Independent Scotland Will Need a New Capital 209


This is going to annoy a good many traditionalists, but here goes…

Edinburgh is already the wealthiest and economically most successful city in Scotland. For the first time in 200 years it has overtaken Glasgow in population. Its housing is becoming prohibitively expensive for ordinary citizens. A two bedroom flat carved out of a converted house goes for £250,000 in a “normal” area. Three bed family homes are well over £350,000 in much of the city.

In any state, the capital sucks in economic resources from the rest of the country, because that is where the centre of government services lies. London currently absorbs an awful lot of Scottish taxpayers’ money, and the Treasury counts projects such as crossrail as a UK, not just English, benefit – a fact worth remembering when you look at GERS figures.

An independent Scotland will need new ministries of foreign affairs, defence, and immigration/security, and a much bigger ministry of finance. It will need a central bank. On top of which it will receive at least 60 foreign embassies and also, and often forgotten, about the same again in national offices of international institutions like the EU, World Bank, IMF, EBRD, etc. That also comes with an economic boom to supply all the needed accommodation and infrastructure.

But that is by no means all. Edinburgh is already a huge international finance sector. Insurance companies, fund managers and banks based in Edinburgh manage more assets than are held in the Paris, behind only London and Frankfurt in the EU. If the rest of the UK plunges out of the EU while Scotland stays in, where will be the obvious bolthole for financial institutions wishing to headquarter in a location which gives continued free access to EU markets, while minimising dislocation effects and need for new languages? Edinburgh.

That is not the only benefit which a Scotland still in the EU will gain from the new situation. The astonishing xenophobia south of the border is dictating a severe reduction in numbers of overseas students. If Scotland is independent and still in the EU, which English speaking destination with superb universities will those students go to instead? The continued expansion of the University and of student accommodation is already out of hand in Edinburgh city centre – this will get worse.

The truth is, post independence the economic boom which will hit Edinburgh will be more than the city can physically handle. It will be much more sensible to remove the public sector element – the functions and accretions of a capital city – to another destination.

This will shock traditionalists, but Edinburgh will always have its history and the tourists that come with it. There are older capitals available. Dunkeld of the Picts probably does not have enough available land. But Perth does, close to the ancient installation site of the rulers at Scone. Scone Palace would be a magnificent residence for Scotland’s President after Lizzie is given her marching orders.

Many countries have moved to brand new capitals. My own choice of capital would be Dundee. The railway, road and airport connections already exist and the Caird Hall could be converted to a magnificent parliament. The seat of Scottish government is currently Ruth Davidson’s constituency – surely it would be much better to move it to Yes City.

New Book Out: Sikunder Burnes: Master of the Great Game – Craig Murray


209 thoughts on “Independent Scotland Will Need a New Capital

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  • Ian Sanderson

    Nice idea……

    As you say, this will certainly annoy a few..!

    Hopefully it will produce some intelligent, reasoned discussion as well……

  • Angela Tribble

    This is fascinating and Dundee would be a great choice. It is also close to Arbroath so the Declaration of Independence and other important historical events would play well into making Dundee a good choice.

  • Beezer

    Glasgow met pop = 2.3 million
    Edinburgh met pop = 1.3 million

    If you have a point, stop lying to try and prove it

  • Mrs Margaret M Tracey

    I was very interested in the various points you made: e.g. I had not realised how big the financial sector in Scotland is.

    • JOML

      …copied and pasted from a Guardian comments thread yesterday. Can’t guarantee the accuracy but thought this might be of interest.

