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Turn and river

Posted on February 13, 2014 by

The most significant message of George Osborne’s much-trailed speech in Edinburgh today wasn’t actually in the speech at all. The text itself was drivel, founded largely on arguments discredited literally years ago – chiefly that an independent Scotland would have to bear all the costs were one of its banks to go bust again.

(Yes, the same banks we’re told would in fact have relocated to England. Sigh.)

When he finally got down to the brass tacks, even his actual threat – that he would be “unable to recommend” a currency union in the event of Scottish independence, and that therefore “it is not going to happen” – was essentially completely meaningless. It was nothing more than politicking, a threat which could and would be easily reversed in the event of an actual Yes vote.

The real menace behind the speech lay elsewhere.

Osborne took what he called the “exceptional step of publishing the internal advice I have received from the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury” alongside his speech, and in doing so revealed the actual threat he was making – one which has nothing to do with a currency union, and would have caused uproar had he made it the focus.


Because currency union, in truth, isn’t a big deal. As has been extensively discussed in the last 24 hours, Scotland has many perfectly workable alternatives available to it. The Adam Smith Institute, for example – no frothing cybernats they – suggested that Scotland using Sterling “unofficially” would actually be a better option, as have others.

A Scottish pound pegged to Sterling is also a perfectly workable plan, and has been suggested as the best choice for Scotland by Deutsche Bank, who as far as we know are also not puppets of Alex Salmond. All the possibilities, including a currency union, have their advantages and drawbacks.

The UK government knows this, and also knows the disaster that refusing a currency union would be for the UK – it was notable that Osborne, when directly asked at the press conference, refused to put a price on it. In essence, refusing a currency union is no threat at all, particularly when compared to the economic consequences for the UK of Scotland declining to take on a share of UK debt.

The HM Treasury advice was that the Scottish Government was bluffing on that point. Osborne’s speech has been compared to that of a poker player, but he wasn’t making a bluff, he was calling one. And the Treasury, in the last sentence in the image above, gave him a half-decent card to back up his call with: if the Scots leave us with the debt, we won’t co-operate with the independence process.

It doesn’t take a genius to interpret the meaning. Osborne’s speech was certainly a threat, but not about a currency union. By releasing the advice, he made as clear as possible that if Scotland votes Yes, the rUK will obstruct its membership of the European Union and other international bodies.

(In blatant contravention of the terms of the Edinburgh Agreement, s.30 p.8.)

As unanimous approval is required to admit new EU members, that would be a very serious matter indeed. But to openly say so in those terms would be a blackmail too crude even for the Unionist media to ignore or endorse. So instead Osborne concealed it, in the best possible place to hide something – plain sight.

You’ll read thousands and thousands of words today about the speech, and we’ll wager that few or none of them will address its true meaning. The UK wants Scots to vote with a gun to their heads – the threat of expulsion from the EU, no matter how much the rest of the EU wants to admit Scotland, via a UK veto.

(Of course, a No vote might well lead to the same outcome anyway in 2017.)

As it happens, we were out at a local poker game ourselves last night. (Quadrupled our money, thanks for asking.) There’s a name in poker for what Osborne’s speech did: representing. It’s not strictly a bluff – he has a hand with some “showdown value”, but he doesn’t want to show it, because it’s not what he wants us to think it is. He wants us to fold our strong hand in fear, rather than take it all the way.

Because while certainly theoretically possible, it’s debateable whether the rUK could in practice make good on its threats. Putting up trade barriers and borders would, as we’ve previously examined in some detail, be economic insanity for the rUK – more so than even the worst possible outcome of a currency union – making it politically hard to defend, and it would also bring the rUK under huge pressure from the rest of Europe, which wants Scotland in. Blocking membership of NATO, meanwhile, would meet with the strongest possible opposition from the USA.

Osborne knows that a faithful media will collude in disguising his play for him. He also knows that the Scottish Government will understand it perfectly. In those terms it’s not a bad move, and certainly a more cunning one than some would credit him with.

But what was actually revealed by the speech is that the UK government is absolutely terrified of Scotland refusing a share of debt. And as such, the truth is that Scotland holds the strongest hand at the table. So long as it plays it properly, let there be no doubt about it: Osborne will fold first.

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  1. 13 02 14 13:51

    Turn and River | 18 September 2014 - YES to Scottish Independence

178 to “Turn and river”

  1. Brotyboy says:

    Very, very interesting Rev.

  2. Seonaid Francis says:

    Surely, since we are already members of the EU, and it is illegal to withdraw EU citizenship from EU citizens, the whole EU threat becomes a bit moot?

  3. If we accept that, with the exception of a few minor aspects, there is no difference between the doctrine of the two main political parties, that they are both the Business Party, who will dare state with certainty the businesses they profess to respresent, big and small, the captains of industry, the new elevated barons, will not squeal if told Westminster is unwilling to allow them to continue using the pound sterling?

  4. Brotyboy says:

    Another thought; this advice having been published risks shifting the focus of the debate to the negotiations which will take place in an iScotland, that is, after a Yes vote.

    The risk is that the more this situation is talked about the more a Yes vote is anticipated, even predicted, seen as normal and accepted.

  5. Cutommy says:

    The rUK can’t veto our membership of the EU. We are already members, and if the nation of Scotland is not a member, neither is the new state called rUK.

  6. mogabee says:

    Whispering…I thought the speech was in Edinburgh?

    Tiptoes out.

  7. Graeme McAllan says:

    The “Edinburgh Agreement” only applies to Scotland 🙁

  8. lochside says:

    Great analysis and fascinating metaphor Rev. Osborne’s alligator grin belies his trembling insides. A.S. is a past master at bluff and counter bluff. In the words of Kenny Rogers: ‘You’ve got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them’.

    Particularly when you are up against the ‘Coward of the County’.

  9. Shagpile says:

    Then there is Trident.

  10. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Exactly. It means to the whole world that they are taking our progress towards independence very seriously and they have just told the whole world that they are very worried indeed.

  11. colin mccartney says:

    What happened to the love bombing? Here was me already to renounce my lifelong desire for independence and link arms with my loving friends south of the border, learn all the words to “swing low sweet chariot” – cos deep south negro songs are whats needed at “twickers”, forgive Thatcher, and share all my countries resources with my new found friends – and then some wee snotter tells me he isn’t going to share with me unless I do everything he tells me. Thanks George, stupid posh boys telling us what to do are just what undecided voters need.

  12. M4rkyboy says:

    A leopard cant change its spots.These sort of threats are part and parcel of England’s idea of soft power.Who would want to be in ‘union’ with these muppets let alone a colony of them?

  13. Negotiations on the transfer of powers from Westminster back to Scotland have begun in earnest, negotiations Westminster politicians said they would refuse to entertain until after the Referendum. Hoo haar!

  14. andrew sinclair says:

    Interesting analysis Stu. I’d still like to see a full economic analysis of the impact of Scotland using it’s own currency on the rUK. Does anyone know if this has been done?

    Just what will be the debt/GDP ratio for rUK if all tax (including goods which are currently exported from ports in England, sales reported through HQ’s based in England, etc) are accounted for as imports to rUK? How might the markets react to such a debt/GDP ratio?

  15. TheGreatBaldo says:

    One things that’s always struck my odd is that Indy would ‘reduce Britain status in the world’.

    Actually I always thought that if negotiations and the process went smoothly it would enhance rUK status in the world, for example the Argentine President refers to Britain as ‘imperialistic’

    rUK could legitimately turns round after Indy and go …

    ‘Imperialist us ? The country that just let a third of it’s land mass and almost 10% of it’s population go without a single being fired ?’

    It now appears the Unionist are more than willing to poison the well to make relations between rUK and iScotland as poisonous as possible.

    And they really don’t care if the rest of the world see’s them doing it.

  16. Desimond says:

    Great interpretation Rev. Very interesting. We have moved from “Its my baw” to “Its our playing grounds” tactics.

    Can hands be forced? Cant we either :

    All ask our MPs to demand UK get an answer from EU regards membership.


    Raise one of those e-petitions for 100’000 signatures that get the Government to address an important issue?

  17. caz-m says:

    Nicola Sturgeon on Daily Politics BBC2 12 noon.

  18. faolie says:

    Dunno, the way that this is playing out – early days admittedly – is that many people might be viewing this as an attack on Scotland. Certainly the love-bombing’s stopped. So perhaps people might increasingly come to decide that if that’s what you really think of us, then:

    1. I’m going to vote Yes because I’m not going to be bullied by the likes of you

    2. And I’ll just use the Pound anyway – try and stop me

    3. You can stick your debt up your arse

  19. a supporter says:

    “By releasing the advice, he made as clear as possible that if Scotland votes Yes, the rUK will obstruct its membership of the EU and other international bodies.”

    Calm down Stu,calm down. You are beginning to see problems where none exist. The UK does not have the clout anymore anywhere in the world to actually have much influence on what International Organisations and other countries do in the event of a YES vote. The rUK might not even be IN the EU. There is far too much hysteria being generated over what the Currency in an Indy Scotland might be. It has all got out of hand. Bear in mind that only 12% of those polled think that the Currency is of the highest importance. And also remember that Scotland has an alphabet of options for its currency.

