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Showing posts with label currency union. Show all posts
Showing posts with label currency union. Show all posts

Monday, 8 September 2014

The money markets panic – polls and scaremongering, plus currency union lunacy prime causes …

Financial Times headline: " Pro-union camp ‘in chaos’ as poll puts nationalists ahead"  As George Robertson might say "cataclysmic" ...

Better Together has the Worst of Both Worlds - behind in polls, sterling scaremongering causes pound to drop, hurting their rich city friends!

The latest Better Together strategy appears to be to tell voters Westminster has ****** the £ by scaremongering and lunacy on CU - so vote No. G-sus!

Jo Coburn thinks it's all Blair Jenkins' fault, asking questions and interrupting frantically at every second word. Blair is quietly amused, dusts her off with impeccable politeness, then waits calmly for Unionist panellists to rave impotently.

 Blair Jenkins smiles seraphically, taking  occasional sips at his coffee, as Jo Coburn's guests splutter inanely and impotently over polls, markets  and independence.

King Impotent Splutterer himself, Ming Campbell, failed leader of a failed party in a failing Coalition - doubtless a "A proud Scot" -  does his share, indignation and gloom oozing from him.

Blair gives a neat little summation and says bye-bye. Jo switches with relief to the triviality of the Daily Quiz.

That was fun!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Curran’s Core Concepts on Currency!

This is my perspective as a Scottish voter, neither currency expert, economist, politician nor banker, but very definitely a nationalist, a left-winger and a professional negotiator. Read it in that context, please!

THE CURRENCY QUESTION
THE RATIONALE FOR A NEW CHOICE

PRESENT STATUS
Pre-negotiation phase, forty days and forty night to go. Scottish Government’s position based on Fiscal Commission reports (and TWO) and White Paper, Scotland’s Future.

Fiscal Commission identified four main options -

MONETARY UNION with rUK – STERLING

MONETARY UNION with EU – EURO

NEW SCOTTISH CURRENCY - Fixed exchange rate

NEW SCOTTISH CURRENCY - Floating exchange rate

(N.B. The New Scottish Currency options includes either using sterling (‘the pound’) as the new currency or designating a new Scottish unit of currency (e.g. ‘the groat’)

The currency option can be presented alternatively as -

Monetary union with rUK – the pound

Monetary union with EU – the euro

New Scottish currency, floating or fixed – the groat

Continuing to use the pound, floating or fixed – the pound on sterlingisation)

The recommendation of the Commission was -

MONETARY UNION with rUK - STERLING

The Scottish Government declared this to be its choice of currency arrangement and announced its intention to negotiate the terms of monetary union with rUK after a YES vote.

The UK Government has declared this option to be totally unacceptable, in a variety of forums and statements from the PM, the Chancellor, senior advisers and Better Together leaders.

PERSPECTIVES
This UK position can be viewed by the Scottish Government from two main perspectives, and response options developed accordingly.

Perspective One
It is not an outright rejection, but a referendum campaign tactic to influence the Scottish electorate into voting No (the UK’s primary objective in the pre-negotiation phase)

If this fails as a referendum tactic and there is a YES vote, the tactic is converted to an anchoring statement aimed at enhancing UK negotiating team’s response to the Scottish Government’s opener of a currency union.

Perspective Two
The UK Government really means it: they will not - under any circumstances - accept a currency/monetary union with an independent Scotland.


PRE-NEGOTIATION PHASE:

THE CURRENCY QUESTION: THE RATIONALE FOR A NEW CHOICE

RESPONSE OPTIONS
On both Perspectives One and Two, the same three responses are available -

Hold currency union position till the referendum

or

Adopt a new  plan of Scottish currency/sterlingisation and withdraw plan to negotiate a currency union

or

Adopt a new plan of Scottish currency/sterlingisation but reiterate continued willingness to negotiate a currency union

TENTATIVE EVALUATION

Move to  Scottish currency under sterlingisation plan – withdraw plan to negotiate a currency union

POSITIVES
Immediate media brief, maximum publicity, most supporters happy, many non-SNP YES people much happier. Electorate in the main probably relieved and supportive.

