In an interview with Bloomberg Television on Tuesday evening, on the eve of the Commonwealth Games, First Minister Alex Salmond made a stunning admission – if Chancellor George Osborne doesn’t agree to let an independent Scotland use the pound, Scotland would simply walk away from its £130billion share of the UK debt.
“We’re keeping the sterling, ”Salmond said defiantly. “Why talk about plans B, C, D, E, and F, when plan A is the best option?”
The currency union is one of the key issues fuelling the two camps in an increasingly bitter race, along with jobs, the economy, savings and the oil and gas rights.
Chancellor Osborne claims, “Salmond’s passion for independence has blinded him to the risks and our economic security hangs on the answers. The Scottish government still can’t answer basic economic questions about their plan for a separate Scotland.”
Osborne highlights that Salmond’s economic plans-on-the-back-of-a-napkin rely on, “a source of revenue that is volatile and declining,” as confirmed a fortnight ago by the neutral Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to downgrade its long-term North Sea oil tax projections by a massive £21 billion.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Research Society, a group opposed to independence, says:
“Salmond simply cannot cherry-pick which bits of the UK he wants and turn his back on the bits that are hard work or aren’t convenient to him. The louder he stomps his feet and says he wants something like a petulant child just damages his credibility as a leader. He can’t keep the pound just because he says he wants to – it’s simply not his decision alone to make. Plus debt is everyone’s responsibility. No one likes it, but it has to be dealt with. Running away from it doesn’t make it cease to exist. Only in a child’s make-believe world would that be the solution. It’s time that Salmond stopped looking through rose-tinted glasses and deal truthfully with the key issues. Intelligent voters want intelligent answers based on the truth.”