By Martin Kelly
A UK Government Minister described by a leading newspaper as being ‘at the heart of the No campaign’ has admitted that there will be a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK.
According to the Guardian, the minister told the paper: “Of course there would be a currency union”, before adding: “Saying no to a currency union is obviously a vital part of the no campaign. But everything would change in the negotiations if there were a Yes vote.”

The news has been seized on by the SNP with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon a “boost to the Yes campaign” and evidence that of a growing crisis which is engulfing the No campaign.

Writing in the Guardian, the paper’s chief political correspondent Nicholas Watt says:

“The private admission comes amid increasing jitters at Westminster, after opinion polls showed an increase in support for independence despite the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all arguing that Scotland could not keep the pound after a yes vote.”

Mr Watt claimed the minister would play “a central role in the negotiations”, should Scots vote Yes in the independence referendum.

The unnamed minister is said to have told the journalist; “There would be a highly complex set of negotiations after a yes vote, with many moving pieces. The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union – you can see the outlines of a deal.”

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland on Saturday, the journalist told presenter Isabel Fraser that following lengthy negotiations there would be a currency union but that Westminster would try to use the leverage of currency in order to delay the removal of Trident from the Clyde.

“…for example, the United Kingdom wants to keep its nuclear bases in Faslane for some time way into the future, that would be a significant demand by the UK Government.” he said.

The reports come at the end of a week which has seen Yes gaining further momentum in opinion polls – leading to crisis talks between senior figures in the No camp and splits developing as senior figures including former Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott voice discontent about the scaremongering and negativity of the No campaign.

On Friday Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie told the BBC that a Yes vote in September’s referendum was a “distinct possibility”.  Mr Rennie’s predecessor Tavish Scott is also reported to have criticised the leader of the No campaign, saying Alistair Darling lacks appeal to most of the electorate.

The Labour MP himself has courted criticism after making confused statements over a currency union.  In 2013 the former Chancellor said a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK would be in the interests of both sides, describing it as “logical”, he later tried to deny making the statement.

The new comments from the unnamed UK Minister follow a series of polls showing support for Yes increasing.  A recent Panelbase poll commissioned by Newsnet Scotland put the gap between Yes and No at just five points.  A poll-of-polls has shown that the gap between Yes and No has halved since November last year.

Commenting on the new developments, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“This was supposed to be the No campaign’s trump card, but as the polls show it has backfired badly – the gap between Yes and No has halved since November, and most Scots simply do not believe the bluff and bluster we had from George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander.

“Now that the card has been withdrawn, it gives an even bigger boost to the Yes campaign. And it can only add to the sense of crisis which is engulfing the No campaign.

“The reality is that a currency union is every bit as much in the interests of the rest of the UK as an independent Scotland, and that is why Westminster will agree to one. Scotland is the rest of the UK’s second biggest trading partner, and not sharing sterling would cost businesses south of the border an extra £500 million in transaction costs.”

Last week a world renowned economist savaged the UK Government’s threats over currency, describing them as illogical and based on a “lurid collage of fact, conjecture and fantasy”.

Professor Leslie Young, of Cheung Kong School of Business in Beijing, said of advice given to UK Chancellor George Osborne by senior Treasury official Sir Nicholas Macpherson:

“There may be good reasons for the UK to reject a currency union with an independent Scotland, but none can be found in the Treasury letter. Yet, that letter is the key justification for the stance of the UK Government.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “Only a few days ago, international expert Professor Leslie Young, of Cheung Kong School of Business in Beijing, described the UK Government’s opposition to a currency union as ‘entirely a false argument’ based on ‘weasel words’ – following his detailed analysis which picks apart the UK Government’s arguments ‘paragraph by paragraph’.

“The leader of the No campaign, Alistair Darling, said that a shared sterling area between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK is ‘desirable’ and ‘logical’ – and now the UK Government appears to have u-turned and actually agrees with that sensible position.”



2014-03-29 10:31

Well that didn’t take long did it?

And no doubt the scaremongering will just keep on coming – backed by a compliant MSM.

Nigel Mace
2014-03-29 10:49

This ‘leak’ looks like an attempt at mischief making by the Government/’No’ faction.

The suggestion is that they’d get a ‘deal’ with Alex Salmond – curency union ‘granted’ for Trident ‘saved’.

