Alex Salmond must say the following:
- On behalf of Scotland’s negotiating team, he believes a shared currency is the best option for the Scottish people, and that as they have been investing in the assets of the Bank of England for generation, this is a shared asset that must be up for negotiations. Scotland will pay a fair share of the national debt on condition we are not kicked out against our will.
- In the event of our being excluded from the shared asset that is the Bank of England, the people of Scotland would be absolved of the entirety of the United Kingdom’s national debt, a fact that is clear in international law.
- Negotiations over the shared currency would determine both the rights and responsibilities of the Scottish state vis-a-vis the Bank of England. Sovereignty over borrowing limits and interest rate policy would necessarily be ceded to the central bank, with Scots, English Welsh and Northern Irish voters having representatives on the board of that bank in proportion to our respective populations.
- The level of debt the Scottish state would be willing to accept would be negotiated after the books were opened up to Scotland’s negotiating team.
- While borrowing limits, and interest rate policy too, would be shared with non-Scottish institutions, tax and spend policy would become a matter for the Scottish people, and the Scottish people alone.
- Scotland proposes a shared currency because we believe it would be mutually beneficial for an independent Scotland and for the remainder of the United Kingdom. Indeed, it strikes us as self-evident that a shared currency is a much more unequivocal gain for the people of England and Wales than it is for Scots: being kicked out of the Bank of England writes off a lot of debt, while lumbering English voters with that debt. There are gains and losses for Scots, but nothing but losses for the English if they do not negotiate with Scots in good faith over shared assets. Both parties would gain from eliminating wasteful transaction costs. This is why we feel the leaders of all the parties of Better Together are obviously bluffing when they threaten to veto the shared currency without putting this veto policy to the English, Welsh and Northern Irish voters to decide for themselves. Nevertheless, maybe pride will force George Osborne, Danny Alexander, Ed Balls and co to stick to their guns, regardless of how counterproductive this is. Perhaps they are relying on the British Establishment’s broadcasters to cover their arses by continuing to tell porkies about how bad a deal they would have ‘won’ for the English voters.
- Since no Scot would be prepared to bet their life savings on the leaders of the Tories, the Lib Dems and Ed Miliband’s Labour Party not being total imbeciles, Scotland does have a Plan B. But our Plan B is not the personal property of Alex Salmond, nor of his party. Scotland’s Plan B is to put national self determination into action by letting the voters decide the long term future of our currency.
- In the short term, ‘Sterlingization’ would allow Scots to ‘keep the pound’. But such a policy is like climbing aboard a life boat to keep our heads above waters until something more permanent comes along. Being permanently buffeted atop a restless ocean is not hardly what the people of Scotland want. We will eventually need some kind of central bank, with a lender of last resort.
- The Scottish electorate – not the team that negotiates independence in the first place – will weigh up all the options available to us (and they are several), and we, the voters, will make our own decision. While that could be a Scottish currency, that does not have to be how things turn out. There could be belated negotiations with the remainder of the United Kingdom. Scotland does have options, just as the voters of the UK will also have options – including voting out a gang of charlatans. The United Kingdom’s government could easily come crawling back to the Scots. Scotland won’t necessarily tell them to go away. Nevertheless, having written off Scotland’s debt, begging us to renegotiate a shared currency at that point would lead to a significantly worse deal. Worse for the rest of the United Kingdom, that is.