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Letters / Appalling choice

The separatists’ disastrous currency policy has been remodeled numerous times in the past few years creating total uncertainty for anyone trying to make an informed decision on independence.

For many years they claimed we should join the euro because the pound was, in Salmond’s words, “a millstone around our necks”.

Then the euro zone went into turmoil and the euro became a liability. Then ironically, they proposed creating a euro zone style Sterling zone between Scotland and the UK as neighboring states.

There is absolutely no doubt that the SNP cannot promise but can only assert that we would keep the pound as part of a currency union.

Douglas Young speaking for Yes Shetland (Currency hiatus; SN, 16/03/14) has said that we own the pound as much as the rest of the UK.

But the pound is not a concrete asset, it is a system. This isn’t like carving up a CD collection after a divorce. If Scotland leaves the UK and the UK’s monetary organisations, like the Bank of England and UK Treasury, we leave the UK pound; end of story.

There is no Sterling zone now, we are one UK with one UK currency, the pound. The notes may differ sometimes, but the pound is a single UK currency and the UK’s interest rates are set by the Bank of England.

To keep the pound after we have abandoned the UK, we would need to ask the country we had just jumped ship from to set up an uncertain euro zone styled Sterling zone.

After the disastrous failings of the euro zone, and given that the rest of the UK would already have the pound and the security of the Bank of England, would it be sensible to go out of their way to set up euro zone type arrangement?

Salmond’s ex economic adviser, Professor John Kay has said that the tight controls placed on Scotland by such a deal would be incompatible with the idea of independence.

Clearly this is not about England maintaining that Scotland couldn’t stay in the pound. If we choose to leave the UK, it would be us leaving the UK pound, there is no simple or assured way to be let back in.

After having been rumbled on EU and NATO membership, the SNP and Yes campaign should stop disingenuously asserting that Scotland will automatically inherit things it has no right to, in a desperate attempt to reel in undecided voters.

Therefore, even if both an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK could agree a deal to create a euro zone style currency union, we would be giving up control of our taxes, our budget and our interest rates to what would effectively be a foreign country.

The separatists have refused to plan for an alternative, other than getting a currency deal with the UK. This is most definitely not a strong position from which to enter into negotiations. We would have no choice but to accept whatever conditions the UK government of the time demanded.

We cannot sensibly, as the SNP, Douglas Young and Yes Shetland assert, just use the pound informally, in the way Panama uses the dollar. This would mean no central bank standing behind our banks, our mortgages and our savings.

It is not defendable for Salmond and Co to pretend they have no plan B. Even they would not be so irrational as to leave us without a usable currency policy (or would they?).

Why don’t they tell us what the plan B is? Is it because we would not like it and would be more likely to vote no.

The unappealing choice the nationalists are offering is losing the pound or losing governance over our economy.

It is little wonder many separatists such as the Greens are now demanding a separate Scottish currency.

The only way to keep the UK pound as Scotland’s currency and avoid the uncertainty of our economical future is to vote No and stay in the UK.

Gordon Harmer.