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Comical Ali’s perfect game

Posted on February 15, 2014 by

Actually, now that we come to examine it in detail, this one’s quite special. We think EVERY single sentence in the official No campaign’s latest mailshot might be a lie.

Let’s step through it and see if they’ve really pulled off a hundred-percenter.


“Dear Stuart,

It is now clear beyond any doubt – the only way to keep the Pound is for Scotland to remain in the UK.”

LIE. That plainly ISN’T clear beyond any doubt. By the admission of pretty much every sane human on Earth, Scotland CAN keep the pound after independence should it choose to, just not necessarily within a formal currency union.

Even Alistair Darling – should any interviewer ever summon up the temerity to question him in the manner that James Naughtie or Kirsty Wark, say, habitually interrogate Alex Salmond – would have to concede that fact. And indeed, he has.

(Watch for yourself here, where you’ll hear the former Chancellor note in his very first sentence that: “What I’ve said in relation to the currency union is that if there was independence, there may well be one”, as well as his more commonly-reported view that such a union would be “desirable” and “logical” and in the best interests of both Scotland and the UK. “I’m entirely consistent”, he concludes at 2m 49s.)

“People need to know that when they go into a polling station in September they will be voting either to keep the Pound or ditch the Pound.”

LIE. People don’t need to know that, because it isn’t true. They’ll be voting on whether Scotland becomes an independent country or not. The clue will be in the question. Anything that happens after that is a matter of politics and policies.


“A vote to leave the UK is a vote to lose the Pound.”

LIE. No it isn’t. See above.

“Alex Salmond has no plan for currency in an independent Scotland.”

LIE. Yes he does. His plan is to use Sterling in a formal currency union. Whether that plan comes to fruition is in the hands of firstly the Scottish electorate and then the UK government, but it’s unquestionably his plan. He says so every chance he gets.

“The SNP wanted to turn the pound into the Eurozone but understandably the rest of the UK have said they don’t think this is a good idea.”

TWO LIES. At least. Firstly, you can’t turn a currency into a place. Secondly, the SNP’s plan is not to replicate the Eurozone, because the Eurozone encompasses numerous wildly-divergent economies, whereas a Sterling zone would comprise two very similar ones.

Don’t take our word for that – listen to Unionist devolution expert Alan Trench, who says “the Scottish economy resembles that of the UK so closely that [using Sterling] would cause none of the problems of different economic structures or cycles that have underpinned the Euro’s difficulties. 

And finally, “the rest of the UK” have NOT said they don’t think it’s a good idea. George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander have. The rest of the UK, by a margin of almost six to one, thinks sharing the pound is the best option if Scotland votes Yes.


“The SNP Government had already ruled out using the pound without agreement in the way Panama uses the Dollar.”

LIE. It’s never done such a thing.

“So what money will Scotland use?”

LIE. (Well, strictly speaking a question can’t be a lie, of course, but doubt is falsely implied, which is close enough.) If Scotland votes No, it’ll use the pound. If it votes Yes, the current Scottish Government says it’ll use the pound, and since no power on Earth can prevent it from doing so – Sterling being a fully tradeable currency any nation can use without permission – we must assume it will.

“What we need now from the SNP isn’t so much a Plan B but a Plan A.”

LIE. We already know Plan A – a formal currency union. Viable or not, it remains the SNP’s plan. This morning’s Daily Record couldn’t have been much more unequivocal on that. And you can’t need what you already have.


“Now that using the Pound is off the table, would we be rushing to join the Euro or set up an unproven separate currency?”

TWO LIES. Using the pound is NOT off the table. Nobody can stop an independent Scotland using the pound if it wants to, and several highly knowledgeable sources in such matters, including the world-renowned Adam Smith Institute, actually think an “unlicensed” arrangement would be not only feasible, but preferable to a formal union. And an independent Scotland couldn’t join the Euro even if it wanted to.

“Alex Salmond should stop making reckless threats about defaulting on debt that would put jobs and businesses in Scotland at risk.”

LIE. Alex Salmond can’t threaten to default on debt, because he doesn’t have any. The Scottish Government has no borrowing powers, and therefore can’t possibly have any debt. The only government in the UK which is responsible for any debt (and rather a lot of it) is the UK government. Who says so? The UK government does.


“People know that if you don’t pay your debts your credit rating is shot and that means everything is more expensive.”

LIE. A bad credit rating doesn’t make “everything” more expensive. It, sometimes, can make precisely ONE thing more expensive – the cost of borrowing money. Shoelaces and Corn Flakes don’t go up in price at Tesco if you don’t pay your gas bill. But it’s a moot point, as Scotland doesn’t have any debt to pay.

“Help Better Together campaign to keep the strength and security of the UK Pound by donating what you can today.

Alistair Darling
Better Together Leader”

LIE. We believe his official title is “Chairman”. (In politics, leader != chairman.)

So there you go. Not counting that last one, it’s eleven sentences, thirteen lies (or in “Better Together” arithmetic, “about 600”), not one single sentence free of falsehood. A flawless performance, the political equivalent of a 147 break at snooker or a nine-dart finish. You have to admire their dedication, at least. All that training finally paid off.

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  1. 29 08 14 22:18

    48 Lies | A Wilderness of Peace

189 to “Comical Ali’s perfect game”

  1. David says:

    The team at BT should be commended on achieving a perfect score

  2. Croompenstein says:

    as I mentioned the first lie is Dear Stuart! it should be Dear Organiser of Cybernat scum fu%^cking up my mojo..

  3. Oldfirmfocus says:

    Stuart, This is among your best works to date. They (BT) really are on the run.

  4. Alan Trench says:

    You have selectively quoted from my January 2012 blogpost, and done so in a highly misleading way. As the context makes clear (and a proper quotation would have done), I was reporting Alex Salmond’s remarks in his lecture. These weren’t necessarily my views then; they aren’t now, when we know rather more about the relationship between the Scottish and UK economies.

  5. sneddon says:

    Amazing the only campaign in history that makes no bones about assuming its supporters don’t watch tv or read newpapers, listen to the radio or use the internet and have no critical faculty in their head.

  6. Ian Brotherhood says:


    What might be a good collective noun for BT-scripted lies?

    Or – a noun which describes a specifically referendum-related lie?


  7. Croompenstein says:

    Oh Alan FFS we are already in a currency union where is the economic sense to deny iScotland the preferred option, you know it makes sense. Plan B Plan B Plan B… I am tearing my hair oot and I don’t have enough left

  8. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Oh-oh, here we go…

    I’ve run out of ‘popcorn’.

    Okay, okay, no use trying to kid a kidder…popcorn? Bleurggh!

    (…where’s that other bottle?)

  9. Clancheif says:

    Even their title Better Together is another blatant lie
    I think you forgot that one

  10. Fay-yes says:

    Even the letterhead with the name of their campaign is a lie – we are most definitely not “better together”!

  11. Fay-yes says:

    Booooo Clanchief, you beat me to it!

  12. HulloHulot says:

    “We think EVERY single sentence in the official No campaign’s latest mailshot might be a lie.”

    Not quite: I think “Don’t forget to follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook” isn’t a lie, just a really stupid thing to do.

  13. HulloHulot says:

    “just a really stupid thing to do.”

    And probably depressing.

  14. Jim T says:


  15. Jiggsbro says:

    You have selectively quoted from my January 2012 blogpost, and done so in a highly misleading way.

    Do you think he should have included the next sentence: “He’s quite right about this”? Because, of course, that would have shown that Alex’s views were not necessarily your own and casual readers would not have been mislead into believing you had a similar view. Perhaps you could sue for libel. Or something.

  16. Clancheif says:

    Sorry Fay
    Ye need tae be that wee bit faster
    A only beat ye by two meenits … lol 😉

  17. muttley79 says:

    Looks like Alan Trench is on the warpath…Get it 😀 D:

  18. Marcia says:

    Sunday Herald front page;

    ‘The week Westminster turned nasty’

  19. James Westland says:

    LOL! What a demolition job!

    “Leader” of BT rather than “Chairman”? Sounds like his executive role within BT has been enhanced. Who enhanced it? Himself?

  20. beachthistle says:

    Bravo BeToryTogether: an unclean sweep, proving that malpractice makes perfect!

    My favourite is the Chairman/Leader memoryholesque final flourish: presumably Flipper Darling trying to dodge the head-to-head with Yes Chair Canavan that many are longing to see…

  21. Ian Brotherhood says:

    How long before we see a front page with a WoS regular’s gravatar beneath screaming headline ‘THE ENEMY WITHIN’?

    (I suspect they’ll be tempted to use Cameron B’s ‘Crusher’.)

  22. Gerry says:

    Really pleased to have found this site it is an oasis of rational, non-partisan discussion and a welcome relief from the naked propaganda that passes for debate in the mass media.

    I would like to urge people to discuss the ins and outs, the positives and negatives of the coming referendum at every opportunity whether with family, job colleagues, drinking buddies or whatever. If the media are not going to play on a level playing field then the facts and counter-argument have to be made on the ground by the very people this vital vote will affect.
    Whatever your stance start communicating with your peers on a fact based level so that whatever the outcome people made their choice armed with genuine facts and not Goebels-esque obfuscation.

  23. Croompenstein says:

    Dennis wid rip that lickspittle anither arsehole O/T seems the SLAB leader of Aberdeen cooncil is sooking up the arse of union by asking to debate with couldnae make it up..

  24. James Westland says:

    Alan Trench states: “These weren’t necessarily my views then; they aren’t now”

    And then in his blog, in which he is referring to what Alex Salmond says, states:

    “(He’s quite right about this. Ironically, in most respects, Scotland is the part of the UK that is closest to the UK statistical average. Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England diverge more from the UK mean more than Scotland in almost every respect, other than health.)

    So he DOES agree with him.

  25. Early Ball says:

    I think I read the Electoral Commission do not care about lies on campaign literature which is bizarre. It begs the questions “Do we need foreign observers and when can they start?”

  26. Diane Sutherland says:

    So glad you’re on our side Stu : )

  27. Sue says:

    A question occurred to me today on the debt thing.

    I understand Scotland has no debt, because the debt belongs to the UK govt. When Scotland votes for independence, we are voting to end the UK. We have Scotland governed from Holyrood, and England (incorporating Wales) with NI added on governed from Westminster. So, no UK govt. because no UK.

    What happens to the debt, who is responsible?

    Sorry if this question is a bit thick, I’m no economist:-)

  28. Croompenstein says:

    @Early Ball -we are on our ownsome the best hope we have is a good majority yes and fast recognition of our independent status and you can bet your bottom dollar that the rUK won’t be the first to recognise..I would probably go for Iceland or Malawi to be the first….

  29. Taranaich says:

    You have to admire their dedication, at least.

    Almost, but not quite.

