Friday, 4 April 2014

Blind to the obvious

Every once in a while the behaviour of the Better Together mob is so infantile that one just can't help being embarrassed on their behalf. A report in yesterday's Herald was one of those occasions (No campaign pounces over MP's claim on currency union). We all know that Blair McDougall and his maudlin minions are incapable of rational, objective analysis, but do they have to flaunt their shortcomings quite so flagrantly?

What Angus MacNeil has said is no more than what was already obvious to anyone who had thought about the issue of currency union at all. It is patently obvious that monetary union tends to become untenable if and when the economies of the participants diverge to some significant degree.

What makes Better Together's bone-headed bluster all the more ludicrous is the fact that Angus MacNeil is referencing one of the arguments that the British parties use in an effort to rationalise their reckless and irresponsible threat to abolish the currency union. They bang on about the eurozone and the difficulties which arose because of - or were exacerbated by - the divergence between the economies of, for example, Greece and Germany.

The trouble is that, being interested only in anti-independence propaganda rather than reasoned analysis, Better Together present this as if it was directly and immediately relevant to the situation of Scotland and rUK. And they make bloody fools of themselves in the process.

The reality is that there is no meaningful comparison between Greece/Germany on the one hand and Scotland/rUK on the other. To suggest that there might be is quite preposterous.

But it is perfectly right and sensible to recognise that the economies of Scotland and rUK might diverge at some point in the future to an extent that currency union is no longer the best arrangement. In which case, isn't it better that the two countries should be free to find an arrangement which is more suited to the new circumstances?

Economies move slowly. And, with goodwill and good sense on all sides, monetary union can cope with a considerable degree of economic divergence. It could easily take decades before the two economies diverged enough to make currency union unworkable. The governments of both nations would be able to see this coming well in advance and so take appropriate and timely steps to deal with the situation.

None of this is a cat that has ever been in a bag. It is plainly obvious to anyone who reflects on the matter to any extent at all.

But the position of the British parties gets even more ridiculous. They are busy trying to persuade us that the British state will conceded significant powers to the Scottish Parliament if the independence campaign is defeated. Nonsensical as it is to imagine that a triumphant British state would concede the very thing it had been fighting to hold onto, let's take the "more powers" not-quite-promises of the British parties at face value for the moment.

What British Labour and their Tory/LibDem alliesare trying to deceive the people of Scotland into believing they will get in return for a No vote is something akin to full fiscal autonomy (FFA). That expect us to believe that the Scottish Government will be handed a substantial amount of control over the levers of the economy. But using those levers differently in Scotland and rUK is the way in which the economies will diverge. If measures are put in place to prevent this divergence by limiting the Scottish Government's ability to follow its own fiscal policies then the devolved powers become meaningless.

So, the British parties' plan - to the extent that they have one - is to create a situation in which Scotland's economy is free to diverge from that of the rest of the UK, but keep us locked into monetary union. Even if the offer of further devolution was not just a ruse to dupe us into handing over to the ruling elites of the British state the power that will be in our hands on 18 September, what is being proposed would be disastrous. It is with devolution that we would be put in the position of having divergent economies with no option to rectify the situation this would cause by ending currency union. It is devolution that threatens to create a eurozone scenario.

That is one of the reasons why devolution is dead. It's time to move on. It's time to bring Scotland's government home. Devolution is not an option. We must vote Yes.
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