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Wings Over Scotland

It’s not always the headline

Posted on January 15, 2017 by

While normally the Unionist media deploys the ever-reliable blunt sledgehammer in its tireless war against Scotland controlling its own affairs, it’s also occasionally capable of more subtlety, slipping in a sneaky stiletto of a lie in passing. Take this piece from today’s Mail On Sunday:


The thing is, that’s not how currency reserves work.

There isn’t a single paragraph of the story, in fact, that doesn’t have some sort of a falsehood in it. (Well, okay, except the last one.) But a currency reserve wouldn’t be taken out of everyday spending – the UK’s foreign currency reserves are at present somewhere in the vicinity of £112bn and nobody thinks those were obtained by cutting them from schools spending.

(That UK figure, incidentally, suggests that pro-rata Scotland would require more like £9bn for its own reserves, not £15bn.)

The Mail knows perfectly well that this is complete drivel, but it slides it casually into the article right at the end as a little booby-trap for those more experienced newspaper readers who expect all the lying to be in the headline and the opening paragraphs, with the truth grudgingly revealed at the end when most people have already lost interest and wandered off.

At this point we’d normally go into more detail, perhaps commissioning an article expanding on all the ways in which Scotland could acquire a foreign currency reserve without having to completely abolish education and the NHS, but since we already ran one of those six months ago we’ll just link you to that and take the morning off.

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  1. 15 01 17 17:46

    It’s not always the headline - Talking Drum

84 to “It’s not always the headline”

  1. Malcolm Osborne

    Scotland would be entitled to its share of the £112bn UK foreign currency reserves, wouldn’t it?

  2. Giesabrek

    Surely am independent Scotland is entitled to a proportional share of the UK’s currency reserves?

  3. Macart

    The Mail. Reinforcing the bullshit reactionary views of the thoughtless so you don’t have to.

  4. Bill Melvin

    No need anyway because the article also fails to say that all this was talked about in a manner that put some options to the audience over what are considered to be the biggest issues facing us in building a new and better Scotland. It was both visionary and practical about the what we face with independence but it was clear from all who attended that attitudes to the next referendum have changed and the people will be far more prepared to help our doubting fellow citizens overcome any fears put out by the broken and bankrupt UK unionist cabal.

  5. alexicon

    The uk also has billions in a war chest.We would be entitled to a share of that.

  6. HandandShrimp

    The Mail invented post truth journalism some time back in the 1930s

  7. heedtracker

    Another huge “Left wing think-tank” boosting, by the Daily Heil, in their Scotland region of greater England, is quite funny. Maybe it really is just the middle that Dacre’s got the knives out for.

  8. G H Graham

    Any major currency please so long as it ISN’T the pound. The Great British pound isn’t great anymore as an internationally traded currency because it’s long term value against the YEN, US Dollar & Euro is down compared to a decade ago.

    The main reason for this tragic record is Britain’s chronic negative trade balance & productivity levels 40% below the USA, 30% below Germany & around 22% below the EU average. Britain (effectively England) makes very little that anyone else wants & when they do, it costs so much more. France could piss off every Friday and still make more than England does.

    But the US Dollar does look like something worth latching onto even if China takes over from the USA this year as the world’s largest economy.

    And since Scotland has been subsidizing England for decades, it’s not unreasonable to expect a share of the currency reserves we helped create. And if England refuses, well, they can keep all their debt too, right?

  9. montfleury

    Denmark currently holds around £40 billion to back the Krone, which is pegged to the Euro;

    I don’t think expected currency volatility (which is what they’re trying to protect themselves from) is proportional to population size – Denmark has a population of 5,594,000 to Scotland’s 5,373,000, so the £9 billion figure may not be as straightforward as it looks.

  10. ClanDonald

    If we take a share of the UK currency reserves and other assets then surely we’d have to take a share of the £1.7trillion debt?

    I’d rather start our new country with no debt, saving us a few billion a year in interest repayments, it’d probably half our deficit.

  11. Brian Powell

    And of course it misses out the rest of what he said, that it would be zero cost to Scotland if negotiated in the first three years after a vote.

  12. yesindyref2

    The UK, by the way, built up its foreign currrency reserves in advance of the EU Referendum vote, apparently, though I didn’t check the figures. It was a newspaper report (hangs head in shame for not checking). FT I think.

    Which would mean that £112 billion is a high figure for the UK as well.

  13. Ken500

    Foreign currency reserves £112Billion. £1.7Trillion in debt. £7.8Trn assets.

    No average £4Billion loan repayment on rest of the UK debt, £3Billion on tax evasion, £1Billion on Trident, £4Billion+ in lost Oil revenues, £1Billion saved on (tax) minimum pricing. = £13Billion. Borrow 10% = £6Billion + £Billion+ Gained in investment = £20Billion+

    Brexit. The Hedge Funds are gambling on the UK (EU) economy falling. They are losing £Billions.

    Preston – Piers Morgan and Alistair Campbell calling each other out.

  14. Chris James

    Scotland *would* need its own currency, that much is true. Otherwise you would be bullied in much the same way as Greece is. You know, modern money theory;

  15. HandandShrimp


    Reserves are as much a part of deliberate policy as a link to population. Denmark ranks about 30th in the world with regards reserves and holds about 50% more than Norway which as we all know has hefty reserves. Mexico holds more than the UK.

    New Zealand has about £14b. I don’t think anyone suggests that their currency is infeasible.

  16. Clydebuilt

    O / T. Another front that the Yoons could open up on is Energy. Their charging regime for grid connection is stopping any new build gas stations in Scotland. Before long our Nuclear stations will close. We will be increasingly dependent on electricity from England particularly base load. During Indy Ref2 we’re going to be threatened with supply being cut off , as England itself increasingly moves closer blackouts.
    We need to address this.

  17. yesindyref2

    I’ve seen one or two unionists using Denmark’s figure to try to claim Scotland would need £40 million or even £50 million.

    Firstly, Denmark’s GDP is around £260 billion comapred to Scotland around £160 billion, so pro rata that would make it £28 billion.

