Astonishing Coincidence 125

By an amazing accident of timing, the Westminster Select Committee on British Affairs has today published a report saying Scotland will have no currency at independence and may have to barter. The Committee consists of Conservative, New Labour and Lib Dem MPs.

The Scottish Sun has run the currency scare on the front page for the last three days. Labour, Lib Dem and Tory leaders all asked nothing else at First Minister’s questions yesterday. The media and Holyrood frenzy could have been sparked as reaction to the TV debate. But what the publication of the Westminster report today shows is that this massive currency scare has all been pre-planned by Tory, Lab and Lib-Dems with heir media allies for some time. This is their big push keep Scotland’s resources.

What is increasingly plain – and I warned before the debate – is that the conduct of the entire “debate” was a part of this co-ordinated plan, pre-determined to allow the media to declare the currency issue is the only one that will decide the referendum. Salmond was grilled on nothing but currency for twelve minutes, and then the chairman picked out members of the public from the IPSOS/Mori selected audience pre-primed with questions about … currency.

Audience members had had to fill out forms for selection indication if they were Yes or No voters. They were then asked again at the door, and many Yes voters who had been invited were excluded. No voters were seated in a selected central area where the questions were taken from. Better Together staff were present briefing their questioners.

This really is a major test of the power of the mainstream media. There is no currency question. A very large majority of the countries in the world became independent in the last seventy years. Countries with far weaker economies than Scotland
support their own currencies. I have personally in travelling had at least 40 different currencies in my pocket. All over the world, what matters is not the unit of denomination, but how the money is distributed and used.

Scotland like Denmark could have its own currency. It could keep the pound either in a formal currency union or not. It could join the euro. As an independent country it will have the choice – and if the English want to burn the choice of formal currency union, that will not sink Scotland by any means.

Currency is not the be all and end all of independence. But what we have is a concerted effort by the Westminster politicians and the entire media to convince people that it is. Will this work? Or will they stand against the raw aggression and hatred now pouring out from the British nationalist camp?

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125 thoughts on “Astonishing Coincidence

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  • David S Briggs


    It doesn’t make it any less true. At least you are a regular whilst I see new ‘No’ folk on trolling. The same with James Kelly’s site with a sudden influx of ‘No’ supporters. They even try it on with Wings, but don’t stay around for long.

    To be quite frank your OBN comment is a bit loony.

  • Yap Yap

    “Just let us know what you were thinking of replacing it with.”

    Fred, I’ll presume you’re a dullard and not a manipulative weasel. The little catch-phrases you’re parroting are premised on the notion that the Scottish, like the English ruling class, are timid bed-wetters afraid of their shadows, terrified of the unknown and fit only to hide behind America’s skirts. Accordingly, they seek to frighten you with the idea that you must work out every jot and tittle before you assert your sovereignty, otherwise you’ll be lost, abandoned, floating in some void. Horseshit.

    Once Slovakia asserted its sovereignty, the Slovaks took the better part of a year to work out the details with their Czech counterparts. Slovenia got out while the getting was good, then sussed out the particulars with nugatory support from the US or the EU. By contrast, Palestine inched toward statehood in a painstaking series of tests and tasks. All that did was give their colonizers a hundred opportunities to trip them up. Does anyone here think that the British ruling class wouldn’t do the same to Scotland if they got the chance?

    So which is it, Fred? Are you trying to play Zionazi tricks on the Scots? Are are you really afraid you’ll lose your mite if you don’t submit to City of London pedos?

    Assert the people’s right to self-determination. First things first.

  • Ed L

    It’s difficult not to laugh at the frantic desperation of the Natsis – why are they are so keen to become Oblast 28 (or is it 29) in the EU ?
    They’re even reduced to Fanon-speak about colonisation.

    The entire debate about the Pound is a charade. If the Euro wasn’t a complete car crash Salmond et al (including Craig Murray) would be desperate to join it. For some reason you’re all so keen to suck up to the EU you can’t even see that you’re just replacing London with Brussels. In other words, you’re not even choosing independence, you just want to kiss someone else’s arse. Unfortunately, since 2008, the appeal of being another Celtic Tiger has dissipated, there’s no more room at the trough for Scotland.

    Most of you, like Craig Murray, probably aren’t even Scottish.

  • Juteman

    Are you an ethnic nationalist, Ed L?
    If you live in Scotland, your vote is exactly the same, born in Scotland or not.

  • Ed L

    “Ethnic nationalist” ? What does that even mean ?

    Like it or not, Craig Murray’s only claim to Scottish-ness is ethnic.

  • pete fairhurst

    Clearly the “Independence” campaign has played straight into the hands of the uk unionists with their badly thought through approach to the vital currency question. Do they really not realise how the world turns, and how the London money power operates? Or maybe they do realise, which is even worse in it’s implications for your nominal “Independence”.