  20. TheGreatBaldo says:


    If yer wanting good news today….

    Lamont vs Sturgeon in a debate…


    Anyone else having problems seeing stories and posts…came to this thru the link on Rev’s Twitter feed but when I go into the site normally it’s not there ???

  21. Angus McLellan says:

    The Permanent Secretary’s note acknowledges – journalists, pundits, world please take note – that negotiations on assets and liabilities would take place *after* independence. By that point, an independent Scotland would already be in the EU, or so nearly everyone believes. Whatever the implied threat may be, if any, it isn’t on EU membership.

  22. kininvie says:

    Indeed, I’ve long argued that the threat of refusal to co-operate internationally is the strongest card in the rUK’s hand, and it has been made clear from the first ‘Scotland extinguished’ analysis paper onwards that WM considers that international law gives them every right to play it.

    And I’m afraid I don’t agree with the Rev’s analysis that the UK would be under huge pressure from elsewhere not to carry out that threat. States will act in their own interest – and if forced to choose between supporting rUK or a newly independent Scotland, the choice is not likely to be in our favour.

    It’s a powerful card. No doubt we shall learn what will be demanded of us in exchange.

  23. yerkitbreeks says:

    For me the most significant statement was his ” there is no legal reason “. There might not be but there will certainly be a political one when the time comes.

  24. jingly jangly says:

    They call them selves the continuing state, that is debatable, any legal eagles out there able to give us a definitive answer, will they be the continuing state?

  25. Murray McCallum says:

    As always a good analysis and take on things by Rev Stu.

    I think the Scottish government need to publicly keep up the mantra of working with the Westminster government.

    The SG could publish independent legal opinion on ownership of sovereign debt. They could contrast the published UK government’s legal opinions, e.g. Scotland extinguished in 1707 in international law, rUK being the continuing state and being the sole party to all treaties, UK government publicly backs 100% of sovereign debt, etc.

    There seems to be a lack of consistency in the UK government’s position? This could be made to unravel over the coming weeks and months.

  26. ronnie anderson says:

    O/T> I had a Rourke,s Drift moment this morning, you know the one, the Quarter Master handing out the bullets ( Carwy Jones, useing a left handed screwdriver, & 6 bullets per rifle. Thousands of ZULU,s bearing down on them.

    Well that,s what,s happening to those people,trying to protect their homes from the flood,s, some council,s 6 bags free,then charge the rest, other councils charge for every thing.

    Aye the head of the Hydra,s Big Davy ( Im in charge )money no object,but we charge for Sandbags & the Sand by weight, bring your own scale,s.

  27. Embradon says:

    rUK would have to renegotiate its own terms within EU following Independence. Bearing in mind their current attitude to Europe, they would not be in a strong position.

  28. faolie says:

    Nicola sticking to her guns under some hostile questioning from Andrew Neil on Daily Politics

  29. Indy_Scot says:

    Even Andrew Neil has dismissed Osbornes speech, he has just told Nicola Sturgeon, you better be prepared for some tough negotiation if you want that pound.

  30. MajorBloodnok says:

    I tell you what though, it’s all exciting stuff, eh?

  31. Gillie says:

    As I keep saying come a YES vote and a rUK government will seek an agreement on a currency union as a matter of urgency.

    Plan A is still in place. No need for a Plan B.

  32. faolie says:

    Angus Armstrong, Nat Institute of Economic Research (he on Newsnicht last nicht) has just said on Daily Politics that the effect of independence would be that:

    “the UK economy’s indebtediness would rise..which would attract the attention of the credit rating agencies..and for the Government and Treasury finances, that would make a difference.”

    Chimes rather well with your analyis, Rev.

  33. @ Jingly Jangly

    As I understand it, Scotland and England will return to being two nation states again.

    The result is, England will still carry responsibility for Wales and Northern Ireland which allows some to claim it can still call itself the “remaining” UK. However …

    The two kingdoms that constituted the United Kingdom were only ever Scotland and England, hence use of “kingdom” is highly questionable after Scotland regains autonomy.

    In any event, I regard the nomenclature Westminster adopts as something for it to decide. Scotland has more pressing priorities.

  34. JLT says:

    What the Rev has just pointed out, that Westminster is willing to block us at every turn on the world stage if Scotland becomes independent and refuses to take the debt, is as Ian Brotherhood pointed out yesterday, the Alien Act of 1705 in play again.

    This is disturbing stuff indeed, and it shows the level of how truly nasty and ugly Westminster will become if spurned. 1705 !!! It’s a damn disgrace that it is about to be used again post 2014.

    Do we need an article on the Alien Act, thus letting the Scottish people know a little bit of its history. To know what the Alien Act was and how it brought Scotland low, and how it is slowly coming into play again might also be a serious wake up call to the nation.

    Better Together my backside. This is the bully who threatens us unless we hang about in his gang. Unbelievable.

    This is serious stuff.

  35. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The whole thing is already unravelling with commentators in the sharper media

  36. Jimmy the pict says:

    In this game of poker there are no chips on the table, there are voters. These voters unlike chips can decide which pile they are in. Osbourne is trying to scare chips/voters from the don’t know side over to the no. He is also trying to frighten the ones already in his pile to stay.

    He just needs to hide his hand long enough to keep the pile higher than the yes pile.

    However, once the voters find out what the hand contains then resentment replaces fear. If before the vote then watch the no pile vanish. If after the vote, who knows where the anger will lead.

  37. Grenscot says:

    Excellent analysis Rev. I have to admit that it was not a conclusion I came to from reading the BBC and MSM reports, But putting it,as you do, it is blindingly obvious

  38. r whittington says:

    At the risk of being called a unionist; whatever you think of the speech today its got to be time for a plan B. Do we really think voters are going to be happy with the continued response that Osbourne, Balls and Alexander are simply lying and it will all be ok after a yes vote? At least if we had a plan B there would be some clarity on the situation.

  39. Gillie says:

    r whittington says: At the risk of being called a unionist;

    Okay, I’ll bite “You are a unionist”

  40. @Whittington

    We have a Plan B – the people of Scotland and England will decide, not their elected representatives.

    If English say no, then Plan B includes still using the pound but not accepting some of the massive debts England has amassed by endless war and economic ineptitude.

  41. Vincent McDee says:

    Eureka! Thanks Rev.

  42. Brian Mark says:

    No access to Sterling then no share of UK debt, this seems to be the best strategy to adopt. The kittens are beginning to appear from Cameron’s and Osbourne’s arse!

  43. Ferryhill9 says:

    We don’t need them. Just been reading BBC Scotland comments. Mostly a total bunch of illiterates. The number of people who seem to think that this is all about Alex Salmond’s ego is breathtaking. Surely they must see that devolution could be a pre-cursor to independance. This has been coming for over 100 years. Even wee eck wasn’t alive then ;).

  44. Embradon says:

    Whether or not to be obstructive, to cut off nose to spite face, would be a political decision facing the Westminster Government after a “Yes” vote. The fact that they will face a General Election a few months into the negotiation process makes it doubly interesting.

    It will be intriguing to see what the various manifestos say on the subject. Labour’s position will be particularly fascinating.

    Westminster are bluffing, gambling on a “No” vote.

  45. Luigi says:

    All these calls for a Plan B for currency are reminiscent of the “But we must have a referendum now!” calls back in 2011. “Too much uncertainty!”. Best ignored. A few nerves on our side, but rest assured, like 2011, ordinary people are just not buying it. Most folk, including NO voters that I have spoken to, consider the pound to belong to them, and are confident that not Osborne or anyone else is going to stop them using it.

    Oh dear! Scotland is becoming confident. What to do now?

  46. Gillie says:

    There is no Plan B.

    Plan A is the winning hand.

  47. heedtracker says:

    England threatens Scotland with all kinds of punishments but England’s first World Cup match against Italy kicks off Saturday 14th June so the media up here are going cover Scotland in their Three Lions and the Cross of Saint George. Come on England!

  48. Macandroid says:

    OT but mentioned above – “swing low sweet chariot” was first sung by English rugby fans to insult the first black player to play for them – so singing it now insults every black player, but they’re too thick to know that.
    Also use wrong anthem – but that will be OK upon independence.

  49. r whittington says:

    Yes, thought so. Ill step back in line in a moment. But would it really be so damaging to reveal an ‘official’ plan B should a currency union be refused? Personally I think not. It would also show that YES has taken a mature and dynamic approach, taking every possibility into account. This is common sense. Simply calling the opposition liers ad nausieum reduces the debate and does the referendum no favours.

  50. annie says:

    No comments appearing although supposed to be about 35 just posting this to see if the comments appear

  51. Ann says:

    Seems his speech may back fire.

    The Courier is running a survey asking if George Osborne’s speech on whethe it makes you more likely to vote No, more likely Yes or unchanged.

