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  By a Newsnet reporter
 
The anti-independence campaign has been accused of misrepresenting the views of the new Governor of the Bank of England after claiming he had criticised the post-independence currency plans of First Minister Alex Salmond.
 
The accusation followed the circulation of a leaflet by Better Together which said Canadian Mark Carney had criticised Alex Salmond’s plans to keep the pound in the event of a Yes vote.

On the leaflet, which was handed out to members of the public on Friday, it said “With experts, including the Governor of the Bank of England, criticising Alex Salmond’s claim that we would keep the pound after independence, it is increasingly clear that if we leave the UK we would lose the UK pound.”

However asked to respond to the claims, an official from the Bank of England highlighted key segments of a speech given by Mr Carney earlier this week, in which he made clear he would not pass judgement on the currency options available to a newly independent Scotland.

“These remarks are on the public record and speak for themselves.” The official said pointedly.

On Wednesday, Mr Carney told an assembled audience of businessmen and journalists:

“What follows is not an assessment of whether Scotland will be overall better or worse off under independence – that is a multi-faceted judgement for the Scottish people.  It does not pass judgement on the relative merits of the different currency options for an independent Scotland, but instead draws attention to the key issues.”

The new Bank of England Governor added: “This is a technocratic assessment of what makes an effective currency union between independent nations.”

Later, at a press conference the Governor responded to a question from BBC presenter James Naughtie on the Scottish Government’s plans for a currency agreement by saying:

“Well, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment directly on anything that the Scottish government has said or anyone from Westminster has said related to these issues.  And you can appreciate, what I was looking to do – and hopefully accomplished – was to set out what the core issues were, not just at a high level, but also buttress them with some empirical and certainly theoretical grounding, so others can then delve into them and focus on them.”

This weekend the Better Together campaign plan to circulate thousands of leaflets containing claims which directly contradict the views expressed by Mr Carney.  The leaflet was being handed out at key locations around Scotland on Friday, with the phrase ‘Goodbye Pound’ clearly visible.

The stunt was slammed by SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing, who said:
 
“That the No campaign is reduced to misrepresenting Mark Carney shows that they have lost the argument on the currency union and desperation has set in.  The Governor’s speech made clear that the Bank of England would implement whatever monetary arrangements are agreed between the Scottish and UK Governments.”

The decision to hijack Mr Carney’s speech followed comments from a senior Labour party figure who recently described attempts to try to politicise the governors of the Bank of England as “not healthy”.

Labour’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said: “I think it’s not healthy for us to involve governors of the Bank of England in big political debates and I don’t want to drag him into that.”

Ms Ewing added: “The No campaign’s latest gaffe is embarrassing on a number of levels.  It is absolutely unacceptable to misrepresent Mark Carney’s views in order to make anti-independence points and this comes just weeks after a senior Labour figure argued against involving the Governor in political debates.
 
“Alistair Darling must take responsibility for this.  He should make sure that this leaflet is withdrawn and that a public apology is offered to Mr Carney.”

Newsnet Scotland understands that some within the pro-independence movement are becoming increasingly bewildered at the lack of media scrutiny afforded some of the more questionable claims and statements being made by Better Together and other key anti-independence figures.

Last year the Better Together campaign continued to circulate leaflets boasting about the UK’s triple-A credit rating, despite agencies having downgraded the rating due to worries over the UK’s growing debt problem.

Other episodes have witnessed head of Better Together Alistair Darling deny ever having said that a currency agreement between the rest of the UK and a newly independent Scotland was in the interests of both sides, despite having been filmed saying so on the BBC.

Days ago, Newsnet Scotland revealed that claims about the Norwegian Oil Fund made by Better Together campaign co-ordinator Blair McDougall had been rubbished by the Norwegian Finance Department.

Newsnet Scotland contacted the head of communications for Better Together to ask whether the campaign group challenged the statement issued by the Bank of England which highlighted Mr Carney’s comments given in Wednesday’s speech.  At the time of publication, we had received no reply.


[Newsnet comment – Mark Carney’s visit to Scotland on Wednesday received widespread media coverage.  His speech and press conference that followed were particularly noteworthy for the way Mr Carney refused to be drawn into the independence debate, despite being asked some very loaded questions by professional journalists.

As in any political debate, both sides sought to highlight elements of Mr Carney’s speech in order to bolster their own stance – this is a perfectly acceptable practice.

However what Better Together has done is to attribute views to the Bank of England Chief that Mr Carney absolutely did not express.  Indeed as the statements re-issued by the Bank of England and the video clip show, he was at pains to make this clear.

At no point has Mark Carney explicitly or implicitly sought to criticise either the currency stance of Alex Salmond or his counterpart in UK politics David Cameron.

We are into the last eight months of the independence debate and those who police this debate must do so without fear or favour.  If any side is found to be deliberately misleading the public by issuing false statements or misrepresenting the views of impartial officials then they must be brought to book.

