By Martin Kelly
One of the leading advisors to the Better Together campaign has admitted that advice published by the UK Government which it claims supports a decision to block a currency union with an independent Scotland, might be wrong.
Professor Jim Gallagher, who is opposed to independence and has been recruited by the No campaign as a special advisor, made the admission when appearing in front of the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee.

Asked about the advice given to UK Chancellor George Osborne by the Treasury’s top civil servant Sir Nicholas MacPherson, and whether it was impartial, the academic said:

“I think the advice met the standards of the civil service code, it was based on evidence and it was objective,”

However Professor Gallagher then appeared to question the validity of Sir Nicholas’s advice, adding: “it might be right, it might be wrong,”

The SNP has today said the comment from the Better Together member is evidence of splits in the No campaign which it says further discredits the anti-independence currency bluff.  It follows recent revelations that an unnamed coalition minister had admitted a currency union will be agreed and that opposition voiced by Chancellor George Osborne and his Labour counterpart Ed Balls was merely a campaign tactic.

According to a recent Survation poll the currency threats issued by Mr Osborne has resulted in 79% per cent of people being more likely to either back a Yes vote or make no difference at all to how they plan to vote in the referendum.

Commenting, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson, who is also convener of Holyrood’s finance committee, said:

“The fact that a senior adviser to the No campaign is suggesting that the Treasury advice could well be wrong underlines the extent to which the bluff and bluster on the pound is devoid of any credibility.

“This follows the revelation that the Treasury has no documentation explaining how or when the currency bluff was arrived at.  Professor Gallagher has previously undermined the No campaign’s more lurid claims, and is crystal clear that the UK Government Minister was right when he said ‘of course’ there will be a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

Professor Gallagher has also previously backed the idea of a currency union saying it would make “a lot of sense” and that there was “no doubt that these islands, particularly the island of Britain, are an optimum currency union”.

The academic was unveiled as a Better Together adviser at the beginning of the year but has made a series of gaffes.  On the EU, it emerged he had previously written that in the event of an independence it was “pretty likely” that Scotland would become an EU state after an “accelerated set of accession negotiations”.

Mr Gibson added: “As recent polling by Survation has shown there is strong evidence that the people of Scotland have seen right through the currency bluff.

“The currency confession from a UK minister that ‘of course’ there would be a shared sterling area between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK reflects the reality – and that is what most people now know.

“There is no question that the currency bluff has backfired, and is one of the factors dismantling the relentlessly negative No camp’s arguments and building into the case for a Yes vote.”

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, a Better Together spokesperson said: “A currency union would not happen.  It has been ruled out by the Prime Minister, Chancellor, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, shadow Chancellor and the Permanent Secretary at the Treasury.  Just this week a new poll showed that people in the rest of the UK are overwhelmingly against it.”


2014-04-13 14:33

Well I never, another scare story blown out of the water with their own torpedo.
2014-04-13 16:43

YES, don’t you just hate those torpedoes which malfunction due that nasty, nasty YES virus, known as the TRUTH BUG, which all too often makes those lovely, so well constructed NO Torps slow down, begin a long turn and start heading back from whence they came i.e. to the righteous ones who fired it for everyones benefit including those wrong headed idiots in the YES Camp!!??

One can only conclude these YES Types are in league with a certain Mr Beelzebub! On the other hand……….maybe they are right!? Nightmare!

2014-04-13 17:19


STV web site ‘Whisky exports rise’

BBC Scotland web site ‘Whisky exports stagnate’

There’s nothing like a bit of negative spin.
call me dave
2014-04-13 19:18

Ha Ha! I noticed that one too, but par for the course.

Y’know I think the better together team must have a secret yesser carving boomerangs for them to throw at the YES campaign. They start off looking great but…well y’know what I mean. Mr D Fraser take note.

Mind you they did say that they were turning down the heat on the ‘project fear’ till after the EU elections.

‘Labour for independence’ out at my local shopping centre in Glenrothes with their brilliant new leaflet. Well received by the locals, a few with quizzical looks but it will make some take stock.

All bubbling along nicely!

2014-04-13 17:35

it’s not just the currency bluff, its all their bluffs which don’t stack up.

2014-04-13 19:05

Hmmmm. Anybody else feeling like a YES passenger? Time marches on, Better Together fire of a salvo of nonsense, the media pump it to the max, then it falls to pieces under scrutiny, but the retraction/denial is lost in the small print.
Meanwhile, another week passes, and the gift wrapped YES package is still sitting on the shelf waiting for the right moment to be unwrapped.
The YES message has to start setting the agenda and making the headlines. When was the last time you heard the case for independence set out before the people? The essence of a YES vote is so very much richer and fuller than merely some lame unionist claptrap being debunked.
Who else remembers dear Margo demolishing the negative nonsense on Newsnight with a sarcastic quip about the sky falling in when we vote YES? Sadly Margo isn’t here now, but YES must cut through the guff and get people hearing our agenda, not some bufty’s agenda from Whitehall.
2014-04-13 19:54


Door to door work/chatting to friends/family/work colleagues is what is required. Not everyone sits in front of a TV watching news or buys a paper to read. Get out and speak to the electorate. That way it can remedy the media deficit the Yes side can publish a news article every 2 minutes but may never be reported. The No camp rely on the media helping them, they don’t have the activists that the Yes side have.

I shall be back out tomorrow.

call me dave
2014-04-14 15:07

When NO doesn’t mean NO… Déjà vu all over again. Well it’s Monday!

According to the Herald newspaper, Mr Hammond said in an interview ahead of the speech that, in the event of a “Yes” vote: “You can’t go into any negotiation with things that are non-negotiable”.

‘Nothing non-negotiable’

So I take it CU is a goer then!…/…

You must be logged-in in order to post a comment.