    So far.

    More likely No 29%
    More likely Yes 42%
    Unchanged 29%

  52. Dave says:

    Interesting bloke on Daily Politics today from the English Democrats who explained to the BBC placepeople that Scottish independence would mean that rUK would not be the continuing state.

  53. annie says:

    and they did

  54. Gillie says:

    Plan A is the winning hand. Just play a straight faced game, no need to bluff, no need for bluster. Just deal with the threat and play the winning hand. The UK government have no trump cards on a currency union.

  55. Wayne says:

    For once I can’t agree with you, the analysis makes no sense. he was talking about how the debt situation would be perceived, not EU membership per se.

    Osborne et al just destroyed our primary currency plans in a co-ordinated and determined assault, Salmond must come out in a determined fashion with a plan B. There is mo other option open to him.

  56. Gavin Greig says:

    So, let me get this right. They’re saying that Scotland’s financial interests differ so much from the rUK that we can’t work together on them?

    Isn’t that a case for independence they’re making?

  57. Dick Gaughan says:

    This, as the Rev suggests, is all about the debt. Having tried to steady the markets by accepting sole responsibility for the debt, Osbourne’s realised the likely consequences of doing so as the swing to Yes grows.

    It has nothing to do with economics, it’s political and a grand bluff. Osbourne is one lousy poker player and he’s made the wrong choice at every turn. He’s got bugger-all in his hand and is staking his lot that we’ll get scared and fold before his bluff’s called.

    I think this is a blunder borne of panic and fear and it might be the one that turns the tide – John Beattie at the moment, taking a very encouraging contrasting stance with both Danny Alexander and Blair Jenkins.

    I think the only possible benefit for the Tories out of it all is that he’s laid a trap which Balls seems to have stumbled into.

  58. FlimFlamMan says:

    @Rev. Stuart

    You may or may not be right about threats to block EU membership — it seems like a stretch to me — but this:

    The UK government knows this, and also knows the disaster that refusing a currency union would be for the UK

    is just plain wrong.

    Take a look at the countries in Europe which run external deficits and which do not have their own currency. They are in the toilet. It does not work, and the larger the deficit the worse it is.

    rUK will run significant external deficits; entering a currency union would be a disaster.

  59. Embradon says:

    If we vote “yes” and Labour go into the 2015 General Election with a manifesto committment to play hardball against Scotland in the negotiations, they could well collapse North of the Border.

    Imagine a Westminster in 2015 with SNP holding the balance of power!

    I’d laugh till the tears ran down my leg.

  60. JamieH says:

    More the reason to put pressure on the UK to provide clarification.

    They really are playing the game now as they know that they’re losing, and have a lot to lose off the back of this.

    Hope Salmond has watched rounders and some WPT action, it’s chips and a chair time to re-raise Gideon!

  61. heedtracker says:

    “Even Andrew Neil has dismissed Osbornes speech, he has just told Nicola Sturgeon, you better be prepared for some tough negotiation if you want that pound.” I caught that too. Ligger Neil also says Scottish banks belong to Scotland and Scotland will be responsible for them if they run into “trouble again” So that giant lie coming out of the gob of a liggger like Andrew Neil mean he wins my much coveted and signed “BBC unionist liar of the day” mug.

  62. faolie says:

    @Dave: not continuing state..

    Yes, saw that too, and it’s been mentioned a few times on Wings as well, but it is interesting, the whole issue of the repeal of the Acts and Treaties of Union. When it’s discussed, there’s usually agreement that the treaty has to be repealed and that there is no continuing state.

  63. Adrian B says:

    @ Whittington,

    Nothing has changed. Its Plan A, use the £ sterling. There have been no official discussions between Scottish Government and Westminster to suggest anything other than a currency union will happen in the event of Scottish Independence. The pound Stirling is todays Scottish currency.

  64. Les Wilson says:

    All the crap on the MSM now is a one way street.SG need to call their bluff, and they can do as I read on a new blog.

    What was said was, that the SG should say that if Osborne and the others who are clearly saying what they hope will steal votes for the no camp, in the blocking of a currency union.

    Then the SG will now look at the best options, and will indeed chose their path to suit the needs of the Scottish people. They can now do that.

    With a caveat, that the door will be open, for a time, for rUK to withdraw this undemocratic threat but if this is left to late, it may be irreversible. The choice is theirs to make and make soon.

    This would show that SG remain open to resolving the issue, so keep the high ground. However, will leave no doubt that they will proceed soon, down the path that is best for Scotland.

    I guess that might bring about a change, before long, and if out of some kind of irrational spite, they do not withdraw the threat, what is not to like, we pay no debt, and will have a real New Scottish Nation with the benefits that we should have.
    Personally, if it were me I would issue that warning sooner, rather than later.

  65. creigs1707repeal says:

    I thought the main aspect of Osborne’s speech was attempting to make clear that the £ was not an asset (of the UK)and, as such, the SG’s claim to have this asset (as part of a currency union) is invalid thus its threat to walk away from its share of the debt negated. But who decides if the £ is/isn’t an asset?

  66. Adrian B says:

    @ Whittington,

    For Plan B, see Plan A

  67. William Duguid says:

    Slight hint of a Plan B from Nicola in her repeated comment under hectoring from Andrew Neil that the pound is a fully tradeable currency?

    So Plan B, or Plan A Minus really, would be to continue with the pound in all events, continue to argue for currency union and tough luck to Westminster if they’re still daft enough to say no.

    That will be worrying for some DKs, but the SG have seven months to sell it, which I reckon is perfectly doable.

  68. chalks says:

    Sorry folks, but if you are saying that the people won’t take kindly to osbourne et al issuing threats and will turn to Yes….then why the fk would these same people want to enter into a currency union with them when the same people are negotiating?

    They can fkn poke, I am confident in my countries ability and I don’t want no Westminster getting involved.

    If the union doesn’t work because of many things, but principally the democratic deficit, then the EXACT same thing will be the case in the event of a currency union, namely England will have more advisors (appointed by the Chancellor) than the Scots will.

    What if we need interest rates higher in Scotland, but as per usual they don’t want to hurt London? Come on folks, grow a spine, tell them to fk off.

    I think you’d be pleasantly surprised by the reaction it would get from undecideds and soft No’s, ESPECIALLY considering some No’s are No because of silly things like the Queen being Head of State.

  69. Thepnr says:

    Different take on that speech from

    “Osborne’s intervention today is in some ways even worse. His threat that the UK would never accept Scotland into a fiscal union, risks having the complete opposite effect to its stated intention.”

  70. KeithB says:

    I think that move will backfire dramatically for Osbourne and the No campaign. Although I suspect reality in the event of a Yes vote will change his stance entirely, most people are going to read this and view it as Westminster being utterly intrangient and unreasonable.

    Also O/T but of interest, TBS chief says they would adapt and had no discussions on moving HQ – story buried on BBC website really:

  71. Angus McLellan says:

    @r whittington: The fiscal commission’s list of plans went like this. B-E are not ranked in any order.

    A. Pound sterling (currency pact)
    B. Pound sterling (sterlingisation)
    C. Pound scots (currency board, peg to sterling)
    D. Pound scots (float)
    E. Pound scots (EMS II)

    See last page of this doc.

  72. J Hoyle says:

    Doesn’t sway me, I’m still 100% voting yes!

  73. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    Just heard Blair Jenkins on BBC Scotland responding to the Osborne/Alexander crap.

    Well done Blair … superb … keep talking the truth … the panicking bluff-merchants will fold first.

  74. LIndsay says:

    From the tone of the article and comments, people here clearly know so much more about economics than I do.

    Why has the £ shown no sign of weakening in the markets?

    Gilt prices are stable too.

  75. a2 says:

    The ins and outs and whether we can or cant are irrelevant though. This is a play to gallery to make it all seem impossibly difficult.


  76. Roboscot says:

    The real significance of Osborne’s speech is that it marks the beginning of negotiations.

  77. fairiefromtheearth says:

    Well i canny be bothered with these unionist puppets any more,they already have us bent over ALL IN baw deep,i mean whats wrong with saying remove your fekking cock its been 300 years now, have yous not had enough? of course they answers no their rapists and we were asking for it and they are trying to justify it.Just take it Scotland you know you want it.

  78. James123 says:

    Just watched NS on the Daily Politics, she was constantly interrupted and spoken over by the the two clearly biased interviewers. Two other guests were introduced, hey presto they were treated with the utmost respect and weren’t interrupted a single time.

    The female interviewer mentioned the “Scots get £1200 more in public funding per person”, a fact the media just love and is repeated adfinitum. NS pointed out that Scotland contributes £1700 more per head in tax than the rest of the UK, a fact that the British media no likey.

    The interviewer concluded from this that if Scotland is a poor wee country then leaving the Union would make us worse off but if we’re a rich wee country then we’re selfish bastards for making the rest of the UK worse off. Wonderful, really just wonderful.