    Secondly Denmark is unusally high in foreign reserves, and I think perhaps this is because Denmark has thought of joining the eurozone. First it would have to join the ERM, and does anyone remember the UK’s less than 1 day attempt to join the ERM? THAT cost a lot of foreign reserves, a lot.

    Thirdly there’s nothing to stop a country having higher than normal foreign reserves, in fact it’s clealy a good thing to do if a country can manage it.

    I did some checks, and comparative to GDP, around £10 billion was indeed the levesl held by a good few countries. Rev’s initial figure of 5% and £7.7 billion would be adequate, though I’d want more like his £10 billion.

  18. montfleury


    Of course not, no. A Scottish currency is eminently feasible – I was just pointing out that reserving and population aren’t obviously proportional. I’d guess that a Scottish currency would be quite volatile at the start as it came under speculative attack from our friends.

  19. Stoker

    G H Graham

    “And since Scotland has been subsidising England for decades, it’s not unreasonable to expect a share of the currency reserves we helped create. And if England refuses, well, they can keep all their debt too, right?”

    😀 Good to see you posting, hope all is well with you!

  20. HandandShrimp


    Yes, pitching a currency just right is not easy and they are all volatile to a greater or lesser degree (the pound will undoubtedly lurch again on Tuesday).

    I think one of the biggest problem’s Scotland might face is over-valuation due to rising oil prices rather than the Yoon doomsday gloom of a Scottish pound being worth two cowrie shells.

  21. yesindyref2

    Here’s another solution, one I used in the past with dollar and euro accounts. Looks like it’s a fair bit cheaper these days (£24 a year for a euro account):

    You can bet for Indy Scotland, £sterling accounts will be even cheaper – it’s just down the M74 after all! And that many business will have one of them, and a Scots Pound account. I would.

    There’s a lot of sh*te went around in Indy Ref 1 about transactions costs and all that jazz. The potential volume of demand for a £sterling account would make banks in Scotland compete, and be dirt cheap.

  22. Capella

    The SIC section on “Policy” was where Robin MacAlpine got the audience involved in discussing which currency options, reserves etc we need. The suggestion was that start-up costs be deducted from any share of the UK debt Scotland agreed to, if any. It can be seen on the IndependenceLive website. 21 mins:

    The first part of the SIC is worth watching for the speeches by Angela Constance, Maggie Chapman and Jim Mather. Excellent intro from Elaine C Smith.

    Livestream has certainly upgraded it’s video skills. Good shots of the audience and speakers. A few glitches but not enough to detract from the quality. I noticed a few in the audience who did not clap and looked fairly distanced from the proceedings. Visiting journalists sacrificing their Saturday at the pub?

    Video here, 1 hr 53 mins:

  23. montfleury


    Foreign reserves are, I suspect, a matter of judgment as much as calculation. Population and GDP will be factors, but I don’t think reserves could simply be proportional to either.

    In any case, it’s patently clear that iScotland would have a claim on part of the fUK’s reserves or the right to resile from an equivalent amount of debt. I guess we should look at how Robin McAlpine calculated his figure.

  24. Capella

    Sorry about grocer’s apostrophe there. Should be “its skills”. I know Stu is very strict about grammar.

  25. Robert Graham

    Eh a little confused I think this person is , so financial institutions would move south of the border for safety , which border ? The last I heard major banks were investigating an exit route out of jolly old Engurland and their preferred location was Southern Ireland who are not about to leave the EU , Christ these peddlers of junk will clutch at any straw and hope the reader is a stupid as them .

  26. montfleury

    “one of the biggest problem’s Scotland might face is over-valuation due to rising oil prices”

    The oil question is a complex one right enough. More so than any currency question.

  27. John Walsh

    The U.K. has 310 tonnes of gold, giving it a miniscule 0.5% gold-to-GDP ratio.
    Eurozone’s 10,788 tonne gold hoard . If Gordon Brown hadn’t sold off at a bargain price our,
    ( Scotlands) share of that uk reserve would be much greater.
    Labour fiscal knowledge could be written on the back of a fag packet

  28. yesindyref2

    Indeed. I said I’d be happy with £10 billion, but really I’d be happier with £15 billion. I kind of worked that out a few weeks back by comparing, and then adding on an extra for it being a new currency, and so it coincidentally goes with McAlpine’s figure.

    But as well as our £9-£10 billion share of the UK reserves, there’s also the £4 billion of the commercial banks which could, with neogiation with the three banks, also be added to the Scottish Central Bank reserves to cover their own currency note issue. So it’s just about at my own desirable figure.

  29. James D

    Another thing to consider is the effect of Scotland leaving the Pound – it might just crash the rUK economy! We wouldn’t really want that, so the transition would have to be carefully handled.

  30. davidb

    A country which runs a trade surplus – like we do -wouldn’t be long in building up a currency reserve. And many of the 5 million people who live here have bank accounts presently denominated in Sterling – a foreign currency.

    I had already thought through and decided before ID1 that the deposits I have in notionally rUK bank accounts,were being brought home before independence day.

    Usual fake news. Anyway, only about 1% of the population take the Mail on Sunday in Scotland. Probably mostly rabid yoon fools anyway.

  31. seanair

    Gareth Rose, Scottish Political Editor
    Well trained in the Daily Heil school of SNP bad.

  32. yesindyref2

    It occurs to me, by the way, that if Scotland was able to actually launch our own currency before Brexit, and fix it to the £ sterling, then when the £rUK went down, as it will again with Brexit, our central bank would actually make money to add to its reserves – but I might have that wrong!

    Kind of the reverse though of having to use foreign reserves to keep the value of the Scots £ UP to the level of the rUK £, if our own currency was dropping in value intrinsically.

  33. Capella

    Apologies again. I see that the first part of Robin MacAlpine’s session is missing from the LiveStream Policy video. It should be 39 mins long but is only 21 mins. That is the part where he discusses the £15 billion estimate for the Central Bank and how to finance it.

    Hope it will be restored soon.

  34. Dave McEwan Hill

    The Sunday Express is even more bonkers. It has Putin’s spys helping the SNP as its front page.

  35. galamcennalath

    Ken500 says:

    Foreign currency reserves £112Billion. £1.7Trillion in debt. £7.8Trn assets.