  30. John Hamill says:

    I went to the launch of Better Together in Rutherglen this morning speakers James Kelly and Rob Shorthouse. They were banging on about NO POUND. When it came to question time I asked. “If there is a YES vote what currency will Scottish Labour be fighting for?” James Kelly stood up with a big red face but didn’t answer my question he then sat down. I then said “You still haven’t answered my question” People were then shouting “This is a NO meeting” Rob Shorthouse then stood up saying I’ll answer your question. Shorthouse went on to say “It is not our question to answer we don’t want Independence” At this point I left them to it.

  31. Croompenstein says:

    @Sue – we are not voting to end the UK, we are voting for the right to have a free, transparent true democratic country and govt which serves the people of Scotland, the ending of the UK would be a consequence of us voting yes which we must do

  32. Croompenstein says:

    People were then shouting “This is a NO meeting” – sums it all up really, won’t engage, can’t engage, must not engage.. spineless fuckers…

  33. Findlay Farquaharson says:

    ha, ive known for years scot labour are lying gangster basrstewards. fact

  34. TJenny says:

    Ian Brotherhood – ‘a word for an indy related lie’ – how about a rUK-up? Or a UKorker?

  35. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @John Hamill –

    John, do you know roughly how many folk were there altogether, and what the breakdown was of Y/N/DK? Even roughly?

    Was this ‘launch’ publicised locally? How did you hear about it?

    Sorry asking all these questions, but, as you may know, they had a ‘launch’ here in North Ayrshire and it was an embarrassing shambles which no-one locally knew anything about. I didn’t even know about it myself until three days before it happened – I heard about it via Wings – and I live across the road from the venue!

  36. Marcia says:

    Derek Bateman’s response to a Gaurdian editorial. Another demolition job like this article.

  37. Sue says:


    OK I phrased it badly. Let me try again.

    After we have voted for independence, and the consequential ending of the UK, who owns the debt?

  38. MajorBloodnok says:

    muttley79 says: Looks like Alan Trench is on the warpath…Get it [?]

    I’m sure it’ll all be over by Christmas. Wibble [pause] wibble.

  39. joe kane says:

    Is their a formal mathematical term to describe the density of BT lies per sentence in its campaigning material, such as a “Flipper Index” for example?

    For instance, this particular newsletter has a Flipper Index of 13/11 = 1.1818 recurring.

    There might even be a law which governs the Flipper Index – for any given BT article, its Flipper Index is inversely proportional to the time left remaining until the referendum, ie as time decreases and tends to Sept 18, then the density of lies printed by BT increases. Come to think of it, maybe it could be called the “Desperation Index”.

  40. DougtheDug says:


    The Westminster Government argue that what is left of the UK after Scotland leaves is still the UK. It will be the successor state inheriting all the rights and obligations of the UK before Scotland left.

    The debt will therefore be all theirs. The only negotiations will be how much of the debt cost (not the debt itself) the new Scotland will be willing to accept as a former partner in the UK but it won’t pay the debt off directly because it will still be UK debt.

    It will pay the rUK exchequer for its agreed share not the actual holders of the debt.

  41. Croompenstein says:

    @Sue – the current UK govt have been forced by the markets to declare their intention to honour the debt even if Scotland votes for Independence, the SG with advice from the fiscal commission have said that the preferred option for iScotland is a currency union by which we would take on our share of the UK debt. The problem that arises is that when Westminster rule out a currency union it makes it more difficult for iScotland to take on the debt as we would be using a different currency. I wasn’t having a dig it’s just been a very frustrating week..

  42. Croompenstein says:

    @DougtheDug beat me to it and explained it better than this old fart…

  43. muttley79 says:


    We better get our trench coats… 😀 😀

  44. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @T Jenny –


    Very good indeed. I really couldn’t think of any at all – I got fixated on ‘Baillie’, ‘Lamont’, ‘JaBa’, ‘JoLa’, variants thereof, and ended-up staring into the middle distance for a good twenty minutes.

    I bet you’re good at crosswords.

  45. kate says:

    When voters go to the poll on 18th September Darling, they will be deciding whether to keep the Union or dump the Union. Their decision will be based on the history of the Union, the incompetence of the Union, the deceit of the Union, the debt of the Union and the impact it will have on Scotland’s future. Since Scotland didn’t create or benefit from the debt incurred by the Union it need have no conscience nor obligation to honour any responsibility – that is up to the Westminster government. Whatever currency Scotland decides to adopt post Independence will be up to Scotland and if that decision impacts on England so be it. Its the choice of two futures.

  46. James Kay says:

    I read Alan Trench’s complaint at 10.14, and checked the January 2012 blog post he refers to. He clearly did not do so himself, as Stu’s ‘selective’ quotation is followed by the personal comment “(He’s quite right about this … )”

    Before composing this reply, I had a quick check to see if anyone else had picked up on this point. At least two others had done so.

    Herein, I believe, lies the importance of Stu’s work. He provides meaningful commentary, and always gives references. We, in turn, are pleased to check the references and are delighted to know that we are not being mislead.

    After all, if someone says something which appeals to your prejudices, it is all too easy to believe that what he says must be true.

    BT seems to think that their statements will not be checked.

    More power to Stu and to Wings over Scotland!

  47. mathlete76 says:

    Sue – EWNI wish to remain known as the UK, a continuator state with the same status as before so it’s rights and obligations are transferred directly from the predecessor state. This means the debt stays with the ‘new’ UK.

  48. Sue says:


    I thought the Scottish Government’s claim on a share of the assets was based on both iScotland and EWNI having same status as each other post Yes vote. Pretty sure I’ve read comments on here saying that will be the case too.

    I know Westminster wants to keep the current UK status afterwards, but if Scotland agrees to this how does that allow us to claim a share of the assets?

  49. Croompenstein says:

    I must say that Ardeer Comm Centre is the only film I have seen of a BT rally/meeting..Calton Hill anyone..

  50. heedtracker says:

    Saturday night brainwashing, BBCBetterTogether style. Strong, clear “who are you trying to kid” works everytime.

  51. Calum Craig says:

    Clancheif says:
    Even their title Better Together is another blatant lie
    I think you forgot that one.

    Fay-yes says:
    Even the letterhead with the name of their campaign is a lie – we are most definitely not “better together”!

    The roll over caption is a clue. See, Doug isn’t the only one that reads them!

  52. Findlay Farquaharson says:

    heard today should scotland vote for independence all scot lab mps lose their jobs in westminister. good reason for voting no, you uncaring cybernats.

  53. Roll_On_2014 says:

    Sorry OT

    Stu the following article is very intriguing, concerning the Biased Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and its impartially. Especially following the recent one by Dr John Robertson from UWS – ‘Bias in Broadcasting report’.

    The report in the article basically re-confirms that the BBC is the mouth piece of the state, and has been for some years.

    BBC accused of political bias – on the right, not the left.

    The BBC has been accused of yielding to political pressure since the last election and allowing a right-wing bias to emerge in its journalism.

    The serious criticism by a distinguished media professor suggests that the BBC has compromised its impartiality by depending too heavily on sources from business, the media, law and order and politics.

    By contrast, ITV and Channel 4 make much greater use of sources from academia, medicine, science and non-governmental organisations.

    Professor Justin Lewis, Dean of Research at Cardiff University and an experienced analyst of the BBC’s output, suggested that the BBC Trust had “played down” the findings, which were presented to the governing body last year.

    Apparently the Beeb were presented with the report last year, but have played it down… well I never!

  54. Croompenstein says:

    The BBC were tarnished by the sexing up stuff, the death of David Kelly, wee Robin and countless others have made sure the BBC toe the line..

  55. TJenny says:

    Ian Brotherhood – kudos to your perception. 🙂

    Or how about a blietor, a Jolanory, (like a Jackanory for story), a confib, a butlie – a bliety of butlies.

  56. GP Walrus says:

    I hate to say it but there may actually be a grain of truth in this sentence from BT’s mendacious mailshot:

    ““Help Better Together campaign to keep the strength and security of the UK Pound by donating what you can today.”

    If there is no currency union after a Yes, the pound will certainly be less strong and secure. However it’s probably not what they were thinking of.

  57. Ian Brotherhood says:

    If anyone fancies getting involved with Brian Taylor’s Roadshow over the coming weeks, here’s the page you need if you want to apply.

    I started filling it in, then hit the questions about political party membership, and gave up. (Because I can’t remember which party I’m in…)

  58. G H Graham says:

    OK Rev, you win !

  59. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “You have selectively quoted from my January 2012 blogpost, and done so in a highly misleading way.”

    I resent that suggestion. I didn’t claim or imply that you backed Salmond’s plans. I acknowledged earlier today that you didn’t recommend unofficial use of Sterling by Scotland:

    I merely noted that you’d pointed out that he was right about the difference between a Sterling zone and the Eurozone in terms of the similarities of the economies involved, which was the specific context of the line in the BT mailout.

    I’m also not aware of any significant change in the respective relationships since 2012. In what way have Scotland and England’s economies diverged dramatically from each other in the two years since you wrote that piece?

  60. Shiehallion! Shiehallion! says:

    Great analysis, though I can just about hear Jim 0ty on Good Morrow Scotchumps next week: “Mr Darling, as it is now proven beyond doubt that only supporters of the No campaign are capable of understanding English to the extent of being able to tell truth from lies, really there isn’t more we can say to the pathetically ignorant Scotch today, and so I would like to invite you to come over here and let me feel your lash breeze close up.

    “Mmm, nice…”

  61. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I hate to say it but there may actually be a grain of truth in this sentence from BT’s mendacious mailshot:”

    “Help Better Together campaign to keep the strength and security of the UK Pound by donating what you can today.”

    Trust me, what I can send them won’t help them do anything.

  62. Morag says:


  63. Ken MacColl says:

    One Hundred and Eighty!!

  64. Fiona says:

    I read here that some believe that there is no difference between using sterling as a tradable currency and using a specifically Scottish currency pegged to sterling. I wish to suggest that there is a difference.

    Whether Scotland takes a share of the UK debt or not ( and I firmly believe that they should not in any circumstances do that) it is unlikely that any credible Scottish government post independence will start from an MMT position or even take the option of refusing to issue debt in favour of printing money as necessary instead (though that is perfectly feasible). So we can assume that Scotland will have some sovereign debt in the future.

    That being the case it is essential that debt is issued in our own currency.

    I read that the problem of foreign denominated debt was touched on in another thread and it was rather blithely stated that this would necessitate a “foreign currency reserve”. The problem is that without our own currency such a reserve is only achievable through mortgaging exports. While I believe that Scotland will have a viable economy, no sane country would willingly put itself in that position. No developed economy does that and no country with any choice would dream of it. It is potentially suicidal: and even with consequences far short of that there is no economic autonomy in such a situation

    To me that is the import of the announcement that there will be no currency union: we have to have our own currency at once. We can peg it to sterling if we like: or float it from that base. But we must not take on debt in foreign currency.

    The offer from the scottish government to take a share of UK debt makes sense in a currency union and presumably was made in order to make that agreement more palatable to the rUK. It has been rejected. They may be bluffing but I think we have to take them at their word and take the decision which is ours to take: there will be no sharing of the debt.