  79. ian foulds says:

    JLT says:

    ‘Do we need an article on the Alien Act, thus letting the Scottish people know a little bit of its history. To know what the Alien Act was and how it brought Scotland low, and how it is slowly coming into play again might also be a serious wake up call to the nation’

    Good point young man.

    Maybe you and the other erudite members of the campaign might like to prepare such an article and publish in the Yes Newspaper and other medium that might get our fellow countrymen/women’s attention

  80. heedtracker says:

    Plus if Westminster darling boy Farage/UKIP can put the bite on the Con/Dems, rUK is leaving the EU anyway. Can’t see Brussels taking super rich Bullingdon twerps and Farage’s English nats too seriously when they try to veto Scotland on anything at all in Europe. “We want you to veto anything Scotland asks” and then we’re leaving you, fog on the Channel, Europe isolated, rule Britannia ad nauseum.

  81. TheGreatBaldo says:

    “whatever you think of the speech today its got to be time for a plan B”

    Perhaps but not today.

    The 3 eejits of the Financial Apocalypse are trying to bounce the Scottish Govt into revealing it.

    Looks weak and rushed if they made their rebuttal today. Any way Nicola can handle herself and is sticking to the line.

    Better to leave it until tomorrow or the weekend, I suspect that’s why the FM and Swinney have been kept from view today.

    Plaid seem to be doing their bit by pointing out on Currency Union means job losses in Wales…..something Osbourne ignored or didn’t know about.

    As Rev hinted at yesterday, there is a very calm sensible Plan B (that’s laid out with others in the White Paper)…

    I think the line when it comes will emphasise they still believe in Currency Union is best for both parties but in light of recent announcements….

  82. msean says:

    Another bbc commenter with the same second name as a Thatcher cabinet member.

  83. Adrian B says:

    The Scottish Pound and the illusion of English Money:

    The illusion of English Money

    Q – When is Scottish tax revenue not Scottish tax revenue?
    A – When it is English Money!

  84. Misteralz says:

    I can’t be the only one that doesn’t care, can I?

    Formal currency union = still Scottish notes in my pocket, still reluctance to take them from English shopkeepers.

    Informal currency union = still Scottish notes in my pocket, still reluctance to take them from English shopkeepers.

    Eventual joining of the Euro = still Scottish notes in my pocket (actually, would they be? I can’t remember, but the coins are definitely country-specific, but not, if you know what I mean), still reluctance to take them from English shopkeepers.

  85. Ferryhill9 says:

    Danny Alexander just bombed on Jeremy Vine. Even Jeremy Vine was getting annoyed with him not answering the questions.

  86. Indy_Scot says:

    For all those who seem to be worried about what Plan B is, it is really very simple. Plan A is to use the pound and Plan B is to, wait for it, use the pound.

  87. lynne halliday says:

    typical ruk turn there fears into our’s, clever,but as you said, poker face stuff,

  88. cearc says:

    I think that using sterling without a currency union would be a non-runner, it would have to be a Scots pound pegged to sterling.

    Can you imagine the outrage if the former was adopted. We would all have to hand in our Scottish banknotes and use English ones!

  89. James123 says:

    ‘Do we need an article on the Alien Act, thus letting the Scottish people know a little bit of its history. To know what the Alien Act was and how it brought Scotland low, and how it is slowly coming into play again might also be a serious wake up call to the nation’

    The Alien Act is mentioned here:

  90. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    There is no need for the YES Campaign to entertain any discussions on any Plan B.

    The correct thing to do is just keep saying Plan A is the only sensible game in town after the coming YES vote (i.e. the truth).

    THE MARKETS will soon tell our bullying friends to start negotiating faster …

  91. Les Wilson says:

    The UK is now revising what they consider to be an asset and what is a “British Institution”, this is one of their rationales that an Independent Scotland cannot share the Pound. As it and the Bank of England are B/ Institutions.

    I recently hear on one of the committee sessions chaired by Davidson of course, where at least one said “The British Army is also a British Institution, this suggests that by considering it so Scotland may not be entitled to any of that asset.

    So, I suggest they are scurrying around looking at re labelling whatever they want to keep as a “British Institution and not assets.
    A cynical ploy, would we expect anything different.

  92. Adrian B says:

    An Interesting perspective as ever from Derek Bateman

    I confess to a sneaky sense of pleasure that the true face of Westminster has been revealed unvarnished and unspun so we can see who the Tories’ friends are. It has dispelled the notion that this is Scotland against England or against the Tories. It is now explicit that this is Scotland against the whole machinery of British government and all the Unionist parties are in this together, resolutely against Scotland unless we do as they say. It must be salutary for Labour voters to watch Johan Lamont and think what she really represents.

  93. fairiefromtheearth says:

    Do we know who buys our oil? can we find out rev? what would our Scottish pound be worth, i can understand people that want to peg the Scottish pound to another currency but why? ie quantitive easing the BoE is still going to print(ok they dont really print the monies) more monies making the Enlish pound weaker thus our pound would be weaker without our intervention NO we have to STAND ALONE and if any monies is printed through QE it get distribited equall among the populus not to BANKSTERS to give themselfs MASSIVE bonuses.

  94. Famous15 says:

    This is not the gun fight at the OK coral. Unionists are desperate to hear the YES side espouse a plan B. Do not even mention it because it frustrates them so . The songs of flipper would be heard across the oceans.
    If you wish lessons on how not to go near a plan B listen to Nicola on Politics Today and as you listen to the Hutcheson Grammar boy go demented trying to get her to say the words you realise how clever the SNP “front bench” is in denying them the satisfaction and also you realise how important project fear need a split to try to harm YES.
    So it is still game on for a Sterling Zone!

  95. seoc says:

    M4rkyboy says: @12.01
    Exactly, these chancres have nothing else but bluff, threats and a desperate hope to create a sense of uncertainty in enough Scots to con us.
    We can provide enough food, power, education, business, etc for Scotland.
    They cannot and are dependent on the goodwill of others.
    I’d prefer we just walk away from them totally.

  96. Luigi says:

    For advocates of a Plan B, please sit back and ask yourselves: “who is calling for a Plan B?”, “where is this all coming from?”, “who is driving this?”. Once you figure that out, you may have second thoughts.

    BT are desperate for the SG to publish a plan B, because keeping sterling is a trump card that they simply cannot afford to unequivocally rule out.

    If the (opinion poll) trend toward YES continues unabated, then there is no need to declare a Plan B. If the trend stalls , then perhaps strategies have to be rethought. Plenty of time remains. Hurried reactions betray real fear and panic (witness BT yesterday). Don’t push the Plan B panic button just yet.

  97. MajorBloodnok says:

    O/T Re Bank Bailouts

    I’m hoping someone can help me here. I’m trying to find/construct a ‘bank bailout table’ so that I can demonstrate which countries bailed out which banks and for how much. So it would be something like HBOS, RBS, Barclays, Northern Rock (lol), etc., down the side and the columns would be by country with the amount it provided in each corresponding cell.

    It’s just to lay to rest that old bollocks about iScotland possibly having to bail out any bank that happens to have the word ‘Scotland’ in the title again.

    Thanks, MB

  98. Clarinda says:

    Just listened(Radio 2)to D Alexander’s illogical wittering on the sterling question (could/would not answer any questions put to him) who was actually roundly hassled by Jeremy Vine followed by the composed rationality of Stewart Hosie who was able to speak in his usual measured logic without interruption.

    So far the follow up comments have been 2 who have been converted recently to Yes (one of whom was a past member of the No campaign)and some poor lass who would never vote Yes even if Independence would be beneficial to Scotland!
    Terrific contribution from a guy in Fort William referring to Westminster “propaganda” and more coming in stating that they know more and more DKs turning to Yes.

    Well done that man Gideon – unless that’s the Tory plan?

  99. jenni says:

    Ugh. Just read through some comments on the BBC…. had to come back here for a bit before I can concentrate on work again… some people! Tch!

  100. I G says:

    We just have to hold our collective nerve. Do you really think that really think that YES campaign HQ is full of guys pulling their hair out and screaming, “Aw, naw, whit’ll we dae noo?”.

    It’s a masterstroke of negotiation. Bring a load of crap to the table that you don’t want or can easily live without e.g. 3rd option for referendum. Frankly this would have lost us the referendum but somehow AS managed to convince DC that this was important to YES but in return for concessions elsewhere conceded it. Now, not only does AS get something in return he makes it look like DC (NO Campaign) is denying the people of Scotland a choice.

    Same with currency. There are at least half a dozen viable options out there. It’s not the end of the world if we don’t have a formal currency union with rUK (there may even be more preferable options). But……bring it to the table, force the other party to show their hand and then tell them that it will cost them £150bn.

    “OK, so what’s next? Trident – that’ll cost you £15bn a year until you get shot of it to Plymouth.”

    “What else? Europe – you’ll no even be in the EU by then so cannae threaten us with that.”

    “Ship building? – see your last attempt at bullying and intimidation. How did that work out for you?”