They obviously do not know Alex Salmond who loathes the whole existence of nuclear weapons in Scotland with every fibre of his being, just as do the vast majority of the Scottish electorate. There will be no ‘deal’ to ‘save’ their ghastly Trident or its nuclear base and stores – AND there is no need for us to ‘deal’; the pressures are overwhelmingly on Osborne/Balls/Alexander to reach a currency union for fear of our obvious ‘Plan B’ – leaving them, minus our oil and gas with all THEIR debt and a severely damaged rating when they need yet more excessive borrowing to fund it. That is why they are in an increasing panic. We – not they – hold the cards.
Leader of the Pack
2014-03-29 11:03

I hope this is not an indication of the perceived level of negotiation the No campaign believe they will participate in? The currency union is not a bargaining chip because its worth exactly the same to both parties. To try and pretend they can use it as leverage is as ridiculous as trying to pretend they wont be forced by circumstance to agree to keep the currency union anyway.
It certainly cant be compared to the absolute demand of the removal to Trident which has been established by the Scottish Government as NON negotiable. Somebody in Westminster is desperately putting out pre negotiation feelers as the jitters over the result increases. They know for a fact that they will have to share all the assets or be left with all the debt. They don’t have any where near the level of leverage they like to pretend they have.
2014-03-29 11:18

It’s a big flagship scarey story too.

Mr Osbourne, the Grand Old Duke of York Westminster has marched his troops to the top of the hill and now has to about face and march them all back down again. There will be a currency union, just as Mr Salmond said.

Question now is whether we want one, which is a yes, for mutual stability, but my personal preference is our own currency, but quickly and quietly when all the dust has settled.
2014-03-29 20:29

And now Nick Clegg is getting all positive and thrilling about the Union:…/…
2014-03-29 23:41

Amen Breeks. On the nail as usual.

2014-03-29 11:23

If that ahem Minister thinks the price Scotland will be willing to pay for monetary union is the retention of Trident in Faslane, he is delusional, they cannot imagine we would sell out on removing nuclear weapons for the privilege of saving Sterling from going into freefall should we create a new currency,
Apart from which keeping the weapons in Scotland would be breach of the non proliferation treaty, I for one would be up in arms should that be mooted in the negotiations.
call me dave
2014-03-29 11:34

GMS BBC today.

Guardian reporter speaks to E. Fraser. 1min in to start.…/

[Admin – The full interview is already embedded in the article above.]

Oh sorry Ed! 🙁
2014-03-29 11:56

The knives are out for Alistair Darling. The No campaign is falling a part.
Dundonian West
2014-03-29 12:06

Our very own Danny Alexander and his Cabinet colleague George Osborne hurriedly issued a rebuttal of this Guardian report at breakfast time today–BBC Radio 4 news.
“There will be no Currency Union”,echoing the words of the Labour Party.
I sense panic on the good ship Betttogether Tory,Labour,Lib  Dem.
2014-03-29 12:22

I think there is something strange about this. They know that without a currency Union they loose Scotland’s balance of payments keeping Sterling afloat, they know that they get saddled with the debt so all the talk by Alexander and that ilk is nonsense. However they must also know that independent Scots will not, under any circumstances, agree to keeping Trident.
Either they are just so desperate to keep the hydrogen bombs away from England they will risk financial meltdown in the hope they can bribe us to keep them or they just don’t understand the depth of feeling about those obscenities in our waters or they are up to perfidy.
Can’t work out which though.
2014-03-29 12:44

Interesting though this “leak” is, I suspect may be an attempt to distract attention from the forthcoming Euro elections in particular and the reducing likelihood of London Labour regaining power in Westminster, making even Devo Nano unlikely.

The Euro elections will occupy the MSM from now until polling itself exactly a week before the official referendum “campaign period” starts, guaranteeing a little less partiality from the broadcasters.

Meanwhile, the latest GB-wide YouGov polls show:
Euro – Lab 28%, UKIP 26%, Con 24%, LD 11%, Grn 7%
Westminster – Lab 36%, Con 35%, UKIP 11%, LD 10%

With those levels now, we’re going to be hearing a lot more re UKIP until then and once the Euros are over Con will be winning back UKIP support and moving ahead of Lab, with serious prospect of Lab changing leaders by their conference.

All of the above will be dire for No Better Together’s chances.
2014-03-29 13:00

No such thing as an accidental or private leak at that level of government. Public negotiation from the government which wanted no prior negotiation?

Certainly wheels within wheels. 🙂
2014-03-29 13:02

Of course they’re running around now like headless chickens trying to deny, deny, deny. Alas, the genie’s out the bottle and it won’t go back in.
From The Suburbs
2014-03-29 13:09

Britain to have worst 2014 trade deficit in industrial world on EU forecasts…/…

Britain’s yawning current account deficit hit its second widest level on record in the fourth quarter of 2013, official figures showed , as overall growth for 2013 was also revised down.
The current account deficit, which measures trade, was £22.4bn – or 5.4pc – of gross domestic product (GDP) in the final three months of last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The UK needs Scotland’s vast exports and trade surplus to shore up its horrendous balance of trade deficit. That’s another reason why there will be a currency union.
2014-03-29 13:22

Perhaps some of the next YES billboards should simply have the headline:

UK Government Minister’s private admission:

“Of course there will be a currency union”

This is their #1 scare story holed below the waterline!

Maybe it is the start of a deliberate change of strategy, after backfiring badly.

