Lifting the veil on the debate over currency union

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The coalition government and the Labour Party clearly think that they have revealed the reality on currency and debt to the Scottish electorate (your reports). But, from a Scottish perspective, this decision has provided a quite different kind of revelation. The veil has been lifted on the reality of the Union, and Scotland’s insignificant place in and poverty of influence on British policy has been starkly revealed.

This is not what the British government claimed in the seductively deceptive Edinburgh Agreement on the conduct of the referendum and consequences for both parties, when the Prime Minister signed a deal that is at pains to make clear that the “two governments are committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom” (Section 30 “Co-operation”).

What is quite extraordinary about the new UK coalition of the unionist parties’ position on currency is that an independent Scotland is expected, quite rightly, to accept a share of the UK national debt by paying interest and capital on £100+ billion of the debt held by rUK, presumably denominated in sterling, but in principle deprived even of negotiating the option of a currency union in the same currency as the whole of its debt. Somehow we are supposed to believe not only that this decree is fair and equitable to both parties, but that it meets the “best interests” standard, and it is non-negotiable.

John S Warren

Tulipan Court

Callander, Perthshire

After the announcement that Scotland can use the pound, but not as part of a UK currency union, Alex Salmond continues to present himself as shrewd – but, palpably, he is not a man for the international stage. He has taken a position of attacking this pronouncement as “bluff, bluster and bullying” and “Scotland is well used to being talked down to by Tory prime ministers”. When will he rise above this tribal, inferiority complex, hard done by and antagonistic display of the modern Scot? 

Instead of this belligerent approach, he should deal with the four requirements that George Osbourne outlined as essential for sharing the pound, namely: banking union; greater fiscal risk sharing; a single monetary and exchange rate policy; and built to last. Hopefully, John Swinney could join him in this. We have seen nothing of him since this announcement was made and he is, after all, the finance secretary.

Jimmy Armstrong

Abergeldie Road

Ballater, Aberdeenshire

IN JUST four days, two of the First Minister’s central planks of “independence”, namely currency union and European Union membership, have been blown out of the water – not by pro- unionist voters, but by people who at the very least must have a good idea as to what might happen in the unlikely event of a Yes vote in September. The SNP simply cannot dismiss the comments of the European Commission president as “preposterous” and the notice given by the Chancellor in respect of the currency as “bluffing, blustering and bullying”.

This sort of dismissive and aggressive response around two key independence issues is just not acceptable to the people of Scotland, with less than 200 days to the vote. If the First Minister and his cohorts do not respond with practical and alternative solutions, then their proposition will not just unravel but will disintegrate rapidly. 

Richard Allison

Braehead Loan Edinburgh

IN JUST four days, two of the First Minister’s central planks of “independence”, namely currency union and European Union membership, have been blown out of the water – not by pro- unionist voters, but by people who at the very least must have a good idea as to what might happen in the unlikely event of a Yes vote in September. The SNP simply cannot dismiss the comments of the European Commission president as “preposterous” and the notice given by the Chancellor in respect of the currency as “bluffing, blustering and bullying”.

This sort of dismissive and aggressive response around two key independence issues is just not acceptable to the people of Scotland, with less than 200 days to the vote. If the First Minister and his cohorts do not respond with practical and alternative solutions, then their proposition will not just unravel but will disintegrate rapidly. 

Richard Allison

Braehead Loan Edinburgh

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