  101. msean says:

    Scots won’t go with tory advice,can’t believe the other parties are following them like puppies.when you have collusion like this,it’s almost a one party state.

  102. Angus McLellan says:

    @Misteralz: You’re right about Euro coins being “localised”, but the notes are standard designs showing bridges in the first series and arches (so far) in the second.

  103. kininvie says:

    Ah – the Rough Wooing (1543) Remember this quote?

    “We liked not the manner of the wooing, and we could not stoop to being bullied into love,” (George Gordon Earl of Huntly)

    It’s all happening again – this time as farce.

  104. Adrian B says:


    This is not quite what you were looking for, ut it might lead in the right direction:

  105. Gillie says:

    This NO campaign tactic to flush out a Plan B has failed.

    Did they honestly think that wheeling out an old Whitehall blunderbuss in Sir Nick MacPherson (KCB, Eton and Balliol) was going to rattle our cages.

    My advice, only fire when you see the whites of their unionist eyes.

    Plan A is still in place, and going nowhere.

  106. KraftyKris says:

    “Scotland’s banking sector is far too big in relation to its national income, which means that there is a very real risk that the continuing UK would end up bearing most of the liquidity and solvency risk which it creates”

    Is Scotland’s banking sector proportionally bigger than the UK’s?

  107. Misteralz says:

    Angus McLellan:

    I thought that, but couldn’t remember for sure. Knew they were all bridges and arches, I just couldn’t remember if they were localised or just pretty designs.

  108. G H Graham says:

    The only real hand the British have is a veto on the EU & NATO. Er, that’s it. But only die hard military types will really care about NATO which leaves us with the EU.

    On balance, Norway & Switzerland for example, in their own ways, do rather well without the Euro or full EU integration. But not even Switzerland bothers with border posts anymore.

    The SNP then retains a very strong hand going into independence because the only thing that really matters to the British is them being actually accountable for all the UK debt.

    Yes, they already said they would honour the sovereign debt but always with Scotland paying its own share down too.

    That, above all else, will prevail as the singular most important bargaining point.

    Just imagine how the markets will punish Britain if Scotland were to walk away from its debt obligations because the British refuse to enter a currency union.

    The British net public sector debt will rocket above 100% of GDP & blow the 2015/2016/2017 British annual budgets out the water.All the noise about how the markets would hit Scotland are nonsense.

    The more vulnerable partner post independence will be Britain because it is Britain that would find itself in financial meltdown without Scotland’s cash to help pay down the sovereign debt.

    Osborne knows that & the Treasury knows that. But it will never happen because the consequences are simply too awful to even think about.

    Ms. Sturgeon is correct then. The British have played a strong, early hand but are bluffing. No need then to come up with a plan B on currency because we don’t need one.

    All Scotland has to do is refuse to honour its share of the sovereign debt & we’ll get exactly what we want & we need; a currency union.

    Sure, there will lots of political shouting but in the negotiating room, Scotland & Britain will reach the agreement that they both already know will work in each other’s best interests.

    In summary then, Osborne’s speech has amounted to nothing except to perpetuate the Project Fear strategy. And in that sense nothing much has changed at all.

    You can stand down now. Back to Dr. Who & Eastenders folks.

  109. Adrian B says:

    Its not often that I read something from Iain Macwhirter and wonder were he is coming from, but todays piece is rather lucid:

    But a No vote built on the back of this kind of rough wooing is not going to be a positive affirmation of the Union. It will be a fractious and unhappy marriage of partners who have been together, too long.

  110. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Adrian B

    Thanks, that’s very useful. Will be interesting to compare this to other countries’ contributions.

  111. tartanarse says:

    Dear Mr unionisg Whittington.

    As Danny wee ginger rat Alexander is entirely irrelevant due to being Libdem, the only thing that Giddy on has in his hand is Balls.

    Labours balls.

    That is all.

    Plan b is plan a.

  112. Stewart Dredge says:

    Scotland wants to pay its fair share of the debt and agree a smooth transition to independence with rUK. The Treasury advises “continuing UK” that the Scots should be told that they must pay their fair share of the debt if they want “the cooperation of the international community INCLUDING THE CONTINUING UK.”
    So is that “problem solved”?

  113. jenni says:

    BTW – to some of the comments above about what the SG response should be like… I agree along similar lines – you could get a real belter in along the lines of,

    “We had anticipated that the Westminster Gov would be as willing as we are to work together on policies which cause the minimum level of disruption to both our countries while respecting our desire for independence. That is why we supported a currency union – a policy that would be of great benefit to both countries and protect businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, todays speech implies that those political parties with vested interests in the government of those countries have no desire to cooperate. While we will still campaign and negotiate for a currency union – as we believe it to be best possible way to safe-guard the business interests of ALL our respective countries – we will also prepare alternative currency policies in greater detail so that our own people and businesses will not be subjected to uncertainty.”

    A.K.A. Osbourne will shaft his own countries to get one up on us – we wanted to share out the paddles but… looks like you’re on yer own.

  114. MajorBloodnok says:


    Given the heritage of the UK parties now openly united against us, it’s rather less the ‘rough wooing’ and rather more the ‘rough Woosters’.

  115. HandandShrimp says:

    A wealthy Tory comes, north sneers at Scotland and in a blatantly political speech attempts to move the chess pieces in a manner that he thinks will block rising support for independence. Lib Dems fall over themselves to support their Tory chums and Ed Balls simply agrees with Osborne as he does on every other issue.

    I note on the Courier poll that it doesn’t seem to be playing that well to the readers. 30% No 40% Yes 30% Don’t Know. I think George has simply hardened hearts on both sides and left the Don’t Knows confused, (but, speaking to one in the office, annoyed).

    Not sure we could have asked for much more from George 🙂

  116. Robert Kerr says:

    Some points from history.

    1. Under the 1925 London Agreement the Free State was relieved from all other contributions to the public debt of the United Kingdom on payment of £150,000 down and £250,000 p.a. for sixty years.

    2. From Time Magazine 1932.

    The quarrel of His Majesty’s Government in the Irish Free State with His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain passed from ominous threats to ominous action last week. At 6 p. m. the King-Emperor gave royal assent to a bill passed by his Lords & Commons empowering the MacDonald Government to levy an import tax up to 100% on Free State products entering Great Britain. One hour later the Government, acting with wrathful zeal (because President Eamon de Valera had said “They’re only bluffing!”), issued an order in council…

    Let’s hope the World has moved on.

  117. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

    The middle of the box in the article has the Osbourne fellow saying, “First, the sooner an independent Scotland established economic credibility, the better it would be for its economic performance.” This sounds as though he is actually conceding that independence is now a given and – as others have commented – is placing himself for negotiations over the debt etc.

    By the way, Carney’s silence on the matter is deafening – I wonder if he was even informed of this. This cannot bode well for relations between the Bank of England and the government. Maybe in trying to be clever Osbourne has merely sabotaged his own position. If so he would be a worthy successor to his predecessors as chanellor of the exchequer.

    As the Greeks said – Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad – or maybe just inept and incompetent.

  118. I G says:

    From BBC website:

    Osborne says Queen will be Shot if Scotland Votes Yes

    UK Chancellor George Osborne has said a vote for Scottish independence would mean shooting the Queen.

    He said there was “no legal reason” why the rest of the UK would want to share the Queen with an independent Scotland.

    The Scots government wants Scotland to retain the Queen as part of the 1603 Union of the Crowns with the rest of the UK in the event of a referendum “Yes” vote.

    Ahead of the independence referendum on 18 September, Mr Osborne set out his position during a speech in Edinburgh, as he published the latest UK analysis on the issue.

    The Chancellor continued, “The Scots have no legal or moral right over the Queen. It is quite/highly/possibly likely/unlikely that in the event of a Yes vote David Cameron will arrange for her to be shot, rather than fall into the hands of the Scotch. Alex Salmond has stated that Scotland deserves to get the Queen at weekends, every 3rd Thursday and for the month of August. We do not agree. If Scotland leaves the Union then they leave the Queen. Even though it would be in our interest to allow her to continue we would not want to miss this opportunity to cut our nose off to spite our face”.

    Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander supported Mr Osborne’s position, along with Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

    Following Mr Osborne’s speech, Mr Alexander said the Treasury had provided “crystal clear” analysis that sharing the Queen with Scotland would create unacceptable risks both for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

  119. Breastplate says:

    For Plan B wonderers.
    Plan A. Use the pound with currency agreement.
    Plan B. Use the pound without a currency agreement.
    I’m sure it wasn’t a secret…or am I missing something.

  120. MajorBloodnok says:


    What I want to know is, will there be a Plan 9 (From Outer Space)?

  121. ronnie anderson says:

    Is the site still under DDOS attack,ist taking forever to load, my previos posts not appearing.

  122. jake says:

    Plan B:
    Scotland has it’s own currency.
    New Scottish currency to be pegged to the Euro.
    Tell EU that if and when conditions right and Scottish pound pegged to Euro proves stable we’ll be in a position to adopt it.
    Tell rUK that we’re not responsible for UK debt. Make equivalent payment to EU to set up a fund to assist member states in economic hardship/crisis (but only if the have adopted the Euro and/or are pegged to it)

  123. Kev says:

    Well George, its your economic performance that establishes your economic credibility, not the other way round.