      SCOTLAND WITH ONLY 9% OF THE UK POPULATION HAS:
      32% of the land area.
      61% of the sea area.
      90% of the fresh water.
      65% of the natural gas production
      96.5% of the crude oil production.
      47% of the open cast coal production
      81% of the untapped coal reserves
      62% of the timber production
      46% of the total forest area
      92% of the hydro electric production
      40% of the wind wave and solar energy production
      60% of the fish landings
      30% of the beef herd
      20% of the sheep herd
      9% of the dairy herd
      10% of the pig herd
      15% if the cereal holdings
      20% of the potato holdings
      90% of the whisky industry

      SCOTLAND WITH ONLY 1% OF EUROPES POPULATION HAS:
      25% of Europes tidal energy
      25% of wind power
      10% of wave energy
      Over 60% of EU oil production (largest oil reserve in the EU)
      33% of the EUs total hydrocarbon production

      WE HAVE A:
      17 billion pound construction industry
      13 billion food and drink industry
      10 billion business services industry
      9.3 billion chemical services industry
      9.3 billion tourism industry
      7 billion financial services industry
      5 billion aeroservice industry
      4.5 billion pound whisky exports industry
      3.1 billion pound life sciences industry
      And 350 million pounds worth of textile exports
      Scotland also has the the greatest level of the highest educationally qualified adults in Europe.

  • Keith

    Is this guy serious?? Or is he just trying to start a whole new argument in a divide and conquer type scenario. I don’t know where to begin in my opposition to this load of crap, infact I don’t want to give it any credence by putting forward a counter argument. The whole idea absurd.

  • VICTOR CAVIN

    Craig
    A very interesting and emotive subject to broach but I think you nailed it.
    Why is it that the biggest/wealthiest city HAS to have the seat of government?
    It brings a lump to my through and tear to my eye as a Scot abroad considering coming back IF Scotland can get itself together and rid itself of the binds of Unionism to the British throne and and parliament.

    The very thought of Dundee or Perth becoming the governmental HQ (why not is the only response that I can come up with) would be a real draw for me and for those areas (geographically central and within reasonable distance to anywhere in Scotland) an absolute boon not to mention for those who were stationed there as those cities are neither oversized faceless metropoles and are less hectic and crazy fast than some other places.

    This should be considered as a fresh start to a new (old) nation.

      • michael norton

        Has Nicola gone too far with her Scottish twaddle?
        But whereas the Prince left hundreds of dead clansmen on the field of Culloden before fleeing back to France, Sturgeon seems intent on impoverishing an entire nation of millions with her narrow-minded vision of Scotland and its place in the world.

        It really is time for some straight talking about her SNP bluster. When Scotland joined the Union with England in 1707 it did so in large part because it was bust. A failed colonial investment had brought it to the brink of bankruptcy and desperate Scots wanted to link up with the more financially sound and successful economy south of its border.

        Today Scotland is in a worse economic situation than Greece – the basket case of continental Europe. But Sturgeon is determined to keep Scotland part of the EU despite the fact that it would now fail the stringent criteria to join the trading union. Germans would baulk at bailing out another irresponsible country living way beyond its means.
        http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/725171/Nicola-Sturgeon-Bonnie-Prince-Charlie-act-comment

        • JOML

          Best twaddle off for your begging bowl then and be grateful that your prosperous neighbour (?!) looks after your financial needs. It appears that, in your eyes, Scotland is incapable of looking after their own affairs and will always be a charity case. If what you say is true, I’m surprised the Tories haven’t cut Scotland loose in their cost cutting reviews. Then again, they may have information that you are not party too.

        • Paddi

          Michael , i think you should look at what really happened back then, we weren’t bust as you put it , and Scotlands hand was forced ( well the land owners) into a deal which the English brought about by stranding out fleet of ships at sea…there are reasons why it failed…We were pretty prosperous at the time

  • Eilif Gustafson

    It’s Glasgow or Edinburgh. No other city. And Edinburgh hasn’t yet overtaken Glasgow in population even at the level of city-proper. Edinburgh’s munipal population is short of 500,000 with a smaller urban population while the City of Glasgow is nearly 600,000 and the urban area is even bigger than that. The Scottish traditionalist in me says Edinburgh but the European traditionalist in me says Glasgow because with the exception of Switzerland the capital city of every sovereign European country bigger than a microstate is also the biggest city. I’m afraid I’m a traditionalist and I see nothing to be gained by moving the capital to Perth or Dundee certainly not from the perspective of someone in the south of the country. I say move the capital to Glasgow but keep some of the Goverment offices and the main judiciary in Edinburgh.

