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Thread: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

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    (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    So, the SNP says an independent Scotland will use the pound. Labour, Tories and LD's all say, unequivocally, it "will not happen". No if's, but's or caveats, just a simple absolute rejection of any possibility.

    The SNP response .... "they're bluffing, and we won't explain what we will do if they aren't, because they are".

    Let me just clarify. What they're talking about is a formal currency union.

    There is no way to stop Scotland just using the pound. But if they do that, they have NO say on interest rates, quantitative easing, no recourse to a "lender of last resort" central bank, and so on.

    All the strengths of a "formal" currency union require explicit agreement between both states. It is not in the SNPs gift to guarantee it will happen, and as for their claim that it's in the rest of the UK's interests, well, excuse us, Mr Salmond, but we'll make up our own mind about that, not take your distinctly conflicted-interest opinion. And the advice, and decision, from Westminster is .... it is not.

    At best, it'll be hard to negotiate the terms of it, and that ignores the fact that all three major RotUK (Rest of the UK) parties have caegorically ruled it out.

    Moreover, the SNP want to join the EU. Not one accession state in 30 years or more has been allowed to opt out of a commitment to join the Euro, and to prepare for doing so, at a minimum, where they don't qualify right now.

    To join the EU and not the Euro would require EVERY current EU state to agree that exception, including all the recent accession states that had the Euro commitment forced on them, like it or not.

    And they cannot be a member of the currency union with RotUK and use the Euro. At best, this implies any independent Scotland's desire for currency union is a stop-gap until Euro membership.


    I'd love to hear any Scot's views on the SNP stance that they aren't even going to outline a plan B for the case that the Westminster parties actually mean "no way in hell".

    Given those unequivocal rejections of any chance of a formal currency union, is voting on indepence viable without knowing what the plan is if that union doesn't happen?

    My own view, for what it's worth, is that such a formal currency union is absolutely not in RotUK's self-interest if Scotland goes independent. There will be costs of not having one, but they're tiny compared to the potential downside of having one.

    And any "costs" would only be deferred, not avoided, because of the EU/Euro situation.

    Make no mistake, the formal union is not Scotland's only option. There are others, including a formal union with another currency (Euro), having their own currency pegged to either the pound, Euro, or whatever, or their own entirely floating currency.

    Westminster is NOT, as the SNP would have it, "laying down the law", or dictating to an independent Scotland what it has to do.

    It IS pointing out that ANY formal agreement, sterling or Euro, rewuires BOTH parties to be prepared to enter an agreement, and if Scotland goes independent, it can't mandate that RotUK enters an agreement purely because either the SNP or an independent Scotland wants it .... temporarily.

    My view is that Cameron, Balls and Alexander meant precisely what they said .... a formal union simply isn't going to happen.

    Why?

    Politics, if nothing else.

    A formal union implies the lender of last resort, the BofE, underwriting both independent Scotland's banks, and public spending. Scots thinking of voting should consider the political implications of ANY Westminster government trying to explain to RotUK electors, and more importantly taxpayers, quite why they are on the hook to bail out either banks or public spending in a foreign state, after the people of that foreign state have just voted to walk out of our existing union.

    At the very least, were I voting on independence, I'd expect a credible SNP stance for what they'll do if a currency union doesn't emerge.

    Again, for the record, I want Scotland to stay in the UK. Personally, I think we're better off together. But if Scotland wants independence, fair enough. But then, don't expect to coming running back expecting to pick the bits of the UK you want, like RotUK taxpayers underwriting your banks. Independence means independence, good, bad or indifferent, not just the bits of it that you want, and avoiding the tricky aspects.

    And that's just ONE of the tricky issues involved in independence. And, so far at least, I'm not seeing any real debate or explanation from the SNP. They're published a wildly speculative and presumtuous position paper on the Elysian Fields scenario, and when asked what happens if they don't get they're preferred picture (and neither party will get exactly what it wants) their reaction has been to stick their fingers in their ears, and hum loudly, pretending there is no other conceivable outcome than that they get 100% of their wishlist.