    If you read your history, the real history not the authorised version, then you will understand that this was central to the union in the first place. The City of London based oligarchs are a cancer on humanity, never mind Scotland.

    There will be no credible Independence without your own money, and your own central bank. But you don’t seem to realise this, or even how the worlds fiat money system works.

    Your proposed central bank is the Bank of England! It is nominally “nationalised” but in practice is fully under the control of the private, money power banks. And if you put your faith in them, which appears to be the only option on the table, then you really will have have been sold a diseased pup

  • Argyll

    Tom 8/8/14 at 9:19 p.m.
    How do you know that the Scottish Government do not have an alternative plan? Do you really think that given that their preferred option is a currency union, and that this is subject to negotiation after a Yes vote, they would disclose their fallback negotiating position? Is it not a bit naive to think they would?

    Everybody knows that following a Yes vote, the posturing will stop and reality will take over. So let’s look at it from an rUK perspective. The debt belongs to rUK – we know this because Osbourne and Alexander said so. No currency union = no sharing of the debt. The economy of rUK will be reduced by roughly 10% following Scottish independence, but if there is no currency union the debt will stay the same. The rUK balance of payments will, without Scotland’s trade surplus (including but not restricted to oil and gas) become even worse than it already is.

    So rUK will have a reduced overall GDP, all of the debt and a deteriorating balance of payments. How do you think the money markets would view this? The leaders of rUK, despite their posturing for the purposes of the referendum campaign, are not completely stupid. They will swallow their pride and act in the best interests of their country – if there is a Yes vote there will be a currency union.

    You just need to think it through – as Alex Salmond has done.

  • Craig P

    In 1979 the anti-devolutionists warned that if Scotland gained devolution, the factories, mines and shipyards would close. They closed anyway.

    Today we have a situation where government debts are only kept at bay through a deliberate policy of devaluation (quantitative easing). What an irony it would be if Scotland votes no and the pound becomes worthless soon after anyway.

  • Muscleguy

    Craig, iScotland cannot, immediately, join the Euro as you should know. In order to join the Euro you must have had an independent currency in ERM II for at the very least 2 years. Since Sterling is not in ERM II this cannot be used as an argument.

    In order to join the Euro, on which matter I’m in a small minority here in Scotland in being in favour, we would first have to mint our own currency, put it into ERM II and be fiscally and economically stable for 2 years. A tough ask for the first ten years at least of independence in my opinion. There will be all manner of shocks and unanticipated stuff (good and bad, good shocks count against you in ERM II) after independence.

  • Kempe

    ” The debt belongs to rUK – we know this because Osbourne and Alexander said so. ”

    They’ve said no such thing and as yet nothing is decided, however the concept of an independent Scotland refusing to shoulder it’s share of the debt would be unacceptable to rUK and the politicians know it.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    “The debt belongs to rUK – we know this because Osbourne and Alexander said so”

    That’s quite an assertion, Argyll.

    Can you refer us to the speech(es) or paper(s) or article(s) in which Osbourne and
    Alexander said that?


  • Muscleguy


    You are wrong. After the Sermon on the Mound when Gideon flew up here told us no currency union then flounced off stage left pursued by Bernard Ponsonby (a journalist wanting to ask questions! whatever next) the markets got the jitters and the interest rates wanted on gilts rose. Thus to calm the fractious markets a statement was made, jointly between the Treasury and the BoE if memory serves, affirming that Westminster takes responsibility for ALL the debt regardless of what happens.

    This is a matter of historical record so your denial of it is both curious and futile. Can I suggest you inform yourself a mite better about our wee referendum and matters pertaining in Westminster before mouthing of?

  • Argyll

    Habbabkuk and Kempe

    See this UK government site:

    From the document “UK Debt and the Scotland Independence Referendum”, first paragraph:

    “In the event of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom (UK), the continuing UK Government would in all circumstances honour the contractual terms of the debt issued by the UK Government.”

    It then goes on to say that there is an expectation that Scotland would take its share of the debt and that this would be subject to negotiation. And that is the critical point – if either party stonewalls the other, e.g by refusing to consider a currency union, then the other party will not make concessions. That is the nature of negotiations.

    So, to sum up, give Scotland the currency union we want and we will, in all probability, take a reasonable share of the debt, even although we are not legally obliged to do so. But in any event, rUK will need the currency union more than Scotland does for the reasons stated in my previous post.

    We do have a fall back option of just adopting a Scottish pound which will harden rapidly as a petro currency. Some initial set up costs in that, but in the long run many of us think this would be the best course of action. If you want verification of that, just read the McCrone report which was kept secret for 30 years because it was deemed to be too supportive of independence for Scotland. Finally released in 2005 under FOI.

