I do not recall exactly, when it was that I made my Damascene conversion, from No, to Yes, but I can be certain that May of 2014 was a pivotal moment. When Austerity Osborne told the Scottish affairs select committee, "We have all made it clear that there will be no currency union if Scotland becomes independent, no ifs, no buts.”, I became incandescent with rage, How dare this effete, mincing, public school ponce hold Scotland to ransom.
Back then, I subscribed to the view that there was, realistically, nothing the rest of the UK (rUK) could do, to prevent Scotland from continuing to use the pound, in the event of independence. This being the case, I reasoned that it would be in the best interests of both Scotland and the rUK, to enter into a currency union.
Though no economist, I understood enough to know that a currency union, would mean that Scottish businesses would not be exposed to the additional costs incurred, by doing business in a foreign currency, with what would become our largest export market.
More than that, in the same way that I had been a ‘zombie unionist’, I had an irrational, inexplicable attachment to the pound sterling. This, I can trace back to my misspent youth as a eurosceptic, vehemently opposed to the very idea, that Britain should adopt the proposed European single currency.
Now, a little older, and ostensibly wiser, my attachment to the pound sterling, has gone the same way of my belief in the United Kingdom. My only concern, for the notes and coins in my pocket, are that there are enough of them to pay for the things that I need. It is of no particular importance to me, what those notes and coins are called, nor who’s face adorns them and what colour they are.
In retrospect, it was probably a mistake, however understandable, for the SNP to go down the route of seeking a currency union in 2014. It is an error they can ill afford to repeat. That being said, if a recent poll for the Herald is to be believed, some two-thirds of Scots believe Scotland should retain the pound. Understanding why this is the case, might be an idea, as it could point to how best to ween people off their miniature security blankets.
We know that ‘Growth Commission’ is, amongst other things, looking at what “monetary policy arrangements” might be best for an independent Scotland. You would hope, that they will draw on our brightest and best, to come up with a credible, attractive alternative to the pound.
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