    Personally I prefer an independent currency in any case: because I think that currency unions are not stable. But I could live with a short term monetary union and was not exercised about that proposal. But any suggestion of foreign denominated debt is anathema for reasons outlined above. One MUST be able to service debt from one’s own currency because dependence on a foreign income is worse than any other possible decision. One is owned by the owner of the debt and at the mercy of trading partners who have their own interest to pursue

    It is argued that interest on debt will be high post independence, and that view is predicated on a number of things: no credit history; known defaulter is high risk to name but two

    I think one cannot default on a debt one does not owe. I think pegging the new currency to sterling for a while is likely to work in terms of setting value: or it will find its own; I think creditors are not sentimental and they will base interest rates on ability to repay and not on whether the rUK is miffed. I also think that creditors will prefer to lend to a government with very low debt rather than one which is heavily indebted because they chose to shoulder someone else’s debt through sentimentality or through fear: in fact the latter announces oneself as a lamb for the fleecing, IMO.

    But I really don’t care even if the doom mongers are correct: better high interest than the serfdom which attends foreign denominated debt

  65. chicmac says:

    I think it would make an interesting test of Ali’s current mental state if he were asked the question “Is you name Alistair Darling?”.

    My money would be on him answering “No” with eyelids going faster than a moth’s wings.

  66. Indigo says:

    Checking in for the first time *waves* re the Sunday herald front page – is it becoming pro-indy? Would be a smart move if it did

  67. chicmac says:

    “Even their title Better Together is another blatant lie
    I think you forgot that one.”

    Better Tethered?

  68. Seasick Dave says:


    If Brian Taylor is so keen to balance in his audience, how the Donald Duck did the Strathallan fiasco happen?

    Its all to keep the cyberrats at bay.

  69. Marcia says:

    we = he

  70. Jamie Arriere says:

    I don’t think Mr Trench necessarily “agrees” with Alex Salmond, but he does say he’s “quite right” about the similarity of the two economies (and therefore the Eurozone comparison scare is bollocks).

    (It’s alright Alan, the source is supplied, we can read)

  71. jingly jangly says:

    Sue, the UK is a joint state set up when Scotland and England signed a treaty and joined together in 1707 as the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Ireland and Wales were already “part” of England due to Conquest. So basically the UK is only Scotland and England although Ireland was added in 1801 when the the title changed to The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. (This attempt to formalise British Rule over Ireland was due to various Irish uprising’s against English Rule)

    So either, both are continuing states or none are, we are not breaking away from the UK, we jointly created the UK so if we dissolve the Treaty the UK no longer exists.

    The Scottish Government is not responsible in law for any UK debt, however they are bending over backwards by stating that they are willing to pay their fair share of the debt interest payments. They are not taking on any of the debt as its not theirs to take. It should be noted that none of this debt was incurred by Scotland, most of the 1.3 Trillion Pounds Sterling (And rising by around 100 billion pounds per year) UK Debt has been incurred by the last 3 UK Chancellors, (Brown,Darling and Osborne) During this time Scotland has made a surplus so no requirement for borrowing.

    However, by accepting a population share of liabilities, they correctly say they should also receive a population share of assets which the UK has built up since 1707.

    My reckoning is that both should cancel each other out, however if the UK is not already balance sheet bankrupt the assets should exceed the liabilities.

    Note that Pensions are not included in these calculations, Pensions are a contract between an individual and the State (UK) The UK has confirmed in writing that it will pay existing pensioners and those who on reaching retirement age have contributed 35 years worth of NI contributions, same as they do with all the pensioners who have emigrated to Spain or Canada or wherever.

  72. Calum Craig says:


  73. chicmac says:

    As in an earlier thread from Stuart, a sterling zone already operates over an area where the different parts are more economically discordant than Scotland v England – the regions of England.

  74. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    @Ian Brotherhood says:
    What might be a good collective noun for BT-scripted lies?

    This week’s current Top 10 of collective nouns, in “NO” particular order …

    1) “Othering-Pish”

    2) “NO-use-for-anything-Pish”

    3) “Lie-da-lie-lie, lie-da-lie-ls, lie-da-Pish”

    4) “Pishy wee things”

    5) “Danny Alexander’s Ragtime Pish”

    6) “The Osborne Identity Pish”

    7) “Pishing deliberately”

    8) “Simples … Pish”

    9) “Fence-Sitting Pish” (Ian McW … please get non-pishy ASAP … just sayin’ )

    10) “All of the above Pish”


    P.I.S.H. – Piranhas Interested in Shafting Don’t-Know High-Pishers

    Democracy – YES (now or never, PISH-free Zone)

  75. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Even their title Better Together is another blatant lie
    I think you forgot that one.”

    See the first image caption…

  76. Croompenstein says:

    Rev – Trust me, what I can send them won’t help them do anything. – I thought of a fart in a bag but the fuckers would frack it

  77. Indy_Scot says:

    Ever time I read stories of the No campaign or supporters of it stating outright lies, I think how on earth do they get away with this, how are they not exposed for the frauds they are, and then I remember, the good old unionist media.

    Where would we be without them.

  78. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Really pleased to have found this site it is an oasis of rational, non-partisan discussion”

    In absolute scrupulous fairness, Gerry, I’ll accept “rational” but I don’t think we could honestly pull off “non-partisan”…


  79. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    Alister & Alastair,

    I know you Choobs always have a wee look at Wings before bedtime.

    Worst week at the office ever.

    Night, night.

    Just sayin’

  80. Calum Craig says:

    “Even their title Better Together is another blatant lie
    I think you forgot that one.”

    See the first image caption…

    Beat you to it…

  81. Papadocx says:


    Have turned this old independence supporter into an anti GB ESTABLISHMENT campaigner. The arrogance, and ignorance being shown to the Scottish people by the HMG, BBC & MSM will long be remembered after this referendum is over one way or another. The anti Scottish bile that this lot have spread and cultivate with relish will come back to haunt them. I fear they are opening a can of worms. My father used to tell me “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR, BECAUSE YOU MIGHT JUST GET IT”

  82. Sue says:

    Thanks for your explanations, guys

  83. Seasick Dave says:

    Kevin McKenna finally admits he’s had enough…

    One by one, the lights have gone out all over the England I once loved and with them all my reasons for wanting to remain in the union.

  84. Seasick Dave says:

    Oops, sorry Marcia!

  85. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    @Papadocx says:
    I fear they are opening a can of worms. My father used to tell me “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR, BECAUSE YOU MIGHT JUST GET IT”

    George Osborne opened Pandora’s Box on Thursday.

    There is no way back now.

    Now is the time when we all have to choose who we are.

  86. Alfresco Dent says:

    Another great article Rev. All they have are lies, the bigger the better.

    O/T Ian Brotherhood -Great video. It’s good to hear you speak as well as you write. More power to you.

  87. kininvie says:

    @Gerry 10.53

    Really pleased to have found this site it is an oasis of rational, non-partisan discussion and a welcome relief from the naked propaganda that passes for debate in the mass media.

    Rational: possibly….(with a few exceptions) 🙂

    Non-partisan: Not so sure about that one.

  88. kininvie says:


  89. TJenny says:

    Ian Brotherood – just watched your wee vid again – you really do come across very well on film and good to hear the real voice of a WoS commentor. More power to you, and of course all of us. 🙂

  90. Doug Daniel says:

    I can see why they’re going heavy on the “vote for us to keep the pound” angle. It worked really well when William Hague tried to claim the 2001 election was effectively a referendum on the pound.

  91. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    stone (of the I-was-there-when-the-destiny-one-came-back-and-it-wasn’t-a-pretty-sight variety)

  92. Morag says:

    Someone earlier on got ratty about the way Alex and Nicola happily talk about “leaving the UK” rather than dissolving the union and ending the UK. It has annoyed me too. But then, looking at it that way is the way the debt becomes negotiable.

    I can see the attraction in saying, well if they want to be the continuing state so badly, let them have it. Scotland’s history won’t be going anywhere regardless. And if they’re the continuing state, they need to negotiate to get us to take some of the debt, rather than us acquiring it automatically.

    So, maybe this is all tar babies and briar patches. Again. I’d still feel better about it if I didn’t worry about Scotland shadowing a currency that’s going to tank.

  93. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    @oug Daniel says:
    I can see why they’re going heavy on the “vote for us to keep the pound” angle.

    Doug, you are right to wonder.

    This is another graphic example of the congenital disconnectedness (is there such a word?) of BT.
    George Osborne’s “Poundless at The Point” speech on Thursday comprehensively told everybody in Scotland, and anywhere else in the world outside of the soon-to-be-rUK, that Westminster is about 300 years behind the game.

    i.e. in Scotland we already have A MAJORITY who don’t actually give a fcUK about what currency Scoland has after we vote YES in September.

    What currency Scotland has, and what name it is given, and how it is traded, will all become things that are in the gift of the people of Scotland.

    That suits me fine. I think it will suit most people in Scotland.

    Roll on September 18th …

  94. dadsarmy says:

    The beauty of that email is that it actually tells anyone who thinks for more than 10 seconds that it is lying in the first sentence.

    Later on it says the SNP have ruled out keeping the pound in the way Panama uses the dollar, so in other words Scotland CAN use the pound. But in the first sentence it says: “the only way to keep the Pound is for Scotland to remain in the UK”. Ho hum. Chickens coming home to roost comes to mind but it’s not Easter yet.

    Grand article Rev, I almost quibbled about one bit but then re-read it, and it proves a point. People read what they expect to see and hear what they expect to hear, but not what is actually there. Salmond, Sturgeon and Hosie are scrupulously careful as to exactly what they say. It’s not their fault if people fail to understand, and I daresay they know that is exactly what WILL happen.

  95. Zen Mind Machine says:

    I was very interested to read Fiona’s comments regarding the potential drawbacks of a currency union. My preference would also be for Scotland to avoid this and create a new currency for Scotland as it would make our economy much less susceptible to the kind of deliberate financial attacks that I am convinced the vulture capitalists in the shitty of London and their corrupt cronies in westminster already have planned, should we achieve a yes vote.

    I believe an independent Scotland should be very aware of the need for safeguarding and regulating the economy against attack and should make it of prime importance to avoid interference and rigging by outside influences. George Soros managed to destroy the value of the UK pound in the course of one day. Would it possible for Scotland to issue a currency which cannot be traded internationally in this way or to limit international trading in some way so as to protect the true wealth of the country and her citizens?

    Could Scotland avoid the pitfalls of debt based money creation systems and design a new banking and money system altogether? Instead of burdening citizens with debt, empowering her citizens through wealth creation by means other than only creating money as debt to be repaid? The current system REQUIRES that all money created must be repaid with interest meaning that some must fail to repay their debts if others are to succeed.

    Why not a new paradigm?

  96. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    Morag says:
    I’d still feel better about it if I didn’t worry about Scotland shadowing a currency that’s going to tank.

    Let me set your mind at rest.

