Salmond needs to spell out his Plan B on currency

All three main parties are clear on where they stand with Scotland and the currency issue - Alex Salmond needs to spell out his Plan B, and fast.

All three parties likely to form the next government are clear on where they stand with Scotland and the currency issue – Alex Salmond needs to spell out his Plan B, and fast.

In a month today the people of Scotland will go to the polls to make one of the most momentous decisions in the country’s history.

As they prepare to do so however, what is becoming clear is that on the central issue of what currency an independent Scotland would use Alex Salmond and the SNP more widely have and continue to be found wanting.

Speaking  yesterday to Radio Clyde, the First Minister admitted that he could have made his position clearer in respect of the currency during his first television debate with Alistair Darling, and said he hoped to shed more light on the issue when the pair debate during the BBC debate a week today.

For the Yes campaign however, it is not so much clarity that is needed as a full plan B that they should now explain to the people of Scotland.

Whatever the bluster, the reality is clear: all three of the political parties in Westminster likely to form the next Government have made crystal clear that they would not entertain the idea of an independent Scotland remaining in a currency union with the rest of the UK.  It is opposition echoed by Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones and one suspects also by Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Peter Robinson.

It is little wonder therefore that  polling conducted by ICM for Scotland on Sunday and released over the weekend has shown that  52% of Scots have dubbed the SNP’s policy on currency as “unconvincing”, with just 26% convinced, and 22% undecided.

For all their attempts to do so, the Yes Scotland campaign cannot simply dismiss the opposition across the UK to an independent Scotland remaining within a Sterling zone.

Next week, Alex Salmond has what is likely to be his final opportunity to tell the people of Scotland what would happen in the likely event of Scotland not being able to keep the pound. Failure to do so could be the moment that his dreams of independence well and truly go down the pan.

If the SNP want independence they should be calling for it. What we have at present is a hotch potch of incoherent ideas that amounts to Scotland being a little bit independent but not completely so. Independence will bring with it negative consequences and in the interests of an informed debate the First Minister should admit it.

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4 Responses to “Salmond needs to spell out his Plan B on currency”

  1. Chris Wilson

    I’m genuinely mystified as to why the SNP don’t want their own currency. You might infer that there’s some disadvantage that they can’t or won’t admit to. But I don’t know what it is. Can someone enlighten me?

  2. Leon Wolfeson

    For one thing, cost, and it’s quite risky from an lending standpoint.

  3. uglyfatbloke

    I’m mystified by the SNP as a general rule, but there again I could say the same about the other parties, however the currency issue has been an inspiration for both sides to talk rubbish on a near-continual basis, though it is not actually a complex issue. First up – the gnats can’t just demand a formal currency union and since all three Unionist parties have ruled it out it pretty clearly is n’t going to happen. There is of course a price to be paid to be paid for that. If the UK retains sole possession of the BofE then it also gets to retain sole possession of the debt that the BofE owns; that may well be a price worth paying in the event of Scottish building societies getting into trouble.
    OTH, regardless of what Douglas writes, there is nothing to prevent an independent Scotland from using the pound or even continuing to print banknotes as happens just now, though that does not mean (regardless of what Salmond says) that such notes would necessarily be acceptable elsewhere.
    This is nothing new. It used to be a pretty regular experience for Scottish people visiting England to be told that their notes were not legal tender or that they were only worth 95p (I’m old enough to remember the days when people would have said 19 shillings) or being rejected outright so lots of people made a practice of changing their Scottish notes for English ones before they went south. Those days are long past; it’s nearly 20 years since I had any problem with Scottish notes in England, but we might see the same sort of thing arise in the future in the (unlikely) event of independence and sterlingisation. More importantly, is it likely that Scottish notes would be acceptable abroad as they are just now? I rather doubt it.

  4. Yossarian247

    Sterling has its flaws. At present banks create new money when they make loans. This is destroyed upon repayment. (Bank of England Bulletin Q1 2014) Banks keep the interest. Scotland could design a better currency and banking system. Allowing the state to gain the profit from issuing money (as they currently do from notes and coins) could amount to 3.5% of GDP every year (The Chicago Plan Revisited, Kumhof and Benes of the IMF) Perhaps a Plan B of limiting the creation of a Scottish Currency to a Scottish Central Bank should be considered? More here –

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