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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  • Roderick Russell

    I thought that this article was pertinent to the economic debate surrounding independence. It suggests that a basket of supermarket goods costs twice as much in the UK as it does in Germany, France or Spain.

    There is something fundamentally wrong either with the current exchange rate for the Pound, or with the underlying structure of the UK economy, or both, when the cost of basics in the UK is twice what our neighboours are paying.

  • nevermind, it will happen anyway

    Thanks for your account of the fraud TV debate, Ken Waldron, it was obvious that the live audience would be manipulated, thats the only way The BBC canm be ojective, i.e conducting, controlling and manipulating debate.
    I’m not surprised That the SNP refuses to entertain another live debate.

  • leslie


    I appreciate the detail about the polls and I understand the need for hope amongst the yes campaign. But none of it will save you. There is a long term consistency about the yes/ no divide in favour of no. The campaign has failed to shift it. It has now got bogged down in money talk – fatal for the yes campaign.

    However admirable the glazed eyed refusal to countenance reality on the currency question, the yes campaign are going down on this one.

    But look on the bright side – you are part of the regeneration of the whole of the UK.

  • Argyll


    Why is money talk fatal for the Yes campaign? We know that according to polls, many people in Scotland will switch their vote for £500 per annum, so don’t you think that the saving of £800 per head per annum that Scottish independence will bring to Scotland might persuade them? Not to mention getting rid of Trident, not being ruled by a Tory / UKIP coalition and still having an NHS?

    Remember that although this campaign might seem to have been going for ever, it will really only warm up in the last few weeks. All to play for.

  • Mary

    The Bigger The Lie – Media Bias in the Scottish Independence Referendum
    Posted by The Editors on August 10, 2014, 4:56 pm

    An exclusive look into mainstream media bias and the techniques they use to influence the independence debate.

    ‘The Bigger The Lie’ focuses on the significant research of Professor John Robertson into media bias during the Scottish Independence Referendum. The film covers Professor Robertson’s meticulous approach to the research and the subsequent suppression by the mainstream media of his findings. Overall, the findings did uncover some general evidence of bias and particularly repetition of ‘bad news’. The techniques used such as sequencing of stories, reliance on sources such as the Treasury, OBR and IFS, demonisation of First Minister Alex Salmond and use of ‘experts’ were all more telling. This film might just change the way you look at the BBC’s coverage of Scotland’s most important political event.

    Professor Robertson promotes the idea of greater political transparency of those offering media opinion on the debate. As the filmmaker of this work I have never been very political in the past. I am a former Labour and SNP voter who will be deciding on Yes because I believe this is a great opportunity to achieve a more equal, wealthier and, above all, democratic Scottish nation.


  • leslie

    Money talk is fatal for the yes campaign because it roots you in the present. You put your hand in your pocket and you count your pennies. And ‘hope’ and ‘maybes’ however nice, are not a currency – rather like McPound.

  • Argyll


    Money talk does nothing of the sort! The present is that Scotland subsidises the UK and our money is used to pay for things we either don’t want (e.g. Trident, Aircraft Carriers) or things that will not benefit us (e.g HS2, London sewer.) The future is that we will not subsidise rUK, we will continue to have a publicly funded NHS and we will do away with the need for foodbanks.

    The independence referendum is certainly not only about money, but to say that even talking about it “roots us in the present” is just nonsense.

  • leslie

    Mary – get real on this one. The Maestro was caught lying barefaced about his non-existent legal advice on the EU. “general evidence” of negative news seems quite reasonable. A plane crash hits the news; the many thousands of planes that land safely, don’t. Is that evidence of bias?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    “..but instead why don’t we deal with the substantive issues?”

    Because, as I’ve already said, I doubt if reasoned and reasonable discussion is likely with someone who comments emotively, as you did,

    “the UK has plundered Scotland’s wealth for hundreds of years….”

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    Mary instructs you to ” Waste none of your time with Habbabkuk.”

