A ‘Hand’ for Scotland: Hogmanay currency delivery awaits Scotland’s first minister

Maxine Blane

Social entrepreneur asks if Scotland has the bottle

RAISING his hand in a hall full of attendees, financial services expert and pro-independence activist Mike Fenwick placed a pound into a four litre bottle and challenged "all those who want to see change" to also place a pound of their money inside.

Making the case for the creation of a Scottish central bank during a currency debate organised by Yes Rutherglen on Thursday night, Fenwick sought to simplify the concept by inviting audience members to take part in a symbolic action which he plans to take all the way to Holyrood.

Up to 60 individuals signed promissory pledges to fund a people's central bank, however the organiser told CommonSpace that £72 in coins had been submitted.

The voluntary bottle collection will last from the present day to Hogmanay and Fenwick hopes to present the final proceeds to the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, for safekeeping. Fenwick hopes the stunt will highlight hopes from the pro-independence camp for the creation of a central bank for the Scottish people free from control by private capital, and solely a publicly funded institution.

Speaking to CommonSpace, Fenwick, said: "One of the questions last night was how do you explain what we are doing to the man/woman in the street – it is a crucial question.

"Much of what we use as currency and think of as money is a piece of paper with a promise printed on it by a Bank, it is not legal tender, and often the printed promise is being given by bank boards and chief executives who left in disgrace.

"What we are attempting is to change that with a promise signed by individuals in their own name, in their own hand, and which is backed in full by legal tender, and to allow everyone in Scotland to get used to another form of currency, in the form of a "medium of exchange", bearing a name which can be trusted – the Scottish ‘Hand’.

"It may also begin to allow everyone to better understand what having a Scottish Central Bank means in practice, one based on assets, not debt."

The idea for the Scottish ‘Hand’ was inspired from the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne, which say: "Around the world on Hogmanay, people will join hands and sing or say these words … And here's a hand my trusty fiere! And gies a hand o' thine!" 

Another advocate of the idea, Jim Stamper of Yes Rutherglen, said it was the perfect symbolism to launch a new Scottish currency and central bank which "can embody friendship, unity, and above all trust".

Picture courtesy of Independence Live/Yes Rutherglen

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