“There is a degree of courage that the Scots, and in particular Nicola Sturgeon, must show if they want the transition to independence and entering the EU, to be realistic. And that includes the currency.
“It is not possible and it is not credible for the ‘independentists’, for the SNP, to advocate independence without advocating monetary independence from London.
“If you want Scotland to be independent you have to bite the bullet and create a Scottish pound.”
These are the words of economist and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on BBC’s ‘The Nine’ show last night. They are at this point a statement of the bleedin’ obvious. There are few economists who will raise their head above the parapet in defence of Sterlingisation any more (I have not heard one do so since the pandemic), because it is so obviously shark-infested water. What happens if there is a financial crisis? How could you be in the EU while being tied to a post-Brexit UK’s currency? Why would you want to intentionally raise your borrowing rates massively by borrowing 100 per cent in a foreign currency rather than one issued by your own state? Is this really a world where eccentric free-market monetary experimentation, which only a small handful of countries (Panama, Ecuador, Lichtenstein, Montenegro) currently operate with, looks like a good idea?
These are questions that the one public figure to continue to defend Sterlingisation, corporate lobbyist and former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, has never answered, despite being asked again and again. Wilson has invested a lot of political capital in the Growth Commission report which he chaired and was the main author of, so it’s understandable he wants to defend its main recommendations. But when those who sat on the Growth Commission have even intervened to say “no credible economist would advocate Sterlingisation as the policy of choice” (economist Richard Marsh), surely someone in a position of authority in the SNP has to step in and say ‘enough is enough, we need to take another look at this’.
I’m sure the SNP leadership will know this, but are choosing not to address it now presumably because they believe it is not an urgent issue, with no referendum “imminent”, as ministers have told the Court of Session in a legal case over the legality of a future indyref. But the lack of a credible prospectus (on what are not issues you can just leave to sort out after the first election in an independent Scotland, this is day one stuff) won’t be resolved over-night. When you put out a big idea like a Scottish currency, you need to give it time to bed in to public consciousness. That’s a process that takes years, not months.
Robin Mcalpine explores this issue of indy preparation in more depth on Source here.
“I haven’t found a single issue that can’t be tackled. Unfortunately the tackling is very much not happening and the goalkeeper is doing something else. For now, we’re not a fighting machine – we’re an open goal,” McAlpine argues.
This may seem far-fetched for many independence supporters looking at the shenanigans at Westminster this week: how could it be our side that is an open goal? But this is where cognitive bias comes in: we find it easier to identify weaknesses in our opponents than in ourselves. Actually, if you are worried about financial issues right now, wholly unconvincing answers about what happens to your money after independence may well be more worrisome than stuff about the UK Government breaching international law.
One way or another, the question of currency and independence will be addressed, either by those in favour of independence or those against. If it’s those against who shape the narrative (like in 2014), the Yes side will have a big problem.
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