Leaning towards No

Scotland's FutureI am undecided between devolution and independence.

But I am leaning towards a No vote on 18th September, because the SNP are pushing currency union. And currency union is not independence. Currency union means that key decisions about the Scottish economy will be made by the Bank of England in the City of London.

The SNP are fond of asking, how many countries which have become independent have ever wanted to go back? But if they asked instead “How many countries which have given up control of their economy to a bank in another country have regretted this?” they’d get a much different answer. And that’s what the SNP are offering.

I’ve had discussions about this with several Yes voters, many of whom have tried to convince me that they will challenge the SNP on this after they get a Yes vote in September, or that the Scottish government elected in May 2016 can reverse everything the SNP negotiated with the rUK government between September 2014 and March 2016.

There are multiple flaws in this argument, both practical and one ethical.

The practical flaws:

When you want politicians to do what you want, the only really effective method is for them to badly need your vote. Assuming that the SNP wants a Yes win on 18th September, the SNP needs your vote for Yes on that day, and if you want the SNP to change its policies for post-referendum negotiations, the time to say that is before the referendum, not afterwards.

You can argue that the referendum is not a matter of party politics and we should just not think about the SNP but only about independence. But this is absurd: the SNP is the party of Scottish government until May 2016, and the only Scottish politicians who are entitled to be part of negotiations with the rUK government in the event of a Yes vote. Therefore, what they say they plan to do in the event of a Yes win matters very much indeed – if you think Yes will win. Because, again, currency union is not independence.

An independent Scotland has its own central bank and lender of last resort. If it does not have such an institution, then Scotland cannot join the EU. Half a dozen Articles of Enlargement require a country to have the control over its own economy and finances that the SNP want to cede to the Bank of England.

Wealthiest NationsThe UK is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. The latest trend of the Yes campaign in promising Scotland would also be a wealthy nation ignores that, because it leads to a question the SNP would evidently prefer not to answer, “how would that wealth be distributed”?

Of course, it is possible – if the SNP are desperate enough to have their currency union – that they will negotiate terms with the rUK government that will allow the EU to accept Scotland as a subsidiary partner of rUK, with its finances and economy guaranteed to the EU by rUK government and the Bank of England.

It’s possible that Alex Salmond could do this. There are two big gilt-edged cards that Salmond has to trade with rUK government if Yes wins: the oil under Scottish waters, and the nuclear base at Faslane.

Currency Union tweetsIt’s fair to say that the oil under Scottish waters is a subject for negotiation. While it would be territorially Scottish if Scotland were independent, it was discovered and developed for the benefit of oil companies and with UK resources. If the SNP want currency union, offering rUK Scottish oil could even be said to be a fair trade: Yes campaigners seem to feel that most potential Yes voters don’t really want independence and it’s not worth striving towards it as a goal. (The tweets screencapped above are a far from unusual position among Yes campaigners: the belief that people won’t vote for actual independence so something less must be offered.)

If I believed the SNP actually intended to tell the rUK government to pack up their nuclear weapons and get gone from Faslane by March 2016, that would be a strong motivation for voting Yes: there is no means of building another base in the time available, and rUK would have to disarm, as has been required of them for decades by international treaty.

I don’t, though – the SNP U-turned on NATO, it seems clear that if Yes wins they intend to fudge it somehow to make sure that the rUK would have time to construct a new base for their nukes outside Scotland. That new base, though, would be hugely expensive – it will cost the MoD billions – and it would be far cheaper to negotiate something. A hundred-year lease on Faslane, perhaps.

What do the SNP want from rUK? Currency union. What does rUK want from the SNP? Oil and a nuclear weapons base.

If the Yes campaigners continue to passively accept the SNP plans, the SNP are mandated to go into negotiations for currency union if Yes wins, and by the time another government is elected at Holyrood, it is too late to reverse on the deal. (It would be foolish to assume that the Bank of England would permit any arrangement to be set up that could be reneged on by the next government: that would hardly suit them, and the Bank of England, not the Scottish government, would be the controlling partner in a currency union.)

The ethical flaw is much simpler:

Yes campaigners are promoting currency union because they think the idea of a independent Scotland with its own central bank and currency, in the EU as a fully independent member, is just too big and scary a change for people to vote for.

It is a big change. It is a scary change. But that’s independence. And if, as Yes campaigners believe, most Scots really don’t want independence, then No should win.

I’m hardly a Yes campaigner. I remain undecided about independence versus devolution.

But I won’t vote to let the SNP trade off nuclear weapons bases to gain a currency union. I’ll vote no. Everything ambitious and good and fine that Scots have planned for independence depends fundamentally on Scotland being independent – a currency union means we only get what we want if the Bank of England is willing to allow us to have it.

If you’re a Yes campaigner, you may be thinking, “how can I change her mind!” and that’s easy: you can challenge the SNP and tell them, no currency union: go for independence. But so far, I’ve never met a Yes campaigner who was willing to do anything like that…


Filed under Indyref White Paper, Oil, Scottish Politics

97 responses to “Leaning towards No

  1. Robbie Pennington

    I’m a Yes campaigner who doesn’t believe in a currency union and say so. The point is, however, that in September you’re not choosing between currency union or no currency union, you’re choosing whether or not you take the power to decide.

    • Well, in that case, Robbie, you should be campaigning at the SNP to get them to change their views on a currency union.

      I have the power to decide: on 18th September, I can vote No to currency union, if that’s what the SNP are still offering.

      • No, you can’t vote No to a currency union in Septemeber – that option isn’t on the ballot paper.

        The referendum isn’t about the SNP or it’s policies, it’s about whether Scotland forms its own sovereign governments in the future. After that, you get to vote for the parties and policies you want. I’m sure you know this.

        If you vote No in September, you’re voting FOR a continuing currency union with an entity over which you have no democratic control whatsoever.

        • You know, Robbie, it would really help if you read the blog post and responded to what I wrote?

          The SNP plan for Scotland not to be a sovereign nation, but to be the subordinate partner in a currency union. If you don’t support that, you should tell the SNP that, not barrack me to just ignore the SNP. As I said in the blog post: Yes campaigners going “oh just ignore the SNP” is absurd.

          • I did read your post, I do tell the SNP what I think (though I’m not a member) and I’m not barracking you.

            If you don’t want discussion, don’t blog.

            Your undoubted capacity for logical thinking seems to have taken a break…

          • So, have you told the SNP you won’t vote Yes unless they move away from currency union? If so, where? how? And if you have, why are you complaining that I just did, too?

            Obviously I want discussion, Robbie. If you want to discuss my blog post, I’m happy to continue discussion. But it doesn’t appear to me that you do want to discuss what I wrote, because you’re not doing that: you’re repeating standard Yes campaign tropes which I debunked in the blogpost.

