by Colin Campbell
LAST week we wrote about the terrifying prospect of the SNP/nationalists prevailing and Scotland becoming an independent country without the shred of an economic plan to put into effect if that happened. More than six years after the last independence referendum a host of questions remain unanswered. And foremost among them is the most fundamental of all – what currency would an independent Scotland use? According to opinion polls, there is growing support for independence, nudging over the 50 per cent mark, when the SNP are unable to say what money would be used to buy basic foodstuffs, or to pay mortgages, or to pay pensions, alongside everything else. The only conclusion to be drawn, at this stage at least, is that a significant number of people don’t care about currency or future economic prospects for an independent Scotland, but are prepared to follow Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP potentially into a bankrupt wilderness, on the basis: “Just trust us, we’ll sort it all out when we’re independent.” Even more alarmingly, a survey by the These Islands organisation recently found that some independence supporters are baffled by the currency issue in its entirety, believing that Scotland already has its own independent currency, in the form of banknotes issued by Bank of Scotland and the RBS. A couple of days after the article was published the following note appeared from a correspondent.
I HAD a room that urgently needed wallpapering due to a very unfortunate ink spillage and wanting to keep the costs down I put a posting on social media to get someone to do it. Within a few minutes I got a reply and we arranged for the guy to come round in a couple of days time.
His rate was £15 an hour which I thought was quite steep but as long as he could knock it off quite quickly I reckoned the total would be reasonable. I said I’d stay around to help in any way I could, and we’d maintain social distancing. The problem was, and this began right away, he was a talker. Now I don’t mind a bit of chat here and there but when you’re paying someone by the hour you want them to hammer on with the job. But boy, could this fella talk.
And it was all on the same subject – the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon and independence, none of which I’m at all partial too. But I didn’t want to fall out with him, so I could hardly tell him to shut up.
“Nicola, isn’t she terrific. What a fantastic job she’s doing with the virus. And look at the vaccine rollout. Boris the buffoon and his Eton toff pals are miles behind. When I take a break is it ok if watch I her BBC show today on your TV?”
I said I’d really like to get the work done, so if he didn’t mind missing it just this once…
He got down to the job but the rattling chatter continued unabated.
“And we’re going to have a referendum this year, sod Boris and his section bloody 30. We’re going to have it anyway. And if the yoonyunists boycott it that’s their problem. The result stands. And if it’s a pro-independence majority, argument over, job done. We’re out of the bloody yoonyun, their precious bloody yoonyun. And there’s no way anyone’s going to stop us.”
By this time I was getting annoyed, but said nothing. I was more concerned about getting the room done. The wallpaper was going up reasonably ok, but one strip was askew and I asked him to re-hang it. “Looks alright to me,” he said. But I prevailed on him to maybe just have another go at it. There were also ripples appearing in one corner where the wallpaper didn’t seem to be fully attached. I pointed this out. “It’ll be fine in a day or two,” he said, rather dismissively.
“Have you made your mind up yet?” he asked me rather directly and unexpectedly after yet another independence tirade. I have, but I thought it best to say I was undecided. “Well you should,” he said, a bit too snappily. “We’re getting our country back. I’ve no time for fake Scots, fence-sitters, fearties. We want freedom!”
Then, God help me, he started quoting passages from the Treaty of Union.
At this point I could stay silent no longer. I said hesitantly that there did seem to be a bit of a problem over currency, and moments later wished I hadn’t.
“Currency! Project Fear, Project bloody b*****cks! Don’t tell me we can’t have our own currency, we’ve got it already! What do we get out of the bank every day? Scottish currency, that’s what!” By this time he was slapping the paste on to the paper so hard I thought it might rip. He continued, his voice rising. “And don’t tell me we can’t print bits of paper as our own money. Think we’re too wee, too poor, too stupit to do that? Print paper?”
Then he grabbed a roll of wallpaper and brandished it aloft. “See this,” he said. “It’s wallpaper. Look, a printed pattern on one side, not one I’d have chosen but that’s up to you. If we can print wallpaper with a pattern on it don’t tell me we can’t print paper with banknotes on it.” He pulled down a two yard strip. “Look, wallpaper pattern printed, Scottish banknotes printed, same thing. How many banknotes do you think could be printed from this roll of wallpaper alone? If it wasn’t wallpaper it could be banknotes, thousands! That’s currency!”
Pausing for breath, he then exhaled, more calmly. “Anyway, as Nicola said, any price is worth paying as far as I’m concerned to get those bloody English off our backs. And stuff their precious yoonyun.”
To say I was annoyed by this time would be a serious understatement. Then, just as he was finishing off the last strip, it struck me. I knew there was an old Monopoly box in the back off a pile of stuff in a cupboard under the stairs. I slipped away and found it. We hadn’t used that much-loved gameboard for years.
“Ok, so eight hours, more or less (It wasn’t, it was a good deal less, and what particularly annoyed me was he included in the eight hours the time he’d spent sitting watching Nicola Sturgeon’s broadcast on TV) so we’ll call it a hundred and twenty for cash,” he said.
Now I’m not a trickster by nature, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, that’s always been my motto. And I have friends who support the SNP but don’t make a song and dance about it, and we get along fine. But this situation was different. In my left pocket I had the £120 in notes and in my right pocket I had a bundle of Monopoly money. So I took out the Monopoly money and slowly started counting it out into his outretched hand, note by note, glancing at him as I was doing so. He was frowning. When I finished he looked puzzled and a bit suspicious. “These notes,” he said. “They don’t look quite right to me.”
But I was ready for that. “Oh yes, they’re the real deal,” I said. “And make no mistake about that. They’re the new Scottish currency for independence, some of the first new notes printed. There’s not many in circulation at the moment, but I got them from the Scottish Investment Bank that Nicola set up. You must have heard of that.”
His face brightened for the first time that day, into a broad grin. “Really? These are the notes for our new currency? Well I’ll be damned. They’re the first I’ve seen.” He held one up against the light. “I’d hoped Nicola’s face would be on them, but they’ll probably get round to that. Better than the Queen on these English notes from the bloody yoonyun.”
“Well,” I said, “cash is cash and it’s all spending money.”
“Spend them,” he said. “I’m going to frame them! The first notes of our new independent currency. Well I’ll be damned!”
He gathered his stuff together and headed for the door. The room at least had a bright, fresh new look to it, but I felt quite drained.
“And remember – time to make your mind up. Let’s get out of this corrupt, stinking yoonyun with these bloody English telling us what to do. We want our country back,” he yelled over his shoulder as he went down the garden path.
Editor’s note: As this was submitted anonymously, we have no way of knowing whether or not it’s true, but it certainly has a distinct ring of truth to us. And if not, the SNP nationalists produce a blizzard of lies, falsehoods and deceptions on a daily basis. And at certain times, if required, we have no hesitation whatsoever about sinking down into the gutter alongside them.