    I've yet to come across a Scot that isn't pretty canny, and that just seems to be an unacceptable way to react to legitimate questions.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    I can't shake the feeling that this is Salmond's ego more than anything else, and it gained traction because there is a small but very vocal section of the Scottish public who are vehemently opposed to Westminster or anything English (I know, I'm related to some of them); and Salmond is running with it, and seems happy to let peoples' fears govern their opinion on the matter, whilst claiming to be playing it straight.

    The lack of a plan B, or at least the the seeming lack of one, is what I find most worrying. I do believe that an independent Scotland would have a justifiable claim to the vast majority of the oil and gas fields in British waters, so an element of financial security is there; but will be governed by someone who, it appears, has no credible alternative to Scotland losing the pound, which it must if it truly wants independence; because there is no way in hell the BofE or Westminster will reliquish any control. A quick glance over the channel suggests that a currency and economic system run by committee is a very bad idea, so there'll be no sharing of the pound, and adopting the euro doesn't seem plausible. How can Scotland be truly independent it if cannot govern it's currency?

    I'm a Scot, living in England, and I don't want an independent Scotland. I'm more in favour of Devo+, and I'm fervently hoping that a resounding no vote will put paid to the political career of Alec Salmond.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    throw new ArgumentException (String, String, Exception)

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    So, the SNP says an independent Scotland will use the pound. Labour, Tories and LD's all say, unequivocally, it "will not happen". No if's, but's or caveats, just a simple absolute rejection of any possibility.

    The SNP response .... "they're bluffing, and we won't explain what we will do if they aren't, because they are".
    Thats what makes me laugh the most, the SNP put forward a plan that said "we will do this" but as soon as the main UK parties state the opposite, in exactly the same manner, apparently theyre not allowed to do that and its bullying.

    Logically, it is the SNP that is in the wrong, they are trying to promise something that must be negotiated and clearly stated more than 1 option, be it the use of the Scottish Pound, the Euro or Scotch eggs.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobF64 View Post
    Thats what makes me laugh the most, the SNP put forward a plan that said "we will do this" but as soon as the main UK parties state the opposite, in exactly the same manner, apparently theyre not allowed to do that and its bullying.

    Logically, it is the SNP that is in the wrong, they are trying to promise something that must be negotiated and clearly stated more than 1 option, be it the use of the Scottish Pound, the Euro or Scotch eggs.
    The bullying phases are quite worrying in themselves. It has a real ability to turn many voters into voting for independence due to the anger they feel due to the nature of the message from the SNP. They've just had a big piece of policy pulled out from under them and they appear to be taking it personally. With the debacle about whether an independent Scotland will have to re-negotiate entrance to the EU or not that went on a while ago, the SNP don't appear to have the answers.
    With devolution, and the potential for more powers if they stay in the UK, I still feel Scotland will have more freedom as part of a UK that isn't in Europe than as part of an independent Scotland in the EU. And they won't be getting the EU vote if they vote for independence.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Englishman living in Scotland here.

    I just can't vote YES when there are no firm details on what they plan to do if YES wins, as mentioned the promises are too great with nothing to back them up.

    The UK as a whole would be better off moving some power away from the SE.
    That's what most people who would vote YES want (in my circle of friends/co-workers), less decisions made seemingly in the interests of the few.

    On one of the many BBC articles about it one of the top voted comments was something along the lines of

    Dear Scotland, If you get independance please take us with you. Signed -everywhere North of London.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Part of the problem the Scottish electorate have to deal with is the entrenched Labour party dominance and the mindset that goes with it. Labour have historically been very pro Scotland / pro union, thanks to a nice bunch of safe seats. This makes Scots naturally feel that the rest of the UK really wants to keep/help Scotland. Go fully independent and Labour have absolutely no reason to care.

