt to renege on…it belongs to the UK Treasury. Check with Westminster on that. Scotland PLC does not exist, hence it has no debts.

        • svs

          Excellent! rUK PLC doesn’t exist either. We can all forget the debt!

        • RavenRandom

          Scotland is part of the UK (8.3%). If you leave you take your share of the debt we all built up.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Imagine you are in a business partnership with 3 others that owes a bank £1 million. You decide to strike out on your own but are miffed when the other 3 refuse to provide you with an unlimited guarantee in respect of any debts you might incur in your new venture. You change your name by deed poll and advise your partners that you are no longer responsible for your share of the £1 million pound debt. You still have to negotiate your departure and obtain your share of the assets of the old partnership. How do you think your actions will influence the negotiating stance of your old partners and how willing will the bank be to lend you money in your new venture? Oh, and you continually accuse your partners of bullying, blustering and scaremongering.

        • The Wiganer

          Of course it’s just that easy! Just declare independence and that’s it. Run up massive debts, walk away with no repercussions.

          Pretty much every large nation has a secessionist movement, so they
          would all taking a hit on borrowing risks. And the lending risk for banks would increase notably, leading to a global recession and probably the collapse of some large banks.

          So you have every bank and every major nation having a major interest in ruining any country that tries to walk away from debts.

          .

    • Moderator

      Russia took on ALL of the USSRs successor state debts. UK government debts belong to the UK Treasury.

      • HJ777

        It did – in exchange for an agreement that the other states would transfer their share of the external USSR debt to Russia.

        • Tom M

          I puzzling that. I don’t doubt you are correct, I just don’t understand it. It seems like you are saying the USSR took the other states debts and in return took the other states external debts too. Sounds like the USSR got all the debt if you see what I mean. Set me straight on that please.

          • HJ777

            It was slightly complicated but, in effect, Russia took on the external debt obligations of the former USSR (which were to various countries) and most of the other former Soviet states agreed to owe their share to Russia.

            • Tom M

              Got it.

      • Wessex Man

        Your share of ther debt is your share try walking away from your share of the debt and see how much trade you do with the UK and see how you will obtain any sort of lending to you. Your logic belongs in the playschool.

        It’s so lucky for you that the Fat Controller has blown your chances of ‘independence’ and saved you from a fate worse than death.

        I’m really upset though, I had hoped that after the September vote we would have been rid of you. If the English had been allowed a vote we would have been!

  • dado_trunking

    Who’s trapped?
    The white paper outlines four currency options for the Scots post-independence. We have heard about the BoE/Westminster government’s response to one of those four options.
    In my book that means the Scots are left with three out of four options.
    Who’s trapped?

    • HJ777

      Four possible options. Three of which were rejected by Salmond’s own commission.

      The other three all have significant issues/costs associated with them – none of which the “Yes” campaign has addressed.

      • dado_trunking

        But that is shurely shome mishtake.
        Upon possible independence the newly formed nation state would have to deal with the reality of realistic remaining possible options available to them (as outlined in their white paper).
        The chicken and egg scenario springs to mind.

        • HJ777

          It would, but at present its response to such questions is denial.

          • dado_trunking

            What if, only hypothetically speaking, the issue was cunningly avoided as it bears little to no relevance in the independence debate? We know the issue can be resolved, there are four/three options on the table, now get on with deciding whether you are to wee to go it alone or not.

            • CraigStrachan

              Too canny, more like it.

              • dado_trunking

                … deals are always made in the back-rooms of power.

                • CraigStrachan

                  And winning arguments in referenda are made with clarity and credibility, which is why Salmond is struggling in this one.

                • dado_trunking

                  It doesn’t matter what/who wins, as all deals are always made … where?
                  Canny, hey?

                • CraigStrachan

                  Deals are made at the point of the meeting of the minds between the parties, surely?

                • Wessex Man

                  I see in one of your earlier comments you say ‘Upon possible independence.’

                  Before the debate you would never of used that statement, like most Cybernat nutjobs you are backpeddling as fast as you can.

                  The thing is the Cybernat nutjobs have soured the atomsphere between Scotland and England it will never be cordialagain.

    • Colonel Mustard

      you_kid off duty? When does your shift at the Wind Turbine command and control centre end?

      Vorsprung durch Technik!