    The one thing that is absolutely certain (as you have wisely spotted) is that Sterling is eventually going to “tank”.

    So, once the up-coming YES vote in September puts independence in place, Scotland will implement Plan A or, if an agreed currency union is refused, Plan B (unofficial, Sterling without an agreement).

    In parallel, Scotland (SG) will assess how long it will be before Sterling inevitably “tanks”, and will put in place the transition to an alternative Scottish currency (which will be Scotland’s own currency, but don’t tell anybody I told you) ASAP.


  97. The Man in the Jar says:

    I dont know who first posted this but it is so true.

    “The problem for the NO campaign is that they have NO campaign!”

  98. Marker Post says:

    @ Ian Brotherhood

    Was that deliberate in your talk to camera? “The No Campaign has a lot of clever people. They’ve got Alistair Darling… and, eh, Alistair Darling”… Ha ha ha

    Incidentally, has anyone ever explained to Flipper that, the day after a Yes vote, the price of his house in Edinburgh will go up as foreign embassies hunt around for property, and as our cousins in England seize the opportunity to escape a Tory government?

  99. Morag says:

    This is where the relentless positivity of the Scottish government and the Yes campaign pays dividends. For some people the vote will be a popularity contest. Who do you want to throw your lot in with? Whose gang do you want to be part of?

    After last week, who is going to want to be in Osborne’s gang? Let alone Balls and the rest of them?

  100. James123 says:

    What this email should have looked like with corrections:

  101. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    The Man in the Jar says:
    I dont know who first posted this but it is so true.
    “The problem for the NO campaign is that they have NO campaign!”

    Cybernat WOS Black Opps Friday (31st January 2014) exposed the fact that the NO Campaign don’t actually have a campaign.

    This is now recognised as the first mass citizen-journalism “witnessing” of the new era of post-MSM democratic truth-establishing.


    “post-MSM democratic truth-establishing” = normal people showing that the fast-dying MSM are lazily reporting either nothing, or a load of total biased out-of-the-fax-machine-from BT / churnalism PISH.

  102. There is something I have actually been thinking about in regard to this whole debate. Salmond thrives on these kinds of things. Its the perfect story for the nationalists.

    “English aristocrat threatens Scottish people with hell on earth if they vote for self determination”

    I’m not even a nationalist, but that sort of thing appeals to my psyche and hardens me against the British government. Anyway, that has been discussed to the death. What I was thinking about though was that if Osborne was smarter than he looks (even though he often seems like he is giving his very best Mr Bean impression), then he should have followed Mr Carney’s lead and said that it is possible. Alistair Darling would probably had a heart attack, but it would leave the ball firmly in Westministers court to dictate the terms of such a currency union. Osborne could then have used the Governors speech as an excuse to demand a great deal of fiscal concessions from Scotland in the event of independence, some that may just be too much for Scotland to give up.

    If the Scottish government said no to this, then the perception is that they don’t really want sterling in the first place anyway, which could split them and confuse the hell out of don’t knows. Westminister wins by divide and rule.

    If the Scottish government said yes and then goes on to win the vote, it gets independence, but in name only, bringing everything back to the status quo, and Westminister wins again.

    With the way things have gone now though…the fool played right into Salmonds hands.

  103. Nigerian Pirate says:

    Ok, Rev, lads and lassies,
    First time poster here and a little bit O/T.
    Firstly I better admit that up until this week I was one of the ‘undecided’ – I was waiting for some clarity about a lot of unanswered questions I had. I’m sure there are plenty others in the same boat. The currency issue was one of those questions. For a lot of people retaining the status quo is a suitable option.

    Well this week I got some clarity from Osbourne, Balls and Alexander. They left me in no uncertain terms as to which box to mark in September.

    If the speech on Thursday was supposed to make ‘the undecided’ a bit more ‘decided’ then it definitely worked for me and few others I have spoken to. To issue statements like they did and try to scare us into a No vote has had the opposite effect. It convinced me that there is no way I want to be part of their conspiracy of fear and lies. I think they have underestimated the backlash that is going to happen by trying to hold us to ransom over the pound (amongst other things).

    I always said the vote would rest on the undecided. There was always going to be definite Yes and definite No voters so it would boil down to the fence sitters. Well that fence has started to dig into my @rse, and Gideon has just managed to push me off it.

    Goodbye Westminster rule – it wasn’t nice knowing you.

  104. Patrick Roden says:

    So Alan Trench, looks like being the first ever person to collect that coveted ‘£10 for showing that wings has told a lie’ reward…

    …when it is helpfully pointed out to him that he wasn’t just quoting Alex Salmond, he was agreeing with him.

    Oh well Alan, your own dishonesty and misquoting in this matter has been noted.

  105. Patrician says:


    CTRL+F5 doesn’t work on every browser, OS combination. Have a look at for more details.

  106. Patrician says:

    Of course the title on the email is incorrect, it should be “No Scotland” not “Better Together”.

  107. john king says:

    “I’m sure it’ll all be over by Christmas. Wibble [pause] wibble.”

    Do you know how ridiculous you look with those pencils stuck up your nose, doesn’t he Darling?

  108. john king says:

    “Whatever currency Scotland decides to adopt post Independence will be up to Scotland and if that decision impacts on England so be it. Its the choice of two futures.”

    Although real politic states that might be true we wouldn’t want to be seen to crow about this, the English (no matter how some of them behave) are not our enemies, the enemy here is Westminster, lets none of us forget that.

  109. Ian Sanderson says:

    I certainly would not wish to play either chess or poker with Alec Salmond. He’s at least 6 moves ahead of all the Westminster ‘gang’

  110. Albalha says:

    This won’t be popular but I’m not a fan of the ‘Comical Ali’ reference in the headline. Can’t we just leave Iraq and the hell visited upon the country since the illegal invasion out of things when it comes to taking the michael.

    Having followed events very closely at the time, due to where I was working, I am particularly sensitive about it, I know, but sure there are other references that could be used.

  111. A2 says:

    Hurrah for that source “close to the coalition government” for providing reassurance that a yes vote doesn’t guarantee independence. Those nervous don’t knows can now place their protest vote knowing it doesn’t matter as much as they worried about.

    Was feeling pretty pessimistic but things are looking up!

  112. Clootie says:

    Fiona 12:11 16th.

    Good post, food for thought – thank you

  113. Hotrod Cadets says:

    @Fiona: great post. Interesting views on currency and debt.

    My personal opinion is that we need our own currency, and I don’t much mind what we call it. Although the baw-bee has a certain ring to it.

    I feel we ought to pay our fair share of the debt, which might be not very much once assets are accounted for. But if rUK won’t be reasonable, walking away debt-free is a valid negotiating position.

    What has been fascinating is that a lot of people I’ve spoken to in the wake of Osborne’s intervention have realised that they don’t much care what Scotland’s currency is, provided they get paid and can buy their messages. Westminster’s attempt to scare us has actually resulted in people really THINKING about what currency is for, and realising that their ‘threat’ is actually no threat at all.

    Its tempting to believe that the Tories secretly want us to vote Yes and this is all part of the grand plan to achieve that outcome. But honestly I’m not sure they’re bright or competent enough for that.

  114. Papadocx says:

    In the event of a NO vote the Westminster elite will sink the boot into Scotland and the fools who voted NO will be responsible for the extinction of the country known as Scotland, by the liars thieves and bullies of Westminster and they won’t be PROUD PSUDO MIDDLE CLASS SCOTS ANYMORE. Guess what you’ve done? Handed your death warrant and the axe to your enemies, and he won’t make the same mistake twice.

    The native levies (SLAB) will be given the honour of carrying out the execution and washing their hands in the blood of their executed fellow countrymen.



  115. David Smith says:

    It certainly won’t. I think such a scenario will pan out very dangerously. Especially when SLAB vote fraud is exposed since we know they will attempt this on an industrial scale, probably with British State assistance. It’s just the kind of criminals they are.
    I think it would take the problem to a different and probably unpleasant level.
    Sadly, not one we want either.

  116. Muscleguy says:

    We don’t have to mortgage anything. We can insist on the royalty payments for the Oil and Gas extracted from our section of the North Sea to be denominated in any currency we choose.

    You see that’s the thing about exports as well, they earn you foreign currency and the buyers will be happy if we bear the currency conversion costs. Except we won’t, we’ll just bank them in accounts denominated in that currency and use those to pay the debt. Foreign hard currency will not be in short supply in a country with a positive balance of payments.

  117. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Is that Katie Hopkins on GMS right now?

    If so, why?

  118. James Kay says:

    Nigerian Pirate – welcome aboard!

  119. Iain Bell says:

    Just a simple question from a simple mind, If the vote is yes, if the rUK Refuse, (interesting,automatic capital ‘r’ appeared, apt!) I mean refuse Iscotland the use of the pound,exactly what are we supposed to pay the supposed debt with? Will they accept Scottish Fuku? (1 fuku being the equivalent of £500bn.) (Explained further at

  120. Xaracen says:

    @Calgacus MacAndrews

    I have been using the term “pishmongering” at home for a few weeks now. Pish is what pishwives and pishmongers sell, promote, and smell of.

  121. Barney says:

    Hello everyone. I have followed wings for a couple of months and have told several of my work mates about it as well. Thought it was time I should join and contribute to the debate. I was wondering if Scotland votes yes and doesn’t join the currency union but starts it’s own currency we are being told we would not take on any of the UK debt, fair enough. What I don’t understand is why commentators are saying we would struggle to borrow from the markets because we never paid our share of the debt but why would we need to borrow in the first place if we had no debt and and are starting from scratch.

  122. Fiona says:

    @Muscleguy 16/2/14 9:04

    Hello again. This is the better place to have that discussion because it properly needs to be had between those who support a yes vote

    I do not agree with you. Oil is traded in petro dollars and even if we insist on getting royalties in the same foreign currency as any debt are owed in that is just the same as mortgaging the export of oil. If the oil price falls for any reason we get less: but the interest on the debt stays the same at best: or rises because of the perceived fall in the ability to pay.

    Exports do earn foreign currency and they do so whether you have foreign denominated debt or you don’t. What matters is whether that foreign currency is pledged. I already said that I think that we will have a successful economy in Scotland but to run a trade surplus every year in all circumstances is truly not certain: but foreign denominated debt has to be paid in foreign currency whether you are running a trade surplus or not.

    There are other consequences too, though much depends on how you understand the workings of an economy, and so there is likely to be much disagreement over some issues. Nonetheless, some things do not seem to me to be in doubt. And there are examples we can consider

    Hungary has debt which is denominated in a foreign currency, though it has its own currency because it has not yet joined the euro. When that currency falls in value Hungarian debt increases simply because the debt is in foreign currency which it has to get through purchase some of the time. In these circumstances a sovereign state is truly at risk of default and Hungary is no exception to that. For Hungary the consequence was a bail out and the terms imposed were the usual plutocratic rubbish we always see from the IMF and their pals. The constraints demanded were the usual austerity and Hungary’s attempt to resist caused quite a stir. The Troika has only one agenda and their solution is always the same. The government concerned has no autonomy and no economic freedom.

