Saturday 28 January 2012

On currency unions

In trying to justify their proposal to use Sterling in a separate Scotland, Wee Eck and his pal, the Wicked Witch of the West, like to point out that there are currently 67 countries in the world using another country's currency (actually, I'm not sure about that number, Wikipedia would suggest around 33, not including those using currencies specifically intended to be supranational, such as the Euro or the CFA Franc). But even taking those into account, how many are just de facto situations where a stable currency like the US dollar has become the norm, rather than formal monetary unions? How many are tiny states like Kiribati or Saint Lucia or the Cook Islands that have no practical alternative to using another country's money? How many are third-world countries like Niger or Mali who can't really aspire to having their own functional, stable currency? How can the SNP pretend this would be a desirable state of affairs to have?

Friday 27 January 2012

The Big Shouting Match

So, what conclusions can we draw from BBC Scotland's "Big Debate" on Wednesday?

  • Jim  Wallace has been out of the game too long and made an erse of himself.
  • Johann Lamont needs to sit on her hands when she's engaging in debate. Some firmer opinions would help too.
  • Nicola Sturgeon didn't deny the accusation that the SNP want 16 and 17-year-olds to be enfranchised because they think they be easily impressed by the nationalist cause. But that was obvious anyway. She also didn't have any answers to the very significant questions of citizenship and passports. Either the SNP really haven't thought about this, or they have something to hide on the matter. And she had a lucky escape when the question on diplomatic representation in foreign countries was deemed out of time.
  • Glenn Campbell is no David Dimbleby.

Monday 23 January 2012

Never mind the economy or your job security, feel the freedom!

Crawford Beveridge, somebody who hasn't had to worry about his personal finances or job security for quite a while, I imagine, says we shouldn't worry our pretty little heads about whether the economy of a separate Scotland will go down the toilet and take our jobs with it. Self-determination is far more important than these trifling matters. But it's all going to be just fine and rosy anyway. Well what did you expect from one of El Presidente Salmondo's poodles?

Sunday 22 January 2012

Not a clue, pt.2

More on the incoherence of the SNP's pronouncements on defence matters in today's SoS. Interesting that their much-vaunted promise of kicking the SSBNs out of Faslane could become a bargaining chip to be traded against unspecified favours from the UK. Everyone has their price, don't they Alex?

Iain Macwhirter and his "scare stories"...

So Mr Mcwhirter attacks Unionist "scare stories" in the Sunday Herald today.

If Ukraine didn't have to pay for the relocation of Russian missiles, it might have been because Russia already had plenty facilities to accomodate them, Russia's cold-war nuclear arsenal being somewhat bigger than the UK's current fleet of four SSBNs, with a single operating base. And no, there's more to operating an SSBN fleet than just finding somewhere to keep the missiles, as surely Mr Mcwhirter knows.

No, the effects of the 2010 SDSR weren't quite the same as picking individual military units and expecting them to operate effectively in, and for, a foreign country while their supporting units, establishments and other resources remain loyal to the mother country. And how much cross-border military co-operation has happened in the "one small island" of Ireland since 1922?

Yes, saying Scotland "couldn't" keep the pound seems a bit silly. But if they did, they'd be using a foreign currency controlled by another country's central bank and treasury, with fiscal policy driven by that country's own interests. What kind of independence is that?

"Scotland would remain a part of the EU because we are already in the EU" - well, as I understand it, EU membership is by country. The UK is already in the EU, but a separate Scotland would be a new country -  all bets will be off. So it would be understandable if the EU insisted it jumped through at least some of the usual hoops that new applicants are obliged to. But some clarity from the EU itself on this matter would be good, sooner rather than later.

Denmark, Holland and Norway are doing pretty well? Maybe that's because Denmark and Norway are outside of the Eurozone, and the Netherlands had a lucky escape when RBS took their toxic assets off their hands when it bought ABN Amro just before everything went pear-shaped.

And does Mr Mcwhirter really not care if a separate Scotland's cost of borrowing goes up, if it means the rest of the UK is similarly worse off? A lose-lose situation is OK as long as the other loser is England?

Friday 20 January 2012

Not a clue

Someone who appears to know a lot more about these things than anybody connected to the SNP has written an in-depth analysis of the problems an independent Scotland would face in organising its own armed forces. Really, the more the SNP talk about defence, the more it's obvious they haven't the faintest idea about it.

"Your Scotland, Your Future"

Is this slender pamphlet supposed to pass for the SNP's independence manifesto? 21 pages of content-free rhetoric, padded out with full-page photos of assorted sadly unphotogenic SNP politicians? Half the topics are already devolved matters anyway. Interesting that the "Citizenship" section doesn't really address the thorny issue of what they plan to do with existing UK citizens who happen to live in Scotland. Will we have Scottish citizenship thrust upon us, or will we be cajoled into applying for it? And to call the "Defence" section vague speculation would be flattering it. Come on, you'll have to do better than this, folks.

Oh, and their website's user interface is rubbish too.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Daddy, what did YOU do when Alex Salmond was trying to destroy the UK?

I've decided to start this blog as an outlet for my rants against those who I view as the Anglophobes and fantasists trying to hoodwink the Scottish public into voting for the unprecedented breakup of a 300-year-old union between fellow island-dwellers ... and also to make a token effort towards the Unionist cause from the comfort of my own sofa. Now that things seem to have kicked off properly between FM and PM, it's time to nail my colours to the mast. Expect plenty of references to Nazi Germany and tin-pot banana republics.