Thursday, 13 February 2014

Currency Union - The Sequel... To the sequel.

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: 
  • 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."
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...
A broken record
Apart from the notion that its all a bit of a red herring anyway - an independent Scotland could simply use the pound without a currency agreement or create a Scottish pound pegged to Sterling - it does beg the question, if we're so loved by the rest of the UK (as intimated by Cameron as recently as last week,) with friends like this, who needs enemies?

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
Westminster wants all the assets but only its share of the liabilities should Scotland vote yes, while the SNP have said they'd negotiate for the assets and take a fair share of liabilities - who or what is being unfair here?

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
What Osborne and the other main Westminster parties are doing today with this announcement is at best blackmail and at worst; plain extortion. They're going to tell us to continue to give them our money and sovereignty or else.

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
That this iniquitous union exists isn't the fault of the two individuals above, but they do seek to perpetuate it and will do anything to that end. This year we have an opportunity to secure a far better, fairer constitutional settlement. The entire history of this bastard British Union dovetails & coalesces to this point and with these two millionaire relatives of the Queen and what they represent.

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.


  1. So now Osborne's speech is not as the BBC reported it would be. Did the BBC make an honest mistake, were they misled or is it all another bit of Project Fear spin? Whatever it is, it just stirs up more anger and resentment.

    The real question is not about details like currency union; it is whether, following a Yes vote, Westminster is prepared to negotiate an amicable independence settlement and subsequently be a good neighbour to Scotland, and to co-operate with us when this is to our mutual benefit. If the answer to this is no, then the next question is obvious - why on earth should we remain in a union with such people?

    Increasingly, I believe that the unionists' tactics in their fight to preserve their beloved union are making that union intolerable and unworkable. Their response to the union being broken is like that of somebody trying to mend a cracked plate with a hammer instead of glue.

  2. Aye.

    Its certainly put the cat among the pigeons, so to speak.

    Its the usual thing though, before an election they promise the earth, afterwards, its a different story.

    Its an interesting thing though, the tories don't need Scottish votes, but can they do without Scottish revenue?

    I don't think Cameron is an old fashioned empire-loving tory, he's a spiv. Its all about profit and sway among the elite.

    What I can't quite decide is was this planned or as you say, did the BBC jump the gun.

    Also, if it was planned, with the three points on Nick Robinson's article - that to me looks like devomax by the back door. Looking at it like that, given most folk preferred devomax...

    Could they be starting to pre-negotiate with that aim in mind?

    Would the SNP agree to the 'subsidy' between the UK countries?

    They'd better not, that's part of the problem.

  3. "
    Would the SNP agree to the 'subsidy' between the UK countries?"

    I would certainly hope not. But how could Westminster sell that one to English voters without admitting to them that they have been misled about who has been subsidising whom?

  4. For years they managed to convince Scots they were subsidy junkies, people down south still believe it.

    Its an interesting quandary though, they'd no doubt dress it up as bank bail out type activity, even although that is also a fallacy - most of the bailing out was done by the fed - not by the BoE.

    I imagine they'd say they needed the two way subsidy in case Scotland needed bailed out (unionists were already saying as much - talking about Scotland needing help with public expenditure if/when independent - rich coming from a gov running an eye-watering deficit.)

    Meanwhile, the subsidy would be going the other way, as it is now.

    No two ways about it, a country cannot suffer a 10% haircut and not have the markets panic. Westminster are all front.

  5. With the latest threat to drag out negotiations if the Scottish Government does not cave in to all of Westminster's demands, it looks like I did not have long to wait for an answer to the question I posed in my first comment - unless it is just more bluff and posturing.

  6. Westminster does seem to have blown a gasket this week...

    I think it probably is bluster, if they dally on things like currency, they harm their own interests too.

    Unionists talk of uncertainty with a Yes vote (which is quite fatuous anyway.) If they drag their heals after a yes vote in negotiations - all they'll do is cause uncertainty for themselves.

    Its all wind and piss.

  7. I particularly liked David Cameron's notion that he cared too much to do what people advised and keep out of it.

    I'm at a loss to know how the prime minister of a country can keep out of something as momentous as this, and who it was that advised him to make mention of that.

  8. Also, nobody is buying the excuses for not debating with Salmond.

    I can't understand how they can't understand how it looks to most people.

    Glad I didn't watch bbcqt on Thursday, there are some seriously ill-informed people south of the border - one of whom referred to the 'English' pound.

    That definitely will not have gone well with the don't knows.


Thanks for comment as always and I apologise if you have to jump through any hoops to do so. Its just that, I'm still being spammed by organisations who are certain I can't get it up or when it is up its not big enough or that I don't have anyone to get it up for.

Who knew blogging could be so bad for ones self-confidence?