            “Your undoubted capacity for logical thinking seems to have taken a break…”

            Ha. People who started reading my blog and generally agree with me, always say that when I post something they disagree with: evidently logic is only recognisable when it’s agreeable…

            By the way, threading on WordPress is appalling: it’ll be easier if you post a response (if you want to) to my blogpost itself, not to this comment.

  2. Andrew Ducker

    Surely the result of voting No is _also_ nuclear bases in Scotland, and even less chance of getting rid of them in the future?

    I don’t see what “No” is giving you here over “Yes”.

    • Quite. With regard to nuclear weapons there’s no difference at all between voting yes or no. It’s a shame, but there it is.

      • Andrew Ducker

        Right, so if there are areas which are different, and areas which are the same, then basing your voting on the areas which provide no change seems…odd.

        Surely the basis should be on the areas which do provide a difference?

        • Surely if we want politicians to do what we want, the point is to tell the politicians that, not to tell voters to ignore politicians?

          I don’t intend to vote yes for a currency union: I disagree with that on all sorts of levels. If the SNP won’t change their plans for currency union, I’ll vote No. As far as I can see, no Yes campaigner wants to oppose the SNP, so it seems unlikely the SNP will change their plans. That’s a shame.

          But, if Yes wins, then of course it disturbs me – and it should disturb Yes campaigners too – what the SNP will trade away to get their currency union. Why doesn’t that bother you?

          • Andrew Ducker

            I’d be against nuclear weapons in Scotland. But I’m against them now.

            And if the choices are “Independence, with nuclear subs in Scotland” and “Union, with nuclear subs in Scotland” then the “subs in Scotland” bit becomes entirely irrelevant to the discussion, because voting “No” doesn’t get rid of them either.

          • Quite – neither Yes or No gets rid of nuclear weapons in Scotland, even though for forty years they’ve been unpopular across voters of all parties.

            But, if the SNP are pushing for a currency union and the MoD offer a hundred-year lease on Faslane in exchange, well, that would be final: no democratic vote in Scotland would ever get rid of the subs at Faslane. Granted this is pure speculation, but it’s clear that this is a huge deal for the MoD – and the possibility of somehow hanging on to Faslane if Scotland goes independent has already been mooted.

  3. Thank god your endless faux navel-gazing has ended and you’ve finally come out very predictably for No. Now you’ve found your self-serving rationale on currency, we can surely look forward to the end of your tiresome internal debate ? Phew !

  4. Robbie Pennington

    I resigned from the SNP because of their weakness on Land Reform. I disagree with reducing corporation tax, I disagree with the SNP on NATO and I disagree with the SNP on currency union (though it would be nice to hear the arguments free of Westminster threats and Unionist cringe), but I will be voting Yes nevertheless, so won’t be threatening to withhold my Yes vote on the basis you suggest.

    I may not get everything I want out of independence, in fact I’d be very surprised if I did, but to vote No is to vote yes to a toxic and ultimately unsustainable status quo.

    That may make sense to you, but it doesn’t to me.

    Campaigning for a better Scotland doesn’t stop with Independence, it starts with Independence. Until then it’s all pipe-dreams.

    • but to vote No is to vote yes to a toxic and ultimately unsustainable status quo.

      While voting Yes for the SNP’s currency union is to vote for a toxic and definitely unsustainable financial crash. Devomax is a terrifyingly bad idea.

      Campaigning for a better Scotland needs to begin now, not in some possible future post-Yes referendum. If you’re not willing to oppose the SNP on currency union pre-referendum, you don’t stand a chance changing that in the interim period between Sept’14 and Mar’16, when they won’t need your vote for anything.

      • “Campaigning for a better Scotland needs to begin now, not in some possible future post-Yes referendum.”

        Vote No and the chances of a “better Scotland” are dead in the water, nothing more than a pipe-dream.

        • Vote for devomax and the chances of a “better Scotland” are dependent on the approval of the board at the Bank of England. If you think that’s better than a pipe-dream, I don’t.

          Why so passive, Rab? Why assume SNP policy is default and must be accepted? Or do you like the idea of Scotland being run from London, not having full economic control?

          • Why are you accusing me of making any assumptions re SNP policy, or indeed anything?

            “Or do you like the idea of Scotland being run from London, not having full economic control?” You mean like it is now?

            I take it you’ve read Jonah (sic) Lamont’s list of those powers that will remain with Westminster in the (highly unlikely) event of their Devo Nano policy being allowed to go ahead in the event of a No vote?

            You may be happy with table scraps, empty rhetoric, and “promises” that will never materialise, but I’m not, nor will I ever be.

          • Why are you accusing me of making any assumptions re SNP policy, or indeed anything?

            I beg your pardon. Let me ask you then. Are you planning to challenge the SNP as a potential Yes voter, before the referendum, to get rid of currency union?

            Or are you just assuming that there’s no way to change anything the SNP intends to do, and my decision not to vote Yes for devomax therefore means I’ll never vote Yes because the SNP will never change?

          • “Are you planning to challenge the SNP as a potential Yes voter, before the referendum, to get rid of currency union?”

            Who says I feel that currency union (at least in the short term) is necessarily a bad thing?

            “Or are you just assuming that there’s no way to change anything the SNP intends to do…”

            Assumptions again?

            1 final thing: While I wholeheartedly support Independance, come September I’ll be voting neither yes nor no; unlike in the French Presidential election, ex-pats don’t get a vote.

          • Who says I feel that currency union (at least in the short term) is necessarily a bad thing?

            You’re right: I just assumed you’d want full independence for Scotland, but if you prefer devomax, well: that’s your right, just as it’s mine to say no. I do think it’s dishonest politics, to pretend devomax is independence, and to refuse to acknowledge the long-term issues that will arise from choosing devomax for Scotland. I also think it’s hypocritical to pretend to want independence for Scotland while campaigning for devomax in September. But, dishonest, hypocritical politics are a feature of virtually every referendum, so why should this one be any different?

            I’ll be voting neither yes nor no

            Ah, I hadn’t understood that. Oh well, if you’re not voting, you’re at liberty to not really think or study up on the referendum.

          • “You’re right: I just assumed…”

            Now we’re getting somewhere: the reason you’re so quick to accuse others of making assumptions is because YOU are making them.

            You are a bit unclear about who is being “dishonest” or “hypocritical” so we’ll let that one slide.

            “I’ll be voting neither yes nor no.” Nothing like taking half a sentence & misrepresenting it; the one & only reason I won’t be voting is because I do not currently live in Scotland.

            “Oh well, if you’re not voting, you’re at liberty to not really think or study up on the referendum.”

            Attempting to portray someone as either less intelligent or less-informed than yourself on the grounds that they won’t be casting a vote is childish and pathetic, the pseudo-intellectual equivalent of “My da’s bigger than your da.”