    • CraigStrachan

      At this stage it doesn’t really matter whether it’s Plan B, Plan C, or Plan 9 From Outer Space – a 60% plus No vote has been baked in the cake, by master chef Osborne, since February 13th.

    • RavenRandom

      Five weeks to go and you still don’t know what you’re going to do… doesn’t look good to the undecided voter.

    • CortUK

      Four doors to go through, one they’re not allowed, one that is utter nonsense, and the other two they haven’t got a chance of doing in the time they’ve got and with the attitude they’ve taken (because the markets will laugh at them), and he thinks they’re in good shape because they have four options. With thinking like that you really are ****ed.

      I find it hilarious that the commission recommended currency union and expressed it in a way which suggested it was actually a viable option – but never bothered to ask London if they would agree to it. Ta;lk about arrogance.

      All this talk about freedom from oppression, freedom from English control, regaining birth rights, blah blah blah, and it all comes down to whether or not London will still pay your bills after so-called independence. George says the English taxpayer will support you out no more and bail you out never again, and suddenly the Scots aren’t so big on FREE-DUM and escaping the evil English oppressive colonialists any more. Funny that…

      Saor Alba my a*se.

    • Kennybhoy

      The up vote is for being the first cyber midge to stick his heid up above the parapet! lol

  • Jupiter

    If El Presidente Salmond wants to keep the pound, he should vote No in the referendum.

  • CraigStrachan

    “So, in the end, perhaps the logic of monetary and banking union is political union too?”

    Bingo!

    • HJ777

      Precisely – a monetary union is for countries that are converging or have already converged.

      It is not for ones that are diverging.

    • robertsonjames

      Correct.

      That’s what the Tories rightly saw twenty years ago when much so-called “progressive” opinion in the UK (including, hilariously, Mr Salmond) was fantasising uncritically about the wonders of the proposed Euro: a currency union, the Tories pointed out, could only be made to work with a political union too and since that would clearly become necessary and the UK didn’t want one, thank you very much, it followed logically that we also wouldn’t be joining the Euro.

      Salmond must be the slowest learner in modern British politics. He’s managed to get from “sterling is a millstone around Scotland’s neck” to “the pound is Scotland’s and we’re keeping it” by default and without having apparently had any sentient thoughts about why the Eurozone, a currency union without political union, is in continuing crisis. and why his demands for a sterling currency union without a political union, and assertions that London rejecting any such possibility is mere “bullying” and “bluff”, now sound so deranged.

      • Wessex Man

        Excuse me, I silly me, thought it was Gordon Brown who refused to join the Euro against the clamour of Clarke, Heseltine and most of he ‘wet’ Tories!

        • CortUK

          It is true. It was only the second time ever (and since) the mad, arrogant Scotsman was on the side of the majority.

          And yes, it was most of the wets. But they were a tiny minority of the Conservative movement.

        • HJ777

          The Tories had a manifesto commitment not to.

        • Vera

          Yes but only to stop Bliar becoming president.

    • FF42

      And there you have it. Strangely, the best advocates for the Union are the Nationalists. Alex Salmond keeps referring people to page 110 of the White Paper, but I don’t think he actually wants people to read it. Anyway here it is. It’s one of the most succinct arguments for the Union that I have come across (apologies for the length):

      Choice of currency arrangements

      The Fiscal Commission considered the currency options for an independent Scotland. Following a detailed analysis of the various options, the Commission:

      “commends to the Scottish Government retaining Sterling as part of a formal monetary union, and believes that this provides a strong overarching framework for Scotland post independence.”

      Analysis highlights a number of key reasons why this would be in both Scotland and the UK’s interests immediately postindependence:

      1. the UK is Scotland’s principal trading partner accounting for 2/3 of exports in 2011, whilst figures cited by HM Treasury suggest that Scotland is the UK’s second largest trading partner with exports to Scotland greater than to Brazil, South Africa, Russia, India, China and Japan put together

      2. there is clear evidence of companies operating in Scotland and the UK with complex cross-border supply chains

      3. a high degree of labour mobility – helped by transport links, culture and language

      4. on key measurements of an optimal currency area, the Scottish and UK economies score well – for example, similar levels of productivity

      5. evidence of economic cycles shows that while there have been periods of temporary divergence, there is a relatively high degree of synchronicity in short-term economic trends

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here