Money, money, money: three reasons for Scots not to go solo

Jan 16, 2012

Alistair Darling, a proud Scot, says currency alone is a good reason to oppose independence

ONE OF the best arguments against Scotland becoming independent is uncertainly over its future currency, says Scotsman Alistair Darling. In an interview with The Observer, the former Labour chancellor said there were three options and each is fraught with risk: 


Keeping the pound. Scotland would be in a common currency with a foreign country (England) whose central bank would dictate interest rates to the advantage of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In effect, the sterling common currency would be a micro version of the euro, with all the problems that entails. Certainly, Scotland would not have economic independence.


A new Scottish pound. Launching a new currency - a McPound – at a time of global uncertainty would be highly risky. “Frankly,” said Darling, “given the financial turbulence we are likely to be seeing for some years to come, you would be a brave country indeed to say, 'Here is our new currency: we are not actually sure how much it is going to be worth after the first day's trading'."


The euro. So much for economic independence - the Scottish budget would have to be monitored in Brussels and its interest rates set in Frankfurt. Euro entry would have to be put to the Scottish people in a referendum and would probably be rejected. Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond “knows as well as anyone that the euro is just as toxic in Scotland as it is in England.”


Darling, who can trace his family’s Scottish roots back to the 17th century, says he is proud to be Scottish – and British. "It is an essential part of what I am," he says.


While some see him as the perfect man to lead the No campaign against Scottish independence, he claims to be too busy in Westminster, where he remains a backbench MP. Such a campaign, he argues, must be run from Scotland. That said, as The Observer reports, Darling’s role as a senior Scottish politician who wants to retain the union is likely to be pivotal.

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