    You betta lissen to da Boss Man coz if u dont she’ll be calling u a TroLL…LOL!

  • leslie

    Thank you for your response. But have you never heard that people don’t trust politicians? So ‘dreams’ and ‘promises’ and ‘what you will-and-won’t get if you follow us’ are not believed. What is believed is what is in your pocket – the pennies that you presently hold in your hand.

    And as for your list of your fantasies of what the Scots do and don’t want – enjoy!

  • Argyll


    You are not making sense. The cash flows from Scotland to England are well documented by HM Treasury. These are facts. And those flows will stop when Scotland becomes independent – I do not need a politician to confirm that.

    That Scottish people do not want Trident is beyond doubt. Are you seriously suggesting that they do? That Scotland will not benefit from the London sewer is – well – obvious. That Scotland will not benefit from HS2 is hardly contentious.

    Scotland will use its wealth for the benefit of the Scottish people rather than to prop up a bankrupt post-imperial England. It is England that will need to think of a way to earn a living without Scottish subsidy. And that is why Westminster politicians are fighting so hard to prevent a Yes vote. They are worried – and they should be.

  • Leslie


    Thank for your response. Sadly, what you think, or indeed myself, is neither here nor there in this matter. It is what the voters think that counts. And too many voters are indifferent to all the points that you make. They do not recognise the quaint language about a ‘post imperial England’. Who does? Such esoteric terms declaim your marginality.

    Does anyone in London – a world city – worry about the absence of Scotland from the UK? In fact, the indifference to the presence or otherwise of Scotland as part of the UK is one of the most striking things about this debate. The debate is seen as a purely Scottish thing. The rUK will make its moves when the vote is over.

    Who wakes up worrying about the absence of Ireland from the UK? No one. It would be the same if Scotland went. Hence sanctioning the vote. But Scotland isn’t going. The door is wide open but too many Scots are sufficiently comfortable with being in the UK for them to get up and leave. Scotland will stay.

    The yes campaign have failed. But, of course, they always knew they would. And they will tell themselves that Rome wasn’t built in a day and next time… Next time the Scots will do what they did in the days of empire – be first in the queue for a slice of the action. They’re never going. The young don’t want ‘borders’ and limitations and quaint talk of ‘identity’ and ‘nationality’ – it’s all so irrelevant. They want to travel and to spend and talk to the world. That is what makes sense to them – not some dated rant of littleness.

  • Argyll


    Well, we will just have to wait and see. There is no certainty, but I think that Scotland will vote Yes. Why? Because my personal experience and that of thousands of other Yes campaigners is that as people become more engaged, they move from No to Yes. The intellectual argument was won months ago and now that people are listening to the arguments the polls are narrowing. And I think that the polls lag the actual position on the ground by weeks.

    So neither of us can say for sure what the outcome is going to be. But I can say one thing with certainty – I have not yet come across a single voter who used to be Yes and who has become No. On the other hand, I have personally come across tens of people who used to be No and who are now Yes. My experience is replicated across thousands of campaigners. Whether this will be sufficient, we will not know until early on 19 September.

    PS – what people in London think does not matter as far as the referendum is concerned. But when people in London realise that without the currency union their credit rating will plummet along with the balance of payments, they will be clamouring for that currency union.

  • Argyll


    I read your article and it is interesting. If I had the time and access to the raw data I would like to reconcile the numbers given with the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures which only deal with Scotland, but which show a net contribution by Scotland to the UK of £800 per person per annum (2011/12) around £4.5 billion.

    However the two sets of figures are arrived at, it is clear that London’s taxes fund much of the rest of the UK – in particular Northern Ireland and the poorer parts of England. Even your article shows that Scotland holds its own.

