Yet again, we are being let down by the Scottish and British media’s coverage of our independence debate.
This time the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s recent comments have been interpreted as a “warning to Scotland” by the BBC and others. I have read his thoughtful and balanced speech in full and find its actual content hard to reconcile with the associated media coverage.
First of all, it is debatable if his comments even constitute a warning. To someone like myself, with a background in the financial sector, his words simply represent a statement of the economically obvious. A shared currency requires collaboration and the right institutions to make it work. This is hardly news. It is just common sense.
More concerning still is the media’s knee-jerk interpretation of his comments (or warnings) as being directed at Scotland (and Scotland alone). They were not.
The relevant section of his speech followed some carefully chosen words explicitly naming both the rUK and Scottish parliaments. Both countries would be required to cede sovereignty to some degree. Again, this is simple common sense.
While both campaigns are more than capable of hyperbole, the Better Together response – as ever – went into negative overdrive.
In the feeding frenzy to claim Mr Carney’s comments as damaging to the independence cause, logic was the casualty. Better Together’s Alistair Darling, for example, claimed that the proposed arrangement would be “a funny kind of independence”. Really?
A shared currency arrangement is the norm in Western Europe. Does Mr Darling believe that France, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland, for example, are not normal independent countries? Did Belgium and Luxembourg fail to fulfil the Darling definition of independence when they happily shared a currency for 70-odd years? What’s so funny about it?
I don’t think I’m the only one who would welcome a bit more sanity, balance and perspective in this debate.
After the visit of the Bank of England Governor, no referendum voter can claim to have been unaware of the serious currency problems involved in this leap in the dark.
While Mark Carney refused to be drawn into the politics, he left little doubt that Scotland can either be fully independent or stay with sterling – but not both. The First Minister still insists he will keep the pound but Chancellor George Osborne indicates that it is “highly unlikely” that London will ever agree to an EU-style currency union.
Scotland could start its own currency using, say, the Bank of Airdrie as a central bank and track the pound like a South American banana republic tracking the US dollar.
But a tiny nation’s currency is at the mercy of markets unimpressed by Alex Salmond’s wishful thinking leaving us exposed to hyper-inflation and other economic ills. It would not even require the profligate Scottish bankers to create the kind of post-Darien situation where a bankrupt “Skintland” was once again begging England to take it in.
(Dr) John Cameron
A quick comparison of exchange rates between January 2007 (pre-crunch) and January 2014 reveals how much the pound has devalued against the two major world traded currencies: 19.9 per cent against the euro (allegedly a basket case), and 15.8 per cent against the US dollar.
Or how about small independent countries the No campaign would have us believe, just as they denigrate Scotland, are too small, too stupid, or too poor to run their own affairs? Inconveniently, the pound has also devalued by 16.5 per cent against the Norwegian kroner, 19.6 per cent against the Danish kroner and 21.4 per cent against the Swedish kroner. It looks like the rest of the world has passed judgment on the economic management by Westminster and the Bank of England, does not believe a word of it, and voted with its wallet.
Clive B Scott
At last, the truth will out but it takes the Governor of the Bank of England to deliver it.
In one sentence the whole rationale of supposed independence was scuppered by his comment that “in short, a durable, successful currency union requires some ceding of national sovereignty”.
Therefore, I hope the First Minister will highlight to the electorate as soon as possible what national sovereignty he is prepared to cede to maintain the pound, or will we have another change of mind and supposed legal advice to say we can join the euro and maintain our national sovereignty?
If not, what in the First Minister’s world is independence and why do we need it?