Turns out, this momentous announcement coming from Osborne about currency union isn't so much momentous as repetitive. He's not ruling anything out, he's going to say there would be caveats, according to Nick Robinson of the BBC (usual warnings apply)
"Sources say the Treasury review - which has been written by government officials, not by politicians - will argue that three conditions would be necessary for an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK to use the same currency. The governments in London and Edinburgh would have to agree to:
We knew there'd be negotiations and some form of compromise. Is it possible that this is Osborne & Cameron's coy attempt at the beginnings of pre-negotiations...
- Underwrite each others banks
- Allow taxpayers in one country to subsidise the other
- Reach broad agreements on tax, spending and borrowing levels on both sides of the border."
|A broken record|
In Nick Robinson's article on the BBC news website - bearing in mind the BBC is no friend of Scotland (unless it stays within the UK) - the language being used is telling. Attempting to absolve the politicians of any responsibility by saying it was 'written by government officials, not politicians' is fatuous and patronising. They expect us to believe that in one of the oldest gentlemen's clubs in the western world, no mutual back scratching goes on, no favours are exchanged and no Westminster government official is at all worried what the over-night absence of 10% of the UK's economy & people will do to Westminster's standing in the world?
More over, while Nicola Sturgeon was being reprimanded by unionist politicians for suggesting if Scotland can't use its own currency (an asset of the union) then it seemed perfectly reasonable to reject taking on any of the debt (a liability of the union.) Unionists are fond of telling the SNP and Yes Scotland they can't have their cake and eat it, I say again, Westminster want the cake, its calories and the bakery from where it came - the double standard is stark.
|A broken cake|
What has Westminster to lose by 'ruling out' a currency union? Its actually quite prosaic but enormously important: its the middle option of the three 'conditions' in Nick Robinson's article above (conditions for a currency union Osborne will be ruling out today - completely...) They stand to lose Scottish revenue from Oil & Gas, its whisky & tourism and much more besides.
Some-what ironically, if a currency union did come in to force with those condition in place it would look quite similar to devo-max, but not as it would have been if it was on the ballot paper, on the people of Scotland's terms - it would be on Westminster's terms.
You might think its fair enough, but for every one of the past 30 years, Scotland has been subsidising the rest of the UK and Westminster's wilder wet dreams. While we're selflessly sending our cash down south so London can bail out bankers, buy jets (£2.5 billion) from their defence industry cronies in the USA and replace a pointless nuclear deterrent - we're also using Scottish money to mitigate policies Scottish politicians (well, most of them anyway) did not vote for put in place by a government Scotland did not elect. Meanwhile, parts of Scotland languish with the worst levels of poverty and mortality in the UK if not Europe.
|A broken submarine|
Or else what?
We all know not to rely on the press to hold politicians to account, they'll be so busy asking 'what this means', engaging in in-depth analysis - this morning on BBC Radio Scotland it was being reported with nothing short of glee. With the exception of Iain Macwhirter, no other commentator or news agency (to my knowledge) has identified this for what it is - an act of economic aggression coming from our own government which last week in the form of David Cameron said:
"Some people have even advised me to stay out of this issue – and not to get too sentimental about the UK", but added: "I care far too much to stay out of it."
It rather puts things into context, English Tories don't care about Scotland, they care about Scotland's money and the continuance of its flow southward.
I was in favour of a currency union but after today, they can ram it. If all that is at stake is the stewardship of the Bank of England backed up by the political 'might' of Westminster - looking back over the past few years, Westminster and the BoE were very much part of the problem.
|A broken union|
We all enjoyed slagging George W Bush for fluffing the 'fool me once' line, but how often are we going to be fooled by Westminster? Currency union or no - Yes is still the correct and only answer to what ails Scotland today.