Darling blunders in currency issue as he rules out ‘Plan B’


  By Martin Kelly
Demands by the No campaign that Alex Salmond spell out a so-called currency ‘Plan B’ have been dealt a blow after Alistair Darling appeared to rule out alternatives to a currency union.
Appearing on Reporting Scotland, the Labour MP was asked what he would prefer should Scots vote Yes in the referendum.

Responding, the Better Together head ruled out using the euro or a separate Scottish currency.  Mr Darling also warned against Scotland adopting the pound without agreement.

Dismissing the alternatives to a currency union as “rotten”, the leader of Better Together said:

“I think they’re all rotten options frankly”

Mr Darling added: “I passionately believe they are all second best options.”

Mr Darling’s comments back recent statements from First Minister Alex Salmond who this weekend said that alternatives to a currency union were “second best”.

They also echo comments from Mr Darling in an earlier BBC interview when he was asked whether a currency union would be in the interests of the rest of the UK, to which he replied “Of course”, adding that such an agreement would be “logical”.

In the interview last year, the No campaign leader also conceded that there could indeed be a currency union following independence, adding that it would be “desirable”.

The admission that he believes there is no workable Plan B will add to suspicions that No campaign demands for an alternative to a currency union be revealed by Alex Salmond, are solely a referendum tactic. 

Only yesterday Bank of England Governor Mark carney confirmed that there were contingency plans in place to deal with independence.  Mr Carney’s comments were believed to be an attempt at calming market jitters caused by the refusal of the three pro-Union parties to countenance a currency agreement.

Earlier this year the Guardian newspaper revealed that a senior UK Government minister had said there would indeed be a currency agreement if Scots vote Yes in the independence referendum.  The unnamed minister described the Labour/Tory/Lib Dem referendum alliance as a campaign tactic which would dissolve after the referendum.

Mr Darling’s interview follows a major offensive by the No campaign and allies in the media who have tried to use the issue of currency in an attempt at thwarting growing support for Yes.

Mr Darling’s full interview can be viewed here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-28797121