    Any country is subject to speculative attack, and a fall in the value of the currency can be engineered. But so long as any debt is denominated in their own currency the interest on the existing debt does not change. It is a bit like the debt you take on to purchase a house. Inflation is effectively a reduction in the value of money on one conception. It has some bad consequences and those are played up all over the media because control of inflation is a central plank of neoliberal policy and it is portrayed as a bogeyman always and everywhere. I won’t go into that here except to point out that even if you accept it is generally a bad thing it has this consequence: if you have an existing debt in the form of a mortgage then inflation renders your debt a smaller proportion of your income, if your income rises in line with inflation to any extent at all. That fact is one of the reasons the UK economy has become so dependent on housing bubbles: by now it is what the people expect, crazy as that is. But if your mortgage is in francs, say, then any inflation within your country has no such effect, and for the same reason. You pay the same number of francs, just as you would pay the same number of pounds: but those francs cost you more and those pounds don’t. That is because you have to buy those francs with devalued pounds.

    I am not sure if that is a very clear or helpful analogy: but I hope it is.

    We may well never run into a trade deficit: but I would not be confident about that. Even if I was why take the risk when we do not have to?

    There is much talk of sovereign default and a lot of hooey about what is a sustainable level of debt. We did not hear much of that in the post war period though debt levels were very much higher than they are now. On the measure of debt to GDP the UK ratio was about 260% after the war and the levels now are historically quite low. There is no problem with this. Really none. The UK government has decided to make an issue of it for other ideological reasons and they have been able to do that because there really is a problem in the eurozone. That problem is a direct consequence of the fact that all eurozone countries now borrow in a foreign currency. The reason and difference is waved away but it is important. The ECB will not act as a true central bank and so policy responses to economic problems are limited to austerity. As the UK government actually wants to impose austerity they refuse to take the actions open to them and they do so by pointing to those countries in europe who are in a radically different position.

    One argument put forward for austerity rather than inflation is that hyper inflation is a danger and is the worst of all possible outcomes. That is nonsense on stilts. Weimar germany is the usual example held up and the story is that it fell into hyperinflation because the government printed money. The fact is that the post war reparations were an enormous debt which were denominated in a foreign currency. That is the real problem and hyper inflation is not like ordinary inflation: in almost every instance of hyperinflation it is a consequence of war and foreign denominated debt.

    This is a really important issue for Scotland at this juncture. I am not seeing much in the press about the implications of taking debt without a currency union but there is nothing more important to discuss IMO

  123. Fiona says:

    @Ian Bell 16/2/14 9:50

    They will expect us to pay in sterling. That is, in a foreign currency we will have to obtain through purchase or export earnings, assuming they are serious about there not being a currency union. Effectively they will have control of a very great part of our economy and our policy options will be dictated by the debt holder: in this case the rUK

  124. James caldwell says:

    I wonder if Alan Trench’s contribution was intended lo lead Scots into the understanding that he is calling the British Queen a liar on her “promise to pay the bearer on demand”? Or is the Bank of England plotting to destroy all old notes to be replaced with the suffix: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of: providing they are not in Scotland? Oh Yes, I do question the mental state of the Wee Pretendy UK unionists. Roll on Scotland being a BetterTogether fully represented member of a real Union of links instead of the present wee pretendy Union made from chains, slavery, classism and old Etonian elitism.

  125. Triangular Ears says:

    @John Hamill & Ian Brotherhood

    John, I was there at the BT meeting too and enjoyed your question, and the very first guy’s too!

    See my account of the meeting here with attendance numbers etc:

    and my friend’s account too

  126. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “What I don’t understand is why commentators are saying we would struggle to borrow from the markets because we never paid our share of the debt but why would we need to borrow in the first place if we had no debt and and are starting from scratch.”

    Your basic point is correct, and we dealt with this recently:

    However, in such a scenario, if there’s no co-operation between Scotland and rUK and it’s an acrimonious break-up, it’s likely we’d get no share of assets. Therefore we’d need money for start-up costs: creating things like a Scottish HMRC, buying military hardware and lots more. So we’d require at least short-term borrowing.

  127. ian foulds says:

    Reference – Retention of the name United Kingdom

    I understood that we shall still have a United Kingdom after we vote Yes, as neither Scotland nor the rest of the constituent parts are, at this stage relinquishing the monarchy.

    I further understood that the Treaty of the Union refers (possibly Article 1 from memory) to the Kingdoms of Scotland and England becoming Great Britain – a political Union.

    Thus maybe the reference to UK should not exclusively be used by the remaining countries, as Scotland would still be part of the United Kingdom but, indeed Great Britain would no longer exist

  128. Triangular Ears says:

    Even if short-term borrowing was required, could a Scottish Government, in the situation of an acrimonious break-up, not borrow from the Scottish people in some form of bond issue?

    I’d gladly lend a newly independent Scotland money, as much as I could afford.

  129. Alec says:

    “However, in such a scenario, if there’s no co-operation between Scotland and rUK and it’s an acrimonious break-up, it’s likely we’d get no share of assets.”

    We would also not be in the EU, nor EFTA, and the implications of that for lenders are not great. An acrimonious break up would be extremely difficult for Scotland.

    Barruso has again confirmed this morning his view that Scotland will not get automatic membership, due to the resistance to allowing secessionist states automatic right of continued membership. This is quite sensible real politik, and really places Scotland’s negotiation position in a very weak place.

  130. Chic McGregor says:

    “Is that Katie Hopkins on GMS right now?If so, why?”

    I hope she sings her old favourite “Those Were The Days” after the yes result.

  131. Alec says:

    @Ian Foulds – the UK was created in 1800 with the Act of Union with Ireland. I don’t think it has anything directly to do with the Treaty of Union. When Eire left in 1922 the UK retained the name. If Scotland leaves in 2016, the UK will retain the name. Whether bound up with legal niceties or no, this is what will happen, as this is what the UK people will want, I suspect.

    No one has a patent on the name, so no one could tell them not to use it. There also doesn’t seem to be any issue about the UK retaining things like EU membership and UN Security Council seats etc, as there won’t be a fundamental change to the UK, other than losing a small part of it’s population.

    I think the discussions of names is a bit of a red herring to be honest. Formally and informally, people will carry on as before.

  132. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Barruso has again confirmed”

    Barroso will be out of office, so his opinion doesn’t count for diddly.

  133. Linda's back says:


    Your having a laugh. Scotland would have NO debts, a balance of trade surplus and vast oil and gas revenues to flow through Scotland’s economy.

  134. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Triangular Ears –

    Thanks for the R/Glen report – missed it yesterday. Sounds very similar to the North Ayrshire launch i.e. evasion, frustration, feigned outrage, selective deafness with some surreal silliness thrown in.

    It all sounds perversely entertaining!

  135. On that subject, it may be fair to contest the use of the United Kingdom(along with successor status) by England(and its remaining colonies) in the event of a break up, should Westminister refuse to play ball at the negotiation table

  136. Alec says:

    “Barroso will be out of office, so his opinion doesn’t count for diddly.”

    Other than the fact that it’s based on a long standing policy principle that pre dates Barruso.

  137. When it comes to the EU. There are two countries that matter. France and Germany. No one else holds anywhere near the sway that those nations do (the UK could have, if the Tories and Labour before them weren’t so pigheadedly xenophobic and insular). Getting them on your side is the utmost importance for smoothing over any negotiations.

    The French would be the easiest to win over. Playing up the heavily romanticized alliance between Scotland and France in bygone days may go down well.

    Admittedly the Germans would be a completely different kettle of fish.

  138. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Other than the fact that it’s based on a long standing policy principle that pre dates Barruso.”

    Aye, if you say so. Bored of this particular heap of shite now. If you want to tell yourself that the EU will throw Scotland out, with the unimaginable practical chaos that would entail, go nuts.

  139. Frances says:

    Alec, what policy principal are you referring to?

  140. Captain Caveman says:

    Alec is right; hot on the heels of the “great news” that all major UK parties have unambiguously and unequivocably confirmed there will be NO currency union with an independent Scotland, thereby shooting the SNP’s fox yet again, Barroso has indeed not so much underlined – but writ in 72-point flashing letters – that Scotland would indeed need to apply for EU membership and that the likes of Spain would almost certainly ensure the failure of such an application.

    I mean seriously guys, face the facts here. It’s not all “a heap of shite” but very, very real, on all fronts. I don’t know if the SNP has even considered any “what if” scenarios in its so-called planning over the last however many years, but from where I’m sitting it’s an unbelievable MESS. Indy supporters deserve better.

    People tell me I’ve read it wrong, or it’s “different than a General Election”. Well, too bloody right it’s different; a GE is for four years; the composition of a mere single Parliament. Indy is FOREVER.

    The thought of this laughable, inept shower exclusively and solely running any country where I lived/relied up would fill me with abject horror.

  141. Alec says:

    @Rev C – “Barroso will be out of office, so his opinion doesn’t count for diddly.”

    you’re right – his opinion doesn’t matter. What matters is the legal advice accepted by the commission, and also given to Alex Salmond, and well established by EU treaty law.

    This won’t change, and this is a problem for the SNP.

  142. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “What matters is the legal advice accepted by the commission”

    “Legal advice” LOL.

    EU law is whatever EU members want it to be.

  143. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “hot on the heels of the “great news” that all major UK parties have unambiguously and unequivocably confirmed there will be NO currency union with an independent Scotland, thereby shooting the SNP’s fox yet again, Barroso has indeed not so much underlined – but writ in 72-point flashing letters – that Scotland would indeed need to apply for EU membership and that the likes of Spain would almost certainly ensure the failure of such an application.”

    Yeah, and the Lib Dems pledge to vote against any increase in tuition fees, Labour promise to introduce electoral reform and the Tories aren’t going to screw with the NHS. Grow up.

  144. Captain Caveman says:

    OK Stu, have it your way. But getting angry with me isn’t going to change anything mate.

  145. Alec says:

    @Rev C – “EU law is whatever EU members want it to be.”

    That’s correct – they pass treaties, which become law. Alex Salmond has received clear legal advice that told him that current treaties would require Scotland to join as a new member. This is conformed by the Commission as the long established legal position.

    The EU could change this at any time, but only by a treaty amendment, which would need to be negotiated and agreed by all members. No one believes that this is going to happen.

    The result is that Scotland must therefore reapply as a new member.

    I don’t see a problem with this. As an existing part of the EU, there would be none of the technical issues normally encountered. If the UK agrees, these negotiations could commence prior to independence, and a seamless transition could occur.

    This requires the full cooperation of the UK. All EU members would need to ratify the decision. Spain has indicated it would not veto an agreed separation, although their PM has said they would block membership if it was not agreed with the UK.

    Alex Salmond tried to avoid making public legal advice supporting his case when he didn’t. in fact, have any legal opinion. He has now avoided publishing legal advice that doesn’t support his case when he does have it.