Scottish currency perceived as greater independence, more Scottish control.

Control shifts to SNP Government (no longer dependent on negotiation - anticipates control after YES vote and independence)

Opposition on backfoot, panicked, reactive. Immediate plans activated to prepare for Scottish currency, civil service briefed, etc.
 
NEGATIVES
Presented as a retreat by UK, ‘fallback to Plan B’, cave-in under pressure, etc.

New attack on alleged negatives of Scottish currency option - expert negative arguments (e.g. Carney) mined for negative critical analysis

Share of national debt occupies centre stage, claims of  reneging, defaulting, etc. 

Spotlight on the new institutions and regulatory framework cited as potential weakness.

Pegging to sterling categorised as powerlessness, dependency.

TENTATIVE EVALUATION

Adopt a Scottish currency-sterlingisation plan but reiterate continued willingness to negotiate a currency union

POSITIVES
As under previous option, but with advantage of being seen still open to preferred option, flexible, displaying concern for rUK interests and relationship.

Even if UK cautiously enters currency union negotiations, powerful Scottish fallback already in place.

NEGATIVES
Potential of frustrating expectancies of YES supporters and non-SNP parties already on board for Scottish currency.

Danger of pressures building to force Scottish Government to abandon negotiation on currency union. Uncertainty for those contracted to new Scottish currency institutions.

SOME PREVIOUS BLOGS

17th February 2014

30th March 2014

16th November 2013

30th April 2013

You will also find an abundance of video clips on the currency argument, from every conceivable perspective, on my YouTube Channel – simply enter search term ‘currency’ in box

 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Civil Service Committee into impartiality in the Civil Service loses its impartiality

This entire two-hour-long Committee into impartiality in the Civil Service was one long, concerted attempt to obliquely - and sometimes blatantly - attack the integrity of the Scottish independence referendum, the Scottish government, and Sir Peter Housden - one which has been orchestrated by, amongst other, Labour MP Gregg McClymont - with a Scotsman trailer  for the event by David Maddox, a witness at the Committee today.

We had the spectacle of an interrogation of the Head of the UK Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, civil service boss of Sir Peter Housden, Head of Scotland's civil service by Patrick Jenkin MP, then by Lindsay Roy, Scottish Labour MP.

This clip shows the astonishing - and humiliating - spectacle of Lindsay Roy, Scottish Labour MP, sitting silently while a Welsh Labour MP Paul Flynn, excoriates Sir Bob Kerslake for failing to censure Sir Nicholas Macpherson for 'leaking' his advice on currency union, and for attacking the Scottish independence referendum. then walks out of the Committee.

This is a UK Government that is losing control of a situation and a country it never understood, and never tried to understand. As for the Scottish Labour Party - they are beneath contempt …

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Currency creates crisis – the Better Together meltdown after Guardian leak

A few facts -

QUESTION: What is the “optimal currency arrangement" for Scotland and the rest of the UK (rUK)?

Murdo Fraser put this question to five experts on 12th March. They disagreed on the answer. This on the same day that the Treasury Committee was grilling Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and doing their level best – unsuccessfully - to bounce him out of his neutrality and objectivity on the the shape of a currency union after a YES vote, and on Scotland’s independence, as re-confirmed and re-asserted to Stewart Hosie MP.

UK’s answer isThe present arrangement is the best. Stay with the UK and keep the present arrangement – vote No!”

Scottish Government’s answer isWe like many aspects of the present arrangement but we don’t like a host of other aspects of UK – let’s keep the best of the present currency arrangement, improve it - and vote YES to Scotland’s independence!

Currency: Scotland’s currency after independence will be the pound sterling, either in a currency union with rUK (99% probability) or under sterlingisation - i.e. we will carry on using the pound as a tradable currency and peg it on a fixed rate to sterling.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Marr interview with Alex Salmond, marred by simplistic questions – and a gaffe …

Marr, after trying to damn the YES campaign with faint praise on the polls, jumps in with the simplistic Better Together yah-boo mantra - Plan B!