    • Susan Smith

      South of Scotland or south of England, Eilif ? Edinburgh is only just in Scotland and there’s a lot more of the country further north than both cities. In any case, Perth is only 40 miles north of Edinburgh and 63 miles from Glasgow, and Dundee only 58 miles from Edinburgh and 81 miles from Glasgow. In all cases the road is a dual carriageway all the way!

  • Richard Tye

    Craig
    This is an interesting analysis and proposition. However, I would like to highlight an important factual error that many will find extraordinary and will no doubt contest. A diversion from the thrust of this article, but I think important nonetheless.

    I quote “London absorbs an awful lot of Scottish taxpayers’ money…”.

    Analysis of government finances, in particular the consolidated balance sheet of HM Treasury and the Bank of England, demonstrates that when government spends it creates new money and that when tax payments are made money is extinguished. These important insights have long been known, but not widely known. They are not a matter of opinion or politics, but are a factual description of how government finance operates via standard accounting practices.

    The consequences of these insights are that a monetarily sovereign central government like HM Government (not applicable to the Scottish Government, Local Government or the Eurozone) does not fund its spending from taxation and therefore is never revenue constrained. In fact, it has infinite spending power. It can never run out of money nor can it ever miss a payment, unless it chooses. Without HM Government spending first, there would be no money with which to pay taxes; HM Government must spend first before it can then levy taxes. So, London does NOT absorb Scottish taxpayers’ money and make it wealthier, for that is not how the system works.

    Mainstream thinking is backwards and those on the Left should use these facts to attack the Government’s economic policies that are destroying the productive capacity of the British economy. Until the Left understands the reality of government financial operations it will always be complicit in the continuing destruction of the economy and the impoverishment of the many.

    For those that are interested, a branch of macroeconomics known as ‘Modern Monetary Theory’ has this central idea at the core of its macroeconomic analysis.
    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/
    http://elliswinningham.net/
    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/money-banking

    • Martinned

      For the non-economists reading this blog, I’d just note that, just like there are a million people out there who each have their own theories about how 9/11 was a conspiracy, who did it, and why, there are also a seemingly endless mass of people who have weird theories about gold and/or money. Some of them are just creativity with definitions, like this one seems to be, but others are weirdly obsessive and outright strange. That way lies Ron Paul-style goldbuggism and a lot of other magic thinking.

      • kief

        Oh the myths abound, like the rumor that freshly printed currency is GIVEN to Banksters with no promissory note

    • MJ

      “a monetarily sovereign central government like HM Government.. does not fund its spending from taxation and therefore is never revenue constrained. In fact, it has infinite spending power”

      That is true only if said sovereign government exercises its right to create its own currency. The UK government does not. It pays private banks to magic up new money, creating an unnecessary and ever-increasing burden of debt, which is great for the bankers but no-one else.

      • Martinned

        [Shrug]

        Economics is hard. Like quantum physics, it’s not the kind of thing that lay people should just spout off opinions about. It’s one of the enduring mysteries of our society why everyone thinks they can have an opinion about something that it took me more than a decade of hard study to vaguely master.

        (And, before you ask, the bit of economics I worked on is the stuff that Oliver Hart just won the Nobel Prize for, not monetary economics, which I’m only moderately more equipped to have an opinion about than the other commenters on this blog, given that I haven’t properly studied it since undergrad.)

          • Martinned

            O, I have a view. My view is that you know less about it than I do, because I know enough to know what I don’t know, while you clearly do not.

          • Martinned

            Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor!
            Und bin so klug als wie zuvor;
            Heiße Magister, heiße Doktor gar
            Und ziehe schon an die zehen Jahr
            Herauf, herab und quer und krumm
            Meine Schüler an der Nase herum.

      • Richard Tye

        That’s incorrect. Every time the government buys goods and services or makes a transfer, it creates new money. Every time a tax payment is made money is destroyed. Spending credits the reserve accounts of commercial banks at the Bank of England and the commercial banks then credit the payment recipient’s account with their own IOUs. Taxation reverses the spending process, debiting both the taxpayer’s account and the reserve account of the commercial bank. When tax payments are made the consolidated government balance sheet shrinks as the liabilities are extinguished. If spending is greater than taxation, then the government runs a deficit and the non-government sector can save this new money. If taxation is greater than spending, then the government runs a surplus and the non-government sector’s savings are destroyed. In order for the economy to operate at the same level of activity then the non-government sector must run down its savings and get into more debt.