    There is a pattern here. You need to be more questioning of your leader. He is, after all, just another politician.

  146. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Therefore we’d need money for start-up costs: creating things like a Scottish HMRC, buying military hardware and lots more. So we’d require at least short-term borrowing.

    I’m no military expert, but would it not be the case that buying ‘off the shelf’ hardware would also have considerable savings over UK developed stuff (e.g. Mirage over Eurofighter, M4/C8 over L85 etc) when it comes to ongoing maintenance? Plus, where skills and resources exist like shipbuilding, they can be leveraged (in turn putting money back into Scotland’s economy).

    the UK was created in 1800 with the Act of Union with Ireland.

    While the 1707 Union was not exactly the democratic will of the Scots people, it was a certainly a sovereign state entering willingly (albeit reluctantly) into an international agreement. IANACL, but I think it would be difficult to argue the same for Ireland in 1800, which was essentially a crown colony for a few hundred years prior.

  147. Ian Brotherhood says:

    It’s a tag team!

  148. Arbroath 1320 says:

    We’ve just had the Bitter gang at our door this morning. BAD MOVE! 🙂

    My partner, who was already in a foul mood with a crashing headache answered the door. “Good morning” said the Bitternat “I’m from Better Together.” At this point all hell broke lose. 🙂

    “Is this piece of shite full of lies yours she asks”. Before the Bitternat could utter a sound she continued “with here take your piece of shite and f*** off!”

    I might be wrong here but I do NOT think the Bitternats will be back at out door any time soon. 🙂

  149. Captain Caveman says:

    “It’s a tag team!”

    Hardly. One brief post in about a week would make for a pretty rubbish tag team partner, Ian.

  150. Arbroath 1320 says:


    I forgot to mention that our windows are plastered with YES, Independence and Wings stickers. 😉

    I also forgot to mention that our truck, a Jeep, was sitting right outside our front door, ok it’s a communal parking lot, with its rear windows plastered with YES stickers, Independence stickers and the proverbial Wings stickers! 🙂

    I’ve also just been informed by my partner that she also called the Bitternat a ("Tractor" - Ed) to his country. 🙂

    I think if anything is clear above all else it’s the fact that you do NOT attempt to persuade my partner to vote NO when she has a crashing headache! 😉

  151. Morag says:

    Arb, there’s a simpler method. I’ve got a big (OK A4) blue “Yes” stuck up in my front window. Even if they do venture round here (not impossible by any means, this is the Borders after all) I don’t think they’ll be calling.

    The “poster” is one of the blue Yes placards we were given on the march in September. It’ll do until the Yes campaign has some bigger and fancier ones printed.

    Tell your partner to get out the blutak and save her blood pressure.

  152. Morag says:

    Oh, cross-posting! Are they completely nuts?

    (OK don’t answer that.)

  153. Triangular Ears says:

    @Ian Brotherhood, it was indeed entertaining and got me up early on Saturday. I found it reassuring that they appeared to be so worried.

    I liked the video you posted on the North Ayrshire one. That’s some good quality reporting, both technically and journalistically.

    I seem to have missed something too. What’s this about a meet up or something that you’re trying to organise? I would possibly be interested in this.

  154. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I’m no military expert, but would it not be the case that buying ‘off the shelf’ hardware would also have considerable savings over UK developed stuff (e.g. Mirage over Eurofighter, M4/C8 over L85 etc) when it comes to ongoing maintenance?”

    Yes, it would. But we still have to buy them to start off with, and for that you need money.

  155. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Alex Salmond tried to avoid making public legal advice supporting his case when he didn’t. in fact, have any legal opinion.”

    Yawn snooze etc.

  156. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “OK Stu, have it your way. But getting angry with me isn’t going to change anything mate.”

    At a loss as to how you could interpret what I said as “angry”. More “weary”. You’re not a fuckwit, but you ARE inclined to avoid a point when it suits you. Politicians lie their dicks off all day every day – I gave you three of the most obvious examples from recent years, covering all three UK parties. I don’t give a shit what they say in order to win the vote. I care what they’ll actually have to do when the chips are down, by any conceivable sane and rational analysis.

    Go on, explain how Scotland would be thrown out of the EU. Explain how they’d come and drag away all those EU workers and students in Scotland, and hunt down all the Scots working in Europe and forcibly repatriate them, since they no longer had any right as EU citizens to be there. Etc etc.

    Do better or don’t waste my time. I’m busy.

  157. Triangular Ears says:

    It seems to me like the unionists tactics now have shifted from saying that we can’t do x, y, z to trying to draw out in infinite detail exactly how these things would be achieved.

    Is it worth trying to compile some case studies of just how other countries became independent in terms of all these details like currency, UN membership, military, asset/debt split etc? We could do with some examples of countries who became independent from the UK, but also examples of European countries like the Baltics (for more recent examples) and how other unions ended (e.g. Norway/Sweden).

    I think there would be fear allaying value in getting undecideds to see just how it’s done, even in hostile situations. There are a wealth of countries to choose from.

    Does anyone know of such a resource?

  158. Craig says:

    Is there no legal recourse for distributing misleading information like this?

  159. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Is there no legal recourse for distributing misleading information like this?”

    Not really:

    As it’s part of a direct solicitation for money it SHOULD theoretically be covered, but good luck getting anyone to listen.

  160. Captain Caveman says:

    Stu, if you’re just going to say “politicians lie all the time” whenever they commit to something that you don’t like (however unequivocally), well, there doesn’t seem much point in continuing, does there? (That’s why I didn’t 🙂 )

    I’m busy too, man.

  161. Juteman says:

    white puddin

  162. Bill McLean says:

    Alec – if Alex Salmond has legal advice from Europe he cannot publish as unfortunately we are members as part of UK. On the other hand the UK Government can publish the advice – why don’t they. Barrosso is an unelected President. He has no executive power. He is a windbag and would probably fit in well at Westminster! Sorry to be rude but some of this debate is unreal, surreal – whatever you want .The facts are simple. The UK Govt has the advice – why don’t they publish?

  163. gerry parker says:

    I suppose the next one will be border posts?

  164. Captain Caveman says:

    “white puddin”

    Not entirely sure what you mean, Juteman, but Stu will no doubt testify that I’m normally the first to roll up my sleeves and get stuck into a heated political debate. A shrinking violet I ain’t.

    However, I genuinely believe there’s just no point in this case; all it’s going to do is piss people off, which I wouldn’t mind so much, but not for absolutely no gain whatsoever, sorry. (Plus I genuinely am busy; I’ve a report I’m supposed to be writing).

    There IS no argument to be made if your opponent simply refuses to *selectively* believe anything that politicians (and others), including the EU Commission (in unbelievably stark terms) are saying; it’s the equivalent of sticking a bucket on your head singing “la la la”.

    Also, there seems to be this misunderstanding that somehow the onus is on the likes of *me* to explain, at inordinate length, why Barosso et al are wrong about the EU and/or why Sterling Union has to happen regardless – otherwise I’m talking pish?

    This, however, is itself ludicrous. YOU are the ones, not me, saying the President of the EU Commission is wrong about EU membership status/likely outcome, just as you are also the ones calling the detailed, Civil Service legal advice underpinning the whole ‘no Sterling Union’ statement by all three political parties. So I’m afraid the burden of proof entirely rests with YOU, not me – and as far as I’m concerned, that burden of proof is a darn sight more onerous than simply saying “all politicians are liars innit” when it suits (or even something along the lines of ‘is it me, or does Barroso look like he’s been on the sauce’).

  165. Captain Caveman says:

    …at inordinate length, why Barosso et al are right about the EU and/or why Sterling Union has to happen regardless…


  166. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @CC –

    Sorry, but you seem to be wilfully missing the point here.

    It’s clear that the BT/UKOK strategy is now so broken that they’re resorting to outright demonisation of everyone who dares defy Darling’s nonsense.

    Do you deny that the Yes movement – particularly the grassroots online support – is now being painted as The Enemy Within?

    BTW, you promised, months ago, to get back to us with your positive case for the Union. You may have posted it and I missed it – if so, apologies for troubling you when you’re busy, but where is it?

  167. Juteman says:

    ‘White puddin’ wasn’t aimed at you. 🙂
    Due to the ongoing DOS attack, I need to post something/anything to read the comments.

  168. Captain Caveman says:


    Sorry mate, I haven’t done it. Fairly obviously, I don’t have all the answers mate, bloody far from it.

    I suppose I could start by saying that, whatever else it has done (not all good as I’m the first to admit), the Union has at least kept Scotland out of the disastrous Euro, and bailed out its banks – not bad for starters, and all within the last 5 years? Look, this is only my take on it; I realise this will be shot to pieces but that’s just how I see it. I’m a Unionist but will happily concede the Indy argument *does* have good stuff going for it; I genuinely think though that the SNP are making a right royal cock up of it all strategically/in planning terms.

    @ Juteman


    Hey no worries mate, if the cap fits eh! (I looked it up, apparently it means ‘trailer trash’ 😀 )

  169. Juteman says:

    A white puddin is something you eat. Also known as a mealie puddin. 🙂

  170. Juteman says:

    Fishfinger roll.

  171. Alec says:

    @Bill McClean – re the legal opinions – the SNP have helpfully pointed us to the relevant legal stuff. In the White Paper, they suggest Article 48 of the Treaty of Lisbon provides the mechanism for the continuation of EU membership for Scotland.

    It doesn’t, although it might. Article 48 governs the mechanism for the amending of the Treaty, not any particular issues over accession status or rights of secessionist states. The entire treaty is silent on these matters, which is where the politics comes in.

    If the SNP wishes to request a simply acceptance of EU membership status, then I would imagine this will be a relatively simple process. If they wish to secure the existing UK opt outs, rebates and dispensations, than I think the Commission certainly, and possibly other member states, will push for a brand new application. There is a general political wish not to encourage changes to the borders and status of existing member states, and anything that makes separation easy, may be discouraged, although there are no certainties here once we get into the political arena. Suffice to say there are political pressures in parts of the EU that would prefer to see Scotland’s path to membership made difficult.

    The real significance of Article 48 isn’t the precise status granted to Scotland after a Yes vote. It lies in Section 4. Under the ‘Ordinary revision procedure’ it details the process by which treaty amendments can be proposed and assessed for acceptance (essentially by QMV) but then Section 4 states as bold as brass that if an amendment is accepted “The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.”

    This is all I’ve been saying – the UK, Spain, Belgium, and any other country fighting breakaway movements, will have a veto. It’s inconceivable (I think) that any other nation would veto this if the UK accepts it, but Scotland will absolutely need to have UK approval at this point. No one will support Scottish membership of the EU, under Article 48 or any other avenue, unless cooperation is forthcoming from Westminster. This is why talk of ‘no debts’ is arrant nonsense.

    Article 48 does provide for ‘Simplified revision procedures’ where QMV is used, but these are only applicable to Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which concerns internal procedures, not matter of membership.