After all, would the rest of the UK really damage their own economy, and let Scotland off with a huge chunk of debt?

Everyone knows it’s nonsense, so the logical conclusion is that if they are lying about that, then how can we trust them on anything ??
2014-03-29 16:40

What a disastrous fortnight for BT and we still have The SNP Conference to come where we can look forward to some great speeches amply fuelled by the ammunition provided by BT.
2014-03-29 17:30

What has happened to Derek Bateman? – I cannot access his blog.
2014-03-29 17:57

Quoting gus1940:

What has happened to Derek Bateman? – I cannot access his blog.

Go to; and don’t forget to put it in your favourites, or like me you will be pulling your hair out:-)

2014-03-29 18:12

Hi, this seems to be his current blog ref, so could try this –

2014-03-29 18:09

I made donations to several Indy projects last night.I tried to give some to the officialYES campaign,but gave up after several attempts.
2014-03-29 18:21

The unknown minister said, ‘Of course there will be a currency union if Scotland votes for independence.’ What’s to negotiate, then? It seems the rest of the UK will see the error of their ways and roll over and agree to a currency union in the full knowledge that it would ruin a large number of companies in rUK who do good business with Scotland.
There would be no need, therefore, to negotiate away the expulsion of nuclear weapons from our land and waters. I watch these sinister monsters travelling up and down the Clyde from my home in North Ayrshire and their riddance to me cannot come soon enough. Their removal is not negotiable.
2014-03-29 19:27

The only minister in the current Westminster administration who is economically literate is Vince Cable.
The rest practice various forms of Voodoo economics as enounced by Regan and Thatcher.
So,my money would definitely be on him.
2014-03-29 19:37

Derek Bateman is spot on topic with this at…/…

One additional wrinkle not mentioned there, though, is that the UK coalition may be starting to panic that the English electorate really believe no means no on this and with polling swinging to Yes their hands in negotiations may be increasingly tied by all the “Angry of Tunbridge Wells” posters on every MSM blog demanding a EWNI referendum before even considering “sharing” the GBP.

Describing it now as, say, “difficult but not impossible” might give them a little wriggle room post-Yes. The “leak” could be dipping in a finger to test the temperature of the EWNI electorate.
2014-03-29 20:23

A modest example of the sort of post I mean:

16. GasconCoo
If I was in a business with 3 other partners and I left to go it alone, would it be reasonable to expect them to allow me to carry on using their company over-draft facility at the bank? No, it wouldn’t.
Salmond wants to keep Sterling and the BoE as lender of last resort because he knows the alternantives aren’t viable. Bit of a u-turn from a party who claimed Sterling was a dying currency…..

This example is an “Editors’ Pick” with 145 + votes on the BBC’s Chancellor George Osborne denies currency deal claim see…/…

This, of course, is the kind of (usually) English poster who will be vehemently expecting Scotland to pay a share of UK debt.
2014-03-29 23:13

These type of comments won’t matter come September 18th. They merely reflect the opinions of people taken in by the media’s distortion of reality.

Professor John Robertson said something quite profound about mind control. It doesn’t work in a oppressive society because everybody knows their media is lying to them, and shouldn’t be trusted. To be effective, mind control needs the population to be trusting, and believe what it is told by their media.

The people making these hostile comments are more to be pitied than blamed. They have been told what to think and now think it. They are not seeing the scare stories debunked like we are. They are swallowing the propaganda chapter and verse.

2014-03-30 05:33

Still can’t get Derek’s site ‘502 Bad Gateway’ again.
2014-03-30 13:43

Quoting gus1940:

Still can’t get Derek’s site ‘502 Bad Gateway’ again.

I posted the exact site details for you earlier on in the thread…………..Here it is again;


2014-03-29 19:50

At the Scottish Lib Dem conference Willie Rennie was asked about the Lib Dem minister’s comments. I expected him to say there is no evidence it was a Lib Dem. He let it go so it could well be Cable, or a slip of the tongue from the interviewer – though strange then that Rennie didn’t correct him! Better be careful on this,it could be some kind of ploy.
2014-03-29 20:19

I will be happy to forego a currency union in order to get rid of Trident. I suspect I am not alone.
2014-03-30 08:28

If Alistair Darling is on the way out as leader of Better Together, and he won’t be publicly demoted, probably promoted to a ‘strategic’ role, who is going to take over from him? I’m betting on Head Prefect Douglas Alexander with his bright-eyed, bushy-tailed approach, and Teddy Taylor-esque commonsense frankness. Are the bookies open yet?
Dundonian West
2014-03-30 10:33

“The story also quoted a Treasury source claiming Better Together chair Alistair Darling and Downing Street’s Scotland adviser Andrew Dunlop had pushed the Treasury into a flat refusal on a currency union to help the No campaign.” !
Quote from the Sunday Herald-on-line article on the senior Westminster unauthorised briefing to the Guardian re currency union post-independence.

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