There’s been a flurry of concern online this morning over a memo, supposedly from Bill Munro of Barrhead Travel. Part of me wonders whether it really can be from him, given that it is riddled with embarrassing errors. Here’s just 6 of them:
1. He says his business wouldn’t be able to trade outside an independent Scotland for 3 years: this has absolutely no basis in reality – trading takes place between independent countries every day of the year, Scotland would be no different. Ireland (in the EU) and Norway (outside the EU) all trade with England, so too would Scotland.
2. He says Scotland would be ‘outwith the EU’ but as Charlie Jeffery, Professor at Edinburgh University says “the conclusion of almost all independent expert analysis is that Scottish EU membership would be uninterrupted”.
3. He says Scotland would have to have its own currency, but Scotland already has a currency, the £ sterling and this would continue after a Yes. As a UK Government minister told the Guardian last week, "of course there would be a currency union". As the government minister continued, "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"
4. He says Scotland has ‘joint and several liability” for the UK’s national debt, however, this has been explicitly denied by the UK government which announced to the markets earlier this year that it would retain legal responsibility for all UK debt. As the Scottish Government set out in its White Paper, Scotland would meet its fair share on the basis that assets and liabilities go together – a cost that is already factored in to Scotland’s national accounts estimates.
5. He says Scotland would immediately have to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) on the path to joining the Euro, but EU law makes it 100% explicit that joining ERM is a totally voluntary decision. His claim is contrary to the legal position set out in the treaties and secondary legislation.
6. He says the ERM requirement would result in spending cuts in Scotland, but as the EU law position already stated makes clear, this claim has no basis in fact.
Mr Munro clearly also missed the analysis by leading credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor's, in which they made clear: "Even excluding North Sea output and calculating per capita GDP only by looking at onshore income, Scotland would qualify for our highest economic assessment".
Mr Munro has previously told the Daily Record that he "would rather be referred to personally as a good solid businessman who is Conservative with a capital C…”. Perhaps he should have Checked his facts, also with a capital C.