    This is the point that fails to be addressed. It’s not that Scotland couldn’t have a rapid and smooth transition to independent membership of the EU. As with the sterling issue, it’s that to get this, EU law is exceptionally clear in that it will require a treaty change, which means a UK veto potential.

  172. bill mclean says:

    Alec, You appear to have missed my point that as the member state only the UK Government have the right to publish the legal advice on an Independent Scotland’s accession to the EU.

  173. bill mclean says:

    Furthermore Alec the debt statement is not “arrant nonsense”. Our debt was created and signed off by the “UK Government”. Mr Salmond has always said we would pay our share but if the masters of the universe want to play hard ball over currency……..! And of course they would veto an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU! Oh dear!

  174. alec says:

    @Bill McLean – I didn’t miss your point. The point is that this isn’t about legalities – it’s about politics. The legals are very clear that Scotland needs unanimous support, but beyond that, it’s about being nice to everyone to get them to support your admission.

    Technically, Scotland could not take responsibility for the debt, but see where that would get you. If it was a straightforward option with no problems attached, don’t you think Alex would have it centre stage?

    The currency union is a total red herring, which too many people here have fallen for. The currency arrangements aren’t an asset – they are a collection of financial and fiscal policies. You can’t force these on an unwilling neighbour, so just get over it.

  175. Fiona says:


    You have made a number of points which I think are a little debateable, but let us accept your main position for the sake of discussion

    Assuming that you are correct and Scotland would not be a member of the EU if it became independent. In that case we would presumably have to apply for membership. I think that is your main thrust, is it not?

    Ok let us assume that is the case. What follows?

    There is not a lot of detail in your posts here but that is understandable because the consequences are not your main point. But they are important

    At present there is no obvious reason at all why an application to join the EU would not be accepted very speedily indeed, because obviously we meet the criteria for membership, with the exception of a central bank, which I believe to be a requirement. Since I consider that Scotland needs its own currency it also needs a central bank and one should be established immediately after independence or as quickly as may be. I do not know the mechanism for doing that, but I am sure the Scottish government does, and probably a lot of posters here too. I do not imagine it is very complicated since it took less than six months to establish the original bank of england and we have more experience now and many models to choose from. The functions are more wide ranging than they were then but it is not like we have to start from scratch

    So there is no difficulty in meeting the criteria for membership

    Then there is the question of being accepted. Like many people you assert that countries which have their own separatist movements would be inclined to block the application. That may be true. Equally they may calculate that refusal to accept that application will result in a hardening of their own separatist movements in just the way some say the refusal of CU by the westminster government has hardened attitudes here. I have no way of judging any other country’s political calculation (and this part is politics, as you say) but I do not think it is as simple as you suggest.

    At the same time those countries which do not have independence movements have been reluctant to see Greece leave the union. Clearly they may be more sanguine about such a decision now than they were when the financial crash hit, as they have had time to cover their exposure to a great extent. But a Scotland which was not in the EU raises the possibility of other countries deciding to get out and there is also the promised UK referendum which might well lead to secession by the rUK. What price their veto in those circumstances? It seems to be presumed that the rUK might be persuaded not to veto if we are good. But what influence will they have on the Spanish decision? Or any other country? It is possible, if your analysis is correct that we might be blocked by one of them no matter what we do in negotiations with the UK.

    And that is the point really. The decisions are not all made by rUK or Westminster. The decision about currency union is their’s to make. The decision about share of the debt is Scotland’s to make. The decision about whether we are in or out of the EU; and if we are out whether we have a seamless passage back in is the EU’s to make. WE have no idea what their stance would be but I am pretty sure the rUK will have not much influence on that at all: sure they can veto us if all is as they suggest: but so can anyone and they will decide what to do for their own reasons and their own political interests. There is no point in worrying about a decision you cannot make: you can make your case and you can plan for all possible outcomes. But there has to be a recognition of who can actually do what and EU membership is not in our control.

    So if we are refused membership, what then? There are certainly economic advantages to membership, so long as you do not cede control of the currency. That is not solely my view: it is the view of the UK government (though why they bother when they make no use of the advantages of a sovereign currency is a mystery to me). It is also the view of the Norwegian people who have rejected membership and have got along very well with close ties but no membership. Norway is the country most similar to Scotland in many ways. The model they have is in fact one which might be considered if the rUK votes to leave the EU as well. Switzerland has similar arrangements, though I do not think its economy etc is very like that of Scotland or the UK. All that means is that bilateral arrangements with the EU are feasible for many different kinds of state.

    Why would the EU agree to such an arrangement? Well maybe something to do with oil and fish and such things? I am not well enough informed to say how likely that is but I see no reason at all why it would not work

    So I am not terribly exercised if you are correct and the EU decides we are not members and will not be members in a short time scale. I think that is unlikely but I think we can live with it if it happens.

    As I have said more than once: the crucial thing is to have your own currency. Or if not that then at least to ensure that you have no foreign denominated debt. I probably look quite obsessive about that but it seems that some folk have not thought much about that aspect and I do want to put it in to the debate.

    It follows that if the implication of your earlier post, that the currency opt out would fall following independence, then we should not join the EU at all. This is very far from being all one way. Moving towards a Norwegian arrangement makes more sense to me if it can be managed.

    The currency union is not a red herring. It is a workable transitional arrangement and it probably makes sense in those terms. But it is not essential at all. Only without it we MUST not take a share of the debt. The Treasury may see that as a threat and one that is not credible: I see it as absolutely essential and I think they are unbelievably stupid if they do not understand that: or they think we are.

  176. bordersbiz says:

    I’m not throwing in the towel yet, but as a businessman with 90% of his biz selling to south of the border I do stand to loose a hell of a lot. BUT

    I cant standby and let westminster keep us as a benefit to them keeping their credit rateing.

    I dont care we we use balotti beans, fag butts and cut up union flags as currency or even if we as a nation has 3 cents in the bank. We need to lance the boil, cut out the tumor and break the chain from this mess.

    Is this cos i hate the english – NOPE.
    Do I vote SNP – Nope never, and i never will.
    Do I trust Alex Salmond and the SNP – NOPE BUT and most importantly I trust them 10,000 times more than Westminster, and in an independent Scotland I actually will have a voice and my single vote will actually count.

    So regardless of Oil, 500quid, being part of the EU, free education, living in a mud hut and eating porridge for 3 meals a day i’d still vote ‘YES’.

    I also love the way cameron has used a scottish labour politician to run the no campaign. Clearly darling doesnt have the brains to know he’s been hung out to dry.

    Voting NO clearly means austerity max, insignificance repression and another equivilant to the highland clearances.

    I’d also ignore the polls, when you consider my parents who NEVER vote are both YES voters who were stung in the 1970’s referendum the polls clearly go to the wall.

    The final note to apease anyone who is listening to the westminster parties – 95% of anything they have said in the past 3 years has been U turned when the reality comes to bear.

  177. Alec says:

    @Fiona – I think you’ve missed almost entirely the points of my various posts. I don’t expect Scotland to lose EU membership. No Scottish leader would conceive of going independent, without first arranging transition to full EU membership. The White Paper is stuffed full of dubious promises like an extra 1.2B Euros for Scottish farmers that are completely dependent on being a member. The negotiations could be concluded speedily and while still within the UK. If agreement is reached with the UK, I really don’t think there wold be any vetos applied. I’ve no problems with any of that.

    The key point is that the agreement with the UK is what is necessary. You will not be able to impose painful conditions onto the UK, like refusing a share of debt, and I also believe it’s likely that other EU countries will impose their own pressures on a new Scottish membership deal – opt outs etc will be very hard to defend. All of this applies if you want to copy Norway – they pay money to be in EFTA, and it needs approval to negotiate this as much as full membership. Scotland is simply a terribly minor and small part of the EU that the idea that the EU will absolutely desperate to keep Scottish fish belies the over inflated self importance that too many separatists have. If UK doesn’t approve the deal, you won’t be able to move to EU membership. I doubt it would even be presented to the council.

    Your views on the currency union also show the complete failure to grasp the point the UK is making here. Going into a currency union as a ‘transitional arrangement’ would be disastrous. From day one, you are giving the green light to speculative attacks, as you’ve already said there will be a point when you stop defending it. No sane person would ever consider this. The former Czech republics agreed a transitional arrangement for 6 months and it lasted 33 days.

    Your point about Greece is, I think wrong. I’m not aware of any Greek moves to leave the EU – just the Euro, and the ferocity with which the EZ defended those members in trouble shows just how determined you have to be to defend a currency union. Going into one saying you will leave is simply bone headed and will fail.

    You all need to bear in mind that no currency union in the history of the earth has ever survived without full fiscal and political union, and you cannot impose a monetary policy on another country. (That’s what currency is – a set of policies, not an asset. Salmond just doesn’t get this).

    You are in a currency union, and you want to leave it. That’s your choice. You won’t be able to force another currency union on your partners.

  178. Alec says:

    For a bit of perspective here, have a look at this –

    Recent polling evidence with a large sample size which comprehensively demonstrates that outwith Scotland itself, there appears to be no democratic support for a sterling sharing arrangement.

    These results are about as comprehensive a rejection of the idea as you can get, and nationalists simply need to accept that it is not possible within a democratic system, to vote to leave a currency union, and then impose your own version of a different currency union on the state you’ve just left, without the assent of their citizens. This is the madness of the SNP position.

  179. lumatrix says:

    Fiona – Thank you for the best breakdown of the currency situation that I have yet seen. I take it that you are an economist? Further postings on this matter of foreign currency debt problems would be appreciated. By me if no-one else.

  180. Fiona says:

    I don’t really think I am missing the point of your posts at all, alec. I think you may be missing the point of mine.

    I do not want a currency union. I do not think it is in anyone’s interest to have that except as a transitional arrangement. It would have to be acknowledged as such, and it would have some benefits for both sides, to smooth transition. But it is not sustainable in the long run as we both agree.

    For that reason I am very glad it has been taken off the table. Both sides can now act in their interests as they see it, assuming that it is not bluff on the part of westminster: and I am perfectly willing to believe them, as I think others will too in time

    The question of EU membership is a separate issue. Where I think you are wrong is in assuming that that is in the rUK’s gift. Far from me considering my country is more important than it is, I think you are rather guilty of that.

    There are a lot of ifs here: you say that we will not be able to impose painful conditions onto the UK, like refusing a share of debt . We are not in any sense imposing conditions if we refuse to share the debt. Scotland would be taking a decision in its own essential interests and it cannot afford to do otherwise unless there is a currency union. There is really no viable alternative. Your example of the Czech Slovak split actually supports my point and not yours in this sense and it seems to me you are conflating two issues.

    Certainly there are costs in following the Norwegian model: but there is no reason at all why a Scotland free of debt and with a sovereign currency cannot meet those costs, as you seem to suggest. Nor did I suggest the EU would be desperate to hang on to oil or fish or anything else: just that there is no reason to lose those things if the issue is to be addressed pragmatically. I think it will be influenced by other considerations, as you do. But the effect of other nations separatist movements is not predictable, as you so easily assume: and if that effect is indeed as you expect then those countries will perhaps exclude Scotland and veto any application to join so as to give a message to their own independence movements. If they do that it will have nothing to do with rUK and they will have no ability to change that. Again it is not in their gift.

