How Alex Salmond should have answered the currency question.
by Elias Blum
“The currency that a country uses is a technical question. We are here to talk about the principle of self-determination: the right to get the government we vote for, and politicians who are accountable to ordinary people – not out of touch like those at Westminster, who have squandered millions of pounds and many valuable lives in pointless and unwinnable wars. We’ve set out a range of currency options that an independent parliament could adopt. Our preference is to maintain a currency union. We are not against unions. We believe in a currency union because it makes sense, and we believe in the European Union too – which is more than you can see for the people that Alasdair Darling is campaigning alongside, who want to pull Scotland out of the EU, weakening our international voice and placing our trade in jeopardy. What we are against is the political union – the union of parliaments that means we cannot make our own decisions – yes, about the currency, but more importantly, about what we do with it – whether we cut taxes for the rich and penalise the most vulnerable, with harmful policies like the bedroom tax and ATOS work capability assessments, or whether we create a good society where we pool our risks and resources, give people the help and opportunities they need to get into education and into well-paying jobs, so that they can then provide for themselves and back to society. Independence not only gives us the ability to protect our own people, but also to build a better world. It gives us the power to decide about war and peace – the stance we take on invading Iraq, or on supporting the sale of arms to Israel, or maintaining weapons of mass destruction. That’s what is at stake here. We can do this with the pound. Despite what is said in the midst of a campaign that seeks only to dredge up negativity, we know that the UK will play ball – they are, if nothing else, pragmatists, and will act in accordance with their interests. And it would be in the rest of the UK’s interest to do so – as Cameron and indeed Darling himself have said. Ireland was independent for half a century in a currency Union, and to this day the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands – even Gibraltar – all use their own pound, although they are fiscally independent and not part of the UK. But we could also do it without a formal currency union. The pound is a freely traded currency. It is our currency. No one can stop us using it, and no one in their right mind would want to.”