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Thu Jan 28, 2021, 01:07 PM

Johnson Says an Independent Scotland Would Risk Losing the Pound

Boris Johnson went to Scotland to try to demonstrate the benefits of the U.K. he leads, as a powerful alliance of four nations working together to defeat the pandemic. Instead, he found himself getting dragged deeper into an argument over whether Scotland should be allowed to hold another referendum on independence, just seven years after it last voted on the issue.

The British prime minister has rejected calls for a new vote and insisted that even pro-independence campaigners, including Scotland’s leader Nicola Sturgeon, agreed at the time that the 2014 plebiscite was a once-in-a-generation event. But he then went further than before in discussing what any future referendum would need to consider, including the future of the currency.

“We don’t actually know what that referendum would set out to achieve,” Johnson said in a pooled interview. “We don’t know what would happen to the army, we don’t know what would happen to the crown, the pound, the Foreign Office.”

Johnson’s bigger point was that by working together the four nations of the U.K. can pool resources and combat the pandemic.

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Reply Johnson Says an Independent Scotland Would Risk Losing the Pound (Original post)
left-of-center2012 Jan 2021 OP
exboyfil Jan 2021 #1
OnDoutside Jan 2021 #3
exboyfil Jan 2021 #5
T_i_B Jan 2021 #8
Denzil_DC Jan 2021 #9
OnDoutside Jan 2021 #11
left-of-center2012 Jan 2021 #4
SharonClark Jan 2021 #2
Dawson Leery Jan 2021 #6
left-of-center2012 Jan 2021 #7
Denzil_DC Jan 2021 #10

Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 01:11 PM

1. And that is a problem?

So who gets the national debt if Scotland and Northern Ireland depart?

What is the likelihood of Wales also departing? I haven't heard much about them.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 01:14 PM

3. Scotland would join the Euro.

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Response to OnDoutside (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 01:17 PM

5. That was my point

I think Scotland and Northern Ireland would be smart to join the cool kids. I think those in England are out of their minds.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 03:18 PM

8. I don't think the vast majority of English politicians have any understanding of Scotland

What plays well in Frinton-on-Sea won't play well in Falkirk. Neither Labour or the Tories seem to have any understanding of this. The Johnson administration seems especially tone deaf on this point.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 04:15 PM

9. That's for sure, T_i_B.

Today's footage of Johnson in Scotland was galling. Seeing him disrupting these essential workplaces with a vanity visit was the worst sort of pointless pandering. And then there was what he said ...

That aside, one thing Johnson, Rees-Mogg, Gove, most of the Tories and too many of Labour and the Lib Dems don't seem to be able to grasp is that we in Scotland can watch proceedings in Parliament. We can see the arrogant disdain and insults and non-answers and jibes that are directed towards our MPs (and not infrequently at those in Scotland as a whole).

It seems impossible for them to understand that whenever they insult and talk down to our elected representatives, they do the same to us. How thin-skinned we must be to take that personally.

Combined with the ridiculous secrecy around the ineffective and too often belated Westminster COVID response and the stubborn resistance over the past year to working with the devolved administrations to counter it, it should be no surprise that many yearn for a better way.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 06:02 PM

11. They don't have an understanding of themselves.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 01:17 PM

4. The Welsh independence movement lags far behind the Scottish version.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 01:11 PM

2. And yet he supported brexit and didn't know

what that action would do either.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 01:48 PM

6. Euro Pound

Last edited Thu Jan 28, 2021, 09:22 PM - Edit history (1)

Euro > Pound

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Response to Dawson Leery (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 02:38 PM

7. "Euro Pound" ?

What is a 'Euro Pound' ?

The official currency of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is the pound sterling (£).

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Thu Jan 28, 2021, 04:55 PM

10. "even pro-independence campaigners, including Scotland's leader Nicola Sturgeon, agreed at the time

that the 2014 plebiscite was a once-in-a-generation event".

I don't know often Johnson's going to be allowed to spout this falsehood before some plucky interviewer finally nails him and embarrasses him enough that he abandons the lie.

In the Foreword to the Scottish Government's White Paper produced before the referendum (yes, a bona fide White Paper was produced, which is more than can be said for preparations for the Brexit referendum; had Johnson bothered to read it, he'd see that many of the issues he raised today were addressed), Salmond described the referendum as a "rare and precious moment in the history of Scotland - a once in a generation opportunity to chart a better way" (my italics). He also said in a few interviews words to the effect "in my view this is a once in a generation, perhaps even a once in a lifetime opportunity". Sturgeon is also on record in one interview as describing it as the "opportunity of a lifetime".

We haven't got far to look to see Johnson using the same form of words, back to the 2019 election, in fact, where no less that the Express reported his statement: "This is a critical once-in-a-generation election. I think this is one of the most important in modern times. On this election, the direction of the country depends."

He didn't even describe it as an "opportunity". He baldly declared it a "once-in-a-generation election". Even given Johnson's tendency towards megalomania, nobody seriously interpreted that as meaning we'd literally have no more elections for a generation, however long that might be. It was a rhetorical expression to emphasize how momentous it was, exactly like Salmond's and Sturgeon's.

Whatever, the post-referendum Smith Commission report that presented the results of thrashing out a constitutional way forward for relations between Scotland and the rest of the UK emphasized: "nothing in this report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future should the people of Scotland so choose", and all parties signed up to that.

In the end, it doesn't matter what Salmond and Sturgeon said. Their words can no more bind the hands of a future Scottish Parliament than Johnson's can the Westminster one, let alone dictate to the population of Scotland what they can wish for and vote for.

As Salmond said in 2014: "the only circumstances in which you could have another referendum would be if you got an extra mandate at a subsequent general election". In 2019, the SNP won 49 out of 59 seats (one was won by a member who'd been sanctioned at the time and ran as and independent, but he's since rejoined the party). As polling currently stands, it looks like the SNP will win a majority in the spring Holyrood elections, and a run of 20 recent polls shows a resounding majority in favour of a referendum.

Maggie Thatcher in her time said: "As a nation, they have an undoubted right to national self-determination; thus far they have exercised that right by joining and remaining in the Union. Should they determine on independence no English party or politician would stand in their way, however much we might regret their departure."

I doubt these are words Johnson will ever quote.

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