            For that reason I won’t be troubling your piffling little blog any longer; I prefer debating with grown-ups.

  5. Robbie Pennington

    …by the way, on the logic thing, I’ve been reading your blogs and the discussions which follow them for a long time. For the most part I follow your reasoning and can see how you arrive at your conclusions, mostly I agree, sometimes I don’t, but can see your logic. So, no, appreciating the logic isn’t dependent on agreeing with the conclusion.

    On the currency thing though, you would withhold a Yes vote on an issue that will be open to political debate, negotiation, intervention and voting, in favour of the certainty that you will have no influence whatsoever over UK economic/financial policy.

    The only logic I can see in that, is that you’re looking for a hook to hang a pre-determined No vote upon.

    • Not at all. I’m now planning to vote No because I don’t agree with devomax/currency union. To an extent that “don’t agree” is meiosis. I think it’s an appallingly bad idea. It’s hugely risky for Scotland – much more so than independence – because it disrupts the basic safety-brake of a financial system, which is that the risks of a decision are borne by the entity making the decision.

      The only sure way I know of influencing politicians or parties is to point out to them publicly that if they carry on in this way they lose your vote. If the SNP carry on in their plans for currency union if Yes wins, I will not vote for it, ergo I cannot vote Yes unless the SNP withdraw their plan to take Scotland into currency union. I doubt very much if one undecided blogger’s views will affect SNP policy at all, but whatthehell: at least I tried.

      You carped in another comment that you’ve never seen me change my mind, but this is me changing my mind, right out in public, from the first post I wrote about the currency question to this one.

  6. Robbie Pennington

    A Yes vote is not a vote for a currency union. I agree that one must continually campaign for the Scotland we want post-independence, but not that if one can’t guarantee one’s own way on one issue, one should vote No. That’s not campaigning, it’s sulking.

    • A Yes vote is not a vote for a currency union.

      Yes, it is: that’s what the SNP intend to put in place. Unless you think they’re lying. Do you?

      I agree that one must continually campaign for the Scotland we want post-independence

      First of all, you have to campaign for independence. At the moment, the Yes vote will give Scotland a currency union with rUK, which is devomax, not independence. I oppose devomax for a bunch of reasons (q.v..)

      As for “sulking”: The SNP have said what they intend Scotland to be if we vote Yes: a subsidiary state in a currency union with rUK. Other Yes campaigners have said that they’re okay with that because they don’t believe people will vote for actual independence.

      I disagree with that. I’m saying here – and elsewhere – that I disagree with that, and that I won’t vote for a currency union. That’s campaigning.

  7. The SNP are clearly in favour of a currency union at the moment. I disagree with them on that.

    A Yes vote is not agreement with every paragraph and sentence of the SNP’s vision.

    Processes are set out in ‘Scotland’s Future’ to involve all parties and stakeholders in the details of how we will enter independence.

    A currency union is not devomax (which I also oppose). Whether to continue or discontinue participation in a currency union is a decision that lies with the participatory states.

    Even many who disagree with a currency union in the longer term see it as a useful starting point.

    Westminster seems completely opposed to a currency union (if one can believe anything they say) so there probably won’t be one, whatever the SNP wants now.

    So I would say, yes, campaign against it heart-and-soul if you like, but only vote No if you like the UK you have now and want the future it offers.

    But, I sense that you won’t change your mind. At least not in public; I can’t remember that you’ve ever done so, to be honest.

    • Like or not, the SNP are the only party which will be negotiating with the rUK government in the event of a Yes vote, as I already noted in the blogpost. Stop diverging from the point. I’m not talking about “every sentence and paragraph” – I’m talking about a key issue, which would have to be negotiated with rUK govt/the Bank of England, for which the SNP would have to offer generous terms (since a currency union is of no particular benefit to rUK), which the BoE will insist for their own benefit is difficult to impossible for the next government of Scotland to renege on, and which ensures that Scotland can only join the EU if rUK stand guarantors – since half a dozen Articles of Enlargement can’t be fulfilled by a country that doesn’t have its own central bank/lender of last resort.

      And an issue, furthermore, that you do not appear to wish to discuss or to campaign against. If you like the idea of key decisions for Scotland being made in the boardroom of the Bank of England to the benefit of rUK, that’s fine: but I don’t, and I won’t vote for that.

      • Robbie Pennington

        They aren’t the only party that’ll be negotiating!

        • They’re the Scottish government, Robbie.

          They’ve got a vague promise that they’ll invite other parties in, but they are the only party which has a right to negotiate with the rUK government, and they are the majority party, and this constant “oh no, never mind what they want or they say they’ll do!” is just silly.

  8. Alistair Davidson

    In 1998 the governor of the Bank of England said “lost jobs in the North are an acceptable price to pay to curb inflation in the South”.

    So much for our current influence over central bank policy.

    • And the SNP want to cede control of the Scottish economy to the Bank of England. Odd I’m not that keen on voting for that, isn’t it?

      • Alistair Davidson

        How would the bank of england have more power over the scottish economy than they do now?

        • Dave

          At the moment, the economy is that of the UK. Yes, you can make regional adjustments, but that’s how it is. If Scotland becomes independent, and yet the Bank of England still has power for setting interest rates and regulating the economy with the PRA and the FCA, then it is not true independence. How can it be when the financial regulators and central bank are in what is technically another country?

          I’m still undecided – things the SNP say push me away from voting Yes, yet hearing the Tories spout forth their views makes me want to vote Yes to spite them.

          • yet hearing the Tories spout forth their views makes me want to vote Yes to spite them.

            ME TOO.

            (It’s not a terribly rational basis for decision, but…)

          • Alistair Davidson

            No, I still don’t understand. The Bank of England would have exactly the same power as they do presently. Scotland would have the same power in the BofE as it has presently (assuming we are discussing an agreed monetary union). The Scottish government would have more fiscal power than it does presently. Scotland would be more independent than it is presently.

          • Scotland would have the same power in the BofE as it has presently

            Whoever told you that, was lying. It’s impossible.

        • The Bank of England would become the lender-of-last-resort / central bank of independent Scotland, according to the SNP plans for currency union.

          For the Bank of England to agree to that – to provide that kind of financial support to the banking system of a foreign country – the BoE would need to require a currency union that the Scottish government could not renege on when it was no longer profitable for Scotland, and would have to require that they, not the Scottish government, were the final arbiters of the Scottish economy. Otherwise, it would simply not be worthwhile for the BoE to agree at all. With full control over the Scottish economy, the BoE could stand as guarantors to the EU so that Scotland could be permitted to join the EU as rUK’s subsidiary partner.