    Which could be divied out fairly in Indy negotiations.

    I predict that iEngland will be in no mood to be fair, or negotiate at any length with iScotland. We will walk away with a clean sheet and start again.

    iEngland looks like walking away from the EU. Single market / EEA / EFTA won’t even be considered.

    iScotland should stick to the EU and they will generously reward our loyalty as we set up new state apparatus. It may all need to be done quickly!

    We will set up our own currency. I don’t even see why this needs done at iDayOne because anyone can use the pound sterling. We can continue to use it initially. A new currency can be launched when we are ready.

    We can invest in both our renewables and hydrocarbon industries untethered by London. We can build up manufacturing industries again focusing on high and bio tech.

    If there is a border and tariffs with iEngland, then so be it. Trade will continue. Our shops may contain less products from England – does it matter if we consume more home produce? I prefer Dunlop cheese to Cheshire anyway!

  36. HandandShrimp


    The Express is always bonkers – didn’t they have the planet Niribu destroying Earth in 2017 a couple of weeks ago?

    The Express is the UK’s National Enquirer.

  37. galamcennalath

    Question. Will the £pound nose dive when Far Eastern trade begins tonight?

  38. yesindyref2

    @Dave McEwan Hill
    Shows what can be done with what are a lot of facts. The comments below the line though show exactly what the posters think, and usually it’s any excise to have a go at the ugly nasty add aload of other insults, krankie.

    I stubbed my toe on the coffee table, damn you Russia!!!! *shakes fist*

    I dropped my sandwich earlier today…I suspect Putin…

    For once the express posters are … (gets soap for mouth) … reasonable.

  39. Capella

    @Dave McEwan Hill – well it was only a matter of time. Wonder when the Zinoviev letter will appear?

    Other EU journalists have noticed the smear trend such as Danish journalist Iben Thranholm

    These and other comments earned the Danish journalist a spot on the EU’s East StratCom Task Force black list – a body set up in 2015 with the purpose of “collecting examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation articles” – not unlike American Senator McCarthy’s communist witch-hunt of the 1950s.

  40. heedtracker

    Between July 1999 and March 2002 Gordon Brown’s government sold 395 tonnes of UK gold, about 58% of the government’s total reserves of 715 tonnes. Brown’s justification for the sale was to diversify the country’s assets. As Alan Beattie says in the FT , holding onto gold is a largely pointless activity for governments.

    1 May 2015 Mirror

    Bon Peston, BBC 2008

    It is probable, however, that the effective net loss on Gordon Brown’s great gold sale would be a bit less than $9bn – but it would still be a very significant loss.

    So why did Gordon Brown as chancellor dispose of all that gold? Well, my recollection of conversations with him and his advisers at the time is that they hated what they perceived as the intrinsic laziness of gold. It simply sat in the vaults gleaming but earning no interest.

    They wanted assets that appeared to earn their keep, by generating interest payments.

    They also hoped and believed that rampant global inflation was a thing of the past, and that the days of gold’s soaraway success would never recur.

    To be fair to them, they weren’t alone in reducing their gold holdings. The Swiss, the Belgians and the Dutch also sold very significant amounts.

  41. HandandShrimp


    Talking of posters, I saw a link to the death of Keynon Wright in the Scotsman and followed a link to that place for the first time in an age. The comments below the line were bizarre. Is the Scotsman now only read by deranged anti-devolution Tories still fighting the 1979 referendum? Talk about a newspaper disappearing up its own fundament.

    However, if they remaining gaggle of ultra-unionists are all there then they aren’t really bothering anyone else. 🙂

  42. Yerkitbreeks

    Although most of us regularly visiting this site could be accused of existing in the bubble or echochamber, one thing is certain, with such well referenced pieces we aren’t going to be subjected to Fake News.

  43. Dr Jim

    Scotland owns more than 8% of everything, we paid for it, it’s ours, see you in court!

    Scotland’s got nothing and the UKs got everything
    Yeah but Scotland is part of the UK so must surely share in the joint cash?
    No because Scotland is only part of the UK when we in England say it is and today it’s not

    Don’t you just love this separation thing when it suits Yoonworld
    we’re the separatists until The UK, which means England, says we are or we’re not

    Scotland is part of the UK when England is doing things to us but not part of the UK if we don’t like what they’re doing to us
    Ill be happy with our percentage when we leave thanks very much, England doesn’t get to keep the house the car the furniture and the bank account No no no no! It’s a divorce, live with it, they don’t get to bully us any more

    I think that’s pretty simples, Decree Nisi granted, gavel clunk, thank you you honor and off for a curry with our dosh

  44. The Rough Bounds

    Oh feck, but this constant drip, drip, drip of poison and lies from the Express and the Mail is so utterly depressing.

    Doesn’t anyone have any positive good news to post on here?

  45. Capella

    @ Heedtracker – there is another school of thought on GBs sell off of the gold reserves i.e. that it was to bring down the price and save US corporations such as AIG.

    There is also a credible speculation that the sale was designed to
    benefit a few of the London based bullion banks which were heavily
    short the precious metals, and were looking for a push down in price
    and a boost in supply to cover their positions and avoid a default. The
    unlikely names mentioned were AIG, which was trading heavily in
    precious metals, and the House of Rothschild. The terms of the bailout
    was that once their positions were covered, they were to leave the
    LBMA, the largest physical bullion market in the world.

  46. hopper 69

    Stuff 8.4%.If we are equal partners like we were told,lets start at 50% and negotiate from there.

  47. Stoker

    From WOS twitter:

    “It’s very likely we’d put WBB2 out quite a bit earlier this time.”

    Fandabbydoozey! Can’t wait!

    Another 2 good points made in that twitter exchange was these:

    “And we may need to produce Fact Cards monthly to give out on different topics.”


    “We definitely need rebuttal that reaches beyond the online world….”

    I agree big time! Is there enough interest among us to create and distribute a quarterly WOS newsletter, a dozen or so pages? We could even form dedicated volunteer teams for specific topics to gather in the materials and/or write the articles for it?

  48. yesindyref2

    I was just thinking. Both the SNP and the Green party have some people who are against Independence, and if there was a Green member at the convention yesterday who gave an anti-indy story to the unionist media, same as the likes of Alex Bell and others, the headline would have been: “The Green is grasser on the other side”.