        Private banks create their own IOUs (denominated in the government’s unit of account-the £) when they agree loans with their customers. They fund these loans with government money via the BOE in order to make interbank payments. In effect they leverage government money in order to make a profit. They are only permitted to create their own IOUs under licence by government.

  • Martinned

    Don’t you think it would be inconvenient to have the capital of Scotland in another country, halfway around the world?

    [Ducks and runs…]

  • Johnstone

    What about fundemental public rights issues? Isn’t this more important to the people than where to put its capital city. Who cares! In Scotland people are being denied rights to public assets about which they are unaware.

    Take deer for one. They are a public assets but the law gives the sole shooting rights to landowners. Who (in general) neglect their duty to ensure enough ‘good’ stags and in doing so theres overpopulation with resulting land and herd impoverishment. Counts of deer numbers by Frank Fraser Darling and in the 50s and estimates by John Hunt in the 90s were suppressed. Heres part of a paper by Andy Wightman on Scottish Common goods assets.
    http://www.andywightman.com/docs/commongood_v3.pdf

    Common good assets are the heritable (land and buildings) and moveable (paintings, furniture, chains of office etc.) property that belonged to the Burghs of Scotland. Under local government reform in 1975 Burghs and Town Councils were abolished and replaced by District and Regional Councils. In 1996 further reform introduced unitary authorities. Common good assets were subsumed within these local government reforms and placed under the stewardship of these new bodies. …The history of the common good over the centuries has been a history of wise stewardship followed by corruption, nepotism, cronyism and criminality. Today the situation is characterised by ignorance, bad record-keeping, impoverished funds, confusion and a continuing dose of cronyism, nepotism and evidence of occasional criminality.

    • Martinned

      Take deer for one. They are a public assets

      You wouldn’t by any chance be able to cite any authority for that proposition, would you?

      • JOML

        They are certainly public assets when they wreck your car. Try locating a private owner of deer in those circumstances. A cow on the road on the other hand…

        • fred

          A deer on a public road is a public asset. A deer on private land is an asset of whoever owns the hunting rights to that land.

          • JOML

            Thanks, Fred, I knew that and should have been clearer in my post. The law is an ass and clearly designed to favour those who wish to have their cake and eat it.

      • Johnstone

        Yes here: Chapter 3 Page 9 SNH Code of Practice on Deer Management
        http://www.snh.gov.uk/docs/B949709.pdf

        ” In legal terms, wild deer belong to no-one but they can be taken by the owner of the land on which they are present. In a broader sense deer represent a shared resource for the people of Scotland and sustainable deer management involves balancing a range of interests”.

        Deliberate contadiction but thats a common in environmental legislation because these days its written to protect the polluter or in this case the body of people responsible for the environmental damage. Its a voluntary code only BTW

        • Martinned

          That doesn’t say that deer are a public asset, it says that they are a res nullius, just like the fish of the sea. They belong to no one until someone grabs them and in so doing establishes a property right. That is not the same as a town commons or the beach, which belong to the community, the crown, or whoever.

          It also doesn’t explain why letting people hunt on their own land to the exclusion of others is a problem. After all, even if the deer were a public asset, that still wouldn’t mean that people could go onto private land to hunt without permission from the land owner.

          • Johnstone

            Rubbish.
            Deer are nothing like the fish in the sea in terms of property rights. You are using a misleading comparison. Only the person owning the land upon which they stand has the right to shoot them. This is a right given by the law. Rights come with responsibilities and since before the first Red Deer Act 1959 these responsibilities have been shirked on a momumental scale … not only that but female numbers have been kept deliberately high under the false assumption that this will result in more stags and bigger revenues for the land owners and higher property values.