  • Argyll


    I think your posts are crossing with mine.

    Re your last, yes of course Scotland will be willing to take on a share of the debt. But not unless we get something in return. After all, there is no contract between an independent Scottish Government (yet to be created) and the markets. So there is no legal obligation.

    And lets be clear, if Scotland agrees to pick up some of the debt, the mechanism will be that rUk government deals with the markets to make interest and capital payments. The Scottish Government would pay money to the UK. Scotland would have no direct dealings with the market in respect of any existing UK debt.

    We need some clear thinking on this stuff and less in the way of unsubstantiated assertion.

  • ElaineS

    I very much like this piece here and the fact whatever currency we chose we walk away ScotFree, not a penny debt….if the south want to play dirty then no CU/assets…… share of debt will we take.I’ve been Labour 40 years and this has seriously angered me and whatever currency I’m taking that leap with Scotland,no way are the enemies from the Westminster screwing us over!Hell mend them! From the Financial Times recently:
    “Scottish refusal to take on UK debt would not constitute default, however”

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    “..if the south want to play dirty then no CU/assets…”

    Not sure if I understand this. What is “dirty” about

    – rUK declining to enter into a currency union with an independent Scotland?

    – rUK assuming that an independent Scotland will take over a part of the national debt?

    Re. 1 : why should a seceding part of a national entity have the right to insist that it remains part of the UK currency union after independence? Is this not chutzpah of a high order?

    Re.2 : surely some of the UK national debt represents the cost of general expenditure and various public services, etc, from which Scotland has benefited?

  • Leslie

    Scottish independence will not be achieved by compromising the independence of the rUK pound. The rUK will take the hit. To see this merely in financial terms is an error. The whole political landscape would alter if rUK were to be looking over it’s shoulder at whether or not another country was happy to be in the currency union. The judgement has been made that the financial hit is manageable. It will be an unfortunate start to the new relationship but that too will fade. Eventually, both countries will get on well – with their separate currencies.

    Not that any of this is going to happen. There will be no Scottish independence. The yes campaign have failed to demonstrate enough negatives for the Union, and, seemingly increasingly, failed to demonstrate the positives of independence.

    What the debate has done is to win a few extra powers for Holyrood and alerted the rUK to the threat of change. You will quietly see the North grow and an increasing revitalisation of the rUK. That is the real achievement of this debate. The UK is coming back to life. The post- WW2 sleep is over. We shall have a newer, more independent relationship with the EU – and that will stiff for good a united Ireland and Scottish independence.

  • Argyll


    “Re. 1 : why should a seceding part of a national entity have the right to insist that it remains part of the UK currency union after independence? Is this not chutzpah of a high order?”

    Scotland has the right to argue for and seek to achieve a currency union. I think everyone accepts that neither country could insist that the other enters into a currency union. What Alex Salmond is saying is that it is so clearly in the interests of rUK to do so that, once the bluster and bluff around the referendum campaign is out of the way, pragmatism will kick in and rUK is most likely to agree to a CU. As an aside on this point, if rUK decides not to enter into a CU it will be interesting to know what currency rUK would use. The £ sterling is as much Scotland’s as it is England’s so if rUK does not want to share, then they can use anything else they choose.

    Re.2 : surely some of the UK national debt represents the cost of general expenditure and various public services, etc, from which Scotland has benefited?

    This is true. We need to decide if we are looking at this from a legalistic perspective or from a moral perspective. The legal perspective is quite clear – an independent Scotland would be under no obligation to contribute to the debt. How can it be? It is not a party to the contract and as stated earlier the UK government has confirmed that the responsibility is the UK’s.

    From a moral perspective – yes, perhaps Scotland should contribute. That is why the Scottish Government has stated that it is willing to do so – but in return for the currency unions it wants. Negotiation means making concessions on both sides in order to reach a common position. It is not about one side dictating to the other what they can or should do. Of course I could point out that from a moral perspective, the UK has plundered Scotland’s wealth for hundreds of years and that walking away from the debt would therefore be justified. And while plundering our wealth, the lie that Scotland has been subsidised by England has been perpetuated.

    But the Scottish government are not saying that – their position is quite clear.

  • Muscleguy


    “The yes campaign have failed to demonstrate enough negatives for the Union”

    Enough for what?

    Nuclear obscenities based right next to our biggest city.
    The Bedroom Tax hitting primarily the disabled.
    People sanctioned and left destitute.
    Workfare for the benefit of private companies thus reducing genuine employment.
    Zero hours contracts.
    Minimum wage not a living wage.
    Pensions the second poorest in the EU.
    Illegal wars and noises about more.
    A government so up Israel’s rectum it cannot condemn obvious war crimes.
    Pissing the income from oil up the wall instead of investing like the Norwegians have.
    Making sure Scotland has to help pay for: Crossrail; HS2 & 3; Trident renewal and more I can’t remember. Note we also contributed to London’s Olympics but Westminster contributed not a single bean to Glasgow’s games.