          Technically, the Bank of England is independent of the Westminster Parliament. But only so by Act of Parliament. That Act could be repealed or modified by Westminster, and an independent Scottish government would have no say in it.

          Now, why do you think any of that is a good idea? I don’t.

          • Alistair Davidson

            I haven’t expressed a view on the currency union. All I’m saying is that the Bank of England would have the same power as they do right now over interest rates, bank regulation and so on in Scotland. If anything we would have more influence at the BofE than we do right now in a monetary union.

            The monetary union becomes a problem every time the Bank of England raises interest rates to cool off the London housing market. It’s a real problem, though we should have 5+ years of low interest rates, with the way things are going.

            The stuff about being a “subsidiary partner” and so on is very odd, what is your source for that?

          • I’m sorry not to reply in more detail, I’m not very well today.

            If anything we would have more influence at the BofE than we do right now in a monetary union.

            No, far less. The Bank of England is independent of UK Parliament by an Act passed by the Lab govt shortly after Gordon Brown became chancellor. Scotland would have influence at the BoE only insofar as the BoE chose to permit a dependent country to do so: and there would be no means by which the Scottish Parliament could prevent the UK Parliament from passing legislation allowing the Bank of England to control the Scottish economy.

            The stuff about being a “subsidiary partner” and so on is very odd

            The Articles of Enlargement of the European Union. Without a central bank/lender of last resort, there are half a dozen of these Articles that Scotland could not fulfil and therefore could not join the EU. However, a currency union could no doubt be negotiated that would have rUK/BoE stand guarantor for Scotland: Scotland would not be an independent full member of the EU, any more than Jersey or the Isle of Man can be.

  9. Hi, If I am not mistaken, Eire did not have a LOLR, nor a Central bank back in 1929 either… are you honestly saying that they were not an Independent nation? They had a Currency Union right up until the 1970’s, when they founded the Punt.
    I have followed your blog for some time, and in the main agree generally with your posts, but this one, in my opinion, is a doozy

    • Hi, no, that meme about how Ireland 1922-1928 just used the UK pound has been going round Yes circles for a while, and if you’ve done the research, you’ll find there’s quite a lot of ways in which Ireland in 1922 is not at all like Scotland in 2016*, just like the rest of the world is not just the same in 2016 as it was in 1922. Of course if you haven’t done the research and you are just mindlessly repeating what you have been told without thinking about it, I daresay you won’t care what a very, very silly comparison it is.

      *The existence of the EU, membership of which requires a central bank/lender of last resort. The financial industry in Scotland. The fact that in 1922 pretty much all of Ireland’s trade was with the UK.

      • Thanks for your reply. I totally agree Scotland in 2016 is nothing like Eire in 1922. I may be mistaken, so please feel free to correct me; the BENELUX countries did not have a LOLR whilst in their Currency Union, and all three are now de facto members of the EU and Eurozone. I apologise if you think I am parroting things I have heard, I am not trying to do that.
        I am not inclined towards a Yes because i have been told to, au contraire, I would be more likely to vote no if i was told to vote yes 🙂

        I will admit I have concerns about the course the SG seems to be taking, but personally take the long view, that gaining an iScotland is essential, once that has been reached; then and only then, we can iron out the wrinkles. Sure we can, may and probably will make mistakes, but hey, they will be our mistakes to make and also to fix.

        Again thanks, I do appreciate your making me think 🙂

        • I’m sorry not to reply in more full, I’m not very well right now.

          But with regard to the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg) I know you’re wrong about at least one: the Banque Nationale de Belgique (National Bank of Belgium – created by Act of Parliament on 5th May 1850) was the central bank / lender of last resort for Belgium from that date. Belgium is now a member of the eurozone, but the National Bank of Belgium still retains many of the responsibilities of any central bank. I have less personal knowledge of the Netherlands or Lux, would have to look those two up, but I really doubt you’re correct.

          Quite seriously, if your first goal is to obtain an iScotland, why are you arguing *against* independence? The devomax proposed by the SNP is not independence: key decisions for Scotland would continue to be made in London.

  10. Liam Davenport

    Just want to chime in and say I think you’ve made a good and thought-provoking point.

    I’m also on the fence about the referendum. I agree, as everyone in this comments section seems to, that currency union seems like a terrible idea. I think that the SNP have been incredibly disingenuous in how they’ve run the campaign so far; if everything is really up for debate, why couldn’t we have had a referendum in the first year of this parliament and then debated on the basis that Scotland /will/ be independent after that? I am certainly not convinced that March 2016 is a realistic timescale for an inclusive debate and implementation of the result, or even for implementation of the plan as outlined in the White Paper, really.

    I’m Irish, and it troubles me how much the SNP seem to want to emulate the worst ideas of Fianna Fáil that landed Ireland in the situation it’s in now (the latest of many). Also nothing I’ve heard or read so far has told me whether I’d actually be able to vote in an independent Scotland, which seems like a pretty important thing to consider.

    For all that, I think that independence could be good for Scotland (just maybe not like this), and a close vote could be a wake-up call for investment and/or attention. Maybe we’d get some high-speed rail out of a 51% No.

    I suppose I’d better go tell my MSP all this, though, as noted.

    • Thanks, appreciated.

      I think the SNP were entitled to set the date of the referendum, but I also think March 2016 is an unrealistic deadline for independence.

      I suppose I’d better go tell my MSP all this, though, as noted.

      Good plan. (Especially about finding out if you can vote…) I need to lick my thoughts into shape and write a proper letter to the SNP MSPs in my region, too…

  11. Tim

    Hi Jane. I understand and share your feelings. I don’t want a currency union either, at least not in the long run. As a transitional policy I can get behind it but I prefer our own currency (a la Hongkong who pegged their dollar to the US dollar) in the long term. Re the bank of England, which as you know, is the Bank of England in name only: Scotland owns a share of that, as do NI and Wales, and it’s probably fair to guess that the Scottish Govt, i.e. the SNP, will want to ensure that they have a say in how the interest rates are set in a post-independence landscape, so that would be part of the negotiation process. Remember as well that if Gideon really were to say No to a currency union, we’d be able to continue using it anyway. Personally, there are other issues I disagree with the SNP about, i.e. the monarchy. I want Scotland to be a republic. But the point is, as long as we don’t vote Yes, we’ll never have the opportunity for real change in the first place. If we vote No, our oil resources will continue to underwrite Westminster’s failures while at the same time Scotland will continue to receive less than it pays out. That, in my opinion, is utterly unacceptable, and I’ll be voting Yes. The benefits of voting Yes are so many that I sincerely hope you’ll reconsider and not vote No simply on the basis of the BoE controlling interest rates in a currency union. Remember, we have been in a currency union for the last 300+ years.

    • I disagree. The right way to obtain what you want from politicians is never to agree to give them your vote and hope things go better afterwards.