He gets it partially right with "they're so hostile to Scottish independence that it's not bluff and bluster - they just determined to spike your guns" It may well be bluff and bluster (if it's not it's profound economic stupidity, allied to a craven fear of UKIP and their own badly-riven party and doubtful LibDem allies) but it most certainly is driven by hostility to independence and a desire to spike guns. He also observes that  there isn't good will on both sides. Again, Marr is half right - there is goodwill, albeit sorely tested on the Scottish Government side and a total absence of it on the UK side.

Marr's next point is that because "no one can say what's going to happen after a YES vote - if that's what happens - and therefore,  Scots are going to be left in the situation where they don't know what currency they will be using afterwards. Do you think it's sensible to have a Plan B ..." etc. He asks what's wrong with having a pound Scots or - and this is the mandatory Better Together sneer - "a groat, or whatever it would be called?"

Marr ignores completely the answer he got on his first outing with 'Plan B', and dutifully plays the BT broken record soundbyte. He gets a weary but patient repetition of the FM's first answer on the range of viable currency options, and a reiteration that 'Plan A' - a currency union - is in the best interests of both parties. The FM also reprises the requirement of the Edinburgh Agreement for politicians on both sides to act in the best interests of Scotland and rUK after the referendum.

It all falls on deaf - or uncomprehending - ears. "So why not a Scottish currency?" Any interviewer with any claims to professionalism would have had the Fiscal Commission report in front of him, or at least a key summary - but not Marr. Why bother when you can ignore detailed answers and repeat simplistic questions?

Marr conjures up Barroso. He claims that Barroso was "absolutely adamant in private and in the studio that it would not happen." In fact  Barroso said no such thing, since he is unable to speak for all the countries of the EU, and indeed he has been challenged by other heavyweight EU figures on what he did say. He then makes the extraordinary statement that Barroso "has no particular dog in this fight." No 'dog' except the Catalonian people's burning desire for a referendum on their independence.

The FM is too polite - or circumspect - to invoke Catalonia, but he does detail the reality of Barroso's current status and what his ambitions viv-a-vis NATO might be.

Marr then astonishingly offers his own opinion on Scotland's EU membership. "I think it will be quite hard to get back in, I have to say - but let's move on ..."

Let's not, Andrew- you don't get away with that so easily ...

FM: "This is what the Andrew Marr analysis says, as opposed to ... “

Marr: "Having talked to Mr. Barosso of the European Commission ...

FM: "As opposed, Andrew, to the weight of evidence that's been presented to the Scottish Parliament and its committees at the present moment. Is that the individual expression - or the BBC ‘s”

Marr blusters frantically, aware that he's in deep merde. "I've got no views on this, nor has the BBC.."

I'll leave the immigration bit - Marr was similarly simplistic on this topic.

A sad, sad performance from a once incisive political editor - in days gone bye. Long gone bye ...

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Clash of the Experts – What is the “optimal currency arrangement" for Scotland and the rest of the UK (rUK)?

UK’s answer isThe present arrangement is the best. Stay with the UK and keep the present arrangement – vote No!

Scottish Government’s answer isWe like many aspects of the present arrangement but we don’t like a host of other aspects of UK – let’s keep the best of the present currency arrangement, improve it - and vote YES to Scotland’s independence!

Murdo Fraser put this question to five experts on 12th March. They disagreed on the answer. This on the same day that the Treasury Committee was grilling Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and doing their level best – unsuccessfully - to bounce him out of his neutrality and objectivity on the the shape of a currency union after a YES vote, and on Scotland’s independence, as re-confirmed and re-asserted to Stewart Hosie MP.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

THE SCOTTISH SECTION OF TREASURY COMMITTEE with MARK CARNEY, GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND – STEWART HOSIE MP SEGMENT

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THE SCOTTISH SECTION OF TREASURY COMMITTEE with MARK CARNEY, GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND – End of Stewart Hosie segment (the confirmation) and into the COMMITTEE MEMBERS QUESTIONS

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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Business for Scotland present evidence to the Scottish Parliament Economy Committee

Peter Curran note

Business for Scotland, non-party, and committed to Scotland’s independence, have done vital work on their website, on YouTube, in the media, to the Scottish Parliament and through public meetings throughout Scotland. They have made a vital - and perhaps a decisive contribution - to demonstrating the business case for Scotland’s independence. I reproduce this recent example with permission: my thanks  to David Bell of Business for Scotland.

