The Strategist

Independent Scotland may toss British pound away

03/17/2017 - 13:07

Independent Scotland can abandon a monetary union with the rest of the United Kingdom, said former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond.

Calum Hutchinson
Calum Hutchinson
Right-winged first Secretary of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, this week called on the British authorities to hold a second referendum on independence at the end of 2018 or early in 2019. However, Prime Minister Theresa May said that now is not the time for such a vote

Salmond, who resigned as First Minister after losing a referendum on independence in 2014, said he is open to changing his mind that a monetary union between Scotland and the rest of the UK would be the best option for independent Scotland.

He ruled out the possibility of adopting the euro, but suggested that Scotland could introduce a new currency either freely floating or tied to the pound. Another option, he said, would be to use the pound sterling until a new currency is introduced. Salmond also added that Scotland will seek to remain in the European single market after a potential referendum in 2019, although the country will have to leave the EU within Brexit.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), headed by Nicola Sturgeon, believes that now the Scots "deserve a second chance to decide whether they want to stay with Britain."

In 2014, supporters of independence and those wishing to maintain the alliance with Britain received 45% and 55% respectively.

During the local elections in May, Theresa May urged the Scots to convince SNP that there’s no need for a second referendum. However, there is a great chance that the Scottish Parliament’s demand to hold a second referendum will appear rather soon, when the British government will announce to Brussels about the official activation of the 50th article of the Lisbon Treaty.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has the right to reject such a request, but this could lead to a constitutional crisis, the Times said. Opinion polls show that the Scots now rather agree with Theresa May, and the activation of Article 50 will be the last reason for calling a referendum.

However, members of the British Parliament believe that risking the future of the country, allowing a referendum, is also not worth it. "Are you ready to decide the fate of the United Kingdom by throwing a coin?" - said one of the parliamentarians, who asked to remain anonymous.

Independent Scotland is likely to face more serious problems, in particular, the need to finance closure of oil fields in the North Sea, which will require about £ 24 billion. However, on the eve of negotiations with the EU, Therese May certainly wants to keep the "united front", will be ready to make a number of concessions for Scotland. In particular, it is possible to discuss preservation of a single market for goods and services between Scotland and the European Union, as the SNP insists.

In addition to Scotland, political problems arose in Northern Ireland. After scandalous resignation of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, the ruling coalition split up, and extraordinary elections for the National Assembly were scheduled for March 2.

Pressure in this region will only increase, given that the land border between Britain and the EU will pass just between the two Ireland. Both sides do not want to introduce the border control and divide the region, but it is not yet clear how the import and export of goods will be controlled if the current situation is maintained. 


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