If the Tim Reid’s (BBC) briefing by the Treasury is correct and the British Chancellor officially rules out a currency union this week, we move into a different phase of the debate. It would be confirmation that they recognise that the current position is unsustainable and it isn’t convincing the Scots or the rest of the country who are making it clear they believe it will and should happen.
So in one way, that is good news. It is forcing them to go further than they wish and puts them in a dangerous position. First because it means the markets have to work out a position and decide if this makes the pound more or less attractive. If they think independence is possible and if they buy Osborne’s line, they may decide to bet against the value of sterling. In fact, if that gained traction he might be forced to reverse his statement in order to save the currency. The other danger is that big business gets alarmed and someone steps out of line and challenges his claim to refuse a union. Also, if there is a Yes and he eventually concedes a union he looks like a liar and a conman. The British state at work.
This is a dangerous game for the British state in which they cannot be certain of winning so we can deduce from that there are, as Allan Little said the other night, panicky people in Whitehall. After all, if the strategy is working why risk anything by going to the point of denial of a union? In that sense, we can assume things are looking up for a Yes.
It also means that the game changes for the Yes side. We DO have to think of an alternative but we will do so in the knowledge that we will begin independence with no sovereign debt. The implicit linking of national debt with the currency is exactly right by Salmond who has made a reasonable offer of taking some debt as a quid pro quo. Just as they turned down a second question it looks like the Neanderthals are blundering again.
I know it makes the cross-border issue potentially trickier but what a bonus to say No Thanks to £150b of British debt….I hear voices saying it would morally wrong to refuse but isn’t it morally wrong to deny us access to our own currency? And when they say no one will respect us, what drivel. There will be many neighbours cheering our ability to get out debt-free from burdens we didn’t run up and don’t tell me international lenders will refuse us credit. They won’t look at the morality if that’s what is it…they are profiteers and only will look at our credit worthiness….£1.5 trillion in oil assets, a highly developed successful economy, a highly educated workforce, renewables, exports including whisky and food and to cap it all – NO SOVEREIGN DEBT.
No debt hanging over us and constraining what we can do and how much we borrow and at what rate of interest. In today’s market they will love us. And Britain will be stuck with ALL of the debt and 10 per cent less of its economy to help pay it back, a crippling overload which rises by the second and which will threaten further their credit rating.
This isn’t the perfect solution because it severs a link many wanted to keep with Britain and in the short term with conversion charges it is bad for cross-border trade but it means we have our own currency with no British Treasury interference and constraint and we start out with no debt. We have a Scottish pound and, I think, begin long-term moves to converge with the Euro so in time we join the Euro currency just as it comes out of its crisis, this time stronger, and takes over from the dollar as the world’s strongest tradable currency – it’s already overtaking the dollar in oil transactions.
If this story is true, it is not a reason to be despondent…just think – no more Osborne, no more arrogant lectures from the London supremacists, real economic flexibility and real independence.
It is a reason to climb your nearest Munro and shout…Freedom…!