Scottish parliament

Today Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, Chief Executive of Business for Scotland will present research to the Economy Committee at the Scottish Parliament regarding the prosperity of an independent Scotland.

The session begins at 10.30am and also includes Marie Macklin of Klin Group, Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers and Dan Macdonald of MacDonald Estates.

The evidence session can be viewed live on Democracy Live as it takes place from 10.30am.

Business for Scotland submission

The Economy Committee is currently conducting an enquiry into Scotland’s Economic Future Post-2014. This has involved taking evidence from a range of sources concerning the economic opportunities of independence and challenges ahead.

Business for Scotland provided evidence in three key areas: Scotland’s current position of economic strength; the substantial cost to Scotland as a result of UK debt repayments; and Scotland’s position as a leading global exporter.

The submission was published in full on the Business for Scotland website.

Summary of evidence

It can be summarised as follows:

11

1) Scotland has a rich and diverse economy. This includes multi-billion pound sectors ranging from construction, tourism, manufacturing, life sciences, financial services, research and development, the creative industries, energy, fishing and agriculture.

2) An independent Scotland will prioritise the interests of business in Scotland following decades of Westminster prioritising the distinctive interests of London and the South East. This includes the opportunity to create a simpler tax system that supports Scottish business; reforming the labour market to improve employer/employee relations; encouraging migration to Scotland to balance Scotland’s unique demographic needs; and supporting Scottish exports globally through a Scottish diplomatic and trade service.

3) Business for Scotland research using historical GERS figures has proven that Scotland has paid over £64 billion of unnecessary UK debt interest repayments over 32 years. Had Scotland been run as an independent country over the period, it would currently have a substantial fiscal surplus and not have been in debt.

4) Recent figures from the Global Connections Survey demonstrate that Scotland is one of the world’s top exporting nations. This strong trading position is another key indicator of the ability of Scotland to be a successful and wealth independent nation. Scotland’s exports were worth nearly £100 billion in 2012 alone.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Has even The Guardian been enlisted in attacking Scotland’s democracy and aspirations?

The Guardian Leader of Friday 14th February has provoked a storm of comment. Here’s mine. It contain facts I’ve have blogged, tweeted and repeated many times over recent weeks, drawn from an extempore FM response at FMQS. I make no apology for that – their relevance is fundamental and enduring.

MY COMMENT

15 February 2014 11:28pm

I have been a Guardian reader for over 60 years. I have never read such a partial, inaccurate Leader in all that time. It is, quite simply, an attack on Scotland, its Parliament and the values and aspirations of a large and growing number of the Scottish electorate. It is a defence of the Union.

I won't waste time listing the many canards and errors - let me just say that you have used, without any real thought or analysis, the Better Together distortion that Scotland's wish to be sensible and realistic with rUK in an interdependent world - independence recognising interdependence - is in some way independence lite - not real independence.

Since the Osborne intervention - a flying visit, a quick address to a carefully selected audience, a refusal to engage with, or offer an interview to Scottish Television (STV), and a hasty and undignified departure - focused on currency union as though it was the Vulcan Death Grip for independence, consider this -

Scotland doesn't control the currency or interest rates at the moment. Neither does UK - they're controlled by Bank of England. We won't control them under a currency union either, but we'll have more influence than we have at the moment, as an independent country, a partner in a currency union. Without a currency union, we will continue to use the pound in one of a number of scenarios, already detailed together with other options in a recently published Fiscal Commission Report.

Here are the other powers an independent sovereign Scotland will have - do they look like independence lite to you?

