Blair v Blair on currency: Yes or No – You Decide

Yes chief executive Blair Jenkins and No director Blair McDougall go head to head on Scotland's currency.
Yes chief executive Blair Jenkins and No director Blair McDougall go head to head on Scotland's currency.

In addition to the First Minister and Prime Minister, this week the Gazette asked the campaign leaders for their views on the independence debate’s big questions.

Yes campaign chief executive Blair Jenkins and No campaign director Blair McDougall didn’t pull their punches.

And they were only too happy to round-up our independence debate coverage by sharing their views with readers.

In the first of five questions, the two Blairs go toe to toe on Scotland’s currency.

Question: Will the pound remain as Scotland’s currency? And what impact/benefits would independence have on the economy in Scotland, taking into account oil, tourism, banking and food/whisky industry?

Blair Jenkins, Yes campaign: Even David Cameron has accepted Scotland could be another successful independent country like Switzerland, Finland and Norway.

After all, we’re among the twenty wealthiest countries per head of population on earth according to Financial Times analysis – ahead of France, Italy and the UK.

And with economic policies designed for Scotland we can build a more prosperous country, creating more and better jobs.

Scotland will still use the pound after independence and can’t be stopped, as the No campaign has admitted. The Scottish Government has put forward reasonable proposals for a formal currency union.

And we can be confident of agreement after a senior UK Minister revealed to the Guardian newspaper that “of course there will be a currency union....Saying no to a currency union is obviously a vital part of the no campaign. But everything would change in the negotiations if there were a yes vote.”

With Yes we can boost tourism with a cut to air passenger taxes, use our new international profile to increase exports of food and drink, provide the stable regulation of oil that the industry needs, while an integrated market means financial services will continue to thrive.

Blair McDougall, No campaign: If we walk away from the UK then we walk away from the pound.

Losing the pound would mean higher cost of living for people across Clydesdale with higher mortgage repayments, higher credit card and store card bills and more costly car loans.

This is because a separate Scotland would start out as a separate state with no credit history. We vote on Thursday yet we have no idea what currency we would use. Alex Salmond can’t tell us what money our wages, pensions or benefits would be paid in or what currency would we use to pay for our NHS.

We all know that oil has been great for Scotland but we also know it won’t pay for everything. In fact, respected oil expert Sir Ian Wood was forced to intervene in the debate because the Nationalists have overestimated oil reserves by up to 60 per cent.

Businesses across Scotland benefit from access to a home market of 63 million UK wide, not just 5 million in Scotland. Around one million Scottish jobs depend on us being part of the UK.

When change is coming anyway, where is the sense in putting jobs at risk by cutting ourselves off from the UK?

Look out for the remainder of the questions answered by the two Blairs every hour, on the hour, until 8pm tonight.