Scotland Debates Independence and Launching New Currency

Introduction by Philip Pilkington

The Real News Network has recently run an excellent piece on Scottish independence. As this clip shows, the Scottish National Party is a breath of fresh air given the destruction of the British Labour Party by arch-imperialist Tony Blair and his Thatcherite cronies during the 1990s. The SNP is not only offering Scots a break with a past that was, on occasion, less than edifying but they are also offering them a new form of politics — that is, a return to the sort of social democratic, forward-looking governance that Britain lost after New Labour solidified the victory of neoliberalism in the elections of 1997.

However, the key issue for Scotland is whether or not they will be confident enough to launch their own currency. Currently there is much talk about Scotland either continuing to use the British sterling or even perhaps moving into the Eurozone. Both these aspirations are desperately misguided and both will lead Scotland into the exact situation that Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland face today. Because the Scottish currency will, in both these scenarios, be issued by a foreign central bank they will not have discretion over their own fiscal policy. Thus, without issuing their own currency — which, of course, will have drawbacks of its own (the Scotch pound would probably devalue vis-a-vis the British sterling upon issuance) — we can be fairly sure that Scotland’s dream of independence would soon become a nightmare.

The SNP once looked to Ireland as an example of a successful nation that had made it after breaking ties to Westminster. Today Ireland sits in ruin. The result of its decision to give up currency sovereignty and kneel down before Brussels and Berlin. Let us hope that Scotland can learn the lessons given by Ireland without having to suffer the same pain and humiliation.

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  1. ginnie nyc

    I agree with you that the Scots should abandon the pound, and a minority within the SNP are still die-hard republicans and wish to do so. But Mr. Salmond is afraid of frightening away foreign business investment, particularly Japanese and Korean, and doesn’t want to do anything too ‘radical’ re: currency. It doesn’t help that the leading Scottish finanical institutions, i.e. RBS, are as zombie as they come.

    As long as Salmond leads the party, I’m afraid separate currency is not coming soon.

    1. Susan the other

      At this point, after all the latest transgressions have been divulged, it might help Scotland to break with the UK in that the Scots would be deemed more trustworthy than London by international investors.

      1. digi_owl

        That would be hilarious, as it is the “investors” (gamblers and con men more like it) of the City that has basically trashed the trust in the Pound.

        The question really is what Scotland can offer on the international stage (beyond north sea petroleum and various fishing products).

        Still, i think going their own currency is the only real way forward. It allows for more flexibility in how one deal with troubles both domestically and internationally.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Scotland should become a high tech incubator, and driver of education in science, physics, and mathematics, music, dance, and other arts. The Scots traditionally are leaders in these fields, and there is many an American of proud Highland heritage that would help to turn this into a reality. There is vast natural beauty in Scotland, and true self-governance should bring great ROI in the New Real Economy. The land, universities, and its unique version of a Research and Development Park for Rebellious Spirits should prosper on a classically liberal model opposed to the reactionary corporate “Research Triangle Park model under Anglo Corporate Dominion in NC (which was brought initially by the British Imperial Burroughs-Wellcome).

          The plague of drug addiction of the hopelessly oppressed must be addressed scientifically with compassion, as Scotland serves as a laboratory of a SUCCESSFUL independent Participatory Open Democracy in C.21, finally liberated from Colonial Rule by the so-called British Empire. They should have their own currency, linked to the Swiss franc or other dominant currency of high repute in global exchanges (such as the French franc, should the Euro disappear as a national currency. Moreover; they should be quick to mint Scotland’s “Golden Lion” equivalent to the Krugerrand, Maple Leaf, etc.

          If the Lowland Scots remain wedded to “Great Britain,” so be it. Today’s technology, and the anachronism of WWII geographical boundaries for definition of nation-states, makes the independence of Highland Scotland and the Hebrides quite reasonable and desirable. This might set the tone for “European” self-definition in the future.

          New Economic Thinking opens the door to formerly unthinkable possibilities for self-liberation in open societies of C.21.

          1. jake chase

            The smartest thing the Scots could do is turn their backs to Europe and return to the Seventeenth Century. The people should learn to cook, play golf, drink, fish, remain thrifty (okay, cheap) and expand the country’s wonderful universities. Tourism will provide everything the population needs, and a hard currency will make them rich.