    Could be a messy divorce.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    You either want true independence or you don't. Man up, moon your kilts and make the decision one way or another.

    That's why we Welshies will [probably] always fall in line when it comes to "the big decision". Its a lonely tough cruel world out there and it's comforting to have the warm gentle bosom of Great Britain and the Pound.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post
    You either want true independence or you don't. Man up, moon your kilts and make the decision one way or another.

    That's why we Welshies will [probably] always fall in line when it comes to "the big decision". Its a lonely tough cruel world out there and it's comforting to have the warm gentle bosom of Great Britain and the Pound.
    It's similar down here in Cornwall. It's not that we like the English ruling us, it's just that we have better things to do than politics.

    Matter do ee.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    A quote from a guardian article:

    'Pressed to confirm he had no alternatives, Salmond said: "No, I didn't say that." He later added: "The fiscal commission working group set out a range of options for monetary policy for an independent Scotland. They're there and have been there for the last year. They recommended that the best one was a sterling area and that's the one we're articulating and we will continue to articulate: the plan A." '

    I appreciate that a bit more detail would be nice though!

    What I find quite irritating is the notion comically put forward by Animus in that video clip - that us Scots are somehow ungrateful and should be thanking England for everything we have. Its total nonsense and its worth remembering the UK only came into existence after the Act of Union. This pandering to the lowest common denominator has been present in many low rent TV shows, newspapers and the like. Here's an example (and tell me it wouldn't make your blood boil in our shoes):




    That clown Madeley even says something along the lines of 'why do they hate us after all we've done for them'!
    Firstly - contrary to popular belief this is not about the English, most Scots don't hate the English (with the notable exception of that whining moron Richard Madeley) - far from it - and its bewildering that so many commentators don't grasp this (Many Scots do, however, resent having several Tory governments in Westminster despite the fact that they haven't held a majority up here in 60 years). We don't all sit watching Braveheart, painting our faces and hating the English. This is about a nation with its own, strong, identity deciding whether they want to gain independence from a Union they have only been part of for 300 years (i.e. Scotland has been independent longer than its been in the Union).

    Of course great things have come from the Union but that's been a two way street and for anyone to suggest otherwise is seriously misguided. As for the currency there are some very valid points that have been made but there has been precedent for it before - I think Ireland used the pound for some time after independence?
    As for the EU question Graham Avery has indicated that Scotland could join fairly quickly. Several EU leaders have suggested otherwise but they have their own axe to grind there - namely to prevent similar situations in other countries, most notably the Catalan independence movement in Spain. Here is a link to that article:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...itics-25965703

    Saracen: 'Moreover, the SNP want to join the EU. Not one accession state in 30 years or more has been allowed to opt out of a commitment to join the Euro, and to prepare for doing so, at a minimum, where they don't qualify right now.'
    - In the article/video above Mr Avery explains that the EU cannot oblige a new member state to accept the Euro. He also explains that the situation of an independent Scotland joining the EU would be very different from other countries that have joined as Scotland is already in the EU.

    People here have also mentioned the bullying issue but its natural for the SNP to play that card when the No campaign have been so uniformly negative. All we ever hear from them is it can't work, you won't be able to do it on your own, we won't share this etc. If they were a bit more positive in their reasoning then the SNP couldn't play it this way.

    For the record, and since the wall of text above may have given people other ideas, I am undecided at the moment. If we had a lot more autonomy within the Union that might do but I am curious to see what it would be like to go it alone. Plus we might get another bank holiday
    Last edited by george1979; 15-02-2014 at 04:02 AM.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Quote Originally Posted by george1979 View Post
    ....

    As for the currency there are some very valid points that have been made but there has been precedent for it before - I think Ireland used the pound for some time after independence? ....
    but you're making exactly the mistake I pointed out. An independent Scotland can "use the pound". Nobody is arguing about that. Ireland did not have a currency union. A currency union is about a vast amount more than using the pound.