What kind of democracy will we be left with if truth is deemed its enemy?]

Comments  

 
#
cjmasta
2014-02-01 02:10

The Better Together list of lies is getting longer by the day. I`m sitting here right now almost thankful that they are behaving like this because from now until the day Scot`s get to decide their future in September I think enough people will realize exactly what they are up to and have been up to for a long time regarding Scotland, its economy, prospects, history. You name it!

I`m encouraged that people are talking about it at work and they know i`m a definite YES so ask me lots of questions which I reply with very good answers and i`ve turned at least 5 people to vote Yes.

The NO vote is soft, I know it. If we all do our bit we will overcome any bias the BBC or MSM can throw at us.

I can`t wait to wipe the smiles off those who have fought against the right of all Scot`s to determine how they run their own country without interference and self serving control from an institutionally corrupt and backward former world power.
 
 
#
Rodders
2014-02-01 02:16

It really is quite shocking that in a so called mature democracy that such blatant disregard for the truth is shown by the BT Campaign.

What is more disturbing is we know that the MSM and BBC will not highlight this untruth.

I truly believe that the Scottish people will see through this and the many other false claims of BT.

However in the event of BT lying and cheating their way to a No vote it will leave a great number of our population feeling cheated out of their democracy.

That for any nation is a scary situation. If democracy is seen to be thwarted and denied that could lead to serious and unwanted consequences.

One thing is constant Westminster since the days of the Boston Tea party, never seem to learn from their mistakes.
 
 
#
mudfries
2014-02-01 07:44

Very well put Newsnet comment, absolutely bang on.
 
 
#
Marian
2014-02-01 08:53

Project Fear have nothing but lies on offer to Scotland and they would have been exposed and annihilated long ago if it wasn’t for the unqualified protection given to them by the London controlled BBC and newspapers – so much for democracy UK style.
 
 
#
hektorsmum
2014-02-01 08:59

May I applaud your stance. It would be much better if there were level playing fields elsewhere. I do not think anyone wants false statements made in their support, just correct ones. The BT Campaign does not understand that for many the internet is their source of information and can read. The only ones they are getting are those who cannot access or hold similar views. I do not think Mr Carney will like his opinions being traduced, he has to look to the future, he may want another job some day.
 
 
#
Breeks
2014-02-01 08:59

When others have commented about Unionists and their media being in a panic, I’ve understood, but never felt panic was the right word, until now.
This is desperate stuff by Better Together, every bit the drowning man clutching at straws.

I actually now wonder whether Carney’s comments weren’t so much for Scotlands benefit, but instead a non-too subtle code to Unionists not to paint themselves into a corner over a currency union which the Bank of England might actually be praying happens to keep Scotland’s contribution to the balance of trade.

Just like panic, I’ve felt others were jumping the gun to say the tide was turning, but this past week + has seen Better Together taking some big hits from some heavyweight commentators, and better still, there is a distinct smell of fear about the BBC. I think they know they are losing. They’ve held all the cards, and wheeled out all the siege engines which normally work, but they are losing.
 
 
#
Barbazenzero
2014-02-01 10:02

Quoting Breeks:

… there is a distinct smell of fear about the BBC.




Spot on so far as BBC Scotland is concerned, with Brewer unusually less unpleasant on Newsnicht, Taylor being relatively objective on the BoE and FMQs whilst D Fraser was kept in the background.

A different story with BBC HQ, though, with no apparent change of attitude and both “stink bomb” Peston and Robinson distorting and misrepresenting Carney.

Odd that BBC high command can’t or won’t orchestrate the coverage. Marr, Neil & Sunday Politics tomorrow might be interesting to help see whose line is prevailing.

 

 
#
From The Suburbs
2014-02-01 09:53

I take it the supine Electoral Commission will refuse to get involved in BT blatant lies or lack of BBC impartiality.
 
 
#
Marga B
2014-02-01 16:35

From the suburbs, here’s a repeat of earlier comment. Response by EC:

“News reports, features and editorials in print or online media are not subject to electoral law” it seems. Also “we have no remit in relation to the regulation of political balance in broadcasting output.”

Yet the Edinburgh Agreement says “The governments agree that it will be important to ensure that broadcast coverage of the referendum is impartial. Broadcasters, Ofcom and the Electoral Commission will discuss the best way to achieve this”.

So the EC has a problem: the Edinburgh agreement says they have a role in press accuracy, they say they have not.
 

 
#
fergie73
2014-02-01 11:02

Better Together now seems out of control and in need of reigning in.

At the end of the day if there’s a yes vote Scotland becomes sovereign and there is a re-negotiation of powers between London and Edinburgh, then probably elsewhere. What form that takes determines the future shape of the British Isles.

By hammering a currency union in which some level of sovereignty will obviously still be shared, and the SNP all Better Together are doing is strengthening the hand of those who want no level of sharing and a new currency. As well as poisoning political wells all over the place.

