ANENT reports that Nicola Sturgeon is lost in “currency chaos”, I can assure you that the reality is both clear and simple.

During the period prior to Independence Day, Scotland will establish the Reserve Bank of Scotland and will prepare for the introduction of the Scots Pound (S£) as soon as practicable after independence. The Reserve Bank will create the new currency, mostly in digital form, and will use it to purchase our existing Sterling on an entirely voluntary basis. Based on BoE data for M3 (broad money) and assuming we hold eight per cent of the total, then people, companies, councils, etc in Scotland could hold around £140 billion. If folk are canny, then maybe only half that would be exchanged so assume £70 billion.

This is exchanged one to one and there is a period of maybe one month for people to make exchanges at this rate. After the exchange period the S£ will float freely and the rate against Sterling will vary. I do not recommend any peg for at least a couple of years until the markets have become used to the new currency. Pegging simply risks profiteering by speculators and wasting our reserves, plus removes the benefits of using exchange rate changes to cushion eg oil price fluctuations.

It is crucial to realise that it is a currency exchange process, just the same as getting euro for a holiday, so our existing Sterling does not vanish but ends up as the property of the Reserve Bank. So Unionist rants about Scotland having no reserves are baseless, as we would have far more reserves than needed.

In fact the S£ would start life as the only currency in the world backed one-to-one by foreign reserves, ie our £70bn Sterling. By contrast the Bank of England net foreign reserves are about US$44bn, or about two cents in the pound. Similar sized countries such as Denmark and Finland have Foreign Reserves of about €10bn each. So the Reserve Bank could keep maybe £10bn and turn the remaining £60bn into a first payment into the Oil Fund. Of course we would not keep the money as Sterling, but would sell 95 per cent of it to get euro, dollars, yen and gold.

People will of course find that they will need some S£ as after the exchange period all official payments will be made or accepted only in S£.

Given the enormous foreign reserves that would be held by the Reserve Bank and the fact that Scotland has a break-even or slight surplus balance of payments, combined with the enormous rUK balance of payments deficit (and Brexit damage) then I am as confident as it is currently possible to be that far from plunging in value, the S£ would in reality tend to rise relative to Sterling. Once that became apparent I would expect those who had initially declined to exchange their Sterling would soon decide to do so.
Dr Tim Rideout

THE reason that the SNP took 56 of the 59 Scottish seats at the last General Election was the independence referendum. That vote represented growing support for independence. That support should have been built on by a continuous campaign for independence from that point. That would in no way have prevented us dealing with all the current and topical issues that government has to deal with. But it would have kept our activists and our huge new membership fully engaged.

Our enemies know only too well that they have to attack independence on a continuous basis. Are we missing something? When our opposition shouted “You only want another independence referendum” we should have replied “Correct!”

Why are we only fighting campaigns on battlefields that are very convenient to our enemies?
Dave McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll


Unionists still seem divided as Kezia exits stage left

JUST watched the official launch of the SNP-inspired Labour manifesto in Bradford. Personally I agreed with many of Jeremy’s points. I thought Jeremy Corbyn came over very well. With the no SNP presence in England I do hope they begin to be more effective against Tory dominance south of the Border.

However, what caught my eye was Kezia’s performance. She was sitting quite prominently on stage right, the seat no doubt reserved for the person in charge of the sub-office, quietly clapping when appropriate. At the end of the manifesto launch she appeared to be invited on the stage for a photo opportunity with Jeremy by Sarah Champion, the shadow secretary for women and inequalities. Jeremy also turned around and ushered her to join him. Now on the main stage an uncomfortable looking Kezia instead made a quick stage left exit! Now what will be interesting is if the media comment on this or if it’s quietly swept under the carpet.

The ongoing difficulties between Kezia and her leader don’t appear to be abating, that’s for sure!
Robin Maclean
Fort Augustus

HOW can Labour be trusted?

Having gone on record to say that Scots had a right to hold another referendum on independence, Jeremy Corbyn has now U-turned in Labour’s manifesto to claim the vote is “unwarranted and unnecessary”; clearly he has experienced a spectacular “Damascene” moment.

It seems that while Corbyn disagrees with the EU and would Brexit to leave it — although he allegedly “campaigned” to Remain — he refuses to apply the same standard for Scots who wish to leave the UK Union. How can anyone with such double standards be trusted?

Doesn’t it seem that Corbyn has fallen under the spell of the increasingly irrelevant Kezia Dugdale, whose anti-referendum obsession is clearly driven by the loss of Labour voters to the Tories and others. Perhaps her real problem is why Labour voters should vote for her version of the Tory anti-independence diatribe when they can vote for the real Tory deal itself.

Isn’t it the utmost hypocrisy for Corbyn to support self-determination for Hamas, yet deny the very same to we Scots?

Doesn’t this demonstrate that election manifestos have more to do with placating as many groups of the electorate in order to harvest their votes, at the expense of fundamental principles, of which the right to self-determination has to be prime?

I just wonder whether Jeremy Corbyn, and Labour generally, would welcome anyone dictating to them how to manage their own family affairs. Why should we Scots not have the same autonomy to determine for ourselves how we want our affairs to be managed?
Jim Taylor

I HAVE just read the actual Labour manifesto (Labour beef up their manifesto promise to oppose ScotRef, The National, May 16). Although they will campaign tirelessly to ensure Scotland remains part of the UK, their other commitments are a bit vague.

A Labour government will “seek to” put powers returned from the EU as close to communities as possible — as opposed to the Tories who will “look to”.

Scotland will receive a huge funding increase from Labour policies — the cost of which will no doubt will be added to the GERS deficit. Massive numbers of Scots will benefit from Labour plans in areas reserved to Westminster — so Westminster still knows best.

Establishing a Scottish Investment Bank, with £20 billion of funds available to local projects and Scotland’s small businesses, creating work and stimulating the economy — investing in Scotland but not trusting the Scottish Government to do it.

They will set up an inquiry into blacklisting and urge the Scottish Government to set up one on police conduct during the miners’ strike — still on the books although Labour were in power for 13 years.
John Jamieson
South Queensferry

IT will be interesting to see if any parties in the current General Election discourse are prepared to say what I suspect they believe, that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a national security threat.
Bill Ramsay
Convener, SNP CND