Recently I have noted the Alex Salmond deploying his deputy, Fish-heid NicMoonface more and more in front of domestic television cameras. Last year, however, it was he who provided a Scottish accent for Russia Today.
Scroll forward to 2014, and he is less oleaginous than floundering as George Osborne entered the pelagic zone [Ed: okay, enough of the marine analogies] of the Scottish political merkat. Following Osborne’s unremarkable observation that cleaving from the politic union associated with Westminster and HM Treasury would result in abandoning any form of fiscal union with St£rling, he intends to deconstruct this attempt to place a millstone around Scotland’s neck when no other options are available.
Despite protestations to the contrary, what is being outlined is not a refusal to allow an independent Scotland the choice of pegging her currency to or simply using any currency she chooses: be it St£rling, the €uro or U$ Dollar. Allowing a currency union is, however, entirely within the gift of the host country; and with Osborne’s speech – with the concordance of the other main Westminster parties – it has become as plain and two upturned egg-cups on an ironing board that an EWNI would not give it, either through the political representatives or plebiscite by the voting population.
Doubtless they are considering the failure of the €uro project brought on by allowing sub prime economies to borrow on chits provided by more stable ones – which, in turn, it has to be said, were quite happy to sell bonds and consumer goods to those weaker economies – and shudder at the thought of entrusting their currency and economy to the profligacy of Salmond’s ersatz socialist dream.
Nor would there be anything to prevent an independent Scotland defaulting on her share of the UK debt if an EWNI resisting such bullying attempts. Westminster and Whitehall would not be operating to an 18 month schedule, and likely could absorb the financial shock considering they did that of the 2008 Financial Crash. Without this debt, however, an independent Scotland would have less claim to a proportional share of the UK’s assets – not least infrastructure which the debt helped buy – and independence in the global economy would last, I suggest, one calendar month before the effects of a zero credit rating and borrowing history kicked in.
Like any currency, St£rling does not ‘belong’ to the constituent parts of the UK. It is property of HM Treasury, based on join ownership of assets and debt and, most of all, common purpose as part of a political union. Although British oil and gas have been extracted disproportionate from what would be the territorial waters of an independent Scotland, similar could be said of the coal which fueled the earlier Industrial development: except it came disproportionately from the Welshes.
Scotland might be a net exporter of total food stuffs compared to England’s net importer status, but I would hazard a guess this is based around a relatively narrow range of selected livestock or fish and stodgy root vegetables or brassicas. Likewise, although an extremely disproportionate amount of the UK’s tax revenue comes from the top 1% of earner/producers (as, imo, it should be), Salmond appears to be operating on the assumption that this is evenly spread around the UK: not, as I suspect, concentrated in the South East of England.
It would be a strange sort of Scottish politician who dismissed the relevance of the Highlands because of the lower economic output than Aberdeen or the Central Belt.
Possibly Salmond has a credible Plan B – which he could have worked upon for, at least, the past two years since launching the referendum; or called a snap referendum, and rode off the wave of manufactured opinion – or perhaps he is intending to use barley as a bartering system. It is becoming apparent that not only does he not have a currency plan, he is sketchy on what a currency is.