We’re in the Scottish money. Or at least we’re going to be if Scotland becomes independent. The Sunday Herald is reporting that the Scottish Government is studying plans for a separate Scottish currency in the event of independence. This immediately removes the Westminster veto threat which blighted the last independence referendum, their insistence that Scotland would not be ‘allowed’ to use the pound sterling, and which reduced the debate to the utterly inane Unionist claim that Scotland would be the only country on the planet which was unable to have any sort of currency at all. Cue the usual sneers about the groat or the bawbee.
The truth is that there’s absolutely nothing to prevent Scotland from using the pound if that what we chose to do. It’s not like after independence the rUK government is going to be able to send squads of SAS to the checkout at Morrisons to demand that we all empty our pockets and turn over illicit sterling. Using a currency unilaterally wouldn’t be the best option for an independent Scotland, but there’s bugger all that Westminster could do to stop us if that’s what we chose to do. That the nonsensical claim that Scotland wouldn’t be ‘allowed’ to use the pound ever gained any traction at all is simply evidence of the fact that the assertions of the Better Together campaign were not subject to proper scrutiny by Scotland’s predominantly Unionist media.
It takes a very small mind, a breathtaking lack of imagination, to believe that somehow Scotland would be uniquely incapable of establishing a currency of its own. The sneers and dismissiveness of those who crack unfunny jokes about the bawbee are a reflection of their own shortcomings, not of Scotland’s.
Even much smaller states with smaller populations and fewer resources are able to start their own currencies. Estonia has a population of just over 1,300,000 and far fewer natural resources and a much weaker economy than Scotland, which was additionally burdened by the immense difficulties and pain of transitioning from the decayed command economy of the Soviet Union to a modern European economy. Yet despite these massive disadvantages and challenges which Scotland doesn’t face, Estonia was able to establish its own currency which it was capable of keeping stable enough for long enough for Estonia to go on and join the Eurozone. Estonia joined the Euro because it chose to sign up to ERMII. Scotland doesn’t have to choose that path. Being forced to adopt the Euro is a Unionist myth just like the myth that Scotland could be prevented from using sterling.
But Scotland won’t be able to do even as well as Estonia, according to the non-functioning neurones of the Unionist hive-mind. A stable Scottish currency wouldn’t be possible. Just, you know, because reasons. For generations Scotland has been told it’s poor, it’s unimportant, it’s incapable, and they’ve internalised that message on a deep level. Then they project their own inadequacies onto Scotland, and demand that the rest of us respect and accept their ‘realism’.
The argument from the indy side was that the pound sterling was an intangible asset of the UK and therefore Scotland had a right to it in the same way that we have a right to our fair share in the tangible assets of the UK on becoming independent. Deny us assets, and Scotland has every right to tell the UK treasury that it can stick its UK national debt up its arse. If Scotland isn’t getting the assets, then we’re not taking on the debt. And let’s not forget that this is debt with the UK treasury’s name on it. Scotland has no legal obligation. No financial institution anywhere in the world possesses an IOU saying “We owe you squillions and squillions. Pinky promise to pay you back. Love, Scotland.” If Westminster wants Scotland to take on a share of the UK national debt, they’re going to have to play nice.
Some have argued that Scotland has a moral obligation to take on a share of the UK debt, and this may very well be true. Scotland, they say, would be hammered by the credit agencies for not acting morally. But show me an international lending bank which operates on the principle of morality and I’ll show you a Disney cartoon full of fluffy talking bunnies. Actually you could equally argue that the reverse was true, that Scotland would be hammered by the credit agencies for taking on debt which was not legally ours. After all, how confident can you be as a lender that you’re going to be repaid if the person you lend to keeps taking on debts that belong to other people?
Unionists denied that the pound was an intangible asset, clearly never having heard of the concept of “brand identity”. When a business changes hands, a portion of the price paid by the new owners is a payment for intangibles like brand identity and customer loyalty. Denying Scotland access to the pound sterling means denying Scotland its share in the brand identity and customer loyalty built up in the stability of the pound sterling, a stability and brand identity to which Scotland has contributed. If Scotland is going to give up its right to use the pound sterling, since Westminster made it perfectly clear last time that they’re not going to tolerate our right to do so, then they’re going to have to pay. The decision to start a new Scottish currency means that in future independence negotiations Holyrood will no longer have to plead with Westminster for cooperation in a currency union, now Westminster will have to plead with Holyrood about how much of Westminster’s debt Scotland is prepared to take on.
Mind you, next time we won’t want to use the pound sterling, on account of the fact that when Brexit bites the rUK pound will be on a par with the ginger bottle. Scotland will be doing itself no favours at all to tie itself to a currency that’s plummeting in value and as hard as wet toilet paper.
The reality, the real reality as opposed to the sneers of diehard Unionist trolls, is that Scotland is perfectly able to establish its own currency, a currency which will be stable and serviceable. Scotland will also take on a share of the UK national debt, although since we’re not going to be using the rUK’s pound sterling an independent Scotland’s share of the UK’s national debt will be reduced accordingly. Scotland is going to establish its own currency, and it’s going to be more stable than sterling. Watch and see. Scotland will be in the Scottish money.
Audio link to this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/in-the-scottish-money-wee-ginger-dug-17th-july-2016
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