    With apologies to the greens.

    Well, everybody really!

  49. Shinty

    Doesn’t anyone have any positive good news to post on here?

    500 new oil jobs – first oil expected towards the end of this year.

  50. Alex Beveridge

    I just hope that during Indyref2 we can give the electorate a fairly simple, and coherent, explanation of what currency Scotland intends to adopt once we become an independent country.
    On the doorstep we need all the help we can get, as during the last campaign, currency, and pensions, were the most often asked questions.
    It has to be clear, and concise, because the M.S.M, will be spreading the scare stories with ever greater intensity.

  51. Effijy

    I live in a country that is tethered to another larger country, who for centuries has used and abused its smaller neighbour.

    As time has moved on, they have become more furtive in how they abuse us, but decades after we find out about the McCrone Report being made top secret, as it revealed my country would become one of the world’s richest, by dumping our captors, or when we find out that 6,000 square miles of our Maritime Waters that have been stolen, we are not supposed to discuss it, and no newspaper, radio or TV station wants to know anything about the institutional theft and neglect that we face.

    How can we pretend that Scotland has democracy when the media refuse provide any form of balanced view on our circumstances and our future options.

    How can we continue with the current set up recognising that even if EVERY Scottish Vote cast in the EU Referendum was for Remain, England would still pull us out, happily knowing its against our will.

    In our own UK Biased Indy Ref, we were informed that some 97% of an Area’s Postal Votes were against Scotland having control of its own destiny?

    Someone took this electoral corruption too far as you could never hit that percentage in any of England’s Electoral Regions with more than 10% in any corner having been media programmed to think Scotland is being subsidised by them!

    Even in Despot nations were there is only one candidate in Faux Elections, and the people fear not voting for their hated leader may result in death, they can’t hit 97% support?

    Everything about the UK Stinks.
    It is corrupt to the core, but they are the rich masters with finely honed skills in cover up, spin, caremongering, and secret service subdefuse.

    Westminster tell us that the UK is rich and powerful.
    Why then do we have one of the worst pensions in Europe?
    Why are 25% of Scottish Kids living in poverty?
    Why have they had to sell all the UK’s Utilities, Gas, Electricity, Telecoms. The National Engineering Group, The Royal Mail, BP, etc, etc,who all brought in money for the National Treasury, but now bring in money for the rich UK elite?

    In my opinion, we are soon to see the next decade of recession and neglect continue with more austerity cuts You will find that “your” Brexit and save our NHS request will require some more privatisation and Tax increases.

    Again to “help” the NHS, the Civil Servants in HMRC will soon become redundant and you will be asked to do more in Tax processing, and your efforts will be received by yet another rich Tory owned private company.
    Tax payers, Tax Haven Tories and Global Corporations exempt, could pay these guys massive, unjustifiable fines,
    if you don’t process properly, or late. Tax Max!

    You can see why the future is so bright for Rich Tories with no moral compasses!Just such a pity for everyone else

    It is easier for the Eye of a Needle to see the rampant corruption of Westminster, than the Camels in English constituencies to enter the Kingdom of justice and equality.

  52. Robert Peffers

    @alexicon says: 15 January, 2017 at 10:41 am:

    “The uk also has billions in a war chest.We would be entitled to a share of that.”

    You are correct, alexicon, but you are also missing a great many other things that, “we”, will legally fall heir to;

    I’ve been harping on about these things for years and it is only now beginning to get through to people what I was on about.

    In the first place we must not fall into the cunning trap of taking as Gospel truth the propaganda all Scotland has been subjected to since long before the Treaty of Union.

    The Treaty of Union established a United KINGDOM of Great Britain.

    It did not establish a United COUNTRY, of Great Britain.

    The United Kingdom has only two signatory KINGDOMS. and is NOT a union of four countries but does contain four distinct countries.

    Thus the UNITED KINGDOM, is a bipartite union of only two equally sovereign kingdoms and thus neither of these two kingdom can legally claim to be the legacy United Kingdom upon either one of the kingdoms quitting the union. Upon such an event the legal Status Quo Ante, (the situation as before), is both kingdoms revert to their pre-union status. i.e. Both kingdoms revert to being independent and the assets are split two ways.

    However, at no point in the Treaty nor in each Kingdom’s Act of Union is there the slightest hint of how the joint assets and debts might be proportioned between the two Kingdoms.

    In other words neither kingdom partner of the United Kingdom can claim to remain a united kingdom because without their partner kingdom there are no other British Kingdom to be united with.

    The truth is that if either partner withdraws from the union the union has ended. So there can be no rUK.

    The second myth that the assets and debts should be split along current population ratios is utter mince too.

    There is no such rule nor any such legal assumptions. Mainly because the state of the Scottish and English kingdom’s population growth is totally dependant upon the running of the union by the Union parliament at Westminster. That means that each and every item will legally require to be negotiated.

    In short – on the day that independence begins – Westminster, as the government of the Union abruptly ends and there is no legally recognised Parliament of England either as a Kingdom or as a country.

    In short the present unofficial Westminster set-up that sees Westminster legislate for England, under English law and finances only the country of England as the UK with UK finds is illegal.

    So is the splitting up of the bipartite United Kingdom as four unequally devolve countries with England retaining Westminster as its parliament devolving English powers to the other three countries and treating their only actual kingdom partner as just one more England annexed dominion.

    Then we have the myth that The United Kingdom is the Member Country in the EU. The United Kingdom, not being a country, is the EU Member State of the EU and when the UK disunites the two kingdoms must legally be treated equally by the EU.

    As Scots have voted to remain in the EU and England, (the kingdom), has voted to leave, the EU has no other choice but to respect both partners of the UK and allow the English partner to go and the Scottish Partner to remain.

    Furthermore, the EU, having no laid down rules, laws or mechanisms to remove any member state, or any individual citizen’s, citizenship except by their formal, (article 50), request, has no other option than to allow the Scots to remain as the UK’s legacy member state.

    Or to put all that into context – dinna believe aa ye read frae the Westminster Propaganda Wing lie machine.