            This has repercussions for all of society and the animals themselves. Trees do not grow where deer densities are too high (hence the ‘wet desert’ described by Fraser Darling), peat land is eroded releasing carbon and car drivers are killed in collisions. Deer in parks are much larger than the Scottish wild red deer. Population plasticity allows for more smaller and much weaker deer… on the edge of a population crash come a long cold snowy winter.
            Well yes, land rights ..and land ownership in Scotland is an even bigger scandal that makes talk of where to site the capital seem even more trite.

          • Martinned

            I’m just restating what it says in the text that you put in your comment. A right to shoot deer is not the same thing as a property right. If the landowners owned the deer, they’d still own them after they left their property, which they clearly don’t, per your previous comment. “The deer belong to no-one”, as you said. Or, in fancy lawyer latin: res nullius. (Scots lawyers love latin, because they used to come to the continent to study Roman law, rather than study with the English in Oxbridge and London.)

  • J Galt

    For me it has to be Harthill or Larkhall – handy for the Motorway network and the locals would be tickled pink – they might even be persuaded to paint the pavements White and Blue!

  • Dave Coull

    Not convinced Edinburgh has actually passed Glasgow in size, but it is growing and is certain to grow a lot more with independence. Yes, I do think there is a case for having a new capital. Perth has historic precedent, good road and rail links. But Dundee has history, an airport, and the Caird Hall.

  • Ian Lowe

    Why does Scotland have to have *a* capital city? There has to be a nominal location for parliament (and to be honest, Edinburgh does fine for that, given that there is already a parliament building there), but surely pushing government functions and offices into the same location as the parliament is to repeat one of Westminster’s mistakes; too much focus on physical proximity to the “seat of power”…

    Surely we would be better to purposely and deliberately distribute government functions, ensuring that each part of Scotland receives some benefit from the jobs, general spending etc.? We are in an era of greatly enhanced tele-presence, and a fixation on urban centres for govt functions seems… outdated.

    One key thing – you say a reason for choosing Dundee is… “The railway, road and airport connections already exist”. In my opinion, that’s a key reason for NOT putting it there; build somewhere where you can have the collateral effect of increasing the communications links for the area. Imagine how much work would be needed to improve connectivity to Campbeltown or Thurso if it were to become host to a major government function? and how much benefit and increased utility that would, in turn, bring to the Kintyre peninsula?

    What’s the point of starting a brand new country if we are not willing to think big?

  • Michael

    Given I’m from Dundee, I may be biased in favour of your argument, although I did go to uni in Edinburgh. I couldn’t agree more, dundee has been neglected for the last 50 years by successive governments and suffered heavily from the deindustrialization of the 1980s, yet it is a fantastic city with so much potential for growth. I don’t know about the most current figures but Dundee has one of the highest unemployment rates in Scotland, 1/3 of people are unemployed. This kinda of idea could completely change the whole identify of the city for the better. What better way to reward the ‘yes city’ than by investing in its people and future.

    • michael norton

      Strutting Sturgeon is to urge politicians, businesses and universities to join an “all-Scotland” coalition to oppose a so-called HARD BREXIT.

      Strutting Sturgeon said it was important to present a “unified Scottish position” on the issue to the United Kingdom government.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-37773224
      Scottish fishing leaders are to hold separate meetings with the United Kingdom and Scottish governments in which they will argue that leaving the E.U. represents a ”sea of opportunity” for the industry.

  • Richard

    Agree with moving the capital to Glasgow to rebalance the distribution of wealth between the two cities. Edinburgh would risk becoming another London, sucking in all the investment and talent and leaving the rest of Scotland neglected. Edinburgh will always attract wealth regardless of whether it is the seat of government, because it has the finance and tourism industries. Glasgow’s the biggest, has been for 200 years, and should be the capital. It won’t happen, though, because in the short term it would cost too much and there will be too many other priorities

    • Martinned

      Why would you want a capital that’s facing in the wrong direction? Scotland has always had a strong European connection, which is why until 1800 or so the key ports were the North Sea ports, and particularly Edinburgh.