  2. F. Beard

    Ah yes! The Scottish! Who else is clever and honest enough to do money ethically?

    Are the Scots suffering from onerous debt too? Then let the new Scottish government use their new currency to do Steve Keen’s universal bailout (he calls it a “Modern Debt Jubilee”). That should help Scottish exports too if the debt is owed to foreigners.

    1. Strategist

      Ah yes! The Scottish! Who else is clever and honest enough to do money ethically?

      I’m hoping this is sarcasm. From the country that gave us Fred the Shred, RBS and HBOS…

      1. F. Beard

        Well maybe Norway. I read once that Norway is the only country in Europe that the Rapture would seriously affect.

        1. rotter

          LOL…maybe you’ll live see your Idea tested Mr Beard. I kind of hope so, if only because your so convincved it will work. Maybe it will.

        2. digi_owl

          ” I read once that Norway is the only country in Europe that the Rapture would seriously affect.”


    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      F.Beard, excellent idea. Let the freed Scots rise from the dead, in a Great Experiment of C.21. You do agree that RBS was never of/by/for the Scots, don’t you? That was just one more means of “British Imperial” oppression.

      Steve Keen’s Strategic Debt Jubilee, followed by Michael Hudson’s Just Real Economy for Working People With Great Plans.

    3. Uptick

      F. Beard

      Just wanted to say hello and I hope all is well with you and your’s. I left a few post at Max site . Stacy was kind enoughf to let me know i could drop a few lines over here. Anyway budy sure miss your witt and laughfs . Peace to you sir.

  3. Matthew G. Saroff

    The real problem is that the economic basis of the push for Scottish independence is their claim North Sea Oil, and with the exception of Norway, petro-governments (Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Texas, etc.) are awful places, corrupt and despotic.

    An independent Scotland would end up like Saudi Arabia, not Norway.

    1. digi_owl

      Never mind the “Dutch disease” that is infecting even Norway. Any section of the economy not connected in some way to the petroleum section is either on nationalized life support or sold to foreign interests. And thanks to our own take on the neolib approach, various former national companies (that may still have a large national investment) are turning oligarch-ish as we speak.

    2. dSquib


      “An independent Scotland would end up like Saudi Arabia, not Norway.”

      Really?? Will Scotland become a monarchy? Does Scotland have a royal family lying in wait to carve up Scotland’s oil wealth between them? There’s no reason it would be any more corrupt than the UK government already is.

      In any case, much will depend on maritime borders. Craig Murray reckons much of Scotland’s oil rich territory may already have been bargained away by the “Scottish traitor Donald Dewar” in cahoots with Tony Blair.

      Scotland does not need a single resource as an “economic basis” for independence. Scotland will thrive with its own currency, good universities with free tuition, fine legal system and tourism.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        dSquib, the video above shows Scotland as the “European” leader in wind farming. Scotland need have no fear of loss by parting “national” company with the “British” Royal Family and Court who need Scotland more than Scotland needs them. Why should Salmond worry about Korea and other Old Economic System players? The “break-up” and likely recombining of “European” States for C.21 will serve to feather Scotland’s nest, as the Scots provide the fruits of their genius to others of the Open Society in C.21.

        The Scots have nothing to fear from true independence. History shows that they are natural leaders in innovation, and they should demonstrate this with their independent, networked New Economy (with new currency) in C.21. Historically great inventors, they should invent the paradigm for Social Justice in open society self-government in C.21, lighting the way for other “small” states from Wales to Hungary, in an “Alliance of the Just.”

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          And it’s past time for Scotland to free itself of the British Royal ruinous Trident abomination on Scottish soil, as well as the “Windsors” blasphemous military jet installation occupying Findhorn. Both of these obscenities reveal how little the British Royals respect and care for Scotland, their “Pride of Balmoral Castle” notwithstanding.

          Be done with the hun in Albion.

          1. McGregor

            Dear old LBR, instantly foaming at the mouth at any whiff of British Empire – which ceased to exist a generation ago – or the Royals – who actually have less say about when they even go to the loo than do most of their subjects.

            I fear for LBR’s sanity when he wakes to the realisation that any Independent Scotland would be quite likely to retain Liz Windsor and her heirs as Monarch and Head of State just as Australia, New Zealand, Canada et al have. Much easier, and constitutionally (and politically) preferrable to having a President, and the House of Windsor has as good a claim to the Crown of Scotland as anyone being descended from James I of England and VI of the Scots.