      Sorry not to reply at more length: not feeling very well today.

  12. Surely the logical consequence of so many unknowns is that there needs to be a second referendum on any final agreement?

    • I’ve said before that if the SNP wants devomax – as it appears they do – they need to make a proposal for devomax prior to the May 2016 elections, which would then have a democratic mandate (or not) for a referendum.

  13. So, let’s be clear about this: the granny flat’s not big enough, so you’re choosing to remain in the dog kennel.

  14. keaton

    So is currency union the determining factor? If the SNP changed their policy and decided to establish a separate currency, leaving their other plans the same, you would vote yes?

    • Well, right now it is, yes.
      For years I’ve been thinking “vote yes for independence, vote no for devolution” and trying to decide which was the right way to vote. But back in 2012, when the alternative proposals of devomax and devoplus were brought up, I looked at them and decided they were an excruciatingly bad (and vague) idea, and I’d never support them.
      Well, the SNP’s currency union plan turns out to be, on close examination, devomax. Which I’m never going to vote for.
      So, that currently makes me not undecided at all – I won’t vote Yes for devomax.
      I’ll go back to struggling to make up my mind if the SNP drop devomax… but it will impress me for independence that Scots are capable of campaigning and making the government drop something they so clearly want.
      Unfortunately, at present, Yes voters appear to be horridly passive about the SNP, and evidently don’t want to challenge them. That also doesn’t bode well.

  15. Tim

    So let me ask you this, Jane. You’d rather let the Conservatives continue foisting policies upon us that the vast majority of Scottish MSPs voted against and that the Scottish population does not want, you’d rather allow them to keep reducing the Scottish block grant (which may eventually lead to the end of the Scottish NHS being publicly owned), you’d rather risk Labour coming back into power in Scotland and ending free prescriptions and care for the elderly, you’d rather let Westminster use our remaining oil resources to underwrite their economic and policy failures, you’d rather let them ignore obscene child poverty levels in Scotland and the lowest life expectancy in Europe for men in Glasgow East, you’d rather let a potential Scottish Labour Govt redistribute Scotland’s wealth to poorer areas in England and Wales, you’d rather be part of a Union that punishes the poor for the failures of the rich and which centralises everything in London and the South East to the disadvantage of not just Scotland but the rest of England and Wales as well, you’d rather have England dictate our foreign policies, you’d rather have the MoD continuing to cut defence jobs in Scotland? That’s what voting NO means. With Independence we get a chance to right all those wrongs and you’re prepared to waste that chance of a lifetime because of ONE single issue, i.e. because you don’t want the BoE to control interest rates? I am honestly and genuinely lost for words. You don’t know that there’ll be an official currency union. You just don’t. What if Osborne says no (alright, he probably won’t but what if he did)? And even if we do have one, so what? It is in England’s own interests that the interest rates are favourable to Scotland because Scotland is one of their biggest trading partners. We provide their gas and water for example. I’ve said before I’d rather have our own currency from the get-go myself but realistically a currency union makes most sense for the immediate aftermath. The Scottish Govt has been very clear that they will adopt a different currency if that was to be favourable in the long run. The benefits of a Yes vote are numerous and so are the very real risks of a NO vote. A Yes vote risks failure but a No vote GUARANTEES it. The retribution from Westminster in the event of a No vote will be swift and nasty. They’ll ensure that a 2011 majority victory for the SNP will not happen again and the Independence question will not raise its head again for at least another decade. Surely you know that, Jane. Can you really vote in good conscience No when you are aware of all of that? If you can’t in good conscience vote for Yes either, then I think you should abstain from voting altogether. And if you decide to vote No, I hope you realise you will be in absolutely no position whatsoever about complaining about what is coming our way if it is a No vote.

    • So let me ask you this, Jane. You’d rather let the Conservatives continue foisting policies upon us that the vast majority of Scottish MSPs voted against and that the Scottish population does not want

      No. That is what the people who are endorsing a currency union want: the only difference is that the conservatives will be sitting on the board of the Bank of England and UKFI, and the Scottish government will have no democratic control over it at all.

      How can I in good conscience vote Yes when that’s the fate I see for a Scotland locked into a devomax contract with the Bank of England?

      Why not, instead, declare my opposition and hope – though given the passivity and ignorance of Yes voters, not much hope – to change the SNP policy before the referendum, to make it possible in good conscience to consider a Yes vote?

      Why is it that no Yes voter who has commented here considers it even possible or plausible to challenge SNP’s announced plans for Scotland? Are you all so feart?

      • “the passivity and ignorance of Yes voters”?

        I have seen nothing but negativity from Better Together/the No camp – why don’t you try just for once saying why a continued Union is in Scotlands interests?

        Tim is absolutely spot on – vote No & suffer the consequences for at least a generation.

      • Tim

        Final point, Jane: we are already in a currency union so why vote No and make things even worse for Scotland than they are already? I get your concerns but I don’t get your logic for leaning towards No. And with that, I’m out.

        • Well, Tim, if you like being in a currency union and think it important that Westminster / London should continue to make decisions for Scotland, why on earth are you planning to vote Yes? Surely No would be the more honest vote if you think it best to have decisions for Scotland made in London….

  16. Tim

    What I am saying to you is that if you can’t vote in good conscience for Yes then I can’t see why, knowing all the real drawbacks of voting No, you could vote in good conscience for No either. On the currency union and the alternatives: I’m going to play devil’s advocate and point out that if we were to follow Hongkong’s example, the interest rates would be imposed on us by the world’s markets. And I’ll say it again: it’s in rUK’s own interests to set interest rates that are not disadvantageous to one of its biggest trading partners. We have a stake in the BoE and that will be part of the negotiating process. Even the Republic of Ireland continued using Sterling until recently. If you say having interest rates set by the BoE doesn’t make Scotland truly independent, then the Republic of Ireland wasn’t independent either for all those decades.

    “So let me ask you this, Jane. You’d rather let the Conservatives continue foisting policies upon us that the vast majority of Scottish MSPs voted against and that the Scottish population does not want

    No. That is what the people who are endorsing a currency union want”

    Do you really think that?

    Think this through: let’s say the SNP abandoned their currency union policy and announced that they are going to create a Scottish pound. This is going to look like we caved in to Osborne’s threats and make them feel empowered. It’d encourage them to play hard-ball all the more so in the post-Indy negotiations. The Scottish Govt cannot be seen to lose their nerve.

    The truth is, both the currency union and an independent currency come with pros and cons (our own currency could result in prohibitively high transaction costs for our business partners in rUK) and neither solution is going to be perfect. In the long term I want our own currency but I also think that a currency union is in the short term a feasible scenario.

