Notice anything about these graphics?
Now, obviously the appearance of the Pound isn’t everything: the literature makes clear the claims that an independent Scotland would be prevented from using the UK Pound (claims that were spurious to begin with, refuted before the referendum by the leader of the Better Together campaign himself, and since rendered utterly irrelevant by no less than the former governor of the Bank of England) are in reference to the currency itself, not the coins denoting it. Nonetheless, the use of the Pound coin as a visual touchstone is a powerful totem.
Consider: the Pound coin as we know it was first issued on the 21st of April 1983. That’s almost 34 years – longer than I’ve been alive. For millions of Britons, the Pound has always been that round, brass-nickel disc. It’s become instantly recognisable, which is an obvious reason Better Together utilised it in their campaign. This new coin, on the other hand, is deliberately evocative of the threepenny bit – a coin that ceased to be legal tender on the 31st of August 1971. Is it just me who senses this is just the latest example of tone-deaf “Empire 2.0” nonsense from the British Establishment? Or am I just being an oversensitive Nat again?
Whatever the case, it seems a bit rich for Better Together to claim that “Alex Salmond cannot even tell us what money we would have in our pocket or our purse” given that the Pounds currently in our pockets will demonstrably not be what we’ll have in our pocket or our purse in the not-too-distant future – and that’s not considering the value of Sterling, already beleaguered by a preposterously inept UK Government, which would drop catastrophically in the event Scotland becomes independent & chooses not to bother with all that Currency Union malarkey.
The currency “argument” has always been ludicrous to me, for one simple reason – can the UK guarantee they’ll keep the Pound? Can the UK Treasury guarantee that the UK Government won’t change the currency at some point in the future, perhaps as a direct result of Sterling plummeting to catastrophic levels? They can’t, because in more ways than one, they aren’t fortune tellers. They have no idea what the future will bring, as evidenced by recent events. Yet us Scottish Independence Supporters are expected to know the price of oil years, decades in advance, and accused of lying when the oil industry itself was wrong about their projections. For pity’s sake, the UK couldn’t even guarantee that we’d still be in the European Union less than a few years after the Independence Referendum, and you expect me to believe that Scotland’s economy is safer with those jokers than the politicians accountable to the Scottish people?
The UK Government could never stop an independent Scotland from using the Pound Sterling one way or another. The UK Government would have been fools to reject a currency union then, and they’d have to be masochists to do so now. There’s only one correct answer to the question of what currency an independent Scotland would use, and that’s “whatever the people of Scotland choose.” That’s generally what happens in sovereign independent nations – yes, even ones in the European Union. Maybe now, we can put this old nonsense to bed, and let Empire 2.0 go for some of that old-time, long lost recipe while Scotland does its own thing.