            Plus, of course, the Stone of Scone still sits in Westminster and it would be very embarrassing for the Scots to ask for it back.

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Isn’t Ogilvy and Mather inclined to help Scotland at this “tipping point,” in honor of their Founding Scot in America?

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Moreover, they should make the most of those old family ties of yore, many of whom moved to Revolutionary America and France:

            “WHEN SCOTLAND WAS JEWISH: DNA Evidence, Archeology, Analysis of Migrations, and Public and Family Records Show Twelfth Century Semitic Roots” by Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman and Donald N. Yates (Jefferson, North Carolina and London, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers). Maybe McFarland will open a publishing arm there.

            I dare say they whole world will help Scotland to prosper as a compleat independent nation-state, with its own currency, networked with others.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Are you calling Highland Scottish culture and Arabic culture equivalent? The “Ladies from Hell” of legend are nothing like the House of Saud and Muslim Brotherhood so beloved of the CIA and Europeans of the Fourth Reich (“A MOSQUE IN MUNICH: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West” by Ian Johnson, 2010).

      Maybe Highland Scotland and the Hebrides ought to form a strategic European Oil Alliance (and Bourse) with Norway.

    4. Quetzal

      Petrodespotism is bull. It’s militaristic PR cooked up to justify the seizure of oil from countries too weak to defend themselves. (I see what you did there by including Texas, but bull doesn’t stop being bull just becuase you try to bend it into a more consistent shape. You just end up sounding like like a bunch of five-year old boys debating the Mom Exception to the General Theory of Cooties.)

  4. craazyman

    I cringe when I think of Scotland going it alone. Isn’t this the country that invented trainspotting and scotch on the rocks? And haggis? Who would eat that except somebody totally nuts? Who would invent it? That’s even more nuts.

    Half my family is of Scottish descent. I guess that means I am too. Scotland going it alone makes me think of Appalachia on the North Sea, with its own currency. What would that be backed by? Rifles and moonshine?

    Eventually it would get so bad the clans would start fighing all over again. Maybe the wacky physicists are correct that when time eventually stops it will start going backward until it everything that ever happened happens again but in reverse.

    1. F. Beard

      1) The Universe is expanding.

      2) The expansion is accelerating.

      3) Even if the expansion halted and reversed, Time would not reverse.

      4) Stephen Hawking admitted he was wrong about Time reversing.

      1. rotter

        Correct, there wont be any contraction just endless expansion until theres nothing but particles expanding millions of miles apart from each other, or the force that began the uiverse Intervenes.

        1. Brian M

          Some physicists speculate that “Dark Energy” is gorwing and will eventually overcome all attractive forces and cause everything…down to the particle level…to explode dramatically. Cool!

        2. Ian Ollmann

          “there wont be any contraction just endless expansion until theres nothing but particles expanding millions of miles apart from each other, or the force that began the universe Intervenes.”

          I’m confused. Are you talking about physics or the US congress?

    2. cirsium

      “And haggis? Who would eat that except somebody totally nuts? ”

      The French have their boudins, the Germans have their wursts and Scots have haggis (made from Scottish staples, oatmeal and lamb).

      “Eventually it would get so bad the clans would start fighing all over again.”

      c’mon craazyman, that’s so eighteenth century. You might find the following very short summary of Scottish history since 1707 by Professor Chris Harvie enlightening

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        c, re link: Why is the site’s colors purple and white? Shouldn’t red (naturally, I think the classic: “Robertson Red”) be the background color, with golden lion instead of white saltire cross? Or gold as background color with red lion rampant, as in the “Scottish Flag” of renown?

        1. cirsium

          LBR – the Lion Rampant (red lion on gold background) is the flag of the Scottish monarch. The Saltire (white cross on azure blue background) is the flag of the Scottish nation. No idea why the site picked white and purple.

    3. rotter

      A bit of a stereotype, and maybe more than just a bit – but pointless. There wont be any Scotts currency,just another cutomer for the Euro.

      1. F. Beard

        The Euro (and anything else) could be used as a private currency alongside a Scottish national currency. Ellen Brown suggested something similar recently for Greece.

