Socialist Worker

The row over Scotland’s future currency heats up

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2391

Down with the union graphic

The row over a currency union between a future independent Scotland and what’s left of the British state created much media noise last week.

Tory chancellor George Osborne waded in to the independence debate saying that a vote for independence was a vote to lose the pound.

He said. “There’s no legal reason why the rest of the UK would need to share its currency with Scotland.”

Immediately Labour’s Ed Balls and Lib Dem Danny Alexander backed the Tory chancellor.

Even European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso joined in, saying an independent Scotland could not join the euro.

Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond replied saying this was a just “bluff” and things would be entirely different after a Yes vote.

Derail

In one sense Salmond is right. This is just the latest attempt to derail the Yes campaign in Scotland. But the unionists’ attack did put the SNP on the back foot.

That’s because Salmond has made prominent promises to keep the pound, the queen and Bank of England interest rates. The problem is that this is essentially arguing for independence-lite.

And what is the point of voting for independence if none of the key areas of control of the economy will change hands?

What’s more interesting is the timing of Osborne’s intervention. 

It comes hot on the heels of the latest round of opinion polls in Scotland which show increasing support for a yes vote.

According to John Curtice of Strathclyde University, “In the nine polls that have been conducted wholly or mostly since the beginning of December the yes tally has averaged 40 percent.”

Resentment

There is still some way to go to the finish line. But the yes campaign’s growing support is worrying Britain’s rulers. And this latest intervention in the debate is feeding anti-Tory resentment north of the border.

There is a huge upswing in public meetings and debates in Scotland over independence. Hundreds regularly attend meetings supporting independence in towns and cities across Scotland.

Socialist Worker supports a Yes vote for independence and for Scotland to have its own currency.

We argue for a vote that breaks up the British state but preserves the unity of workers north and south against their bosses.

 


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