  53. manandboy

    In 2017, we shall know for sure where The National truly stands. Either it will fully support the Independence Campaign without reservation, or, it will be hesitant, always keeping something back. Like it does now.

    They could start by publishing the McCrone Report – perhaps as a series of articles with commentary. Most people still haven’t a clue about McCrone. Propaganda rules.

  54. yesindyref2

    For the sake of non-divisive balance, I came up with – if the SNP came up with some policy that only maximum 2% alcohol beer could be sold outside the state controlled shops, and some senior SNP MSPs objected, the headline would be “Senior Nats Pee on party poopers”.

    I need some sleep, frankly.

  55. Arbroath1320

    Apologies for my uber ignorance here.

    If an independent Scotland were to go for a digital currency like say the digital Scots pound wound the level of reserves still need to be the same?

    I ask because I’m sure I read somewhere recently that because a digital currency is a finite amount it would not require similar levels of reserves.

    *climbs back into box and shuts lid*

  56. Contrary

    Heed tracker and mr Walsh mentioned earlier about ‘gold reserves’ – I had a conversation with a friend about how the value of currency was estimated not very long ago, believing it to be the gold standard in the US & we argued about what it was in the UK.
    After a bit of Internet investigation, I found that that both (and many other countries) have what is called ‘fiat currency’ which basically (my interpretation) means that the value of the currency is based on future taxes, and if you investigate modern monetary theory you find that probably the worst thing you can do to your economy is introduce austerity.
    I was shocked to find that the gold standard was dropped in the US in Nixon’s time & I can’t remember when in the UK (70s maybe?). Not sure how this affects thinking on all the complex economic, market, etc issues, those are well above my pay-grade.

  57. K1

    ‘In short the present unofficial Westminster set-up that sees Westminster legislate for England, under English law and finances only the country of England as the UK with UK finds (funds) is illegal.’

    There are no written constitutional laws that have altered the original Treaty of Union Acts between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland.

    ‘So is the splitting up of the bipartite United Kingdom (illegal) as four unequally devolve(d) countries with England retaining Westminster as its parliament devolving English powers to the other three countries and treating their only actual kingdom partner as just one more England annexed dominion.

    ‘Then we have the myth that The United Kingdom is the Member Country in the EU. The United Kingdom, not being a country, is the EU Member State of the EU and when the UK disunites the two kingdoms must legally be treated equally by the EU.

    You listening yet Davey boy?

  58. K1

    Any chance someone can post the link to the gathering yesterday again, the link someone put up earlier has awful sound, broken up all the way through Elaine talking and when moving along same thing is happening throughout…I’ll have a search masel’ but just in case anyone has one to hand that would be grand. 🙂

  59. Clootie

    We keep returning to a basic truth

    If you take a proportion of the debt then you are entitled to the SAME proportion of the assets.
    No Assets awarded equals No debt burden accepted.

    Which is it to be?

  60. clipper

    Contrary 1.52

    Fiat currency has no integral value other than the confidence in it that’s held by those who use it. If/when that confidence disappears for whatever reason then all bets are off. EVERY fiat currency that has been created in the past has eventually collapsed and lost all of its value. Assuming or hoping that the dollar and/or the pound are somehow different and “safer” is an attitude born of nothing but ignorance and wishful thinking.

    Needless to say if you’re one of the suckers left still holding it if/when that happens you lose all your wealth, and don’t think that some kid on deposit insurance scheme would bail you out.

    “I was shocked to find that the gold standard was dropped in the US in Nixon’s time & I can’t remember when in the UK (70s maybe?).”

    Almost unbelievable that you don’t know that Nixon closed the gold window in August 1971 and that when he did the dollar – more specifically the petrodollar – became the global reserve currency (though in many respects it already was) and, along with the pound and other fiat currencies it has been steadily losing value ever since. That process of course began long before 1971 but since then it has been accelerating.

    Why do you think that more and more people are acquiring physical gold and silver and also bitcoin? Why do you think that the financial “elites” expend a lot of time and effort into suppressing the gold and silver so – called “price.”?

    Because their fiat ponzi scheme – backed by nothing but the ignorance of the public and which is mathematically doomed to failure – can’t be seen to be the worthless fraud that it is. If that happened then how would they finance, for example, all their lovely wars if they couldn’t just print up more ponzi coupons whenever they want?

  61. Robert Peffers

    G H Graham says: 15 January, 2017 at 10:49 am:

    “Any major currency please so long as it ISN’T the pound. The Great British pound isn’t great anymore as an internationally traded currency because it’s long term value against the YEN, US Dollar & Euro is down compared to a decade ago.”

    Sigh! When is it going to get through to you that you are propagating the Union’s propaganda for them?

    There is no such currency as the, “British”, Pound for the very good reason that, “Britain”, and, “Great Britain”, have never been unitary governments of Britain.

    Westminster was first the government of the Kingdom of only the country of England. It added Wales in 1248 and annexed Ireland in 1542. It has never actually legally annexed Scotland, Jersey, Guernsey or Man and it lost Southern Ireland when it became a Republic.

    It entered a legal partnership with the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 and Jersey Guernsey and Man are only, “personal”, Crown Protectorates of the Monarchy.

    The Republic of Ireland is part of The British Isles but not part of the United Kingdom part of the British Isles.

    ” … The main reason for this tragic record is Britain’s UK’s chronic negative trade balance & productivity levels 40% below the USA, 30% below Germany & around 22% below the EU average. Britain Westminster’s (effectively England) makes very little that anyone else wants & when they do, it costs so much more. France could piss off every Friday and still make more than England does.”

    There you go. I corrected that for you.

    Please stop conflating the United Kingdom with Britain and with Great Britain. The United Kingdom is neither of the two.

    The correct name for our present currency is, “The Pound Sterling”, which is ever bit as much Scottish as it is English but it is NOT the currency of Britain nor exclusively English.

    BTW: Neither is the Bank of England exclusively the property of England and it never has been. It was a private company until 1946 when the bipartite United Kingdom nationalised it. So it is now the property of the bipartite United Kingdom so also belongs to the Kingdom of Scotland part of the Union.