    What independent Scotland absolutely cannot have, unless it get's an agreement from Westminster, is currency union. And that's what Salmond has just been told is not going to happen.

    Currency union means, for example, ceding control over taxation, spending, etc. Or rather, a viable, sustainable currency union does. That's the argument, and changes currently being made with the Euro. Amendments sre being made that will require member (Eutozone) states to get Brussels approval for their budgets, because the ECB is the lender of last resort, and is underwriting banks in member states .... like Greece. That was the point of Mark Carney's speech in Scotland last week - the TECHNICAL issues with currency union, not it's political desirability. He explained, at some length, what's required, and why, for currency union to work.

    One implication of currency union is "lender of last resort", the central bank. In the event of bank failures, a currency union implies one state bails out the other's banks, or banking system. Do you think rest of UK taxpayers are going to agree to risk bailing out Scotish banks, if Scotland votes to leave the UK?

    But perhaps more interestingly, could Scotland bail out rest of UKs banks if they fail? Given the relative size of Scotland to the UK, it is therefore a wholly asymmetrical expectation.

    Moreover, both money supply and interest base rates are set by central banks. If Scotland goes independent, does it really make sense to immediately hand two major planks of economic policy back to the BofE?

    Currency union also requires the regulation and oversight of banks, because of the operation of deposit guarantee schemes. So Scottish banks in an independent Scotland want to be regulated from a foreign country? Doesn't that defeat a large part of the point of independence?

    That's some of what currency union, as opposed to what currency you use, means, but it's not all of it. I could go on.

    The way I see it, independence is about a number of things, not least, Scottish identity, pride, call it what you will. It's not just about money. It's at least partly an emotive issue, not just a factual one.


    What does wind me up, though, is the argument about a Tory government without a majority "up there" for years. It's called democracy. You don't always get the government you want. Take the current coalition. Remove the Scottish MPs from Westminster (what, 49 Labour, 1 Tory) and redo the electoral maths, and the 92%-ish of the population that isn't Scottish would have had a majority Tory government. So the rest of us also got a government we didn't vote for, because of Scotland.

    Population-wise, Scotland is the tail that seems to want to wag the dog. If this is about not having a Tory government that Scotland didn't vote for, because it's supremely arrogant for Scotland to think it gets to pick the government for the rest of us.

    So either that's supremely important and nothing rlse matters but not getting a Tory government, in which case, why has it taken so long to frame the argument? Hold the vote, go independent and have whatever government Svotland wants .... outside the UK. Because one thing is certain. You're never likely to get an SNP government running Westminster. But if it's not about not getting the government you voted for, then those Scots msking that argument would do well to remember that most of us down here have spent years with a government we didn't vote for too. I didn't vote for 13 years of Labour, or 5 years of coalition, either. And for about 30 years, I haven't voted for the local MP I ended up with, either. That's democracy for you.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Quote Originally Posted by george1979 View Post
    ....

    Saracen: 'Moreover, the SNP want to join the EU. Not one accession state in 30 years or more has been allowed to opt out of a commitment to join the Euro, and to prepare for doing so, at a minimum, where they don't qualify right now.'
    - In the article/video above Mr Avery explains that the EU cannot oblige a new member state to accept the Euro. He also explains that the situation of an independent Scotland joining the EU would be very different from other countries that have joined as Scotland is already in the EU.

    ....
    Well, with all due respect to Mr Avery, perhaps he ought to reread the EU Chapters of Acquis. These are the terms by which prospective members have to apply. There are 35 if them, and no.17, on Economic and Monetary Policy, includes ...
    New Member States are also committed to complying with the criteria laid down in the Treaty in order to be able to adopt the euro in due course after accession. Until then, they will participate in the Economic and Monetary Union as a Member State with a derogation from the use of the euro and shall treat their exchange rates as a matter of common concern.
    Oh, and he also says Scotland is a member of the EU. Sorry, but rubbish. Scotland isn't a member, England isn't a member, and nor are Wales or NI. It is the UK that is.