    That is my take on it, and I am in NO WAY prepared to waste our chance at having our own foreign policy, 100% control over taxation and spending, at eradicating child poverty, at creating our own oil sovereign fund, at getting rid of Trident and redirect the money saved into much more worthy causes, at creating a proper defence of our country. Look, I get your concerns over the BoE setting interest rates. I genuinely do. But I also very strongly feel that if you can’t vote Yes in good conscience (which I respect) that it is not an option to vote No instead. That is utterly irresponsible and doing far greater harm to our country than not voting Yes. You have a right to vote either Yes or No but you also have the right to abstain.

    • But you are prepared to waste our chance at having control over all of these things, because you want to vote for a currency union so that decisions can continue to be made in London.

      Why aren’t you voting No if you don’t want Scotland to be able to make its own decisions?

      If you think Scotland should be independent, why not challenge the SNP to abandon the idea of a currency union?

      • Tim

        I’ve explained to you why I am not voting No. I’m not going into those reasons again and I fundamentally disagree with you that Scotland would not be independent if the BoE sets the interest rates. It is assinine to suggest that setting interest rates is the same as foistering policies upon another nation. You don’t know that the SNP or any Government that may replace them in 2020 will never introduce a Scottish pound. I am absolutely appalled that you’re prepared to let the Tories continue roughshod over Scotland, cut our block grant even further, risk the eventual privatisation of our NHS, allow Westminster to do nothing about child poverty and low life expectancy levels, and let them determine our foreign policy and let them continue underwrite their failures with OUR money and revenues. And now I’m definitely not going to be involved in this blog anymore. It’s making me genuinely angry and I don’t want to say things I’m going to regret later. Goodbye.

        • if the BoE sets the interest rates

          Ah. I see, you’re just not thinking about the rather more important fact that the BoE is planned by the SNP to be the lender of last resort? Which means – as I keep saying! – that Scotland will be unable to join the EU except if it is negotiated with Westminster and the Bank of England to stand guarantors for six Articles of Enlargement – and then only if the EU allows that Scotland can have special permission to still be in the EU as rUK’s subsidiary partner? Why do you think this is a good idea, again?

          Also, and of long-term importance for all of the fine things that Yes voters want to happen via independence, the lender of last resort (the BoE) and the supplier of currency (the rUK government) are the final arbiters of what Scotland will and will not be allowed to have, if another economic crash occurs. I don’t foresee this happening any time soon, but who foresaw the 2008 crash?

          In agreeing to support this devomax union, you, not I, are the one wanting to let the Tories run roughshod over Scotland. The notion that the Bank of England/rUK government will allow the SNP to negotiate a devomax union that any subsequent Scottish government could be allowed to get out of at will, is fairytale dreaming.

          Your determination not to think about this isn’t making me angry individually – it’s the overwhelming mass of Yes voters who do not want to challenge the SNP – who don’t want to insist on real independence in the referendum. Actually, I’m sorry, this isn;t even making me angry – it’s making me tired and cross and frustrated, because I would like to be able to choose independence – I’d like that to be an option in the referendum. It would be fair and just and right for it to be so.. But since that is not on offer at the moment, I can’t.

  17. I would tread very cautiously within this debate, because I find it fiendishly complicated, but anything less than a currency union could lead to a brain drain from Edinburgh. There are many immigrants in this city, working in crucial and highly-skilled sectors of the economy, and they will want to be paid in pound sterling not devolved pounds. Perhaps a new currency might suceed spectacularly, but it’s a gamble.

    • I beg your pardon: succeed spectacularly, misspell miserably.

    • Why would that cause a brain drain? Companies do not need to pay in the currency of the country they are based in, this is something that can be negotiated between company & employee.

      • I think people who suppose this would cause a brain drain have less confidence in the robustness of an independent Scottish economy than I have.

        I’m undecided between devolution and independence. But I see no point in voting Yes for devomax, which is what currency union is, because I’ve always regarded devomax as a thoroughly dangerous economic plan.

    • I think it absurd to suppose that,in the current economic climate, mass numbers of people would quit a job (I’d say a good job, but these days any job that earns you a living) in order to move to another country, purely in order to ensure they were not being paid in pounds Scots.

      I do not think it in the least absurd to consider the brain drain that would be inevitable if the Scottish economy crashed due to the Bank of England imposing austerity cuts on essential services.

      • I didn’t specify mass numbers of people, more highly-skilled workers with shallow roots, although many more people than I think the SNP etc have reckoned, particularly from Poland, benefit from being paid in pounds and exchanging for zloty. And no, such employees generally can’t negotiate what wages they are paid in.

        But imagine more broadly a young engineer, with a good degree from a prestigious university, deciding where in Europe they are going to live and work. The value of the currency will matter for such a person.

        • But imagine more broadly a young engineer, with a good degree from a prestigious university, deciding where in Europe they are going to live and work.

          Wherever they can find work, presumably.

  18. Tim

    I found the comments from an unnamed minister reported in the Guardian (widely believed to be a senior Tory rather than Vince Cable) yesterday interesting to say the least. I wonder if the minister’s comment was meant not just to embarrass Alistair Darling from whom the Treasury reportedly got the suggestion to categorically reject a currency union, but also to present the Scottish Govt with a dilemma of sorts: if this “currency union in exchange for Trident staying at Faslane” strategy is what they are planning to do, then negotiations for a currency union surely are a non-starter as far as the SNP is concerned because they’re campaigning among other things for independence on the premise that we’ll get rid of Trident and given that a huge majority of the public wants them to do so. I think even delaying a relocation of the missiles and sub-marines in exchange for the currency union would not go down well with the public. So considering what the rump UK’s conditions for a currency union would appear to be in the event of a Yes vote, I don’t actually consider this a virtual guarantee of Scotland officially keeping Sterling. I’ll be going to the Business for Scotland event on Princes St on Thursday and I’ll try ask them what their take on a Scottish Pound pegged Hongkong-style 1:1 to Sterling is, and why the alternatives to a currency union have not been discussed in greater detail.

    • Yes, that leak was INTERESTING.
      I assumed that it was a deliberate leak – that the Conservatives had decided to let out in this unofficial way that they weren’t exactly opposed to currency union, especially as it also got out that they were claiming they’d only ever said they were because Alastair Darling asked them to.
      But of course it could in principle have been an accidental leak – a minister opening up too much to journalists. YNK. (But I did assume it was a Tory rather than a LibDem government minister.)

