Friday, 8 August 2014
Scotland and the £
I find it sad that the current key issue in the Scottish independence debate is what I believe to be not a serious issue at all but a contrived debating point.
I strongly suspect that, if the SNP had argued that on independence Scotland would leave the pound and have its own currency, the British establishment would be screaming blue murder about Scotland's pulling the plug on Britain's "greatness" by weakening sterling, compromising our financial influence, undermining our our financial industries and God only knows what else, and begging them to stay in.
The threat that in the event of independence Scotland will not be able to retain the pound in a currency union is an outrageous piece of bullying. It is shameful that the Liberal Democrats, in the person of Danny Alexander, have joined with Labour and the Tories in issuing this "non-negotiable" ultimatum. Of course it is negotiable, and will present few problems.
There are umpteen currency unions in the world trundling along quite successfully: see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currency_union for a list. (I cant be bothered to count them, but the list takes four screen-lengths of my computer). The currency union across the Channel, which I'm sure we'll both join eventually, either separately or together, is in spite of recent difficulties doing very nicely* with its present 18 full members and about a dozen "extras", two of them British.
Indeed I believe the SNP should have stuck to its original policy of joining the Euro which, in the event of a "Yes" vote, they could join at a rate of just 79p for every € (the rate at 07/08/14) By the time what's left of the UK got round to it it would probably be at parity: a whole £1 for every €.
Rather than argue about this purely fictional "problem" it would be so much better for the Scots, and indeed the rest of the UK, to be arguing about real issues. I restate my own view that, apart from Trident, which the SNP very sensibly wants to jettison, a "No" vote would allow Scotland to have its cake and eat it: foreign policy, defence, the currency, regional equalisation funding, the BBC and the weather forecast in the hands of the UK, all other functions devolved to Home Rule. This "devo max" would pave the way for similar levels of devolution to Wales and regions of England, so we'd all benefit.
* Our politicians and press make great play of the difficulties of the Eurozone, and, true, they are not inconsiderable. But at its launch each Euro was worth 70p, today each worth 79p. So which as been the more "successful" currency over the last 15 years?