IT’S a striking fact about anti-independence scare stories that no matter how often you put a metaphorical stake through their hearts, expose them to direct sunlight and turn them into dust or soak them in the holy water of reality, they keep on living their undead lives and exerting their malign influence on the Scottish body politic as the suck the lifeblood from serious and grown up debate.

Rather like Michael Forsyth.

As someone who lived in Spain for a decade and a half, who is fluent in Spanish and who follows Spanish politics closely, I spent an inordinate amount of time during the 2014 independence referendum giving cogent and fact-based reasons why Madrid wouldn’t veto Scottish membership of the EU. None of these reasons made it into mainstream media discourse.

None of them were aired on the BBC. None had exposure in those Scottish newspapers which were thrilled to be able to give front page headlines to quotes from marginal figures on the far right of Spanish politics.

After the referendum, I continued to make the arguments, again to little effect. The Scottish media would rather trade in innuendo and fact-free scare stories than listen to someone who knew what he was talking about. Even now, all these years later – long after the Spanish government itself has confirmed what those of us who understand Spanish politics have known all along, that Madrid would not veto the EU membership of an independent Scotland – you’ll still find opponents of independence claiming that Scotland couldn’t join the EU because Spain would veto it.

And so it also goes with the tall tale that an independent Scotland which joined the EU would be forced to accept the Euro. This is the myth that will not die, no matter how often independence supporters hit it over the head with a large heavy object and bury it in the House of Commons (which is, as we have all learned by now, is where politics goes to die). The reason it keeps coming back like the next edition of the Twilight saga is because the anti-independence parties and their supporters have a vested interest in feeding it the blood of media exposure.

Opponents of independence would like us to believe that joining the euro is both a legal obligation and something which is enforced with draconian punishments for those who do not comply. They want you to think it’s being like conscripted into a particularly nasty army. One day you get your call up papers and before you know it you’re being shouted at by a sadistic sergeant major about exchange rate mechanisms and interest rates.

In fact, joining the euro is a multi-stage process. Members of the EU sign up to the process, but they are under no compulsion at all about when to take the requisite steps to complete the various stages. Neither does the EU have any mechanisms to compel member states to do so – nor does it have any intention of introducing any. As the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said in 2017: “I have no intention of forcing countries to join the euro if they are not willing or not able to do so.” This is borne out in practice.

In 2010, the then Czech prime minister Petr Nečas said that his country could not be forced to give up the use of the koruna, pointing out that“We have a de facto opt out”.

The de facto opt out he referred to was the decision when to join the ERM-2 exchange rate mechanism.

It is entirely up to the Czech government to decide when the time is right for it to join ERM-2, which is a precondition of introducing the euro as the national currency. The Czech government under Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, which was elected in December 2017, has stated that it has no intention of joining the ERM-2 within its term in office.

The Czech government has “signed up to the euro”, but in practice it will not join the eurozone until such time as the Czech government decides to do so. It feels, in the words of Theresa May, that now is not the time. There is no reason whatsoever why the Czech government, or any other EU member, can decide that the time is never, which as we all know is what Theresa May thinks is the right time for another Scottish independence referendum.

For Scotland, there is an additional entirely voluntary step which is conveniently overlooked by opponents of independence who relish in telling us about all the nasty things which will befall us if we dare to escape from the clowns who are imposing Brexit on us. Before a country can join the euro, it must first be a member of the ERM-2 for a number of years, and as we’ve seen the EU has no means of compelling a member state to comply. However before a member state can join the ERM-2, it must first have a currency of its own.

The EU doesn’t have any means of compelling Scotland to adopt its own currency and give up the use of the pound sterling, and has no timetable which it can impose on Scotland to do so. Scotland will move to its own currency when it suits Scotland, no one else.

The real reason that we keep having to argue about the euro is because the anti-independence parties are bereft of positive arguments. All they have left are scare stories and threats. Opponents of independence need to make out that an independent Scotland would be pauperised, powerless, and friendless because they have to come up with something which is a whole lot worse than having Scotland’s future decided by the British nationalist permausterity ideologues of the Conservative party who have their eyes on succeeding Theresa May. They need something worse than the reality of a Scotland within the UK which is sidelined, ignored, and marginalised.

Since what we face here and now as a part of the UK is so horrendous, it’s easy to understand why opponents of independence have to resort to such hyperbole in order to come up with a scare story that’s more frightening than the sentence, “And now an announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.”

Once they have come up with a scare story that has gained some traction, they’re deeply reluctant to let it go no matter how often it gets debunked.

It is a symptom of the poverty of their arguments.