Salmond must come clean on currency

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The UK will have either a Labour or a Conservative Chancellor for the foreseeable future. Both the incumbent and shadow Chancellors, George Osborne and Ed Balls respectively, have stated in detail that keeping the pound in an independent Scotland, if workable at all, would entail significant controls on Scottish finances by the UK government (your report, 5 October).

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond dismisses this with the usual accusation of “scaremongering” or tells them they are wrong and that he knows what is best for the UK as well as Scotland.

However much Mr Salmond blusters, the reality is that the UK Chancellor will do what he sees as best for the UK – why would he not?

I therefore wish Mr Salmond would come clean.

Is it to be a pseudo-independence retaining the pound and accepting the inevitable strict external controls?

Or will we have a separate currency, as called for by some former SNP advisers, the Scottish Socialist Party and now by the Scottish Green Party at its conference?

The response from an SNP spokesman states that “there are some within the Yes movement who have a different vision of how an independent Scotland would operate”.

This reveals, somewhat chillingly, that on issues which will be fundamental in determining voters’ decisions, what is being promised now has little bearing on what could be put in place in the unlikely event of a Scotland separated from the UK.

What effect would it have on voters if they thought their income might be paid to them in euros?

Colin Hamilton

Edinburgh

It was nice of Ed Balls to put the Scots in their place by coming to oversee Johann Lamont and her chunk of the London Labour Party in what is supposed to be a purely Scottish by-election.

Kind of him also to take the trouble to pontificate in a paper like The Scotsman on the subject of the UK pound after Scottish independence. He is an expert in money problems, having been part of the Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling team that set record debt for the UK.

However, he may have erred slightly when he stated that “the UK pound only exists through acts of the UK parliament”.

Actually, the underpinning of the currency is to be found in the Treaty of Union, 1707, Article XVI.

Strange that he omitted to mention this, but Labour is good at omitting things – such as an apology for the economic mess it caused.

Ed Balls is right to state that both partners have to agree to share the pound.

If he becomes Chancellor of England and dislikes the arrangement he will be free to adopt a new currency.

Thomas R Burgess

Perth

At last we have a leading UK politician with the guts to state what must be apparent to all bar those who do not want to see.

I have little time for Ed Balls but his blunt remarks on the chances of a broken-off Scotland being offered the sanctuary of sterling are refreshingly honest.

I would venture that even the most fantasy-filled Nationalist must now grasp the fact that an assertion from Alex Salmond & Co means absolutely nothing in the real world.

Why cannot the SNP simply be honest and say that there will be horrendous problems for all Scots if they choose to break up a 300-year-old union and separate, but that in the long run it would be worth it?

If it took that stance I would still disagree fundamentally with its aim but at least it would in the eyes of many be acting with integrity and honesty and not offering a pie-in-the-sky future where everyone will do what Alex and Nicola and John says they will do.

Alexander McKay

Edinburgh

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