    If I were an international investor (say Minister in charge of Norway’s wealth fund) I would see a friendly country with massive renewable potential, huge oil reserves, a highly educated workforce and ZERO DEBT as the opportunity of a lifetime!

  124. Eric says:

    Westminster are angling to have their cake and eat it. They want to be the ‘Continuing State’ with all its advantages and at the same time have a successor state that still accepts liabilities.

    This is what is panicking them.

  125. Roll_On_2014 says:


    As far as the USA is concerned you will find that information HERE.

    The rest is the continuation of one of my posts in the Grunard:

    The Federal Reserve has released details of more than 21,000 transactions after being forced by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act to disclose which institutions it had bailed out in the financial turmoil since December 2007.

    RBS borrowed $446bn (£280bn)
    HBOS borrowed $181bn (£114bn)

    Total = £461bn

    So… who bailed out RBS and HBOS.

    As for other Countries I have no info.

  126. Jimbo says:

    If Westminster wants to start with the bullying and blackmail they should remember that two can play at that game.

    Their nukes are parked in Scotland. If they’re not removed by independence day then they become our property to do with as we wish. We can lease them the site until they build a base of their own – or we can hand them back to the USA as scrap metal.

  127. Atypical_Scot says:

    I read that treasury statement as iScotland can peg to the pound but no currency union, because a currency union is not an asset, it cannot be claimed as a legal right. However, the debt does exist, and as such, is a valid negotiating chip.

    This is not to say what value of debt would be passed to iScotland, but something useful for the rUK when dealing with the likes of Trident etc.

    But a debt that must be serviced whilst running a deficit that was generated within a union that had the benefit of transferring public debt to central bank which in turn amassed +20% of sovereign gilts at near 0% interest to prevent inflation is a very essential mechanism.

    Bluff or not. There isn’t a trustworthy bone among the UK elite, which is reason enough to take this statement at face value;

    Never trust an ultra-capitalist that happily cuts benefits, privatises the NHS and gives himself and his chums fat tax breaks.

  128. fairiefromtheearth says:

    Majorbloodnok we could always be like Iceland and JAIL the Bankster for their FRAUD and let that be the result of all FRAUDS by banks.

  129. msean says:

    Scots just need to keep in mind that other option s are available as are other markets. They can’t stop use of the pound,unless currency controls are coming in,and i don’t think they are.Still no positive case for the union.

  130. R Whittington says:

    It’s not really good enough to say that plan B is plan A. That doesn’t help anybody and I suspect you’re average undecided voter won’t buy it either. Plan B should be the Euro. It’s the best ‘other’ option.

  131. Rod Mac says:

    For the more intelligent amongst us ,a nice way of saying I am one of the less intelligent.
    the arguments being used now re currency union ,could these not also be employed against the Devo Max /FFA wishers?
    Therefore even more proof that voting No there will be no more devolution

  132. a Supporter says:

    Les Wilson
    “Then the SG will now look at the best options, and will indeed chose their path to suit the needs of the Scottish people. They can now do that.”

    I agree with you on that. In the light of the strong statement against a Currency Union by Osborne et al. The YES/SNP has been given a golden opportunity to break away from its insistence that there WILL be a Currency Union to one which merely says that come what may Scotland WILL peg its currency to the £S at 1:1, although it thinks that a £S Currency Union is in the best interests of both Scotland and rUK.

    Today Nicola Sturgeon was put right under the gun by Andrew Neil by refusing to answer simple Qs about a Plan B. And the YES campaign will be chased constantly on this till it comes up with an answer. It is not viable to keep claiming that your opponents will eventually fall into line with your ideas; even if you are eventually proved to be correct. Burying your head in the sand will not do.

  133. Linda's Back says:

    As usual Salmond, the master tactician, is playing the long game.

    Good article in Scotsman from Sir James Mirrlees on currency union

    Another brilliant piece from Derek Bateman

    “Why does Labour have to wrap itself inside the Union flag beside him? The answer comes partly in Ed Balls remark: Welcome the real world…That is, in his mind, aimed at Salmond and the SNP but in the typical mistake of the English supremacist he confuses the Nationalists with the Scots. This kind of bravado plays badly in Scotland where anyone from outside picking a fight and attempting to lord it over the Scots gets the sullen stare…name and number quietly filed. You can see the same anti-Scottish contempt in the commentators – we had two examples last night on television in Simon Pia and John McTernan where their loathing of the SNP and specifically Salmond is visceral. They know that Salmond is head and shoulders above anything Labour has to offer, he has overturned their applecart of domination and patronage and they hate him for it. So when they think their side has stolen a point back as they do over the currency, their glee is unconfined.”

  134. msean says:

    What is left to fear now then? They have emptied their armoury now with this,think the unionists can hold the line for the next 7 months?

  135. heedtracker says:

    Osborne,Alexander,Balls team talk over dinner tonight-

    “What now? Wait for next polls, should show drop in Yes or at very least we closed down YES rising, BBC ITV, Prof Curtice etc put the fear of no money up undecideds from now til the end of time, Dave tells them a few more times we love them, makes them feel safe and secure and that chaps is how you shut down democracy in another country and keep spending its money and oil. Bottoms up”

  136. fairiefromtheearth says:

    When we get independance its time to do things DIFFRENT no more with the same shite of the rich getting richer and getting away with all sorts of crimes and the poor getting poorer and having a paramilitary force(police)brutalising them and lying in court to get BULLSHIT convictions,its only happened 5 times with me but 10 police officers lying to get £50 BREACH OF THE PEACE fines it shows hoe corrupt the police and courts are,oh one of the times after i got found guilty my lawyer said i have just witnessed a miscarage of justice and i said good were going to appeal to a higher court then his answer NO no for a £50 fine LOL no no a misscarrage of justice a BENT POLICE FORCE AND JUDGES LETS NOT EXPOSE THAT EH.the legal system is a FEKKING joke theirs alot to fix in Scotland.

  137. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “It’s not really good enough to say that plan B is plan A.”

    I agree. The Scottish Government has time to see how things play out for a while, but not seven months.

  138. Patrick Roden says:

    I’m probably wrong, but can all this just be the London financial markets getting jittery at the rise of ‘Yes’ so telling Gideon, that they need an assurance that the ‘Jocks’ will be paying their share of the debt?

    They know better than most what Scotland pulling out of a repayment agreement would do to the markets down there, so they want ‘certainty’

    So Gideon trails the ‘No to the pound’ lie, through the BBC and gets Labours backing.

    Gideon then makes a speech, in which is included advice from the civil service, saying that should Scotland ever renege on the debt repayment agreement, Westminster would simply threaten to pull the plug on EU etc.

    The plan is to put the Scottish Government under enough pressure to get them to give an assurance that they will meet their obligations, no matter what,

    The financial markets in London have an assurance (that although not a formal contract, is as good as one)

    And Gideon/Balls look like they are calling the shots, with Alex left looking a bit weak.

    Me thinks things are about to backfire for the tough guys.

    Get your popcorn ready people, this will be entertaining.

  139. MajorBloodnok says:

    @R Whitington

    Surely the Euro is ‘Plan €’?

  140. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    Please, please, please, send more Tory toffs up to lecture and threaten us.

    Please send one up every week until September.

  141. Titler says:


    Oh thank god, someone, after 90 odd comments, spots what the real response should be. Because this moment right here is where, if anywhere, the Referendum will be lost.

    A lot of the posters at Wings have shown a staggering lack of political awareness; The Tories in particular are quite prepared to cripple the health of the full United Kingdom to support a tiny clique of ideological monsters… And as Stu has written, the real horror to them is not Independence but a working, left leaning nation on the British Isles. How could you possibly be blind to the idea that they would do it to an Independent Scotland too? Yet even now, most posters here can’t face the fact Osbourne isn’t bluffing. He’s not “representing”; is there a poker term for when someone “accidentally” shows you he’s got an Ace to try and intimidate you? Because he’s totally got that Ace. He’s got the votes in Parliament. He’s going to use it. Plan A never was and never will be on the cards.

    What the real bet Osbourne is making is that there will be enough people who resent Westminster bullying, but fear the consequences even more to swing back behind No. And look how well beating people down has worked historically, and across the UK already, and he wouldn’t be totally stupid to make that bet; People are being hounded to literal death by ATOS and Bedroom snoopers and the streets aren’t aflame as they should be.

    So what does that have to do with the Yes campaigners? If you’re going to get people to brave the Bully, you’d damn sure better not be pretending actually he’s rather nice if you get to know him and… People’s fear is genuine. They agree with you that they hate the Westminster mob, and with good reason because that mob has given them plenty of outright beatings. But snow-white paper wishes about how things would be if you could all sit down and have a cup of tea and chat just make you look insane as well.

