One point that First Minister Alex Salmond might have made in his speech on Monday about a currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK is that, according to Britain’s unwritten constitution, no government or Parliament can bind its successors.
Nothing that Chancellor George Osborne, Labour leader Ed Miliband or Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander say now can prevent a future Westminster government, or even the present one, reconsidering the proposal for a currency union, either on its merits or as part of wider negotiations following a vote for independence.
That said, the Yes campaign must recognise that, if Scots vote for independence, Treasury and Bank of England officials would be bound to advise on what, in their view, would be best for the rest of the UK.
Voters in the referendum will need to be reassured that, whatever the outcome of the negotiations, sterling could and would be used by an independent Scotland even if there is no currency union.
(Prof) George Peden
While one has come to expect not only exaggeration but blatant misrepresentation from many of our politicians, it appears that supporters of a No vote in the forthcoming referendum are taking this questionable tactic to new levels as panic seems to set in and they resort to even more extreme comments and distortion.
Colin Hamilton (Letters, 19 February) stated that the First Minister “swore blind that he had taken legal advice on EU re-entry” which, to anyone who attentively listened to the infamous interview with Andrew Neil, simply demonstrates the wild extent of Mr Hamilton’s rather vivid, if not mischievous, imagination.
Trevor Fenton (Letters, same day), on the other hand, may have been more subtle in his choice of words but still attempts to inappropriately disparage the views of Alex Salmond with his devious personal slant that the First Minister thinks that Scottish voters “can be relied upon to vote emotionally, founding their choice in a mixture of historical grievance and spite for southern Tory toffs”.
Such misleading and derogatory comments not only undermine the arguments of these gentlemen, they demean Scotland and our independence referendum as well as hinder constructive debate.
But, presumably the growing realisation that the case for Scotland to remain in the Union cannot be made through rational presentation of the facts, or through the application of basic common sense and straightforward logic, now makes this desperate tactic acceptable in the minds of many No supporters.
I do wish the SNP leadership would follow through on the logic of its own arguments. If there is to be no debt without a fair share of the “assets” then by symmetry there can be no assets without a fair share of the debt.
If the debt is repudiated, with what previously hidden pot of gold will any government of a newly independent Scotland pay the immediate demands for welfare payments, pensions and the wages of government employees, particularly given that the ability to borrow money on the international markets will be hugely constrained?
If the SNP leadership plans to sequester our bank accounts I think we should be told.
Iain Forde is either naïve or is having a laugh. In his letter (19 February), he tells us it seemed that the SNP is being “statesmanlike, seeking to reduce the adverse fiscal effect on the rUK” in wishing to retain the pound in a currency union should the SNP win the independence vote.
Let’s be clear: the reason Mr Salmond and his party are so keen on a currency union is purely expedient. They know that anything else is a certain vote loser. In the days when it seemed the euro was performing well, that currency was their only desire.
After the eurozone chaos, the pound (previously described by the SNP leadership as a “millstone round our neck”) is now their only plan. I do not for one minute believe Mr Salmond’s bluff and bluster about his concern for what would be the rUK.
Like Colin Hamilton (Letters, 19 February), I suspect there may be a more Machiavellian plan afoot from the SNP: denial of the pound may well be the excuse to adopt the euro sooner rather than later.
Despite the denials of Salmond, John Swinney et al that we would not ever join the ERM ll or the eurozone, no-one should doubt that new member states into the EU (as Mr Barrosso and many others confirm Scotland would be) are obliged, under a non-negotiable condition, to sign up for these.
Why is the SNP so desperate to rubbish Mr Barroso’s perfectly reasonable statement? It is precisely because of the above, as we would immediately lose the UK’s opt-out from the euro.
David K Allan
Derek Fenton (Letters 19 February) says Scots will base their decision on whether to vote for independence on a mixture of historical grievance and spite for southern Tory toffs.
He says this without the merest hint of irony, thus mirroring the staggering arrogance and contempt for the Scottish electorate displayed by Chancellor George Osborne, Shadow chancellor Ed Balls and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander in saying that that the people of Scotland will be forbidden from entering a currency union with rUK following a vote for independence.