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      c, your image is that of the Hatfields and the McCoys, in whom scientists have discovered the “gene for sudden rage?”

      1. craazyman

        all kidding aside, given what a cesspool “the City” has become, I’d take my chances with my ancestors’ homeland. Let it rip and purify the English stench with that Highland air! What would they call their currency? I don’t know anything about Scotland, except MacBeth. What would they call it? “The Nessie!” It’ll have an aura of mystery to it. Is it real or an illusion or just a fraud? hahahaha ahahaha I just though of that. ahah ahaha ahahahh cracking myself up again.

    5. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “Trainspotting” comes of The New “Opium Wars” of the “Britain.”

  5. rotter

    You watch, this is only a ploy to force half of GB onto the Euro…they are still pissed about that one.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      r, are you kidding? Who doesn’t want to escape the fell clutches of the City and the Blood Royal that occupied the throne?

      1. Knut

        Isn’t Edinburgh the home of the RBS, or were they headquartered in London?

        I don’t think the Scots will do it. Too thrifty. I studied at Edinburgh in the early 60s. Maybe things have changed sincew then. They had a close attachment to France, which was still present at that time. People (educated people) could actually speak the language, unlike English, which was incomprehensible to an outsider.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Weren’t RBS Officers Agents of the City? They were supine, NOT “The Ladies from Hell” standing against the Oppressor. The Independent Scots will have to get rid of Royal spies, financial knights of the “Crown,” and others who covet Scotland and the “loyal” service of the Scots to a foreign power.

  6. David

    If Scotland goes its won way, then the conservatives will have a lock on English politics as Scottish Labour has 41 of the 59 seats in the House of Commons. I suspect that at least some Conservatives would accept the loss of Scotland
    as fair trade for that.

  7. F Libertarians!

    I hope Scotland succeeds so we can all move there after all of the other countries that have embraced autistic free market economics collapse.

  8. Herman Sniffles

    My old Scottish granny had a Ph.D in Linguistics from UCLA. When someone referred to a person as “Scotch” she would put her little nose up in the air and say “scotch is whiskey, Scottish is people.”

    And by the way, haggis is offal, literally. It’s lung, liver, and oatmeal stuffed into a sheeps stomcach and then smoked over a fire. Truly disgusting fare. No wonder so many Scots got the hell out of there and came to America.

    1. Philip Pilkington

      It fell out of favour in th 19th century and today is seen by Scottish people as an anglicised term. They seem to reject it on political grounds — which I think is PC and I don’t like. I don’t know if I’d understand it to mean “Scottish people”. More like something that is characteristically Scottish — like a “Scotch accent” or, as above, a “Scotch pound”.

      1. cirsium

        Philip – HS’s granny was right. Scotch is whisky, Scottish or even Scots is for people. If ‘Scotch’ is used today to describe the Scottish people, it is usually a put-down. For examples, check out online comments sections of newspapers like the Daily Telegraph.

  9. Herman Sniffles

    And I think the Scots now make more money selling phony tartans to American tourists named McGregor than they do off oil. They’re not dumb, that’s for sure.

    1. vlade

      Which is funny, since the whole clan tartan idea is an English invention (to sell stuff to Royals and their friends in 19th century), and so is kilt (the original tartan was more like a Roman toga wrap around throw-over-shoulder).

  10. vlade

    I’m very happy for Scotts to go, if they wish (which at the moment it looks like the majority doesn’t).

    Of course, as long as they take not only the assets but liabilities, inclusive of the bailout costs of Scotland registered banks (which, for avoidance of doubt are RBS and HBOS), and the per-capita share of the remainder of the national debt.

    If nothing else, it’s going to help unemployment in the UK quite a bit since I don’t see the UK government offshoring their government offices (given that say in Highlands & Islands about 30% of all jobs are government jobs). While at it, returning NI to Ireland might not be a bad idea either…

  11. Mike

    I am all for Scottish independance but following in the footsteps of some nations would mean financial ruin for the country.

    The Scottish people are more concerned with self determination than what money they spend. A Scottish currency would be great but is definately the wrong move.

  12. duggie73

    In every other market, it’s pretty much universally accepted that having alternatives is a good thing.
    But not money.
    Wake me up when the debate is over allowing more than one currency in circulation.

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