Welsh Inferiority Complex Writ Large

Scotland independence referendum: Carwyn Jones threatens to veto Alex Salmond’s hope of a currency union

Wales’ First Minister insisted he would ‘firmly’ say no to any currency proposal in his strongest intervention yet in independence debate


Carwyn Jones has made his most forceful intervention yet into the debate on Scottish independence – insisting he would veto any attempt to set up a currency union after a Yes vote.

The First Minister said Scotland “cannot expect to share in the institutions of the Union” if it chooses to leave the UK in the poll next month and that he would “firmly” say no to any currency proposal.

Mr Jones re-entered the debate after months of rows over whether a UK Government would strike a deal over a currency union in the event of a Yes vote, with the leadership of all three main parties at Westminster saying they wouldn’t enter a union with an independent Scotland.

The Welsh First Minister’s intervention builds on a speech he made in Edinburgh last year in which he issued a passionate plea for Scotland ‘not to forget its Welsh friends’ as independence poll looms

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Polling has also suggested that the people of Wales are largely hoping that the Scots vote to stay in the union when they go to the polls on Thursday, September 18.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has also come under increasing pressure to explain any back-up “Plan B” he has if the UK Government did not agree to a currency union, which analysts concluded contributed to an unexpected win to Alistair Darling in the first of two televised debates.

Writing for the Scottish Daily Record website, Bridgend AM Carwyn Jones said: “You won’t be surprised to know I don’t want Scotland to leave our community – I don’t want Scotland to leave the UK .

“If that is what Scots want to do I will respect it. Wales and ­Scotland will remain friends. But if Scotland decides it does not want to share in our union, then Scotland cannot expect to share in the institutions of the Union.

“I would strongly oppose the idea of a currency union with an independent Scotland because I believe it would be bad for Wales and the rest of the UK. If you remember the banking crash, what we needed was swift decisions to stop our economy from going under. We had that speed and ­sureness because we pool ­sovereignty.

“There didn’t need to be a meeting of Welsh, Scottish, English and Northern Irish ministers to thrash out a strategy. We had one Chancellor of the Exchequer – who happened to be a Scot – who could act in all our interests.”

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Scotland independence: As historic vote draws near – so do the questions for Wales

Mr Jones’ suggestion he would have a veto over an arrangement over the currency has been called into question, with Professor James Mitchell of Edinburgh University saying in reality Wales had no constitutional role over the decision and had been largely ignored in the debate – suggesting it was “not serious politics”.

His calls for a redrawn funding formula based on need, which could see Scotland lose out on £4bn of its budget, has also drawn criticism from the SNP.

However Mr Jones forcefully reiterated his belief that a currency union with an independent Scotland would not be in Wales’ best interests in the event of any future financial crises.

He added: “As Welsh First Minister I do not see why in similar circumstances I would have to wait around for the finance ­secretary of what would then be another country to make up his or her mind while the economy of Wales was in peril. I would firmly say no to such an arrangement.

“What we have built together is truly unique – the most successful partnership of nations in the world. I hope Scotland remains with the rest of us on these islands. I hope you vote to stay.”

It came as Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb was in Edinburgh campaigning for Scotland to remain a part of the Union.

He said: “The United Kingdom has always been a community of distinct people groups, shaped by powerful geographic, economic and cultural forces down through the ages. Indeed, the UK’s Celtic nations own the very idea of Britain as much as the English do. A Britain without Scotland would be a hollowed-out concept.”

“As someone who cherishes both my Welsh and Scottish heritage, my appeal to my own Scottish family and friends is to keep faith in Britain. The United Kingdom allows our passionate sense of nationhood to be expressed inside the most successful political and economic union the world has known. The idea of Britain belongs to us.”

But SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said: “Carwyn Jones isn’t in a position to block anything and Westminster can’t stop Scotland using the pound.

“A currency union following a Yes vote – as recommended by the Fiscal Commission – is best for Scotland and for the rest of the UK. Given that Carwyn Jones wants to cut Scotland’s budget by £4bn a year, I don’t think many people in Scotland will be impressed by his views.”