    Now over and above Scotland owning a negotiable part of the B of E each Scottish bank that prints its own banknotes must legally deposit, in a special B of E account, a special Banknote to the total value of their printed banknotes in circulation.

    These special banknotes do NOT belong to the B of E and upon independence Scotland must negotiate their share of the total B of E assets that belong to Scotland and reclaim the contents of special B of E accounts that hold their deposits in the B of E account.

    The results should be an eye opener for most Scots and there will be utter chaos in England and the City Of London Square mile in particular.

    Their dilemma is that the B of E has been buying up Government Bonds, (Gilts), and then, “Quantitatively Easing”, the money supply, (This QE is an unconventional monetary policy in which the central bank purchases government securities from the money market to lower interest rates and to increase the money supply). But the Gilts are really also IOUs and can be reclaimed by presenting the Bond for the cash back and hopefully the interest they have earned.

    The real trouble with that is the B of E is thus actually buying up part of the National Debt. Then the B of E actually gives the gilts back to the Government. Thing is what then is the real level of national debt?

    Furthermore, by Quantitatively Easing the B of E is actually devaluing the currency so what is the real value of the Pound Sterling?

    As to the whole currency thing – upon Scotland taking her independence the UK will actually legally cease to exist. Yet there is no legal Parliament of England. So there will be no legal United Kingdom parliament and no legal Parliament of England with which to negotiate anything with.

    The EU must stick by EU rules and acknowledge that the UK was a bipartite union of kingdoms and to be fair to both kingdom partners the EU must allow the Scottish Kingdom to remain and the Kingdom of England to leave.

    This is, after all, what the EU citizens from The English Kingdom and the EU citizens from the Scotland Kingdom democratically voted for.

    You just cannot accept anything that the Westminster Parliament has assumed as correct since even 1707. They have lied so many times that they believe their own lies. Thing is that neither we, or the rest of the World, need to believe anything they claim without first checking if it is both true and legal.

  62. Meg merrilees

    Stoker 1.06pm

    like the idea of Fact Cards.

    I think it would be brilliant if there were fact cards available on each Indy stand for people to take away, read and leave in another place e.g. nearby pub, cafe etc.

    e.g. If we could finance a set of ‘Wings over Scotland’ factual beermats – we could put half a dozen facts/sets of figures on one side and a link to the website on the reverse.

    Look at the info provided in the Rev’s most recent posting ‘The flexibility of figures’ that would be a brilliant set of ‘facts at your fingertips’ to discuss and spread around.

    Facts as those above about costs and numbers treated /percentages in NHS; oil; Currency options; Falsehoods in the media; the Queensferry Crossing’… the list is endless.

    It would be harder to get the fact cards into places where women -in -general- are nmore likely to see them… have to think about that a bit more.

  63. Greannach

    Does Gareth Rose have any idea how countries run their finances or does he work for Oswald Moseley’s newsletter?

  64. Muscleguy

    We can get however many billions are circulating in HBOS, RBOS and Clydsdale notes for our Central Bank. All we have to do is let them keep issuing banknotes. At the moment for every pound in script they issue they have to deposit £1 Sterling in the Bank of England. They are true promisory notes.

    All we have to do is pass a law stating that after midnight on such and such a day and bank wishing to issue Scotpounds or have their existing script accepted as Scotpounds has to deposit S£1 for each S£ in the notes in the Central Bank in Edinburgh. They will withdraw their cash in Threadneedle street and move it to Edinburgh (assuming that is where our Central Bank would be).

    An instant multi billion capitalisation of our Central Bank.

    If we do not do this, if we insist on taking away their rights to issue script then we are handing them billions in windfall cash which will likely not be kept in Scotland.

    Denoting the current notes as Scotpounds while by natural attrition they print new ones is also a cheap way to create a new currency. We will need money for lots of stuff so saving it on a currency will make sense.

    It will also mean vending machines and ATM’s will not all need rejigging. More savings. The coins are a possible wrinkle. Our Central Bank may wish to mint new coins. Though if we are pegging our pound to sterling in the short term there will be little hurry.

    Because of our current notes we are close, so close to our own currency. The banks are jealous of their rights to continue to issue script in Scotland. I’m sure they will play ball.

  65. G H Graham

    It’s the sneering, patronising posts from folks like Peffers that remind me why I rarely bother uploading my own thoughts here anymore.

    If this his preferred tactic for convincing undecided voters, I’m sure independence is in the bag, right Robert?

  66. sarah

    @G H Graham – I don’t ever feel that Mr Peffers is sneering or patronising – he knows his subject and is telling it how it is, over and over again for the benefit of folk like me! It will penetrate my thick skull so I can spread the word eventually….

  67. hopper69

    Been sharing out a few of Roberts posts to try and convince soft no’s to change.Got one last year but it’s an uphill struggle.

  68. Brian Doonthetoon

    Hi GH Graham.

    I think more Scots have learned about, and gained an understanding of, the constitutional arrangements of the UK and the unique Sovereignty of the Scots in the past two or three years, thanks to Robert Peffers, Liz G, and others, than we did in the preceding 300 years – thanks to Tim Bernards-Lee and the Web.

    I think Robert Peffers (in particular) repeats information he has already posted because there are always ‘newbies’ dipping into WOS for the first time. They aren’t necessarily going to trawl the archives looking for stuff but on that first day of reading, the may read one of Robert Peffers’ posts, that opens their eyes to the truth of our situation.

    I tend to ‘speed read’ the Peffers’ posts these days (because I have assimilated a lot of the info he has posted in the past), looking for keywords that make me stop and read. He seems to always add something new into his posts.

    I don’t find his comments “sneering” but would type that he doesn’t suffer fools gladly!

  69. ScottieDog


    “I was shocked to find that the gold standard was dropped in the US in Nixon’s time & I can’t remember when in the UK (70s maybe?). Not sure how this affects thinking on all the complex economic, market, etc issues, those are well above my pay-grade.”

    Indeed and sadly most folk simply don’t understand that money now is simply an accointing entry. Govt finances are simply an electronic spreadsheet of IOUs.

