Even if George Osborne, Danny Alexander and Ed Balls succeed in stealing Scotland’s currency, the Scottish people will survive. Let’s be clear that if the parties of Better Together are not bluffing, and if they carry out their idiotic threat to refuse to negotiate over the joint asset that is the Bank of England, the Scottish people will live on. Indeed, many of us believe we will prosper much better without the dubious assets of the United Kingdom’s central bank.
Scotland does have options if we are denied access to Sterling. I have been very critical of how Alex Salmond dealt with questions about the currency on Tuesday, and I make no apologies for that. He did get it wrong, and sent out, at least subliminally, a message to his spin doctors, and no doubt to many rank and file YES Campaigners to parrot a line that simply does not make sense.
Having said that, at First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood this afternoon, while he started off as bad as he left off at STV’s Scotland Decides debate with Alistair Darling, his second response hit many of the right targets. Almost all of them. Almost all, but not quite.
Alex Salmond for a moment even had me doubting if all my criticisms had been misjudged. No, not quite. Alex Salmond hammered home the point of the costs to the rest of the United Kingdom should they carry out their threat to refuse to negotiate over a shared currency. When I thought about this, for a brief moment I thought this solved all our problems. I even wondered if Alex Salmond had not been terribly clever by pretending he had nothing to say, when today proved that clearly he had. Was he even giving his Better Together adversaries enough rope to hang themselves, letting them have a day or two thinking they had everything sown up, getting more and more careless in what they said, leaving behind massive hostages to fortune in the columns of newspapers, on social media, political talk shows. There has been a lot of that. This is dead groovy.
The problem is… Well, to be frank, there are several problems. I don”t believe Alex Salmond was being clever the other day by pretending to be incapable of answering the question. That doesn’t really make sense. Because that is how it looked to his own supporters, who felt very deflated, made worse by the other side celebrating because we were now stuffed.
Regardless of why Alex Salmond didn’t answer the questions, the reality is it still looks like he is mixing up the alternatives to a shared currency. That is not good. The undecideds are going to be shifting, and when they finally make their minds up, it is unlikely they will shift back again if it looks like answers that could have been offered long ago turn up at the last minute. This will strike some as deviousness, and may seem cynical if not suspicious, potentially downright dishonest. Voters need to be given a little time to weigh things up. And time is running out fast.
What about the Euro? No, Scotland can’t make that work. It is important to remind Scots that David Cameron’s newly appointed Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond , the man who blames the Palestinians for Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, and Michael Gove, the man just given the job of Tory Chief Whip, intend to drag all six million Scots out of the European Union whether we want that or not. And if Scotland subsequent to the United Kingdom being dragged out of the EU becomes independent in order to get back into the EU, Scotland will, in such circumstances, have to accept the Euro. There is nothing in the constitution setting rules on Scotland’s currency if we break from the UK.
Alex Salmond need not spell out massively detailed plans if Scotland is kicked out o Sterling. It would be counterproductive to do that. Indeed, Alistair Darling and the rest of the Better Together leaders, including all their parrots at the BBC, SKY News and Channel4 News may be trying to trick Alex Salmond into being a closet supporter of withdrawal from Sterling. That, of course, is a trick. The moral authority for writing off the debt, and our case in international law is tied inexorably to our having this asset removed against our will. Nevertheless,…
Nevertheless, Scotland’s negotiating team have to reassure Scottish voters that we can survive should we find ourselves outside Sterling. Alex Salmond and all supporters of a YES vote need time to dismantle all the lies of the BBC et al. We cannot do that in the closing hours of 17th of September. We need a little time to offer reassurance that we will survive. The clock is ticking.