    I’m sorry to have to say that, but it’s getting to the point even basic history is getting warped in order to find a comforting spin on current events. How many articles have we seen where it’s been insisted we’d never get to this point, they’d never dare rule it out? And now the Chancellor has. But you’re spinning Austerity Osbourne’s words to try and claim he means something else. This is a man who was booed at the Special Olympics and showed no shame at all about it. And yesterday for instance I noticed Stu mentioned the case of Ireland not being given any of the UKs debt. They signed up for it though;

    “5) The Irish Free State shall assume liability for the service of the Public Debt of the United Kingdom as existing at the date hereof and towards the payment of war pensions as existing at that date in such proportion as may be fair and equitable… ”

    Now read why they haven’t paid it; It’s been held in abeyance as long as the Irish Republic doesn’t challenge the independence of Northern Ireland. Also, less widely acknowledged was the fact that the UK also kept the Irish “Treaty Ports” and threatened that if the new Dial didn’t blast the anti-treaty forces out of Dublin with “borrowed” British artillery we’d come and do it ourselves.

    But Ireland was used as an argument for why Scotland would be treated fairly.

    I’m not speaking hypothetically here; this unreal optimism is one reason I only post in passing, although I’m somewhat sympathetic. I’ve mentioned before that it’s like watching two parents divorce… but Wings at times is like hearing a childhood friend say “I’m sure it’ll work out, it always does in the stories”, rather than an adult saying “No, it won’t, not for now. But it gets better in the long run”. This is where the Yes campaign now HAS to become the adults in the room, and say something like Jenni suggested. It’s no use keep name-dropping “Project Fear” and then shying away from the fact that if they can’t suggest fear, they’ll enforce it. You’ve got to make an argument that yes, Independence is going to hurt for a while. Say it won’t, and Osbourne is just going to come and kick you in the balls again and then say “So who was telling the truth, eh?”

    Of course, here in the South we’d rather the British government didn’t do it to an Independent Scotland. But we’re too busy being apathetic and beaten down to stop them. Or save our own elderly or disabled. Sorry about that.

  142. FlimFlamMan says:


    Why has the £ shown no sign of weakening in the markets?

    Gilt prices are stable too.

    Currency and bond market participants, the majority at least, have always understood that rUK could not and would not enter a currency union with an independent Scotland.

    None of the ramping up from ‘unlikely’ to the current not quite a flat out refusal comes as a surprise to them. Bond market traders at least would no doubt like rUK to enter a currency union, since then they could extract very high yields on rUK bonds, if they were worth buying at all.

    The lack of major drama makes it clear that most traders did not and do not expect it to happen though.

  143. FlimFlamMan says:

    Hmmm, I posted a comment earlier with a link, and it’s not showing up. I suppose it’s in moderation because of the link.

  144. Ken says:

    Didn’t Blair McDougall state at the Dundee University debate that Westminster politicians wouldn’t fall into the trap of working against Scotland until after independence?

    In light of all the recent revelations they must believe a YES vote is on and decided to jump in anyway.

  145. MajorBloodnok says:



  146. kalmar says:

    Plan A is the pound. It would be quite nice to say Plan B is the pound too. Just for consistency, winding up the BBC, and not spooking the horses.
    Personally I’d be happy with the Euro too.

  147. liz says:

    I know that a bank in europe, Dexia, which had shared business in 2 different european countries were bailed out by % from Belgium and France.

    I know I read of another one which also included Holland but I cant find the link – will keep looking.

  148. tattie-boggle says:

    I still believe the msm will not be happy untill some blood has been spilled before the referendum one of my class mates is that much up in arms about Osborne he wants to take up arms.i think some Irish fellow of the past said the British have never left anywhere without blood and carnage. Cant remember his name

  149. tattie-boggle says:

    Yeah the tories have read too much 2000ad . mega city London one and the rest of the uk can be the cursed earth

  150. Peter Macbeastie says:

    Very good piece, Rev. This one will certainly be getting shared.

    R Whittington; as you have doubtless worked out by now, it takes damn little for some folk to call you a unionist, whether there is copious evidence against that accusation or not. And what I said to get that thrown at me, along with ‘britnat troll’ was a good bit more mild than what you said.

  151. Les Wilson says:

    Another issue we do not look at often enough, is the HUGE UK debt. What if we are in a currency Union, and there is a big “Soros” type run on Sterling, ending up with UK default, that means we are involved in that default and would equally suffer for it.

    I think default IS a real issue, money will be worth less across the board. It is US who are taking the risk and WE did not incur the debt. We need to be careful with Sterling and allow for anything happening. Please do not think a default is impossible, UK has never had so much debt, so history has no place in the future.

    The closer the ties, the closer the problem and it is a very dangerous one for Scotland.
    So thinking this could happen at some point, as the debt is increasing by large amounts, why should we touch any currency union, when we can have our own and run it in parity, with far less risk??

  152. kininvie says:


    You just have to get over it. Counter-arguments always need to be heard, and eventually Wingers by and large recognise sincerity. Captain Caveman, Alec, Effie mostly get a hearing once the accusations of trolling have died away, and they are firm unionists or undecideds. I seldom have much hesitation in pointing out where we are in danger of groupthink. If we scare people off from doing that, we just lay ourselves open…

  153. Famous15 says:

    AlexSalmond and Nicola Sturgeon lead a first class team. Though I joined the SNP in a previous generation to them I acknowledge they are world class and all the childish insults aimed at them is just a recognition that Project Fear has its own fears. Go YES!

    Yes we will have a Sterling zone and for as long as our sovereign people wish it.

  154. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Titler –

    As always, you present your opinion well.

    But there’s something missing. Scotland and England were unified without what we now understand as ‘democratic’ processes. We Scots were against it, but that didn’t matter.

    Now? It does. It’s ALL that matters, and that’s why BT/UK are so visibly rattled.

    It should also go without saying that, in 1707, there was precious little contact between disparate groups of Scots, and the general level of education/literacy was nowhere near as high as it is now.

    This is a mature, educated, clued-up electorate capable of making its own mind up about a complex issue, and we have all the resources needed to make it an informed, confident decision.

    You may not like the general tone of optimism here, and you may even believe that some of us are naive. But the fact remains: we’re going to make the decision – not Ozzy, not Balls, Alexander, the MSM, UKPlc, or, dare I say it, you.

  155. FlimFlamMan says:

    @Les Wilson

    Another issue we do not look at often enough, is the HUGE UK debt. What if we are in a currency Union, and there is a big “Soros” type run on Sterling, ending up with UK default, that means we are involved in that default and would equally suffer for it.

    You’re absolutely right. UK debt right now is not a problem, since, as currency issuer, the UK gov has the capacity to service it indefinitely. In a currency union it would lose that inherent capacity, and in the event of a default, or simply an ERM type episode, Scotland would be subject to fallout.

    Soros’ original attack on sterling only worked because the government at the time made the decision to enter the ERM, which was a type of currency union.

    Please do not think a default is impossible…

    It’s impossible right now, since the UK is the source of its own currency, but that would change with a currency union.

    …UK has never had so much debt, so history has no place in the future.

    This part isn’t right though. UK debt to GDP is just under 100%, while in the early 1950s it was up at over 250%.

    …why should we touch any currency union, when we can have our own and run it in parity, with far less risk?

    Why indeed. There’s not even any need for the peg, except to ease the transition. After that it can float.

  156. Dramfineday says:

    Good point Les (Wilson)

  157. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry if I upset some here but I think the Scottish government should now call Osborne’s bluff and announce we’ll use our own Scottish pound, as we currently do, whilst NOT taking on any of Westminster’s debt. Surely that would really put an increased amount of pressure on the Westminster numpties.

    I think I read somewhere last night that the Bank of England currently holds somewhere around £3.9 Billion in reserves against the use of the Scottish pound. Apologies if terminology is not absolutely right. How would Mr. Kerney of the Bank of England feel when we go knocking at his door asking for our £3.9 Billion back?

    Surely we can now declare that we will use our own independent Scottish pound whilst at the same time the Scottish government could look at setting up an Independent Scottish Bank (I.S.B.) that would become the lender of last resort and consequently hold the £3.9 Billion returned from Bank of England. I seem to recall the Royal Bank of Scotland looking to sell off its main branch HQ in the middle of Edinburgh a few years ago. That would surely make an ideal location, if it’s still available. 🙂

  158. Gayle says:

    Now you really have to ask why anyone would want to be in a union with a partner who treats you with such utter contempt.

  159. Kenny Campbell says:

    “From the tone of the article and comments, people here clearly know so much more about economics than I do.

    Why has the £ shown no sign of weakening in the markets?

    Gilt prices are stable too.”

    There is no reason for pound to shift due to this. UK have said they will pay the debt regardless of the outcome in Sept,according to the press the general public belief is that Scotland will vote NO. Therefore there is no immediate threat.

    Gilt rate in UK is being artificially held down due to QE program. They are buying a reasonable percentage of what is available for purchase from Treasury and so this depresses interest rate as there are plenty of buyers.