      Sort of agree with you re. bargaining currency union for Trident – that was a deal that could best have worked if it had been SNP-Tory top-level discussion behind closed doors, then presented as a fait-accompli.
      On the other hand – my dad’s an old campaigner against nuclear weapons. Via his records, I know that nuclear weapons have been unpopular with a majority of the public for over 40 years – without making any electoral difference, because so long as all parties agree on nuclear weapons, voters can’t get rid of them. I remain unconvinced that the SNP will keep this promise out of any principle; they won’t bear any electoral cost if they back out of it and give Faslane to the MoD, because none of the other parties – except the Greens – are anti-nuclear weapons. But I agree it’s *less* likely to happen if it’s been made clear the other side is putting it firmly on the table.

      I’ll be really interested to hear if anything useful gets said at the “Business for Scotland” event.

    • Liam Davenport

      Given how much the public debate about Trident has centred around how much it costs taxpayers, I suspect that the Scottish public might just end up being ambivalent about it staying at Faslane as long as they aren’t paying for it. There’s already a plan in the White Paper to just not ask questions about what NATO partners are parking there that hasn’t caused much fuss.

      The Hong Kong currency option would be my preferred one, I think; pegged to something for a few years, not necessarily the pound but it’s a likely candidate. I have found myself wondering what effect Scotland leaving with all the oil might have on the value of the pound, at least in the short-term.

  19. Tim

    I happen to be a SNP member and can tell you there’ll be many people in the party who would be very angry indeed with Salmond & co if Trident was to stay put or even given a temporary lease in exchange for Scotland officially keeping Sterling. To agree to that kind of bargaining would create a shitstorm that Wee Eck surely isn’t willing and daft enough to even contemplate. Contrary to the media narrative, the SNP is widely trusted by the Scottish public (just check Salmond and Sturgeon’s personal approval ratings, both well over 50%). So I think it’s fair to say that there is a certain level of trust in the Scottish Govt and Salmond is highly unlikely to abuse that trust so we can officially continue to use Sterling. It might not lose the SNP the 2016 election but it’d do lasting damage to their reputation and I cannot see Salmond and Sturgeon risking that. Also remember that getting rid of Trident would free up hundreds of millions of pound that Sturgeon in particular has very publicly suggested should be diverted into things like improved child care etc. I think it is fair to believe that the leadership is genuine when they say that Trident is non-negotiable. I suspect the “Sterling for Trident” line was thrown in to enable the papers to spin this as a “Salmond to keep Trident in exchange for Sterling” narrative to deter people from voting Yes, especially if they care most about getting rid of Trident. In any case, if the rUK’s negotiating tactic is genuinely going to be “Trident stays put or else”, then a currency union agreement is as likely to happen as Scotland winning the World Cup. The Scottish Govt is in a very strong negotiating position indeed and if the divorce turns ugly, chances are that we adapt our own currency officially sooner than later.

    • Hi Tim – sorry, meant to answer this earlier.
      The fact is: nuclear weapons have been hugely unpopular in Scotland, and indeed UK-wide, for at least 40 years. But despite huge popular feeling against them, we’re aren’t able to get rid of them because there is no party (except Labour, briefly, in the 1980s, then betrayed by the SDP) who was willing to stand up and say “elect us, we’ll get rid of them”.
      So in my view, the SNP can u-turn on Trident with minimal electoral cost to themselves, because there will be no way to register a protest vote – no party to elect that will follow through.
      I’m sure the SNP can spin this to their supporters as “political realism”, too.

      • Personally I think SNP would be committing political suicide if they allowed Trident to stay for any length of time. I think if that was the negotiation for the currency union they would find themselves out of power in 2016 – 2020 at latest. There is an arguement, that offering a currency union, supposedly in the interest of both sides, and taking on a % of the debt is SNP’s way of showing ‘cooperation’. Should WM blankly refuse, we could launch our own (or in the interim use pound with out agreement) and walk away with a clear conscience (in the eyes of the world) from the debt.

        • Thank you for reminding me of this argument, Elizabeth – I should add it to the main “A better nation…” post as an “objection” which, I think, originates with the SNP. (Do you have any idea where it originated?)

          If Scotland becomes independent, Scotland is entitled to a share of the UK’s sterling, which would be the basis of Scotland’s new central bank. How much of a share ought to be based on Scotland’s share of the wealth, but would be subject to negotiation. Scotland is also entitled (in a negative kind of way) to a share of the UK’s national debt, which I think – I do not recall where I read this, I’ll need to try and find out – is based in international law when two countries are created out of one, on per-head of population: so Scotland would be walking away with (roughly) 8.5% of the National Debt.

          Now, if Scotland is in a devomax relationship with rUK, clearly as it is not in control of its own economy it is not entitled to a share of UK’s sterling and presumably does not have to take on a share of the National Debt, because it isn’t really independent.

          But if Scotland is a properly independent nation, and refuses to take on a share of the National Debt, then then in the eyes of the world Scotland is a rogue nation and no other country has any reason to trust its finances or its currency. That would be a very bad idea.

        • Oh, and with regard to the Trident situation the two parties most likely to be largest party in Scotland after 2016 are still Labour and the SNP. That is not likely to change on a one-issue vote. Labour as a party is in favour of keeping Trident. If SNP U-turns or handwaves a 100-year-lease at Faslane, the other party that people might register a protest vote with is also in favour of keeping Trident and so wouldn’t be ousting any SNPers over this one issue. And the Scottish Greens, who are the only party unalterably opposed, don’t stand constituency candidates and so don’t really benefit much from protest votes. Politically, U-turning on nuclear weapons, especially if presented as “political realism”, has always been cost-free: I see no reason why this should change in devomax Scotland, or even independent Scotland if that happens.

  20. Pingback: Independence is a process too « Better Nation

  21. bjsalba

    It would be a good idea if you paid more attention to what Alex Salmond requires for a currency union to be acceptable to Scotland. He wants regional representation in the committees, not just city types. He wants it to work for the whole of the UK, not just the City of London. A very interesting scenario if Westminster were to agree to it.

    • It should be clear to you, I hope, that I do not agree with the idea of a currency union, full stop.

      It should be clear to everybody that the Scottish government cannot negotiate a deal for any part of the UK except Scotland (and Scotland, in this devomax scenario, will only get what the SNP propose and the Tories agree to) – and that this was a peculiarly silly suggestion of Salmond’s, to try and impose a deal from Scotland for the rest of the UK. (I had heard about it, but I’d assumed it was a tabloid distortion, because it is such a grandiosely silly thing for Salmond to claim he’ll propose anything for rUK.)

  22. Pingback: Independence is a process too | Scottish Independence News

  23. Just discovered your blog. So rare to find an independent voice with the appropriate scepticism. An ex-pat, I;m still trying to get my head around the issues but deeply concerned about the groupthink…..

