The First Minister has publicly admitted that she and her colleagues at the SNP / Yes campaign got their economic policy badly wrong during the independence referendum. The position, which advocated sharing the UK currency while leaving the UK, would have meant that the UK central bank – the Bank of England – would have had control over an independent Scotland’s monetary policy and retained some influence over fiscal policy.
OK, so the First Minister did not make this speech today admitting they got it wrong; but she might as well have.
Talking about the European Union, the supra-national organisation that the SNP is completely committed to, she said:
“It’s clear that being a member of the EU has its benefits, but with any institution improvements can be made.
“If we are to influence positive change in Europe, we must remain within the EU – only that guarantees a role in the EU decision-making processes on issues that affect our everyday lives.”
So if the only way to influence the EU’s decision-making processes is to stay in the EU as that is the only way that we can “guarantee a role in the EU decision-making process processes…” why is the situation with the UK central bank any different?
In effect, she is saying that had we taken the watered-down, halfway house that independence while remaining in an economic union would have represented, we would have forfeited our ability to influence decision-making processes. Yet we still would have been subject to those decisions; they still would have had a huge bearing on our everyday lives.
It goes to show that by the time IndyRef 2 comes along, the economic contradiction championed by the Yes side will have to be re-examined. They won 45% of the vote by promising ‘independence’ with the economic security of remaining part of the UK economic union. Obviously, such a position would now be counter to the First Minister’s beliefs.
So will Yes2 have the courage of its convictions and go for full independence? If they do, is it any more likely to achieve the 50.01% that they need?