    But this is a simplistic view. The concentration of public sector spending in London in the form of the institutions of government is immense. Take for example MOD jobs. The vast majority of these are in London. But every part of the UK is charged for these as the “benefit” is deemed to be provided to all parts on a per capita basis. So the expense is shared, but the economic benefit of these jobs goes to London and the taxes paid by these civil servants counts towards the “taxes raised in London” figure.

    In an ideal world, the jobs paid for from public funds would be evenly distributed around the country so that both the costs and the economic benefits were spread. In the past, there have been efforts to implement this sort of move. I think, from memory, the Callaghan government tried to move MOD headquarters to Glasgow. (It might even have been the Wilson government) But these attempts failed, mainly due to civil service resistance and a feeling that moving out of London, as a civil servant, was career suicide.

    Of course in an independent Scotland, the jobs that Scotland pays for will be based in Scotland so we will get a double (positive) whammy. First we will only pay for the jobs we want. Second, the jobs we do pay for will be located in Scotland with all the economic benefits that will bring.

  • Kempe

    London has the greatest proportion of Civil Service jobs yes but then as it’s UK PLC headquarters perhaps that’s not surprising. According to this though 10% of Civil Service jobs are based in Scotland and 8% of Civil Servants describe themselves as being Scottish so really the distribution isn’t so bad.

    There are of course various agencies outside Scotland that provide servies across the border such as DVLA in Swansea and the HSE in Liverpool. I’m guess that post independence Scotland will at some stage want to set up it’s own agencies but in the meantime?

  • Johnstone

    Scottish Office (Edinburgh) standard reply to representations concerning their anti-independence propaganda.

    Constitutional Policy Branch
    1 Melville Crescent
    Edinburgh EH3 7HW
    Our ref: OR 14/4197
    11th August 2014

    Thank you for your email of 29th July.
    I can advise you that the Scotland Office is the UK Government’s office for Scotland, with offices in both Edinburgh and London. The UK Government is one of Scotland’s two governments and it acts in the interests of everyone in the UK, including people in Scotland.Our role is to ensure the smooth working of the devolution settlement in Scotland, represent Scottish interests within the UK Government and represent the UK Government in Scotland. Our Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP, represents Scottish interests within the Cabinet of the UK Government.
    The UK Government passionately believes in the United Kingdom and wants to keep that United Kingdom together. As a United Kingdom we are forecast to have the strongest growth in the G7 this
    year. Together we have a strong and stable currency that has the respect of the international markets.
    We have a truly single jobs market with no barriers to movement, national insurance, tax or pensions. In 2012, Scotland sold £48 billion of goods and services to the rest of the UK while buying
    £60 billion worth of goods from the rest of the UK, demonstrating the contribution Scotland makes to the UK economy.
    For these reasons and many more, the UK Government is clear that the United Kingdom is stronger with Scotland in it, and Scotland is stronger within the United Kingdom. In the run up to the
    referendum, it will continue to explain the benefits that people in Scotland gain from being part of the UK and the contribution that Scotland makes to the UK To inform and support the debate on Scotland’s future, the UK Government has undertaken a
    programme of analysis on Scotland as part of the UK, and how it contributes to and benefits from being part of the United Kingdom. This work is known as the Scotland analysis programme and each of the papers is available to read online As mentioned above, in the remaining weeks until the referendum, the UK Government will continue to make the positive case to keep Scotland in the UK.

  • Johnstone

    Referendums are about the PEOPLE, self determination and their well-being and not about economic growth and GDP, which are just indicators of the wealth and well-being of corporate and establishment interests.

    Max Neef wrote: “It is necessary to counter logic of economics, which has inherited the instrumental reasoning that permeates modem culture with an ethics of wellbeing. The fetishism of numbers must be replaced by the development of people.”

    Its a pity that your standard letter of reply has failed to answer either of my questions while reaffirming that not only is the UK government not willing to allow the people of Scotland to decide their own destiny unhindered but that it has sunk to the lowest of the low Orwellian propagandist tactics of fear mongering about the economic consequences of independence in attempt to scupper the referendum.

