Currency matters

I have been criticised in these pages by several Yes supporters about my concerns about the SNP’s lack of clarity on what our currency would be post-independence. Many in the Yes camp seem to think this is not important and/or a short-term problem.

Douglas Turner (Letters, 3 January) accuses me of being unaware that the Irish Free State/Eire used the pound for a number of years without the UK’s consent.

This is true. Eire kept the punt at from 1922 to 1979 when it entered the ERM. In that period, Eire had trade barriers, economic stagnation and in the post-war period almost 500,000 people emigrated.

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Mr Turner is obviously unaware that John Bruton, a former Taoiseach, warned (in a direct reference to Scottish independence) with reference to the period in Ireland from 1922 to 1979: “At that time, we had a situation where interest rate policy was determined in London without any Irish input, and we went up and down with the fortunes of whatever suited the British economy as decided by people in Britain”. In our case, substitute “rUK” for “Britain”.

After Eire floated the punt, it was immediately devalued by more than 10 per cent against Sterling, increasing to around 25 per cent by the time the euro was introduced.

So, yes, Mr Turner, we could go with the pound without the rUK agreeing – but is it really a good idea? I don’t believe it is.

David K Allan


Haddington, East Lothian

In the run-up to the 2014 referendum, it comes as a surprise to hear Colin Fox’s comments on the state of democracy in the country (your report, 3 January).

Mr Fox, a member of the Yes campaign, is a left-wing politician who represents the Scottish Socialist Party. The Scottish Socialist Party and the Greens, are two of the leading supporters of the SNP’s policy to break Scotland away from the rest of the United Kingdom.

The SNP tries to pretend this is no big matter, as it maintains that there would be continuity of currency, EU and Nato membership, in the teeth of clear statements by the other parties to such arrangements that these matters are not givens. However, those who support these parties should be aware they stand for policies that would be very much at odds with the freedoms we have in the UK.

Mr Fox claims there is a “democratic failure at the heart of UK politics”, at a time when Scots have been given the opportunity of voting on their political future by the very powers he accuses of “British domination”.

These are both curious claims, as all citizens of the United Kingdom are, by definition, British. It would be a bad thing, would it not, if there were domination in British politics by anyone other than the British?

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Moreover, Scots alone are being given this choice, which, if he is suggesting “British domination” means the south-east of England laying down the law, is equally untrue. Support for the claims Mr Fox makes about the “democratic failure” of the British state is reflected best in the number of MSPs his party has in the Scottish Parliament – none.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive