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Scottish Radical Independence Campaign to take “radical currency option” ?

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Scotland’s New Currency? The Scrote. 

The Pound is causing a lot of problems for those advocating Scottish independence.

Ralph Blake (the pen name of an analyst in the Scottish financial sector) looks at the option.

  • Continuing to use the Pound while walking away from existing debt and issuing your own debt.This will mean high borrowing costs, because nobody will trust the Scots not to default again.
  • Issue a Scottish currency pegged to the pound.   This attempt runs up against the country’s lack of reserves.
  • Use the pound while negotiating entry into the Euro. The will mean (he passes over this lightly) negotiating terms for entry. It will also leave unresolved difficulties of ” issuing debt and underwriting the banking sector
  • “Finally, the radical alternative is take the Norwegian road and nationalise the oil, introduce progressive taxation and join the European Free Trade Alliance. It is key that the left wing of the independence movement advocates the radical currency option otherwise they will become caught in the SNP’s currency trap which will only weaken the case for independence.”

The Scottish Socialist Party says,

“The Scottish Socialist Party is determined to continue to tap into Scotland’s honourable tradition for a fair,  equitable society, and an independent currency, voluntarily linked to the English pound initially, is surely the best option in creating an environment for a better Scotland.”

The SSP’s gasp of reality is sure-footed: they announce,

“A free-floating Scottish currency would seem an ideal solution, but there are drawbacks. The Scottish economy would be much stronger than that of the rest of the UK (RUK) with a positive trade balance to contrast with a massive RUK deficit.”

But

“Scotland’s overall balance of payments would also look much better than that of the RUK. In these circumstances, Scotland’s free-floating currency, after an initial speculative period, would float upwards against both the RUK pound and the Euro, damaging both Scottish exports and tourism. In the longer term, an appreciating Scottish currency may be both inevitable and even desirable, but the economic disruption in the short term would be alarming and damaging.”

“The answer then is to tie an independent Scottish pound to the English pound initially, ensuring, for example, that cross-border trade and other economic transactions continue as prior to independence. In the meantime, a new Central Bank of Scotland could then be created, ensuring that monetary decision-making was devolved to a truly independent nation.”

Their concern for the needs of the “nation” aside, how exactly is the Scottish pound going to be “tied” to the UK Pound? An what independence will its financial policy have if this is done?

Meanwhile (Sunday Herald, today),

“Key members of Yes Scotland are expected to use an official board meeting to argue that adopting a new currency should be considered instead of Salmond’s vision of sharing sterling in the long term with the rest of the UK (rUK).”

We propose that the Scottish Socialist party takes the really radical currency option.

An independent Scottish needs an independent coin.

There are suggestions that the land re-introduces the Groat (Could Scotland go back to the groat?).

In honour of the past and Alba’s fair name it should be called the Scrote.

The New European Politics of National Resentment

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The New European Politics of National Resentment

Europe is in the throes of a major economic and political crisis. The later, overused, word barely covers the depths of despair felt by those facing mass unemployment, wage cuts and the devastation and privatisation of public services. Protests against austerity have united radical lefts, trade unions and the peoples. They have yet to succeed.

In the absence of any substantial – ‘actually existing’ – alternative to the austerity consensus of Christian and Social Democracy, reactionary currents have gained ground. Nationalists, such as the UK Independence Party, UKIP, the weevils of British politics, have had a strong echo, encouraging popular anger against the European Union. Overtly xenophobic parties, the Front National in France (17,9% in the first round the 2012 French presidential elections) and a host of others in Western and Eastern Europe, have gained ground. The Greek Golden Dawn has gone backwards so far that it has revived the far right’s tradition of bullying private militias.

But it is another reaction that has caught attention today. The victory of the right-of- centre party of  Artur Mas, Convergència i Unió  (CiU) in the Catalonian regional elections opens the way to a referendum on national independence. In Belgium the New Flemish Alliance (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, N-VA) of Bart Wever appears on the way to complete Flemish autonomy, if not the dissolution of the kingdom. The Scottish Parliament has decided to hold a popular vote about the country’s future that could lead to the ‘break up of Britain’. In Italy the Lega Nord, Northern League, stands for the rights of North Italy’s ‘Padania’ against the South. It has lost momentum in recent years following its collaboration with Berlusconi, but may well revive.

Are these different populist protests against Europe’s oligarchs? That is, part of broader demands for “localism”. Tory Ferdinand Mount is a critic of “centralisation and top-down control” He calls for, “giving power back to the people” on the “human scale”(The New Few 2012). Are these movements in any way aimed at the “distribution of power to the many, the taming of the oligarchs, and the opening of opportunities to the worst off.”? (Page 219) It can be quickly seen, that some on the left, notably the Catalan left, Esquerra Republicana which looks set to work with the victorious CiU, and the warring factions of Scottish socialism, do indeed consider the push for independence in their lands as opportunities for such moves.

Most of these movements are however not principally concerned with reviving an idealised municipal government past or the voluntary associations that made up David Cameron’s vision of the Big Society. The route they take, from hard-right to apparently ‘social democratic’ Scottish nationalists, is towards what Mount described elsewhere as the “”visible symbols of national community and unity” (Mind the Gap. 2005) But as Mount would recognise, all these movements are intensely concerned with control over money. From UKIP’s jibes about Brussels to the Catalan, Flemish and Northern Italian regionalists, they are preoccupied not just with bureaucratic waste, but the feckless use of public funds by their improvident – Southern – neighbours. Scottish nationalists, for reasons which are all too obvious, show less interest in this, but continue to rail against the UK-wide distribution of revenues taken from ‘their’ oil and gas,

Resentment

If there is any common thread between these, often very different, parties and the tides of opinion that bolster their position, it is resentment. They are not movements of national liberation, comparable to Irish republicanism, the fight for Norwegian independence from Denmark, or the forces that created national states following the break up of the Hapsburg Empire, the “prison of the nations”. Perhaps the Flemish nationalists are unique in holding an annual trek around francophone Brussels, pissing on every lamppost to mark out Dutch speaking territory (okay, I made the urine bit up). But the impulse to define and protect ‘their’ people, our ain folk is widely shared. Read the rest of this entry »