    Feel free to pop over to the EU website and check the list. Or, pick and treaty and look at the signatories .... such as Lisbon, which was Gordon Brown (when he eventually deigned to show up) on behalf of the UK.

    On the subject of Scotland's needing to apply if it leaves the UK, well, eminent kaw professors from both Cambridge and Edinburgh university agree with with the President of the EU Commission (Barroso) and the President of the European Council (Van Rumpuy), and several other member heads of state, mall if whom have expeessed the opposite view.

    But perhaps a more definitive answer will ve available soon, and the EU are due to publush a legal opinion on the matter in the next couple of weeks. What is clear is that it's a somewhat unprecedented situation.

    But it seems pretty clear that only two situations can apply.

    1) The independence of Scotland causes the disappearance if the UK entirely, and two new states emerge, both of which need to reapply. That might be the case with, say, the break up of Yugoslavia into component parts, but I've yet to see any legal opinion suggesting that that applies to the UK, or

    2) The part that leaves becomes a new state, and the rest is the "continuing state". That is how international law sees Scotland leaving the UK. As the continuing state, the UK continues to have all the treaty rights and obligations it gad vefore. After all, it's the UK that signed them. The leaving state becomes a new state, with any of those rights, or obligations.

    Which begs another question. An independent Scotland is independent, yes? How long will it take to set up embassies, consulates, etc? If I remember correctly, the UK currently has about 260 such operations, in about 160 countries.

    What about double-tax agreements? There are loads of those, with most major countries. Extradition agreements? Inrernatiobal arrest warrants? The list of this kind of stuff is endless.

    It can, of course, all be done. But unless the SNP us going to want a "union" with the rest of the UK for all these, too, it's going to take years and cost a fortune. But hey, at least no Tory government.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    And on Shengen, Chapter 24 Justice, Freedom and Security, says

    Above all, this requires a strong and well-integrated administrative capacity within the law enforcement agencies and other relevant bodies, which must attain the necessary standards. A professional, reliable and efficient police organisation is of paramount importance. The most detailed part of the EU’s policies on justice, freedom and security is the Schengen acquis, which entails the lifting of internal border controls in the EU. However, for the new Member States substantial parts of the Schengen acquis are implemented following a separate Council Decision to be taken after accession.

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Plan B = adopt the EURO, outside of the EU.....

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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Quote Originally Posted by HalloweenJack View Post
    Plan B = adopt the EURO, outside of the EU.....
    Or the US dollar, or the Vietnamese Dong, Thai Baht. They could USE any currency they like, but without a currency union, a potential Scottish government would still have no control over it. If they did decide to go for a currency without a currency union, it would probably be better to go for the Chinese Yen, or the Indian Rupee, as they are both relatively strong economies.

    Or maybe Alex Salmond is behind the recent alleged bitcoin hacks and plan B is to adopt bitcoin as the national curency.?
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    Re: (Independent) Scotland and the pound?

    Quote Originally Posted by HalloweenJack View Post
    Plan B = adopt the EURO, outside of the EU.....
    Fair enough. It's an option.

    But if that's the plan (or if anything else is, for that matter) then don't the SNP owe it to the Scottish people to say that, so that the Scottish people can, erm, assess the desirability of that, for their future. Personally, I think it'd be monumentally stupid to do that, but if that's what Scotland wants, so be it.

    What I, personally, don't think is credible is the SNP position that the "over our dead bodies" stance of all three Westminster parties on sterling currency union, is just a bluff, and that there's no need to even consider the possibility that they actually mean exactly what they said.

    I think it's a political implausibilty that any of the three parties would go into the 2015 general election suggesting to the voters in the rest of the UK that underwriting Scottish banks or public spending with Scotland having just voted for independence, would be a good idea.

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