    MMT (modern monetary theory) tells us that taxes drive currency – the demand for the nation’s currency is there because we have to settle our taxes in it. Taxes themselves are not required to fund government finances. Indeed the act of taxation debits reserves from banks – these reserves had to have been issued in the first place.

    The vast majority of our money in circulation nowadays is demand deposits which are created by banks when they lend. Loans create deposits – not the other way around. This fact is blatantly ignored by the very economists working at the treasury and those teaching it in our mainstream universities. Obviously this was completely understood by thatcher when she deregulated the banks and started the biggest private debt bubble in history – with jo public on the hook for it all. This is what we are up against.

    Just as loans create deposits, repayment of loans destroys deposits hence the need currently for the banking system to be granting loans quicker than they are repaid. The alternative is a deflation of the money supply and a recession until the government steps in. (2008 basically)
    Bank created debt stands at around 5 trillion – this is where the real problem with the UK economy lies.

    Our sovereign debt sits at £1.6 trillion yet one quarter of that is owned by the Bank of England. That was achieved simply by marking up an electronic account. Nothing more.

    So when folk ask where the money is coming from to fund Scotland, you can point to your keyboard and fold your arms (assuming we have our own sovereign currency).

  70. yesindyref2

    @G H Graham
    Robert is passionate about his constitutional history, and doesn’t like to see it done wrong, If it’s any consolation he’s done it to me in the past at times in the Herald and I think even the Grun before that – even when I’ve actually been saying the same thing and quoting the likes of the Acts of Union to put down a Unionist! I don’t take offence, accuracy for me is more important than my feelings.

    As for the pound though, the thing is there is indeed £4 billion in circulation in Scottish pound notes in Scotland, all backed up 100% at the Bank of England by Giants and Titans in £ sterling.

    That means transition to our own currency if it’s Scots pounds – has already happened as far as our local currency is concerned. No transitional taking two currencies, the groat and the pound perhaps, no need for people to queue up changing currency, no need for people who don’t trust banks to rip uo their mattresses and take out their secret hoard to get it changed. No need even to dsign a new currency, make new plates, and print off £4 billion worth ready for Indy Day.

    At 11.59pm on the day before Independence day we are using the £, the Scots pound in our wallets. At 12.00 am on Indy Day, we can still go out and spend those pounds, and they’re still backed by that £4 billion of Bank of England £ sterling notes – which are on their way by mail train to our own central bank.

    Watch out for Ronald Biggs …

  71. yesindyref2

    Robert looks at it from the “bipartite” point of view, which is correct. But there are other ways of looking at it which are also correct, but put in different ways.

    In that respect for example, even the simple word “country” has a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people. I for instance accept the UK as a country, because there are a lot of people think of it as a country, even though it’s a “political construct”. Sme people call Wales a province or principality, but it too is a country.

    Thing about words is they actually originate and change meaning because people use them, and that’s really the definition of a living language – it evolves.

  72. Fiona

    I am sorry I have not been able to read this thread so this may have been dealt with above. If it has then please steer me to the answer, if possible.

    My question is this: why do we need a foreign currency reserve at all?

    I have seen it argued that it helps maintain a target exchange rate cos one can defend the currency against speculative attack. But that doesn’t work, as we have seen time and again. Nor does it make sense in the context of a freely floating currency, which is at least an option for Scotland.

    So what is the rational? It is required if we borrow in foreign currency, I understand that. But heaven forfend that we should do that: any country which does is effectively screwed any way.

  73. ScottieDog

    This is from economist Bill Mitchell..

    “In a fixed exchange rate system, where the central bank has to manage its foreign currency reserves to maintain the agreed parity with other currencies, the balance of payments is a constraining influence on real GDP growth.

    That is one of the reasons why the Bretton Woods system broke down. External deficit nations were forced to suppress domestic demand via higher interest rates or fiscal austerity to both reduce imports and/or attract capital inflow to alleviate their balance of payments problems.

    The upshot was that these nations were prone to extended periods of mass unemployment, which was politically unsustainable.

    A nation in this situation could not run persistent external deficits and peg its currency because it would soon run out of the foreign currency reserves and/or gold stocks that were necessary under the system to defend its parity.

    Reflect back on the initial point made by Harry Johnson in the introduction.

    However, in a flexible exchange rate system, no such constraint exists. Instead, movements in the exchange rate respond to balance of payments states.

    A currency-issuing government can always use that capacity to ensure that all real productive resources in the nation that are for sale in the currency of issue – including all idle labour – are fully employed. Without exception.

    The central bank has no necessary role to play in defending the currency and therefore has no particular need to amass foreign currency reserves as it did under the fixed exchange rate system.

    The second point noted above related to capital inflow. Clearly, the capacity of a nation to run current account deficits on an ongoing basis of any size is reliant on the desire of foreigners to accumulate financial claims in the currency issued by that nation.”

    I know robin mcalpine goes on about these £ reserves which we will have anyway but not sure he understands the intricacies.

  74. Fiona

    Thanks Scottie Dog: that is what I thought. It is just another hangover from a different economic reality: a superstition, if you will.

    The debates around independence need to include this kind of information, because without radical change in policy there is not so much to gain from independence. We will still be ruled by corporate plutocrats, if we accept their narrative. I want real change: and rejection of plutocracy is the big real change I want.

  75. Fred

    Sigh! G.H.Graham doesn’t fancy the Pound! neither do I!!!!

  76. ScottieDog

    @yesindyref2, @fiona

    Taking about holding a stash of Scottish bank notes, I also think it would be massively beneficial for a newly formed central bank to introduce digital cash. An amount of digital money could be granted to citizens on setup of the new currency. The Scottish govt could then start to tax businesses and people in the new currency.

    The BIG difference between this new electronic money and the money in your bank account is that it would be (like physical cash) backed directly by the Scottish central bank. The money in your bank account is a commercial bank created money which is at risk in a financial crisis (it’s not legally yours)

    This would reduce the commercial monopoly on electronic money and could allow non bank companies to provide payment facilities in competition with existing banks (currently really only commercial banks and building societies can have accounts at the Bank of England)

    I believe in time people would prefer this kind of guaranteed digital money and it would take away the power of the big banks. It would also reduce the risk and liability to the public of having to bail out these institutions. It would remove the moral hazard that currently exists where bankers know that they will always be bailed out as failure to do so would destroy the economy.

