Monday, November 19, 2012

Scottish independence: Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon's vision for sterling questioned, no clarity, no agreements and Scots can’t control own currency, Salmond's hopeless!

Dear All

One of the things which weakens the independence campaign is the assumption of the Scottish National Party that if Scotland was to vote for independence, they would get things their own way post indy!

What would the currency of Scotland be post independence?

Would it be Sterling or the Euro?

Would the Bank of England give Scotland the lender of last resort facility?

If not is there a Plan McB for a Scottish Pound?

These are all serious questions to be asked and so far, two years out from the vote, nothing has been done to address this situation beyond platitudes.

Now serious doubt has been cast on the money situation by Brian Quinn, one of Scotland's most experienced bankers; he says the UK Government would impose stringent conditions if an independent Scotland kept the pound in a new "sterling zone.

Quinn is a former high-ranking Bank of England official.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are proposing that an independent Scotland hands over control of our money supply to effectively a foreign country.

This means unlike the situation we have at present where questions could be raised in the House of Commons, Scots would have no representation.

No representation on the Bank of England monetary policy committee either.

This would place many constraints on an independent Scotland's economic and financial policy choices. England would place their economic interests ahead of Scottish ones, this leaves Scotland vulnerable.

Plan McB for a Scottish Pound sinking in yet with the SNP?

Sadly no, given the independence campaign is such a disaster it would be foolish to think that Salmond has matters in hand.

As well as Quinn voicing doubts, Owen Kelly, head of Scottish Financial Enterprise, claims the industry was crying out for clarity on what independence might mean in practice.

He isn’t the only one, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon would probably be interested as well, the SNP have been in ‘business’ for circa 80 years and during that time, nothing was done to have a blueprint of how an independent Scotland would look.


A Party of independence without a plan, you can't make it up, but sadly it's true.  

The pair's (Kelly and Quinn) views highlight what many people in Scotland think, too much to do, too little time to do it and as we are seeing the calibre of Scottish Government work leaves a lot to be desired .

And we are seeing bad law being passed by the Scottish Government, the issue of competence, trust and honesty is being flagged up by opposition parties.

These continuing doubts over finance are outlined in papers for a David Hume Institute seminar in Edinburgh with deal a serious blow to First Minister Alex Salmond's idea of forging a sterling zone with the rest of the UK.

Any negotiations would not be a discussion among equal nations rather England would dictate all terms all the way.

We would see an independent Scotland's freedom to spend and borrow limited, this means people would suffer in recession and the Scottish Government could effectively do nothing to pull itself out of the hole.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon propose to give these monetary powers away.

Scotland would not be allowed to a run a significantly higher budget deficit than the rest of the UK.

The ‘Scottish’ budget would need approval each year from England.

Is this independence?

Another assumption floated by the SNP is that Scottish banks would, as the SNP claim, continue to come under UK regulation.

That plan appears to be in breach of EU rules.

Is this another thing that Salmond hasn’t asked the EU?

How is that competence?

But the real nub and bottom line is that any decision to bail out a Scottish bank on the brink of collapse would be taken by the UK Chancellor.

Not only would England be the ‘gatekeepers’ of finance, they would also be able to stop any rescue attempt of a Scottish bank plunging Scotland in dire economic straits.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have a plan to cope with this scenario?

Well no is the short answer, no answers, no vision and no plan!

Previously the Nicola Sturgeon made allsorts of frankly barmy claims that an independent Scottish Government would be represented on the Bank of England's key Monetary Policy Committee.

That idea was quickly shot down for student union politics that it was.

An independent Scotland according to Mr Quinn; is not self- evident that it would retain the UK's AAA credit rating.

This means no cheap borrowing and the Salmond's pledge to save billions of pounds in an oil fund isn’t backed by anything other than ramblings of an increasingly deluded First Minister.
Where is the plan for how the Oil Fund would operate?

When could the Oil Fund come online?

How much capital would the Scottish Government reserve from the budget each year for the Fund?

What is the purpose of the Fund?

Alex Salmond can’t tell you anything.  

Scottish Financial Enterprise chief Mr Kelly said:

"There is a strong appetite for clarity about what independence would mean in practice and this runs strong in the financial services industry, where facts and evidence are always given preference over belief and sentiment."

Did George Laird say that independence can only won by telling the truth?

It seems that George Laird is right again.

Scottish Labour finance spokesman Ken Macintosh said:

"When an expert such as Brian Quinn questions what independence would mean given the significant constraints Scotland continuing to use the pound would face, it is little wonder that Alex Salmond makes it up as he goes along."

We should let Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon play out their ‘independence game’, afterwards SNP members can look back at all the mistakes and start asking serious questions.

So far Salmond and Sturgeon have dug themselves into a hole, they are totally out of their depth and it shows as they make it up as they go along, Ken Macintosh is right.

People want to know facts, so far the SNP think they can get away with bullshit, but the polls show a different story emerging.

Independence should be taken offline, shelved to 2018, providing that the SNP can win a majority, so far that is looking increasingly unlikely.

There really is no vision.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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