Their goal seems to be “win at all costs”. But at what point does the cost or risk become too high for the UK government? And how long before that will they become too high for the markets, BoE, business etc?
 
 
#
RTP
2014-02-01 11:04

For me this quote from Lang is the fear of all the Unionist Parties.

Lord Lang’s comments came in a lengthy speech to the House of Lords in which he warned that Britain’s international prestige and influence would “crumble” if Scotland were to vote for independence on September 18.
 
 
#
ahumscottish2
2014-02-01 11:14

Hi all
Sorry to be o/t but did anyone catch Brian’s big debate poor Pete wish art he was stitched up no impartiality there at that school he said over 200 people 3 yes supported Ruth was brill tho
 
 
#
Willow
2014-02-01 12:37

Mark Carney made it clear that in his speech he was not speaking for either side of the debate,but going by the media the average person wouldn’t know it. The BBC let Darling have a go without questioning him again & again.

Pathetic!


Sorry NNS ot

I heard the end on Taylor’s big debate, appalling!
Pete Wishart, perhaps should have taken Brian Taylor to task and put him on the spot there & then but there was only a minute to go when the audience numbers came to light.

I hope the BBC don’t just wash over these complaints of bias and get away with it, they knew what they were doing as they always question their audience prior to the events.

Correction:
The audience voting intentions were asked at about 47 mins & can be heard in Millie’s link below
 
 
#
millie
2014-02-01 15:51

Brian’s Big Debate from Strathallan Private School was a real eye opener.- I felt quite despairing after listening to the programme. The fact that the audience of 200 had only 3 yes supporters (one of whom was a teacher) is astounding.

It is really worth a listen (particularly from the 20min mark). I think it must be the worst broadcast of Brian’s Big Debate that I have listened to. – Who on earth at the BBC thought it was a good idea to have a completely one sided audience.

I thought the BBC vetted audiences to show ‘SOME’ kind of balance. Apparently not!! Heads should roll at the BBC, – (of course they won’t!).

www.bbc.co.uk/…/b03qgnfm
 
 
#
BillCo
2014-02-01 16:53

I would recommend to those who have not already seen today’s edition of ‘Dateline London’ on the BBC News channel to watch it on iPlayer.

Gavin Esler hosted a panel comprising Polly Toynbee (Guardian), Gregg Katz (American journalist) , Mina al Oraibi (Middle East Journalist) and Agnes Poirer (French journalist).

The discussion was about the proposed joint currency and also touch on EU matters. Interestingly the tone was positive, even from Polly Toynbee – well worth ten minutes of time to watch – the item is in the first 10 minutes of the programme.
 
 
#
Barbazenzero
2014-02-01 21:19

Quoting BillCo:

Interestingly the tone was positive, even from Polly Toynbee – well worth ten minutes of time to watch



I think you forgot “except for Esler, of course

I watched it too and agree with the rest of what you say. Note that it’s about the only bit of UK political output that also gets shown on the BBC World News channel, which is why it’s shorter than the 30 minute slot – to allow for the ads on that channel.

 
 
#
BillCo
2014-02-01 22:32

I thought Esler was pretty fair overall. He didn’t constantly interrupt a la Gary Robertson or Gordon Brewer.

I take your point about the world reach of the programme.
 
 
#
Barbazenzero
2014-02-01 23:57

Overall, perhaps, once he realised he was on a loser, but what I didn’t like was his Naughtie-style introduction re Carney and the EU inviting agreement from the gathered journos.
 

 
#
Alathia
2014-02-01 17:18

One aspect which has effectively kyboshed the Unionist position is that Carney confirmed that he saw the central bank that would administer the currency union in the same mold as the ECB. i.e. fully independent and not answerable to Westminster.
 
 
#
bringiton
2014-02-01 18:52

Not too sure about that.
Didn’t Osborne pass a law saying that Westminster could take back control in the event of an “emergency”?

telegraph.co.uk/…/…
 

 
#
Claverhouse
2014-02-01 17:58

Mr Kerry launched a broad attack on “a disturbing trend in too many parts of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans”.

He should mentioned Scotland here !

He said: “The aspirations of citizens are once again being trampled beneath corrupt, oligarchic interests – (THE NO CAMPAIGN) interests that use money to stifle political opposition and dissent, to buy politicians (UNIONISTS) and media outlets (BBC), and to weaken judicial independence.”
 
 
#
cynicalHighlander
2014-02-01 22:12

Quote:

Mr Kerry launched a broad attack on “a disturbing trend in too many parts of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans”. He should mentioned Scotland here !



I agree that the hypocrisy was so evident in what he said. There are very few real democracies and the UK never has joined that minoriy club.

 

 
#
call me dave
2014-02-02 02:55

Building Security and Creating
Opportunity: Economic Policy
Choices in an Independent Scotland
November 2013

Well worth a perusal.

scotland.gov.uk/…/…
 

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