The Poker Faces of the Three Monkeys

So George, Danny and Ed have collectively decided that in the event of Scotland saying YES on 18 September, the rest of the UK will refuse a currency union with iScotland. Hear no evil, see no evil, do no evil. That is their mantra.

As expected, the unbiased media hit the headlines with doom and gloom, willing messengers of the UK’s Treasury troika.

Even though a wealth of opinion is building up in favour of a currency union: traders, academics,commentators and even the Governor of the Bank of England believes that it is do-able if there is political will:

“Despite any differences, the close integration of the Scottish and rest of UK economies has helped ensure that their economic performance has been very similar over a long period – output growth is highly correlated

“So, theory notwithstanding, being similar doesn’t necessarily help and being different doesn’t necessarily hinder.”


But don’t despair, it’s our turn to ask the responsible questions to the rUK and make our friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances in England, Wales and Northern Ireland understand the relevance of this political position and what it will mean for them after 24 March 2016, if not before.

Start asking:

  • Are you prepared to pay more for your green electricity which Scotland provides to help the rUK meet its EU goals?
  • Do you understand how your Balance of Payments will nosedive without Scottish exports trading officially within a Sterling zone?
  • Are you prepared to pay currency exchange fees to visit your granny in Glenrothes or your sister in Sauchie?
  • Are you prepared to pay more for your mortgage because the rUK credit rating has plummeted?
  • Are you prepared to pay more in taxes now that oil and gas from the North Sea would no longer be trading in Sterling and you are receiving less income to your public coffers?
  • Perhaps you don’t mind Tory (backed by Labour and Lib Dems) austerity measures being continued for an additional 10 years until the black hole of Scotland’s total tax revenue is filled?
  • Which public services do you want cut back even more to balance your budget at a time when rUK and iScotland are in a supposed race to the bottom in lowering tax rates?

So many questions to ask the Tory, Lib Dem and Labour Party leaders. Time to pop along to your MP’s surgery or better still email them and get a quicker reply.

Be in no doubt friends across rUK, Osborne is playing poker politics – raising the odds without so much as a pair of deuces in his hand –  with your economy to frighten Scots into folding by saying No. But fear won’t work – the opinion polls are testament to that. Time to hold them to account before they damage your livelihood beyond redemption.

Jimmy Halliday’s contributions to the Cause

Jimmy Halliday – lifetime Nationalist

To put matters into context, in 1955 the SNP contested only two Parliamentary seats in Scotland. Dr Robert McIntyre fought Perth and East Perthshire and Jimmy Halliday fought Stirling and Falkirk Burghs. Jimmy then became the youngest ever SNP Chairman and served 1956-70; in 1956 the entire SNP Conference delegates were photographed on the steps of the Allan Water Hotel, Bridge of Allan.

There will be a Referendum for Scottish Independence this year, which was unthinkable in the dark days of 1955. Jimmy died on 3rd January 2013 at the age of 85, and we will be publishing all his articles in the Scots Independent, all those we have electronic input for. It is anticipated we will publish a book with all his contributions over many years but this will have to wait until after the Referendum.


“Yours for Scotland :  SI Jan 2012

A Memoir by James Halliday

Scots Independent (Newspapers) Ltd £12.49

Jim Halliday’s book is a memorable volume. It is gripping, occasionally stilted, of national significance and yet partly parochial and exuberant when his dander is up.

For some SNP members it will be an astonishingly frank account of human conflict within our party, including personality clashes, power struggles, in fighting and feuding and yet, above all, there comes a clear message that the sacred cause of independence dominates (or should dominate) everything else. There are lessons to be learned from this book.

Jimmy didn’t want to write it, but was persuaded by friends to do so. He has wide experience for the task. He was the youngest chairman of our party and other posts held include being a vice -president, convenor of the election committee and one of the original four directors when “The Scots Independent” became a limited company in 1957.  He is still chairman of the board.

The material covered begins in the 1940’s and continues to the end of what might be called Gordon Wilson’s “turbulent years”. As the blurb states, it chronicles splits and alliances during the time of the Scottish Covenant (remember that?), politics within Glasgow University student nationalist association (GUSNA) and the events surrounding the recovery of the Stone of Destiny in 1951.

There is nothing really wrong about big egos in a campaigning organisation provided a common aim and object are paramount at the end of the day. There was a time within the SNP when people took their personal causes into the life of the party and were incapable of bowing to Nationalist public opinion. Some left in a dudgeon and set up a separate party, others sniped at existing leaders. It is tragic that people as talented as Margo MacDonald and Jim Sillars became political mavericks.

Like Bannockburn, it was the efforts of the wee folk who have had an ultimately decisive influence on events, the fund raising jumble sales, raffles, political ‘rallies’ with an audience of three (the hall-keeper, the speaker and one audience member) and much canvassing of a sometimes apathetic audience and branch and constituency meeting involving office-bearers who were sometimes punch-drunk.

Jim Halliday is a true son of Scotland, a hard worker, historian, a man of tenacity and intelligence, an efficient organiser. Saddened by the lack of a ‘popular’ history of Scotland he solved the problem by writing one. He joined the SNP when he was 16 and has left his mark ever since.

Some books containing critical references to other people can be tagged “naught for your comfort”. In this book there is a great deal that is comforting. It shows that hundreds of caring people doing what they can and always within an enlightened manifesto and with a true love of country, can change governments.

Many card -carrying members in the days of human strife have lived to see what some regarded as nearly impossible, an electoral victory which put us in government.  One thinks of David Steel’s speech at his party conference: “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government” and Alex Salmond’s later speech: “Go back to your constituencies, you are the Government.”

The publisher’s end their blurb in good spirits “It is a surprisingly frank account, very insightful and with the type of shrewd and humorous comments one has associated with Jimmy Halliday over the years, a joy to read – well for some!”

Some carps: an index would have been useful and a larger type-face would have helped senior audiences and eased the shine on the paper).


Rennie McOwan