    What they can do, if the EU decide that Scotland is not already a member; and if they decide that an application to join will not be facilitated so that it is a formality is block that application through veto. There is nothing at all that Scotland can do about that. It will be a problem, certainly. But it is a problem which pales into insignificance in face of an alternative which entails Scotland taking foreign denominated debt.

    As to your comments on Greece: well there is little of substance there and much is predicated on the curious notion that the EZ defended Greece: it didn’t. It defended banks in the usual way in the end by taking private debt into public ownership. It is yet another example of the instability of a monetary union certainly: that is one of the reasons I oppose such an arrangement. I do not think you and I are very far apart on that

    You are just wrong when you say that a currency is policy and not an asset. But it is certainly true that the value of currency is related to policy, amongst other things. You are also wrong when you say that one country cannot impose a monetary policy on another: that is precisely what the EU do to member states in the EZ; and it is precisely what the UK does to Scotland. It is a necessary element of monetary union. In true union, as in the USA, it is not a problem: but neither is that really a currency union, for that is one country. There are some similarities but the differences matter

    Once again I think we agree more than you recognise.

    We are not currently in a currency union: we are one country. I want to end that and for Scotland to be independent. That means we need our own currency, and we must issue any debt in that currency.

    Whatever you believe it is my view that debt in a foreign currency ends all autonomy and renders the country an economic basket case, sooner or later. Nothing could be worse: really nothing

    So if you are correct on all points about the consequences of failure to reach agreement: if the whole world says “poor wee rUK, that is just not fair and we will ignore the fact of their increased debt and ostracise Scotland more completely and effectively than we ostracised South Africa over apartheid, or Iran over nuclear weapons” that is STILL better than foreign denominated debt.

    However since the whole world couldn’t even carry that through in the two cases I mention I doubt it would even try in this case. rUK becoming responsible for its own debt is not in the same class and bankers etc are not sentimental: they care about making money as those same cased demonstrate. Scotland with an independent currency can pay any debt it takes on in that currency. And if it cannot get debt from the markets it need not, though that would an action of last resort from any likely scottish government post independence.

    We have a lot of agreement: but the point of difference is about the implications of foreign denominated debt. And to me there is absolutely no doubt about that.

  181. Alec says:

    @Fiona – I understand your stance on sterling now. As a transition measure for Scotland, that would be entirely unacceptable for the UK, however, so it isn’t going to happen. Far better and easier to set up your own currency from day one, probably pegged to sterling as your transition arrangement, and then allowed to float as and when. That’s perfectly sensible and no one in the UK would have an issue with that.

    There would be a sharing of foreign currency reserves etc, and debt liabilities, but beyond that it’s hard to see what else within sterling could be shared. Do you want 10% of the bricks that make up the Bank of England? Other than that, it’s really hard to see what else there is to share. The only other ‘assets’ are interest rate policy and decisions on spending, tax and borrowing. We ‘share’ those at the moment, but you don’t like this.

    If someone can point me simply to the elements of the currency that can be divided, apportioned and shared, then I’ll happily agree that currency is an asset and should be divvied up, but as far as I see it, a nations currency is a fiscal system, that can be joined or left, but can’t be shared.

    “Where I think you are wrong is in assuming that that is in the rUK’s gift.”

    Not wrong, I’m afraid, as the SNP confirm. They quote Article 48 of the Treaty of Lisbon as the mechanism for a smooth transition. This clearly contains the need for unanimous support from all member states. Even if the Treaties are determined to mean that Scotland keeps it’s membership as of right, which is extremely doubtful, given the politics within the EU, treaty changes will still be needed, which means everyone has a veto, including the UK. If it gets messy, then Scotland stands to lose far more than anyone else.

    Foreign denominated debt is an issue for the SNP, you’re right, but there won’t be any choice in the matter. I’m pretty sure the UK will not support a deal without a debt share. No Westminster government would want to face the UK electorate after agreeing to keep all of the legacy debts, so this isn’t going to happen.

    As soon as I heard the announcement on debt from the treasury, I saw the problems for Scotland instantly. It was hugely entertaining to see the comments on here that somehow this was a great victory for the SNP. It’s actually potentially a real spanner in the works, which was obvious from the start. However, if you are all correct and the Scottish economy will consistently outperform the UK’s then you’ve nothing to worry about – your currency will appreciate and the debt burden will reduce (although of course your exports might take a bit of a hammering too).

    My real problem with so much about this whole debate is the mind numbingly simplistic thinking from much of the Yes campaign. There is a pretty decent case for independence, especially if greater devolved powers can’t be secured. London is not a great manager of the Scottish economy, for sure.

    But while the SNP recognise uncertainties, in the fact that they accept much will be ‘negotiated’, this is deemed to mean they they will get what they want. They won’t. They will get a deal, with some things they want, and other things they don’t want. That’s what negotiation means.

    The position of the EU means that the balance of power in these negotiations is tipped firmly in UK’s favour. There are so many examples of assumptions made which just don’t stand the most cursory contact with reality, that the final independence offer is going to come a quite a shock to a lot of Scottish voters. I’d say it’s far better to be upfront and honest, and present a realistic case, along with the uncertainties, and let people work it out from there.

  182. Fiona says:

    Hello alec.

    It seems to me that you are shifting back and forth between possibilities and it renders your position a little hard to follow. Let me try again

    Assuming that currency union is off the table I do not think we disagree about the fact that Scotland should establish its own currency at once, if I read you right

    That being so there are some intangible assets which might be subject to negotiation but I do not think so. I believe it is more likely that there will a clean break. Physical assets will belong to the country in which they are located for both legal and practical reasons: but such things as financial assets and liabilities are pretty much settled. Foreign currency reserves will not be shared if debt is not shared prsumably. And since debt MUST not be shared we will have to live with that. However that will not matter because we will have no foreign denominated debt and we can establish a foreign currency reserve in the usual way through exports over some time. As we do have a reasonably healthy export balance at present that will not be an insurmountable problem and it is certainly less serious than foreign denominated debt. The whole question of sharing of assets and debt is settled by the decision to reject currency union for me, and therefore I am a little puzzled as to why you continue to refer to it.

    It is certainly true that the SNP at present do not believe it is settled and they may be right. If they are the whole picture changes but both you and I agree it is off the table. For me, even if the SNP are correct I think we should take it off the table ourselves and get on with establishing our own currency.

    I already acknowledged that if all the “ifs” are determined as you expect ( and there is indeed doubt about that) the rUK will have a veto. Since every other country will also have a veto the rUK cannot determine the outcome and so it is certainly not in the rUK’s gift. It rests with the EU itself and no-one can predict what the various political calculations will lead to. It is not even certain what the timetable for independence will be: some of the unionist commentators insist that there will be protracted delay from Westminster and that we need an act of parliament to implement independence. If they are correct ( I do not think they are,for the record) then there is the possibility that the rUK will have no veto at all: because they won’t be members by then 😉

    As to “there won’t be any choice in the matter” of foreign denominated debt: of course there is a choice. If there is no deal, there is no deal, and we make a clean break. That is almost inevitable because we cannot be expected to commit economic suicide just because it suits the rUK. What you do not seem to understand is that by taking CU off the table the rUK has taken away much of the reason for even seeking a deal. What do they have to offer now? Not much in the scheme of things.

    Your notion that we will make this decision in blind optimism about the future performance of the Scottish economy is absurd. I believe it will do well: but I am not about to risk the whole future of the country on that hope. That would be silly. So no currency union means no share of the debt. End of story, IMO. Whatever other consequences follow that is not negotiable. It is merely two countries pursuing their own perceived interests: no threat or blackmail or anything else: mere pragmatism both ways.

    I absolutely agree that honest assessment of the various options and their consequences is required: that is what I have done and what I think you have not done. You see your country as very powerful and holding all the cards. That is not the situation. There will certainly be problems in the future and it will be a bumpy ride. But my purpose in posting here is to promote consideration of the aspect of the decision to rule out currency union which has not received sufficient attention in the places I have been reading reaction.

    There is very little reason to negotiate a deal in these circumstances: we will try. But any deal which entail foreign denominated debt is not acceptable and will not be struck. That is essential and so if we leave without a deal so be it.

  183. Alec says:

    @Fiona – “And since debt MUST not be shared we will have to live with that.”

    This is not logical. There is nothing to say that debt must not be shared. It would be extremely easy to construct a legal agreement for Scotland to service it’s share of the debt. UK will insist on this, I’m pretty sure, and that will be that.

    Again, you are engaged in the logical absurdity about who is ruling out a currency union. You have a currency union, which you wish to leave by choice. You are ruling out a currency union, no one else. Attempting to force a brand new currency union on an independent nation 10 times bigger than you is not a credible position, and linking this demand to accepting a fair share of existing debt is not logical.

    You are correct, in that you could decide not to settle a deal, which would mean you had no debt, although that would place outside the EU and EFTA, and I think would be a remarkably unpopular decision within Scotland.

  184. Fiona says:

    It is perfectly logical. There are very good reasons for ruling out a share of a debt denominated in a foreign currency. You seem to be confusing “must not” with “can’t” and I think that is the source of your difficulty. The UK can insist all it likes: it has precisely no power to force Scotland to take a share of the debt. And that is that

    We do not have a currency union and saying again that we do does not change that fact. A single country has one currency and that is not a union. Two or more independent countries can choose to enter a currency union, and the UK has decided it does not want to. Therefore they rule it out (assuming theirs is a settled position, which I do). No one is attempting to force a currency on anyone else and I have no idea where you get that notion. The UK will continue to use sterling and Scotland will either most likely use sterling as a tradeable commodity, which I sincerely hope we will not for any length of time for reasons already given: or new currency

    You may think you know what would be a popular decision in Scotland: when people think through the implications of the various options I think that they will understand that the small chance of exclusion from the EU and/or EFTA is a chance worth taking given the alternative. Nor do I think that your confidence in exclusion is well placed though you might be right.

    I am coming to the conclusion that we will never agree about this and that is fine: my aim is to enter the problems of foreign denominated debt into the debate so we have information on which to make a decision. I think I have largely done that and so I think we can leave it there.

  185. Captain Caveman says:

    From where I’m sitting Fiona, you have persistently missed Alec’s points despite his very patiently explaining them to you.

  186. Fiona says:

    @Captain Caveman.

    Perhaps. I don’t think so however. I think I have addressed his points but I don’t think he has addressed mine

    It is probably in the eye of the beholder, really 🙂

  187. Captain Caveman says:

    Hey, no worries from my side at all; a very interesting interchange, quality stuff. I myself got shot out of the sky here a few weeks ago in a discussion regarding the nature of capital; you’re leagues ahead of me.

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