  • Leslie


    Interesting to read the letter. Your reactions are off-key. Referendums are usually about specific issues. They are coloured, in their hinterland, by many concerns but specificity is an essential attribute.

    And despite your aspirations to well-being, it is not unreasonable to know the status of your currency. What is unusual is to see the Maestro in extremis on this matter. He’s cornered, and with him McPound – the Panama Pound. This will ‘do’ for him.

  • Argyll


    Your point is well made. It is fair enough for Carmichael as Secretary of State for Scotland to personally argue the case for the Union, but to use the apparatus of the State to spread fear whilst, to put it in its mildest terms, being disingenuous about the economic impact of independence, the currency issue, the EU, Defence and virtually every other aspect of government is despicable. If we were staying in the UK, I would want to fight the corruption of the British State with all my being.

    There is however an easier way – we just need to persuade 50% +1 of the Scottish electorate to vote Yes. Then we will be on our way to being out of the reach of the British State for good.

  • Argyll


    We’ve got off the topic of the currency union a bit. But I do accept that London is simultaneously an economic power house for the UK and a black hole that sucks resources and people from the rest of the UK. I do not know whether overall London benefits the rest of us.

    What I am quite confident about is that if Scotland stops sending £4.5 billion every year to Westminster, then we in Scotland will be better off. And I would bet my life savings that, in the event of a Yes vote, rUK will seek to agree a currency union. The UK government and the Labour party know that failure to do so will be catastrophic for the rUK economy. The question will be: how long will Scotland be prepared to committ to staying in the currency union? My guess would be 5 years max. That will be problematic for rUK because the markets will become increasingly concerned about rUK’s balance of payments and ability to service its debts. That is why the Westminster government is fighting so hard to get Scottish people to vote No.

    If you want a good summary of the pertinent facts, fully sourced and referenced, try this:

  • Johnstone

    There are way more deep-seated issues, than what’s written on the bank notes, issues that can have a really significant impacts upon the lives and well being of the people who live in Scotland and for perpetuity. Currencies are adapted to and become old hat in a matter of weeks. The issue of land reform, although the process has stalled somewhat lately, has the potential to transform communities all over the country. Then there’s education and health care these issues trump currency because they are about people not banks, corporate institutions and the establishment elite. People matter!

  • Johnstone

    Thanks Argyll

    I think and I hope that most Scots see through to the UK Government disingenuousness, so these tactics will ultimately and ironically backfire upon them.
    Yes, let’s hope a ‘YES’ majority will make that fight unnecessary!

  • Leslie


    Thank you for your response. I agree with you that land reform has significant potential for changing lives – across the UK. And not just land reform, excessive concentrations of wealth do not seem well suited to our modern times. Globalisation is an issue here. But a cavalier attitude to the wealth that most ordinary people have – the pounds in their pockets – ill-behoves someone who proclaims the value of people. People do care about their currency – both in its symbolic aspect and its purchasing power – especially the latter. And because they do, they note the evasive equivocation of the Maestro on this subject. The currency issue has killed the yes campaign. And if the word ‘disingenuous’ has any place, it is surely in the mouth of the Maestro.

  • Albert

    I do not see any currency problem. The Scots have for a long time printed their own notes although, I understand, they have been required to maintain an equivalent amount in Bank of England notes. May countries around the world ‘peg’ their currency to another – typically the US$.

    So far as I can see, the Scots could do likewise: print their own currency, as they do now, and peg the value to its equivalent Bank of England note/coin.


  • Johnstone

    Only Scotland within the UK has a land reform policy Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. There is no equivalent in England.

    No ‘Excessive concentrations of wealth’ DEFINE ‘our times’!

    I would tend to say imbalance of wealth, but what ever. Greed and megalomania are symptoms of a capitalist society wherein corporate institutions have found ways to get people to buy things they really don’t need with money they actually don’t have. Wake up! Its all one gargantuan scam!

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