ECONOMIC LEVERS: Excise duty, air passenger duty, VAT, capital gains tax, oil and gas taxation, national insurance, income tax, corporation tax, competition law, consumer protection, industry regulation, employment legislation, the minimum wage, energy markets and regulation, environmental regulations.

All these things are controlled in London under the UK

All of them will be controlled in Scotland after independence

We'll be able to set the minimum wage, abolish the Bedroom Tax (not just mitigate it). We will be able to transform childcare.

We will be able to remove weapons of mass destruction from Scotland

We won't have to participate in illegal wars

Scottish servicemen and women will no longer die or be maimed at the behest of a UK Prime Minister and an American President.

POSTSCRIPT

The reaction Osborne's intervention was outrage from a large number of Scots, as evidence by phone-in programmes, online media and letters to the press. I lost count of the number of undecided voters who said their minds had been firmly and irrevocably shifted to a YES vote, and there was a significant number of former No voters moved to YES. I look forward to poll results at an early date.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The formidable powers of an independent Scotland that Johann Lamont thinks are “wee things”: Scottish Labour’s nadir at FMQs

Scotland doesn't control the currency or interest rates at the moment. Neither does UK - they're controlled by Bank of England. We won't control them under a currency union either, but we'll have more influence than we have at the moment, as an independent country, a partner in a currency union.

ECONOMIC LEVERS: Excise duty, air passenger duty, VAT, capital gains tax, oil and gas taxation, national insurance, income tax, corporation tax, competition law, consumer protection, industry regulation, employment legislation, the minimum wage, energy markets and regulation, environmental regulations.

ALL THESE THINGS ARE CONTROLLED IN LONDON UNDER UK

ALL OF THEM WILL BE CONTROLLED IN SCOTLAND AFTER INDEPENDENCE.

We'll be able to set the minimum wage, abolish the Bedroom Tax (not just mitigate it). We will be able to transform childcare.

WE WILL BE ABLE TO REMOVE WEAPONS  OF MASS DESTRUCTION FROM SCOTLAND

WE WONT HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN ILLEGAL WARS

Bur all of these things - which we can only do with independence - are, to Johann Lamont, "wee things".

The prospect of this woman and her cohorts leading  even a devolved Scottish Government is not to be contemplated.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Magnus Gardham and the currency question

I thought Magnus Gardham would have let his non-story of yesterday die quietly to avoid further embarrassment. But no, today he unwisely tries to justify it, to give the wee thing legs ...

Putting our money where its mouth is

It should not fall to me, a voter with no background in journalism or politics to offer the political editor of the Herald some basic concepts from The Ladybird Book of Politics, but sadly, it seems necessary.

There is a fundamental  difference between the position of the devolved Scottish Government setting out its policy - and effectively its opening negotiating platform for an independent Scotland after a YES vote - in a White Paper, and a UK Government publishing a White Paper for implementation through its majority in Parliament. In the first context, setting out a "definitive position" on policies defines a negotiating position and a set of beliefs that underpin it: in the second context, it is simply the intention to legislate using a Parliamentary majority.

In his first few paragraphs, Magnus Gardham shows that that he understands this, yet he chooses to reject the reality because it does not suit his story or his agenda - that the Scottish Government is in some way misleading a gullible Scottish electorate over the currency. He might have taken some account of the calm, and faintly amused reaction of Brian Taylor of the BBC (and others) - a man who does understand politics - at the farrago of nonsense thrown up around Colin McKay's entirely unexceptional statement - that no one can guarantee the position of the UK Government or UK Treasury in negotiations after a YES vote, especially since that Government may well change in 2015, halfway through the most complex set of negotiations British politicians have ever undertaken in centuries.

If Magnus Gardham hopes to make the contribution to the great debate on Scotland's independence that some of his journalistic contemporaries are already making, he must outgrow his fondness for conspiracy theories and great unmaskings of secret policies and hidden beliefs, and buckle down to some real journalism in the 300 or so days left to us.

I may add that it is patently evident to anyone who can rise above the adversarial pre-negotiating macho talk that the de facto rUK governments (of whatever political colour) who take part in the negotiation will agree to a sterling-based currency union because it makes eminently good sense.