    Reduced borrowing would no longer result in all of the money supply disappearing.

    I believe this would be a great proposal to kick start our economy and. would show the stark contrast to how the UK economy is currently organised.

  77. Fiona

    @ ScottieDog.

    I don’t think I agree, really.

    First off: there is no need at all to bail out failing banks. The story that allowing them to fail would crash the economy is demonstrably untrue. We know this because we have the example of Iceland, which did precisely that with less ill effect than those countries which adopted the bail out policy.

    Second: there is no need for a currency issuing state to borrow at all: that is a choice which is made predicated on the unexamined assumption that government is uniquely irresponsible and must be “disciplined” by those same markets and banks, lest the govt trash the economy like they did. Absurd on its face

    Third: I prefer the anonymity of cash. You may not feel that is important but I just do. Absent any compelling case to abolish cash I would not wish to see it done

    Fourth: I don’t see why increasing the number and type of institution which can issue currency is a good thing. From your post this seems to be based on the idea that increased competition is always a good thing. I don’t accept that for a moment. Once again there seem to be a lot of superstitions underpinning that idea, which we are not encouraged to question. What I tend to call “proverbial” thinking is in play. That is a simple narrative which sounds wise and true in the way proverbs do: until you hear one equally credible saying the opposite.

    What I would suggest is that we ditch the crazy idea that independent central banks are possible/desirable. The central bank is, and should be, an arm of government.

    We should return to the status quo ante 1979, and make full employment the explicit aim of all economic policy. That is not perfect but in all the ways that count it produces better outcomes during the post war period. It is true that inflation was one measure which was arguably worse: but only if you exclude housing, and ignore the distorting effect of the OPEC actions in the early 70’s. Clearly you can sustain any case if you leave out salient facts, and that is what our plutocrats have done.

    Naturally, we need to consider what constitutes full employment in that scenario. But we need to rethink that anyway since what is claimed at present is flaming lie of a tale based on the absurdity of NAIRU and its attendant assumptions.

  78. ScottieDog

    “First off: there is no need at all to bail out failing banks.”
    I agree
    But if most of the money in circulation is demand deposits (commercial bank money) and the money supply falls, the state has to step in anyway via automatic stabilisers. That doesn’t mean saving the banks, it means saving the economy – but the damage is already done. So let’s have less demand deposits in circulation and more state backed money so we move away from all that.

    “there is no need for a currency issuing state to borrow at all”
    Completely agree and in effect I am, as a first step suggesting that there’s is more state seniorage money in the system (free of the issuance of debt). I agree there is no need to issue bonds.
    But are you going to put forward a proposal for Indy Scotland issuIng money without bond issue and expect EEA/EFTA/EU to agree to that? Or are we going it alone?

    “Third: I prefer the anonymity of cash.”
    I agree with that too! And I’m not suggesting we replace it. That would not be good at all. I am sayIng we need to start from a position of having more non-commercial bank money in the system and more state backed money in the system. Cash is becoming less relevant in payments but it’s no less important. The Bank of England would probably like to do away with it so that it can implement NIRP and then we are screwed.

    “Fourth: I don’t see why increasing the number and type of institution which can issue currency is a good thing”
    Sorry perhaps I didn’t put it very well. I’m trying to suggest that having other agencies which can handle your money (current accounts etc) other than banks is a good thing. I’m not suggesting they are currency issuers – but currency and payment handlers. It’s completely separate from investment banking.

    I fully agree with the job guarantee and prefer it over UBI actually and agree it doesn’t need to be inflationary. Yes I agree that the central bank is part of consolidated government so let’s change its remit to full employment.

    I too would love to go down the MMT road but we are going to be a progressive country dealing with what is still a very neoliberally minded bunch of institutions. For me this is a perfectly acceptable first step.

  79. Fiona

    @ ScottieDog

    I think we are more in agreement than we differ, so that is good. A couple of the points you have made, I suspect I don’t really understand so I would be pleased if you would clarify

    Can you explain what you mean by “demand deposits”. All money ultimately comes from government and it circulates in various ways. But it is not in the form of what I understand by demand deposits: Those are backed by govt in any case (absent the “bail in” provisions now being so widely mooted as yet another form of legal theft by banks). The banks did not crash because the money supply fell: they crashed because of worthless “assets”, which is not the same thing at all.

    On your second point: yes. It is why I voted to leave the EU, because that is not allowed under their plutocratic rules. I do not know enough about the EEA/EFTA to know whether they also impose that condition, but would oppose membership if they do. That is because we cannot move to an MMT type of system under such rules, and that is what we have to do, IMO. If we do not allow deficit spending to the extent required we can only continue to spiral down under current arrangements: and it will end in war, I fear.

    You seem to be arguing for more things like building societies. If so then we agree, because I am in favour of mutuals per se.

    As I said, I do want an MMT system, and I am under no illusions about how hard it will be to get there: we will suffer any attack they can mount. But to me there is no real alternative to explicit commitment to that path: we cannot be a little bit pregnant.

  80. Iain Halder

    Can I ask?

    Is it not the IMF that is the lender of last resort?

    Can any elaborate on whether this is true or not?


  81. Fiona

    @ Ian Halder.

    In a sense you could say that. But it is not really accurate because the IMF has no actual money nor currency issuing capacity

  82. Fiona

    @ Iain Halder

    If you are interested in the IMF,I made a thread about them long time ago before I gave up in disgust. It is here

    Skip the first post cos that is just a rant about their hypocrisy

  83. ScottieDog

    Much of the money supply in circulation nowadays is credit money. That which is created by banks when they issue loans etc. (Loans create deposits or demand deposits) That credit money is extinguished when the loans are repaid. Although it is credit money it is used for everyday transactions.
    When loans are being repaid quicker than they are being issued, this credit money supply starts to fall. In aggregate spending = income. Less money, means less spending thus reducing demand in the economy and this is what leads to recession. I think prof Keen, Wray etc are pretty much agreed on this.

  84. Fiona


    Yes, except that ALL money is credit money: not just that issued by commercial banks. That is why deficit spending is essential.

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