Friday, 13 January 2012

George Osborne – It’s the money, stupid.

The Union Scaremongering has started. We knew it would, and amongst the predictable opening salvoes is the money aspect.

It was certainly foreseeable this would be a base chosen scare area from the Union, after almost 2/3 of Scots recently said they’d dump the UK for around a tenner a week. Not much British loyalty there then.

Mr. Osborne went on record saying that a future independent Scotland might find itself forced into the Euro. With the current negatives surrounding that monetary system, it’s hardly surprising the inferences were used in a fashion amounting to what could easily be construed as a veiled threat.

The UK’s Chancellor also strongly implied that Scotland may find itself unable to use Sterling after a yes vote in the upcoming poll. The inference was that this is Westminster’s decision.

No, it’s not. It is, and will be, a mutual decision or unilateral decision by Scotland.

In its most fundamental terms, the only present way Westminster could stop Scotland using Sterling would be if Whitehall and the bank of England voided the currency themselves. If the Bank of England abandons the pound it could lead to a position where Scotland has issues with using that particular currency.

That’s not such a far-fetched scenario as it at first appears, they almost did it to join the Euro and right now they’re looking at the potential of national bankruptcy as the pound plummets on the international exchange tables, having lost over ¼ of its value in the last four years alone.

Referencing the chancellor’s comments, there were rather substantive issues underlying these words that were apparently ignored by both number 11’s current resident and the mainstream media.

The first, and most fundamental is that without Scotland there is no UK. UK in the media appears to be largely interchangeable with “England” or “Westminster” – it isn’t. Most fundamentally the UK came about through the unification of two separate kingdoms into one, by treaty, therefore the term, United Kingdom.

Wales and Northern Ireland were never independent kingdoms, therefore if one of the two original kingdoms ends the 1707 treaty, irrespective of which kingdom chooses to do so, semantically and legally there is no more UK.

This is not just ancient history, it impacts our daily lives and creates severe issues with governmental utterances such as Mr. Osborne’s.

Part of that 1707 treaty of Union was the creation of a single currency; it was very like the Euro of its day. We jointly agreed to create a single monetary system. Article 16 of the treaty specifically reads:

“That from and after the Union the Coin shall be of the same standard and value, throughout the United Kingdom, as now in England, And a Mint shall be continued in Scotland under the same Rules as the Mint in England And the present Officers of the Mint continued subject to such Regulations and Alterations as Her Majesty Her Heirs or Successors, or the Parliament of Great Britain shall think fit”.

It is worthwhile noting it was not England’s currency that was to be used, but an entirely new currency, although it would have the same standard and value as that then used in England. One might also wonder where the Scottish mint is located these days; after all we’d minted coins in over twenty five towns until the Union stopped it in the 1830’s.

The currency therefore belongs to both realms, absent a legal ruling otherwise which is highly unlikely.

This gives a similar situation to the Euro, and for England to require Scotland to cease and desist use of Sterling is as likely to hold ground in international law as Greece telling Germany it’s got a problem so would they kindly quit the Euro.

Scotland could, and well may withdraw from Sterling, for no sane nation would wish to be tied to such a poorly performing fiat system.

Scots might elect to go for the Euro, which is still a far better relative value than the pound in this last decade, but those are not the only choices. Any sovereign nation can elect to enter into a mutual treaty agreement to share or use any other nation’s currency, or they can develop their own.

A second issue which is integral to the first and shows value to the pro-monarchist stance of Holyrood is the agreement, wish or declaration to retain the monarch – at least for now.

Retention of the monarch means simply that the clock is wound back to 1603. Although there was never a formal treaty as such then and therefore no legal Union of the Crowns as is often taught, it was a de-facto union of the crowns.

As there is no present proposal to end the monarchy the clock isn’t being turned back to 1600, it’s being rewound to 1700, when there was a de-facto United Kingdom with two nations, two parliaments, each reportedly acting in the best interest and common weal of the individual nations, and doing so under one monarch.

The United Kingdom will still exist until either Scotland or England elects to remove the monarchy.

As the United Kingdom will still exist, all aspects of the 1707 treaty will continue in force until negotiated out. This includes the monetary system in both nations.

We will not suddenly wake up the day after a “YES” vote and find ourselves living in a different country under a different set of rules with everything from border posts to money magically appearing or disappearing at the stroke of midnight.

There will be a period of some years, as in the original monetary union from 1707 to 1710 where things will be negotiated, aligned and re-distributed to the best benefit of both nations.

Apart from scaremongering to retain an outdated, one sided, colonial style dominion this is undeniably the only sensible path for both nations to take.

It is sensible because it is what Scotland wishes, and Westminster is aware that Scotland is far better placed in resources, industry and tangible exports to withstand brutal upheaval than England.

If there is a sincere wish to preserve this union by Westminster then it’s time to stop the Scaremongering and engage their best case, a case so far apparently well hidden, and to do so in fair, reasonable and balanced debate.

Fair, reasonable and balanced debate does not equate to politicks shows or media coverage involving one person from each major party putting a case again the full restoration of Scotland’s sovereign rights and only one individual submitting the case for it.

This Union and media tactic is no different than putting a single boxer in the ring to face against his opponent, his seconds and his manager, all of whom are allowed to trade punches with him.

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