      • Johnstone

        Yes here: Chapter 3 Page 9 SNH Code of Practice on Deer Management
        http://www.snh.gov.uk/docs/B949709.pdf

        ” In legal terms, wild deer belong to no-one but they can be taken by the owner of the land on which they are present. In a broader sense deer represent a shared resource for the people of Scotland and sustainable deer management involves balancing a range of interests”.

        Deliberate contadiction but thats a common in environmental legislation because these days its written to protect the polluter or in this case the body of people responsible for the environmental damage. Its a voluntary code only BTW

  • Jeanette Miller

    All good and well but surely Perth has had that honour why no make a new city like Ayr plenty of scope for development best airport in Scotland and a regeneration to the Ayrshire people would do this country a world of good and the possibilities are endless just a though x

    • Martinned

      You don’t want a capital too close to the border, ask the South Koreans. Big cities and/or government buildings should be well inland, away from any invading armies.

        • Martinned

          Why do you keep posting responses that in no way respond to what the other commenter said?

          Also, you’re welcome to enjoy your trade deals, none of which will be as beneficial to the UK as the single market, and none of which will be in place before 2030 or so.

        • JOML

          You feel you have the right to comment on the Belgian PM, while questioning the right of a non-UK person to comment on UK issues on the same thread. Does this extend to non-Scottish people commenting on Scottish issues? Quite bizarre… I welcome comments from all nationalities on all topics. A racist on the other hand may not.

      • Republicofscotland

        Well, Amsterdam isn’t inland, mind you the Netherlands, will be underwater soon if global warming isn’t controlled, BTW, has that little lad taken his finger out the dyke yet. ?

        Most countries have their capitals on rivers, or at the mouths of estuaries, that’s why they become capitals, due to seafaring trade.

    • Republicofscotland

      Well I guess, it could be worse, than Brussels, it could still be Westminster. If, Scots need to cede some sovereignty to Brussels, so be it.

      • fred

        There are more people born in Scotland living in England than there are in either Edinburgh or Glasgow.

        Westminster is much closer to the Scots stretched out in Soho doorways smelling of piss than Edinburgh is.

        • Republicofscotland

          “Westminster is much closer to the Scots stretched out in Soho doorways smelling of piss than Edinburgh is.”

          As if I needed anymore confirmation, that you’re a bigot.

  • Jim Laird

    What about Sunny Banchory? We’ve got a lot going for us, like a “first class” roads network as befits a commuter town for the “Oil Capital of Europe”… We don’t have a railway though (unless you count the 250 yard long deeside historic railway).

    The parliament buildings could easily be housed in one of the empty Stewartie Milne hooses at Crathes Gardens. He already thinks he’s the king of scotland, so that would suit him fine…. We’re also very multicultural in Banchory.. At last count we had 3 chinese takeaways, 2 indians and an Italian, as well as an “American Diner” and a kebab shop…. Surely that’s enough to cater for the culinary whims of almost any parliamentary epicure. Tell them to steer clear of Skinners though, the menu hasn’t changed for 15 years.

  • David Macqueen

    Dundee would be fine as a stop gap, but I would personally favour a Highland capital. With all the money heading Scotlands way post independence, we could build it from scratch and set about righting the wrong of the clearances

  • Brian MacLeod

    Further north and closer to the resource wealth. Somewhere where there is enough land for an international airport and a major seaport.

  • AB.

    You make some good points but I can’t agree with changing the capital from Edinburgh to anywhere else let alone Perth. I think the answer simply is to expand Edinburgh in terms of affordable housing and transport infrastructure. Currently the city lacks both these massively and should we withdraw from the UK and stay in the EU major investment in these areas will be needed. I think this way forward is the best one for Edinburgh and Scotland’s future.

    • MJ

      The fact that the majority of Scots have no interest in being independent of the UK – even before they’ve been told the financial implications of joining the EU – is but a trifling matter. Sort out the capital first, then the design of the stamps. First things first.

      • Martinned

        Well, last time a majority voted No, but the vote was close enough that I don’t think you can say a majority had no interest. Some of the no voters will have had at least some interest.