    Interest rates need to rise when buyers disappear, if you are buying your own shit you create artificial demand.

    More buyers means more demand = you can offer lower interest.

  160. Gillie says:

    Are you scared? Well you are supposed to be! So why are you not scared?

    I think this was a watershed moment for Project Fear. They expect you to be all cowering in your homes. Why aren’t you?

    I think No campaign have miscalculated.

  161. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

    Gayle – often seriously dysfunctional relationships are based on a kind of co-dependency where the victim “needs” the victimizer or at least thinks or has been brainwashed into thinking that such is the case. It takes an intervention or an epiphany to rescue such a person. This pretty well describes the case of people who are “internally colonialized” as many Scots are.

    Colonialism is not just a physical thing but a mental/spiritual thing and until victims realize AND do something about the situation it festers on. The “too weak/stupid/poor” etc mindset is unfortunately a classic example of this. Thanks to people associated with this site and like-minded others speaking (not shouting) the truth firmly consistently and persuasively things are changing and so is the whole atmosphere as people wake up and wake others up. As a child of the sixties I believe this was called “consciousness-raising”.

    In many ways Scotland is a broken nation and is finally waking up and doing something about it but that the victimizers and their lackeys will simply roll over and let it happen is not likely. So it is up to those who are awake to shake the others out of their induced helplessness and become a self-respecting nation again.

  162. edulis says:

    I haven’t looked at all the comments but two things struck me today when watching the Daily Politics. The guy supporting independence for England was very supportive of Scotland going independent although he did argue the usual subsidy myth. The fact that he brought up was that a majority of English people , like Scots, regard themselves as English and not British.

    There was a Scots carpetbagging Tory from the Fylde who descibed his country as the UK, no reference to Scotland.

    So my point is that this debate is about Westminster defending its status and privileges against Scots seeking self determination. I would hazard a guess that if we could turn it into Westminster versus England, Wales and Scotland – N Ireland is the anomaly- then it would place Westminster in a very weak position.

    In fact I think I detected a bit of sheepishness from the carpetbagger when the English nationalist got going. Such is life. The Scots arguing with the same logic and power as the English nationalist don’t have the same effect.

  163. Taranaich says:

    This is, by far, the most infuriating thing about the whole debate for me: the UK insists on setting the debate on its terms. Therefore the stuff that affects the UK – the pound, the debt, the economics – are falsely attributed as the concerns of the Scots, and yet it is NEVER brought up how this would affect the UK itself.

    My opinion is that Yes and the Scottish Government need to stop letting the UK frame the debate. That we’ve been doing so well so far is something of a miracle, but as the dirty war starts, NO concessions can be allowed. So instead of responding to the question “what’s your plan B,” we should be asking the rUK “what’s YOUR plan B?”

    What are YOU going to do without Scottish trade & resources bolstering the pound’s value? What are YOU going to do without 9.6% of UK tax revenue? What are YOU going to do without half of the UK’s EEZ? The assumption has always been that the UK would do just fine, while Scotland would be in trouble. Does that sound like a union of equals?

  164. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “is there a poker term for when someone “accidentally” shows you he’s got an Ace to try and intimidate you?”

    Yes – cheating. In most casinos you’ll get your hand mucked for that.

  165. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Yet even now, most posters here can’t face the fact Osbourne isn’t bluffing.”

    With 5-to-1 public support among UK voters for a currency union and an election seven months after the referendum, it’d be an enormous political gamble to take.

    “You’ve got to make an argument that yes, Independence is going to hurt for a while.”

    It doesn’t have to. See today’s latest post for details. The currency options really aren’t scary. But the Yes camp can’t get from now until September just saying “He’s lying”, that much is for sure. Nicola Sturgeon stopped only just short of coming out and saying on the Daily Politics today “We won’t take any debt, and Plan B is unofficial use of Sterling”, but sooner or later they’ll have to go the last extra step and make it plain.

  166. Ashleigh says:

    Iv always wanted independence. My worry is that the campaign has not reached many working class people of glasgow. And that they are swayed still by football. I know you will be thinking how on earth can people decide the fate of their country through whichever football team they support but it is very true. Any die hard rangers supporter will always vote no because they have a loyalty to the queen and the Union Jack. Many Celtic supporters will vote yes for opposite reasons. They should make the best decision for their country and definitely need more support and information.

  167. ScotFree1320 says:

    Is Scotland’s banking sector proportionally bigger than the UK’s?

    No. Finance makes up 8% of Scots GDP (Source – Succulent Lamb journalism from Reuters) but 9.6% of the UK’s (2011 Source: City AM), which means the UK is more dependent on financial services than an independent Scotland would be.

  168. Rough Bounds says:

    Hopefully this will download. It’s Alan Arkin singing ‘The good guys and the bad guys.’

    If this doesn’t download can I suggest that you download it and when you are listening to it tell yourself that he is singing about the unionist parties.

  169. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    I like Nicola’s unofficial Plan B.

  170. Rough Bounds says:

    Och! I meant to say ”If this doesn’t download can I suggest that you download it FROM YOUTUBE.

  171. A Supporter says:

    “but sooner or later they’ll(YES/SNP) have to go the last extra step and make it plain.”

    And today YES/SNP have been given a rare opportunity to change its currency and share of debt strategies while firmly blaming Osborne and WM.

    PS I’m now being asked to sign in every time I comment. Are you still under attack?

  172. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “PS I’m now being asked to sign in every time I comment. Are you still under attack?”


  173. DJC says:

    Just a thought, but could we not shadow the krone? Seems a pretty solid currency to stick with.

  174. cirsium says:

    @ Major Bloodnok, re Bank bailouts

    The US Federal Reserve’s bailouts are listed in Table 8, page 131, GAO-11-696 Federal Reserve System (I did not download the document so cannot give a URL). Recipients include Barclays, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Bank of Scotland.

  175. David MacGille-Mhuire says:

    More film-matic/cinenematic photo-ops, on set, courtesy of the MSM paparazzi and bought and paid for journos for the “Union” with faux light sabers (sabres) from Georgie-Porgie.

    Smoke and ju-ju mirrors.

    Who gives a fuck?

    Press on and continue to offer the appropriate assist – as per American sports lexis – when they, the extinguishing UK-ers, wish to tighten the hoist petard from their nether regions up to their collective thrapple.

    “Simples”, as some have said.

    Or, in a more Glaswegian articulation: “Let them tan their (own) wrists”.

    Both – linguistically and politically – quite acceptable.

    Fascinating to observe the drafting and re-drafting of a long drawn out political/”constitutional” suicide note on the samizdat political record. Hopefully, post-re-independence, these Hollywood-ish (ironic derivative name?) antics will go into the curriculum in Scotland as well as globally:

    “Toom Tabards” still the recurrent meme and theme across syllabi.

    They fuck themselves globally- and right royally – right up their collective, pseudo-democratic, neo-feudalistic arse. Yet again.

    Anyone up for a movie script?

  176. KraftyKris says:

    Cheers ScotFree, I thought that wasn’t right, they also use OBR’s oil predictions to discredit Salmond in the “rigorous and objective analysis”.

  177. MyFirstPost says:


    ‘ “Is Scotland’s banking sector proportionally bigger than the UK’s?”

    No. Finance makes up 8% of Scots GDP (Source – Succulent Lamb journalism from Reuters) but 9.6% of the UK’s (2011 Source: City AM), which means the UK is more dependent on financial services than an independent Scotland would be.’

    Unfortunately quoting unattributed numbers from Reuters
    and unsubstantiated numbers from Cityam does not really contribute any data to the discussion.

    I wouldn’t put any reliance on those numbers at all, except that they are almost certainly inaccurate and misleading.

    As Winston Churchill famously said-
    “I only believe in statistics that I have made up myself”

    Perhaps some would perceive more credibility in the numbers on wikipedia.

    “The financial services industry of the United Kingdom contributed a gross value of £86,145 million to the UK economy in 2004.[1] The industry employed around 1.2 million people in the third quarter of 2012 (around 4% of the British workforce).”

    However since the ‘City of London’ dominated financial services industry has enormous influence over Westminster, the media and how it is reported and represented, one needs to examine any sort of ‘official’ figures reported by the the Financial Services Industry’ or the Westminster Government before coming to ones own conclusions.

    The British economy is dominated by the financial sector, which sucks in a huge amount of wealth from the ‘rest of the world’ especially the developing world and the former British Empire.

    Just to give a rough idea of the magnitude of the vast wealth that passes through London each year, the largely unregulated and unreported (“Shadow Banking”) system has ballooned to at least match and probably significantly outweigh the regulated (or if you prefer ‘regulated’/’reported’ or ‘official’) Finance Services Sector.

    Figures from credible independant analyses indicate this was around 23% of UK GDP before ‘the crash’ from which it slumped to around 17% – from which low point it has slowly started to climb again.

    I hope this post will help some people appreciate another of the many ‘advantages’ of Westminster Rule. 😉

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