Yet again Alex Salmond shows that he's only interested in symbolism, rather than concentrating on important issues affecting Scotland's future. With Scotland facing significant issues over its health record, economy and commitment to social justice, what's putting the wind up Salmond's kilt? Yup, it's that hoary old chestnut of the future of Scottish banknotes.
I have to say, the issue of whether Scotland has its own separate banknotes is not one I am greatly bothered about. I think it's rather anachronistic that Scottish banks still feel the need to issue their own banknotes. I have to say I'm more concerned about what a tenner can buy than who issues it or what design is on it.
But what makes Salmond's diatribe yet another example of his unlimited capacity for opportunism is that the SNP also believes in getting rid of Scottish banknotes. Like me, they believe that introducing the euro would be a good idea, as this quote from their 2004 European Election manifesto makes clear:
The SNP believes that the euro offers significant economic benefits to Scotland and would be preferable to sterling...Joining the euro-zone would almost halve Scotland's interest rates, helping the average homeowner as well as boosting our economic growth.
But if we (whether that we is Scotland or the UK) joined the euro, then we'd be joining a system where the banknotes would be the same across all Eurozone countries. Scottish banks would no longer have the right to print their own banknotes - and quite right too.
However, I can't blame Salmond for taking advantage of the opportunity presented to him by Labour. You'd have thought that with Scots in charge at both No 10 and the Treasury, they would realise they might be presenting Salmond with an open goal, giving him the chance to present the evil Brown and Darling as somehow anti-Scottish.
But apparently not. In a typical Labour bureaucratic move, they look for a solution to a non-problem. Or, if there is a problem with the current system of Scottish banknotes, they should explain what that is and say how the proposed change would remedy the situation. As it is, they are left trying to defend a technical change which few people thought necessary, which has allowed a political opponent to make the running in the most shameless way. Good work, chaps.
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1 week ago