  24. Rob Q

    Bit late…Never mind.
    From my perspective, this blog sounds bit like ‘How many angels can dance on the head of a pin”. Introspective. Academic.
    I’m not really into that.
    I remember the winter of discontent in 1979, the Thatcher years thereafter and the dissapointment of the Blair Labour goverment. Any movement to take power from London to Edinburgh will involve compromise. Yes and No both realise that. The Yes movement is about bringing the political bandwagon north,nothing else. Setting out a wish list and sitting on you hands if you can’t tick every box will enable London to treat Scotland in exactly the same fashion it has for all of my adult life. And you can sit there happy in the knowledge that you were true to your convictions as they dismantle social provision and implement they’re neo-liberal paradise around you.

    • ‘How many angels can dance on the head of a pin”. Introspective. Academic.
      I’m not really into that.

      Nothing obliges you to read it, then.

      I remember the winter of discontent in 1979, the Thatcher years thereafter and the dissapointment of the Blair Labour goverment.

      So do I. I’ve no desire to see those repeated over and over again in an “independent” Scotland, economy run from Westminister without any democratic input whatsoever from Scotland.

      Hence I’m voting No.

      • Rob Q

        Too late, I already have. So have lots of others.

        In my opinion, voting no is an over-reaction to the conditions you specify. You’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and it looks like a fit of pique.

        You are of course entitled to vote as you please. If on the other hand the overall vote is no, we will come to regret trashing the one chance we had to have these discussions in Scotland, and make our own mistakes.

        Personally I prefer a Scottish currency, but a currency union need not be a permanent arrangement. Governments merely say it is in order to sooth the markets.

        • In my opinion, voting no is an over-reaction to the conditions you specify.

          Thank you for sharing your opinion: but it’s my opinion that informs my vote.

          we will come to regret trashing the one chance we had to have these discussions in Scotland, and make our own mistakes.

          *shrug* Given that no one appears to want to discuss the economic future of Scotland, at all – your reaction, that doing so is just “academic angels dancing on the head of a pin” is far from atypical among Yes voters….

          Well, I regret we’re not having these discussions right now, but if no one who claims to want to have an independent Scotland wants to think about the economy, the central bank, and the currency, well – it’ll be too late for you lot to have regrets that didn’t want to debate the SNP’s economic fix and perhaps come up with a better solution than “no central bank, control from Westminster” before 18th September.

          But, you don’t want to discuss it, and you don’t want to stand up to the SNP and tell them to change their plans, so well: collectively, the Yes movement’s lack of interest means the only means of stopping the SNP is to vote No.

          • Rob Q

            I don’t think the situation is that I, and people like me [those typical Yes voters you mention, whoever they are. Not stereotyping are we?] don’t want to discuss our economic future. Rather, I don’t think it’s possible to calmly discuss our economic future right now, attractive a proposition as that would be. As I said in my first post, this referendum is a power grab. We are attempting, in a peaceful and democratic fashion, to take power from Westminster. They won’t take that lying down, and I wouldn’t expect them to. Both sides will duck and dive, spin and assert to gain mental territory. It’s a war of words. That’s the way people behave the world over. Is it a sad reflection etc etc etc [yawn]…yes it is. But it’s reality.

            And in that respect I have no intention of “standing up to” or “stopping’ the SNP” [ah..we’re getting to the heart of the matter now, aren’t we?]. The so called ‘leaders’ of the other three main ‘Scottish’ parties are mere satraps of their London masters. They get their orders by dispatch post in a brown envelope every Monday morning.

            So given the realpolitik, our choices have diverged. You have chosen to fear the future, and to hand the ability to take your own decisions back to people who serve themselves, not their country, first and foremost. Your 30 pieces of silver will be the knowledge that, come the apocalypse, it wasn’t your fault.

            And as for regret. if that’s the only price we stereo…’typical Yes voters’ have to pay, it’ll be well worth it.

            Oh…and by the way. I said I wasn’t into academic, introspective over analysis. At no point did I say I didn’t want to discuss it. Don’t extrapolate.

          • I don’t think the situation is that I, and people like me [those typical Yes voters you mention, whoever they are. Not stereotyping are we?] don’t want to discuss our economic future.

            And yet, you don’t. Your reaction to my discussion of Scotland’s economic future, in fact, is ignorantly dismissive.

            I’m not stereotyping. I’ve encountered – indeed, I’m friends with several Yes voters who do want to discuss Scotland’s economic future. But the reaction of the vast majority has been to run away with fingers stuffed in their ears, or to handwave it as unimportant, or to shrug it off as “we’ll think about that later”.

            You have chosen to fear the future, and to hand the ability to take your own decisions back to people who serve themselves, not their country, first and foremost. That’s what the SNP plan. You’ve accepted it. I reject it.

  25. Rob Q

    I wouldn’t [of course] say my reaction to the points you make is ignorantly dismissive. I see the value in what you say and I think your points are thoughtful and relevant. I just don’t think the discussion you propose on currency could effectively be facilitated at this time. There’s too much to be gained by the politicians. Any attempt at honesty would inevitably be co-opted by one side or the other if they thought they could gain 0.5% in the polls by lying through their teeth. Given the entrenched positions Yes & No occupy, they wouldn’t hold an open or honest discussion. That’s what I labelled ‘The real world’, or ‘realpolitik’. Therefore, I think your concerns are valid, and reasonable, but naïve in a fight like this. The Westminster government will take your candy and leave you with nothing. And that’s a shame.

    It’s an interesting thing perspective. We all inhabit a certain mental space, and we’re all loath to surrender any of it to others [me included]. I don’t believe there are many ‘Damascus Road’ moments in life, and as Pink Floyd would say…”With…without. And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about”.

    I notice you’re quite selective in what you respond to also, that you like deconstructing people. I also think the conversation has gone full circle. […and my English teacher told me not to start all my sentences with I].

    Live long and prosper.

    • I wouldn’t [of course] say my reaction to the points you make is ignorantly dismissive.

      I’m sure you think your comments have been very thoughtful and deserving of lengthy responses.

      But I didn’t: so I didn’t bother responding at length. Good night.

  26. Rob Q

    Well fine. It’s your blog after all. But if you’re going to be selective and dismissive people ain’t gonna stick around.
    Go on now. Have the last word. You know you want to…

    • Rob, let’s be clear. You began this conversation by telling me;

      From my perspective, this blog sounds bit like ‘How many angels can dance on the head of a pin”. Introspective. Academic.
      I’m not really into that.

      That’s ignorantly dismissive. But it also tells me that you don’t enjoy this blog – that it may be above your intellectual level, you don’t like reading thoughtful well-researched posts even in your area of interest. So I’m really unclear why you’re blaming my lack of interest (in your ignorantly dismissive comments) on the decision you made on 08/07/2014 at 5:20 pm (a) not to like this blog (b) to let me know you didn’t.

      I respond to people who want to read my blog – even when they disagree with it. I find people who don’t like my blog and just want to post to tell me that a bit of a waste of space.

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