We watched the debate last night between First Minister Alex Salmond and Better Together head Alastair Darling. Amid the euphoria of watching Alex Salmond mop the floor with the other guy. A stuttering, bumbling back bench Labour MP and inexplicably was not so long ago actually the Chancellor of the Exchequer. A man whose grasp of the intricacies of the United Kingdom's finances, economy and money was so poor we were immediately enlightened as to why the UK is in such a mess.
Alex Salmond in last nights debate said something that upon reflection was pretty disturbing. Namely that a Yes vote in the referendum will some how give the Scottish Government a "mandate" on negotiating a currency union. Where exactly did that come from?
This referendum is to give the Scottish Government a mandate to begin negotiating the terms of Scotland's independence. The question is "Should Scotland become an independent country?" There is no mention on the ballot "and, Oh, we'll have a currency union too."
If the First Minster wants to have a "mandate" from the Scottish people on whether we want a currency union he should actually ask us which he doesn't want to do because he knows full well that the issue of what currency we may decide to use is far from a settled question. Many including the Scottish Democratic Alliance would prefer that we have our own currency and that continued use of Sterling should only be a temporary measure.
Let us put forth a more democratic option. Let this referendum decide the issue of whether Scotland should become an independent country. If the answer to that is yes, then the Scottish Government may begin the process of negotiating the specific terms of independence and one of those issues is the currency. Let the Scottish Government negotiate a formal currency union with England as their preferred option and let the SNP campaign on this as an issue. But let the Scottish Government also put forth a plan to transition to and independent currency and a plan to join the Euro and plans for any other options and then lets have a referendum on currency and decide for ourselves which currency we want. As citizens of an independent democratic state that would be our right to decide not to have decided for us by a party in a parliament.
Alex Salmond has simply confused the issue further by announcing that a yes vote is a mandate on a currency union. It isn't. Don't confuse the issues First Minister. This referendum is about deciding who decides not about what we are deciding on any particular issue.