    Better Together my arse. The Unionist campaign they titled ‘Project Fear’ and full of negativity. Positive argument for the Union? a mythical beast rarer than pink unicorns.

  • Muscleguy

    Oh I remembered another one: London’s new sewage scheme. Scotland is set to help pay for that.

    Not only to we have to listen to the sewage emanating from Westminster spewed onto our TV news but now we have to pay twice: once for the license fee and again to have it all taken away and dealt with.

    How would you like it if your neighbour insisted you pay for his new car, his new security system that means bright lights will be trained on your property and if it goes off you will be deafened at best, his new drains AND you have to do the work for nothing and work any hours he wants?

  • Kempe

    ” Note we also contributed to London’s Olympics but Westminster contributed not a single bean to Glasgow’s games. ”

    Well it was entirely Glasgow’s idea to bid, surely they should’ve done so without any help from taxpayers in Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland.

    As for the Olympics some football matches were held in Hampden Park so you got something back.

  • Muscleguy


    Firstly the polling companies have a bad record at predicting Scottish voting intentions on Scottish only issues. Secondly they do not measure all the newly registered voters the vat majority of whom are Yes supporters. Thirdly referenda are notoriously hard to accurately poll for.

    Canvassing returns consistently find a majority of Yes voters.

    When YouGov earlier this year put in questions to try and detect what it believed were ‘shy Noes’ what they found instead were ‘shy Yeses’.

    75% of undecided voters snap polled by ICM after the debate thought Alec Salmond won it. So did a majority of women, a constituency that has lagged men on the Yes side. So watch this space.

    Finally when people are fully informed about the issues they become Yes voters. Many leave it late before engaging in such things. The Yes Campaign in all its myriad manifestations has an order of magnitude more boots on the ground than No. RIC alone are out every night of the week in deprived wards canvassing and getting people registered to vote, many of whom have never voted for Poll Tax reasons.

    And finally, the Yes Campaign are offering hope and progress. No are offering negativity, scare stories and more and deeper austerity. History says positive campaigns win over negative ones.

    BT and the British Government strategy from Day 1 has been to use scare stories to frighten supporters into staying with the Union. It has all been about shoring up the core vote. The problem is firstly their tactics are backfiring. Osborne’s initial no currency union intervention was a significant boost for Yes and most of those votes were Labour voters who anyone could have told you would recoil at being lectured by an old Etonian Tory chancellor.

    The story the polls have been telling is people being detached from No to Don’t Know and from there to Yes. Once someone decides for Yes, they do not go back. It’s like a ratchet and it only works one way.

    Tick tock, tick tock.

  • Muscleguy

    The most No-friendly pollsters, ICM, Ipsos-Mori and Yougov all find samples that are significantly unrepresentative of the Scottish population. Either finding too many elderly and not enough young people or too many English born people. Not that being English stops you voting Yes, there’s even an English for Yes group and English SNP MSPs, but these things explain why their samples are at variance with the other pollsters who don’t have to update or downrate entire demographics in each poll.

    So be careful which polls you look at and take all of them with a grain of salt. There are structural reasons as I explain, why they specifically undercount the Yes vote.

    And finally in the war of window and car bumper stickers Yes is much more prominent while BT is hard to find. These signals matter.

  • Argyll


    I notice you have gone quiet on the currency issue.

    On the costs of the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, if we apply your logic, could we not argue that London bid for the Olympics so should not have burdened any other part of the UK with costs?

    And bear this in mind – in round figures Scotland paid as much towards the Olympics as the entire budget for the Commonwealth Games. Which do think was better value for money?

    Finally, to say that Scotland benefitted from the Olympics because a few football matches were played at Hampdem is, to put it in the mildest terms, disingenuous.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    Actually, I was hoping for an answer from the original commenter – a “ElaineS”.

    Nevertheless, I was about to respond to you until my eyes alighted on the following:

    “Of course I could point out that from a moral perspective, the UK has plundered Scotland’s wealth for hundreds of years….”

    That sort of silly comment disqualifies you from receiving my response, I’m afraid. Pity.


    On a technical note, Argyll, may I leave you to ponder whether that sentence wouldn’t have made slightly better sense with the following amendment:

    “Of course I could point out that from a moral perspective, the UK HAVING plundered Scotland’s wealth for hundreds of years, {and that- deleted} walking away from the debt would therefore be justified.”.

    How can a country morally plunder another country’s wealth?

  • Argyll


    I could argue the semantics of the construction of the sentence, but instead why don’t we deal with the substantive issues?

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