Scottish independence: No campaign 'playing with fire' says Salmond

Alex Salmond Alex Salmond has been under pressure from opponents to set out a currency "Plan B"

Campaigners for the Union are "playing with fire" by attempting to block a currency deal, Alex Salmond has said.

In a Sunday Herald article, he wrote that his opponents could not stop an independent Scotland using the pound.

The tactic would prove "dangerous" for the the pro-Union campaign, the first minister added.

Meanwhile the Better Together campaign claimed that using the pound without a currency union would mean job losses and and public spending cuts.

The leaders of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties at Westminster have ruled out sharing the pound in a formal currency union if voters back Scottish independence in September's referendum.

However, Scottish ministers have maintained that such a deal would be in the best interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK, as recommended by a fiscal working group set up by the Scottish government.

'No sense'

"There is literally nothing anyone can do to stop an independent Scotland using sterling, which is an internationally tradable currency," Mr Salmond wrote.

He continued: "As such, the No campaign's tactic of saying no to a currency union makes absolutely no economic sense.

"But it also makes no political sense, and is a tactic that is a deeply dangerous one for them.

"They are playing with fire, and they risk neglecting a cardinal rule of political campaigning, namely not learning your lesson from past mistakes."

Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling Alex Salmond and Better Togther leader Alistair Darling clashed over currency in an STV debate last week

The first minister argued that voters had seen a speech by George Osborne in Edinburgh in February in which the Chancellor said independence would mean walking away from the pound as a "bullying diktat from Westminster" which in fact benefitted the Yes campaign.

"If the No campaign think that spending the rest of this campaign telling ordinary people in Scotland that they have zero entitlement to a currency that is already theirs and which they can't be stopped from using in any case, they will pay a heavy price," Mr Salmond wrote.

'Disaster'

Meanwhile, the Better Together campaign argued that using the pound without a currency union - so-called "sterlingisation" - had been rejected by the Scottish government's own fiscal working group.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said: "It may make Alex Salmond feel all puffed up to say it, but 'it's our pound and we are keeping it' is not an answer.

"If he is hinting that we will use the pound the way that Panama uses the dollar, then it shows that he is prepared to take us all to the brink just so that he can win. For all of us, the Panama plan would be a disaster.

"If we follow Alex Salmond down this road we would see massive cuts to our schools and hospitals.

"We would see our financial services industry, which employs thousands of people, desert Scotland.

"Far from being an end to austerity, Alex Salmond's Panama plan would just make things worse for all of us.

"All of this is a risk we don't need to take. We can say 'No Thanks' in September and get the progress that we want, while avoiding the risks that we don't."

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  70.  
    07:48: Today's outlook BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    A few showers around at first today, especially in the west. They will tend to die away during the morning, increasingly becoming confined to the north west, leaving plenty of bright weather with spells of sunshine. Cloud will start to increase in the west later this afternoon with rain for the far west by dusk. The Northern Isles will see some heavy showers this morning, with hail and thunder dying away this afternoon. Feeling cold in the wind, maximum six to eight Celsius.

     
  71.  
    @bbcscotlandnews 07:34: Sturgeon - your views Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    It's been a busy first 100 days in office for Nicola Sturgeon, with the NHS, childcare and talk of a possible post-election deal with Labour taking up most of the headlines.

    But what do you think of Ms Sturgeon's leadership so far?

    Tell us via Twitter @bbcscotlandnews or email us here.

     
  72.  
    07:28: 'More to do'

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is proud of her achievements in office but admits there is "much more to do" as she marks her first 100 days as Scotland's leader.

    Ms Sturgeon will mark the anniversary with a visit to a pharmaceutical company in Irvine, North Ayrshire, where she will announce an initiative to encourage young women to take up modern apprenticeships.

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy said the first minister's report card would read "must do better, particularly on the NHS".

    Ms Sturgeon became Scotland's first female leader in November, when she succeeded Alex Salmond.

     
  73.  
    07:21: Gone but not dejected

    Ronny Deila's dejection at exiting the Europa League was tempered by pride in his Celtic players as they ran Inter Milan close in the 1-0 San Siro defeat.

    The Celtic manager was unhappy at the first-half red card shown to Virgil van Dijk and felt Slovakian referee Ivan Kruzliak "had a bad day at work".

    Celtic

    "It's a very disappointed gang of players in the dressing room," said the Norwegian after the 4-3 aggregate loss.

    "I feel very sorry for them but I'm very proud of them."Ronny Deila's dejection at exiting the Europa League was tempered by pride in his Celtic players as they ran Inter Milan close in the 1-0 San Siro defeat.

     
  74.  
    07:12: Coming up... BBC Radio Scotland

    Coming up on Good Morning Scotland before 08:50:

    • The naming of "Jihadi John"
    • Lloyds TSB results
    • Does the UK need an ambassador to the Arctic?

    Listen live here.

     
  75.  
    07:02: Free school meal? Yes please... Jamie McIvor BBC Scotland education correspondent

    About three quarters of children in the early years of primary school are now taking school dinners, according to figures seen by BBC Scotland.

    School dinners

    Since January, all children in Primaries 1, 2 and 3 have been entitled to a free school lunch.

    As expected, in most places the number of children eating a school meal has increased significantly.

    But some councils are disappointed the rise has not been greater.

     
  76.  
    @bbcscotlandnews 07:00: Welcome Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and a warm welcome to BBC Scotland Live.

    We're here with all the latest news, sport, weather and travel till 19:00.

    Keep in touch throughout the day - tweet us your comments and pics @bbcscotlandnews or email newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk.

     

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