• Jim Manclark

Majority of Scot's want a new currency on Independence

Date 18/11/20

Campaign for a Clean Scottish Currency Group

Recent Poll on the Currency Question.

In discussions with the Scottish Independence Foundation (SIF) recently, Dr Tim Rideout and I pressed the SIF board to take action to try to get a higher profile for the currency issue. One idea the SIF board came up with was to commission a question on one of James Kelly’s polls and we agreed with this and Tim wrote the question which was as follows:

“The SNP’s policy is that if Scotland becomes independent, a new Scottish currency would be introduced, as soon as practicable, after Independence Day, to ensure that Scotland has control over its own monetary and fiscal policy, and interest rates. To what extent do you agree, or disagree with this policy?”

The outcome of this poll, which was not reported in any detail in the media, was of great significance:

Taking into account that currency was a central issue in the final days of the 2014 referendum, and was the major cause why the yes campaign was unsuccessful in that referendum, the fact that currency has not been discussed in any detail in the Yes Movement in the campaign for a second referendum is hard to understand. I was keen to know if it was lack of interest among the electorate:

Well, this poll answers that question, it is very clear from this poll that the public want to have a say in this issue and that they have a very strong preference for Scotland to set up its own currency and to do this “as soon as practicable”.

Now this is true for the SNP supporters who supported this by 87% and it is true for the Yes supporters from the 2014 referendum who supported it by 86% which we might perhaps expect. However it is also true for 50% of Labour voters and for 43% of Lib/Dems. Now that is interesting. Indeed a clear 59% of all voters agree with this resolution from the SNP before there has been any real debate on this issue.

These are staggering figures. This is only one poll, so we must not read too much into it, but it shows that the Scottish electorate are way ahead of the politicians on this issue. They understand that if you are going to have independence you need to have control of your own currency. Indeed looking ahead to the next referendum the figure was 89% for this approach.

One thing that this poll shows us without a doubt is that those of us who want to win independence at the next referendum need to make it clear, and confidently explain, that Scotland could, and should, set up its own Central Bank, and issue its own currency without delay once we have voted for political independence.

This poll gives further encouragement to our view that all economists and groups who are campaigning on this in the Yes Camp should unite round this simple message that Scotland must set up its own central bank, its own currency and should do this without delay.

If we do this we can play a leading and a positive role in the referendum campaign.

Once we win the referendum, there will be a lot more work for us to do in presenting a case to the politicians about the nature of the currency, about the banking reforms needed, about the regulations and institutions needed to make our Scottish system work effectively and efficiently to ensure that our economy and community are best served.

There will of course be differing views and opinions on this in Scotland, as indeed there are in every society, but these issues can be dealt with by debate and discussion within the Scottish parliamentary system and hopefully resolved in a friendly and democratic way to meet the needs of the Scottish people and not to comply with the vested interests of people from outwith Scotland.

While writing I would draw your attention to the fact that our basic course on currency and economics has now been changed over to on-line sessions and we are now taking details of people who want to take part in these courses. There are 5 sessions lasting 90 minutes with one session per week over a 5 week period.

We have also started the advanced course on-line for those who have done the basic course and would like to look further into these subjects. If you would like to apply for one of these let me know and we will try and fit you into a group.

Andy Anderson, Campaign for a Clean Scottish Currency.