I FIND Alistair Darling's description that a potential UK "sterling zone" post Scottish independence is "lunacy" is intriguing ("'We have to fight for every single vote.
We can win it.'", The Herald, June 23). Such a zone would not see Scotland simply reverting back to being part of the UK as Mr Darling claims.
Sharing currencies promotes trade and eliminates exchange costs. New Zealand, for example, was part of a common sterling area for a long period after 1945. Currently Liechtenstein and Switzerland are in a currency union using the Swiss franc, but both are clearly two separate countries. The euro is used by 17 European countries, and yet again it can hardly be argued that Ireland and Finland are not two separate countries, with different stances on everything relating to tax, foreign policy and defence affairs. The CFA franc is used by 14 African countries, including the likes of Chad, Cameroon and Mali.
Indeed, an independent Scotland with its own separate currency could cause lots of problems for the rest of the UK economy. If Scottish interest rates were a fraction above London's, capital would flood northwards. Remove Scotland's oil and whisky foreign currency earnings and the rest of the UK's trade deficit would be chronic. Businesses in England hoping to sell to Scotland would also benefit from keeping a common currency. Being part of a common sterling bloc means Scotland would agree to share its foreign currency reserves with rest of the UK.
It is naive to assume that, in an increasingly interdependent world, because two or more countries share a common currency they have somehow ceased to be independent. For Scotland to form part of a common sterling currency area after independence is not only in the best interests of our country, but also in the best interests of the rest of the UK.
77 Leamington Terrace,
ACCUSING Alex Salmond of running scared sounds like scaremongering from Alistair Darling, who should bear in mind that recent opinion polls suggest that the majority of Scots voters would prefer the option of two questions on the independence referendum ballot paper. But then, Mr Darling was a member of a Government which was blind and deaf to the wishes of the public when they protested in their thousands against invading and bombing Iraq.
Mr Darling appears to be indignant that his less than glorious career as Chancellor of the Exchequer has not been forgotten, but it is not only for his disastrous mishandling of the UK economy that he should be remembered. Mr Darling freely criticised and made public details of his relationship with the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, revealing the acrimonious atmosphere redolent of suspicion and distrust which existed between the two, and which could never have been a foundation for responsible government. Mr Darling's lack of discretion and loyalty towards a political colleague may well make it difficult for voters to trust his judgment throughout the coming campaign on Scotland's constitutional future.
99 Grampian Road, Stirling.
IT is interesting to see Alistair Darling devoting time to Scottish politics and, in particular, expressing a view on the number of questions on the independence referendum ballot paper. As it is, his reluctance to have more than one question on the ballot paper says more about him than it does about the First Minister.
Clearly the idea that a political party is prepared to consult the people, even by introducing a question which would frustrate its primary objective, is something that Mr Darling is not prepared to countenance.
If the current opinion polls are to be believed and the First Minister is prepared to concede a second question in the referendum so that the people of Scotland can express their preference – even though it would frustrate his primary objectives – then what is Alastair Darling's problem?
Does he wish to deny the people a genuine consultation or, more sinisterly, does he wish to control and curtail choice because he does not trust the people to make the right one?
10 Beauchamp Road,
I NOTE with interest Alistair Darling's educational background in the CV attached to Michael Settle's report, quoting "Educational: schools in Kirkcaldy and Musselburgh".
It should be common knowledge that the latter referred to his attendance at Loretto, the English-style public school housed within the burgh. And of course, Tony Blair attended the similar Fettes College in Edinburgh.
It is a reminder of former prime minister Gordon Brown's castigation of then Conservative opposition leader David Cameron about "capitalist plots hatched on the playing fields of Eton". The paradoxical question is, given Mr Darling's former Marxist credentials recorded in the CV, "what Trotskyite plots were hatched on the playing fields of Loretto?"
When the Labour Party is up against it, members resort to personal abuse, and this continues with Labour leader Ed Miliband's slogan of "Tory toffs", while, rumour has it, he himself occupies a £1.6 million house with connotations of fortuitous historic inherited wealth. And a great many Labour MPs are in similar circumstances – we could quantify that better were they to boast about, but they don't. So long as the Conservatives fail to see the opportunities to hit back at Labour's hypocrisy, these tactics will continue.
Douglas R Mayer,
76 Thomson Crescent,
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