I UNDERSTAND we all have to pay our bills, but your headline “Wellbeing case puts Scottish independence vote at 61%, bombshell poll finds” tells us it is not all about money. If independence is only about how quickly we start using the Scottish pound, can there be anyone with an intelligence quotient of 75+ who thinks that being tied to the UK Government’s financial strategy is a good idea?

In 2009, independence-supporting actor David Hayman played the part of a former rock star in an episode of Lewis. At the end of the episode, there was a scene outdoors of a pond of brown water which contained a large macerator – huge blades which chop through the water and break the surface like the fins of sharks. Inevitably, someone falls in to the grim pool and has to be rescued.

Watching our First Minister unveiling a paper on possible plans for Scotland’s first steps into independence finance, that scene came to mind. A huge pool of news correspondence, the knives of the macerator and Nicola offering a detailed analysis and questions proving that some did not listen – others interpretations of statements went wide of the mark while some journalists seemed to have a remit from Tory Party headquarters.

In 2019, at the SNP conference in Edinburgh, the Scottish Currency Group put forward an amendment to the Growth Commission proposals. I and the majority voted that a new Scottish currency should be introduced as soon as is possible after independence. That is what Nicola set out.

She added that all these things have to go through many processes and negotiations but she knows as well as anyone that the transition time has to be short because only when we have our systems can we actually be independent.

Now is the time to debate our future. Papers are being published on all aspects of Scottish life. Surely there is no one who could believe we are doing all this work to make us worse off? If you think living in the UK is the best living in the world, just what places have you seen?

Nicola is also playing a much more subtle political game than anyone from the economic club could. She – as anyone with any sense must gather – knows when we go to the polls we need as many current Unionists to support independence as possible and these people will be living with us after independence.

She has been very careful about the monarchy, spoken of her feelings about being Scottish and British and she made plain that the Common Travel Area remains because we have and will always be linked to our closest physical neighbours.

As for keeping the pound “saftly, saftly, catchee monkey” – I would go straight to the Euro, but that would frighten the horses. However, did you notice that 19 member states of the EU, Montenegro, Kosovo, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Saint Barthélemy, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Andorra, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, the British overseas territories of Akotiri and Dhekelia, and others use the Euro – they all run their own economies. Why so hung up over the pound for a short while?

Physical ties are one thing but the psyche in the way we think in Scotland has been generated from a different history from that of the people of England. This is not all about money, at least not for me. This is about us being Scottish as the French are French, the Italians are Italian. Unlike Nicola, I have no truck with being British. Having to stick a GB (now UK) sticker on my car to drive in Europe is very displeasing to me. Ecosse, a Saltire and an EU flag – that’s me.

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Richard Murphy weighed in to this debate and said he would vote No on the economic plan as set out. I do agree with him about the Scottish Currency Group’s proposals but there will be a transition time as there was over the EU. The trick will be to be as strict as Michel Barnier over the negotiation timetables, which can begin as soon as we vote Yes next October.

If there were anything I would argue with Nicola about, it would be about GERS and the rUK being the continuing state, taking all the assets and all the debt. Nicola said she felt it morally right that we as a new nation take on a proportion of the debt – well, if that is the case, we sure as heck better keep a good chunk of assets because they want the UN Security Council seat and frankly I think this is a place we could easily be ripped off again.

It is simply daft to think that Scotland has not got the brains to sort out a central bank and a new name for the money. However, we know that “it is NOT the economy, stupid”. The wellbeing case puts the Scottish independence vote at 61% – it is not a financial thing, it is a passion thing.

Being in Scotland is good; being in independent Scotland is better.

Cher Bonfis

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