Former Labour First Minister criticises party’s currency threat


  By a Newsnet reporter 
Former First Minister Henry McLeish has condemned Labour’s threat to try and stop Scotland using the pound following a Yes vote as a “serious miscalculation”, and an attempt “to thwart the settled will of the Scottish people”.
Speaking in the Scotland on Sunday, Mr McLeish said that the suggestion that Labour would follow a Yes vote by going into the 2015 election telling Scotland it couldn’t have a currency union “can only be perceived as yet another threat…”

The intervention of the respected former Labour First Minister follows a visit by party leader Ed Miliband on Friday where he announced Labour’s intention to join with the Conservatives and Lib Dems in order to block a currency union.

However the stance by the Labour leader was slammed by Mr McLeish who warned that it, “may go down badly with Scotland who want an argument and want to look at the substance, but don’t want to be irritated or annoyed in this way”.
Mr McLeish added: “It is a general election next year, are we really suggesting to Scots than in the event of a Yes vote that we will, with the Lib Dems and Conservatives, put up a blocking piece of legislation to thwart the settled will of the Scottish people?”.
The comments coincided with an article by the First Minister who writing in the Sunday Herald warned Labour that their “hasty gambit” will “look less like a cunning electoral plan and more like an self-inflicted double whammy”.

Alex Salmond warned all three London parties that they would pay a heavy price for attempting to blackmail Scots into voting No in September.
Commenting on the intervention of Mr McLeish, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford said:
“On the one hand the No campaign tries to claim the UK is a partnership, but on the other they say Scotland has no right to joint assets or any say over what will happen.
“The people of Scotland who are about to exercise their democratic right to determine their country’s future will not take kindly to being talked down to by the Westminster establishment.
“The reality is an independent Scotland will keep the pound, which is as much our pound as the rest of the UK’s.”

Last week, pressed in a radio interview, Mr Miliband admitted that the pound was not the property of any one of the constituent parts of the UK, but belonged to all.
Mr Crawford added: “When Ed Miliband has accepted that the pound doesn’t belong to England, but is as much Scotland’s as it is the rest of the UK’s, it is utterly reckless of Labour and the other Westminster parties to tell the people of Scotland that following a Yes vote they would deny the settled will of the Scottish people.
“As the Survation poll this week showed, even those who have yet to be persuaded of independence want to see an independent Scotland continue to use the pound as part of a currency union because they know it is our currency.”