    • Republicofscotland

      Glasburgh, no matter, in a similar fashion as McFayden and MacFayden, are both used widely in Scotland.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          Oh, and my impression is that although McThat and MacThat may be acceptable alternatives in general, the acceptability evaporates as far as the specific owner of one or the other is concerned. In less PC times, if you were a Mc in certain company, you ran the risk of being mocked as a tink, or Irish even. Hence my earlier correction of Mary to which you refer. Pure altruism, indeed.

    • michael norton

      I still would like to know how Scotland will pay for a new Jerusalem, where will the actual money come from,
      answers on a postcard.

      • Martinned

        Haven’t you been following this thread? All money spent by the government is newly created money, so surely the government can spend as much as it likes?

        (Joking aside, the new Scottish central bank could create the money for the government to spend, but I’m not sure how such a Zimbabwe-approach would avoid the hyperinflation that resulted in, for instance, Zimbabwe.)

  • Dave

    A new capital for Scotland is a good argument against the EU and for a separate currency. Before UK was one state there were different currencies operating some based on areas and some by individual companies thus assisting local economies and was a de facto “protectionist” economic policy.

    When UK formed it has operated a ‘single currency’ and this helped draw the economy towards the south east, particularly following membership of and rules of EU and I’m sure progressing our financial rather than industrial sector was part of the membership deal.

    UK stayed out of Euro, but followed EU austerity and EU is suffering because of Euro, but belonging to Euro is part of the super-state project. In short moving the capital would just repeat the problem, but separate currencies would work better, but not allowed as full member of EU.

    • Martinned

      Well, technically the pound Scots was pegged to the pound Sterling before the Act of Union, but I wouldn’t let that bother me if I were you.

  • muttley79

    An independent Scotland will need new ministries of foreign affairs, defence, and immigration/security, and a much bigger ministry of finance. It will need a central bank. On top of which it will receive at least 60 foreign embassies and also, and often forgotten, about the same again in national offices of international institutions like the EU, World Bank, IMF, EBRD, etc. That also comes with an economic boom to supply all the needed accommodation and infrastructure.

    I really do not see the need for Edinburgh to have all these government departments in an independent Scotland. Government departments should be moved around Scotland. Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Perth should definitely get more government departments. It would be crazy to get independence and then set up Edinburgh to be the new London. There is no reason for Glasgow not to have major governments departments/embassies/central bank, perhaps around 50 per cent, with the rest of the departments going to Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth etc. I would retain Edinburgh as capital city of Scotland, but under independence it should maybe only have a few minor government departments. As you say Craig, it already has the parliament and the financial sector, and many other tourist attractions as well.

    • Martinned

      You forget, in the UK (both in Westminster and in devolved governments), ministers are also members of the legislature. Therefore their ministries can’t be too far away from the legislature, otherwise the minister can’t be called in to vote on short notice. Personally I don’t think ministers should ever be allowed to be MPs/MSPs/whatever, but there you go.

  • Dave

    Your technical point doesn’t alter the substantial point about the benefits of operating a separate currency. The question becomes in what size State you wish to use it.

    • michael norton

      How will you Scottish people pay for all this by the way the arse is falling out of oil.
      You may also find the arse is dropping out of banking.

      • Martinned

        Compared to all the stuff a sovereign government has to pay for – benefits, an army, police force, tax collection, etc – a one-off purchase or lease of a couple of buildings isn’t going to break the bank.

        • michael norton

          I thought they were suggesting they build a whole new World status City
          with a World Status Airport
          and a World Status sea port, new high speed rail links and new motorways,
          New Banking system – equivalent to the Bank of England, a New Jerusalem.
          I expect I am misunderstanding?

          • Martinned

            Sure, but I don’t think they were suggesting the Scottish government would pay for an entire city. That’s what private sector investment is for.

    • Martinned

      Yes, and there’s a whole field of economics that studies that question. It’s called Optimal Currency Area theory.

      (Unfortunately, applying it to Scotland and England is not straightforward. On the one hand they have high cross-border trade and presumably high labour mobility post-Scexit, on the other hand they have high asymmetry and low fiscal transfers.)

  • Sophia Pangloss

    Way ahead of yourself there Craig. Let’s be mindful of the present and get the job done first.

    #disappointed

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