Salmond Defends Scotland Independence Plan
First Minister Alex Salmond is delivering a major speech to a business audience in Aberdeen outlining a point-by-point deconstruction of George Osborne's speech on Scotland's currency.
In a keynote address to a Business for Scotland audience, the First Minister is pointing out that not only was Mr Osborne's speech last week misinformed, it has also rebounded badly on the No campaign.
During a whistle-stop trip to Edinburgh, Mr Osborne†had declared: "If Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the UK pound."
Before giving his speech, Mr Salmond said: "The reality is the pound is as much Scotland's as the rest of the UK.
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"By suggesting otherwise, the Westminster establishment - Tories, Labour and Lib Dems - are reaping a backlash from the ordinary people of Scotland, who feel this is an attempt to bully Scotland ahead of the democratic choice we all look forward to this September.
"[On Monday] I will be deconstructing the Chancellor's ill-thought out and misinformed intervention point by point, making clear why a currency union not only favours Scotland but is in the clear economic interests of the UK as well.
"For example, the Chancellor will have to explain exactly why he favours imposing almost £500m worth of higher transaction costs on UK businesses instead of entering a perfectly feasible Sterling Area with the rest of the UK's second-biggest trading partner.
"The Scottish Government has welcomed the recent acknowledgement by the Treasury that it will remain legally liable for all debt issued by the UK Government up to the point of independence, and we will continue to take the fair and reasonable position that an independent Scotland should finance a fair share of that.
"However, the Chancellor will have to wake up to the fact that he cannot lay claim to assets to which Scotland has a share - such as the Bank of England and the pound - and still expect an independent Scotland to meet a share of UK liabilities.
"These are just two examples of undemocratic and self-defeating positions being put forward by a Westminster establishment that continues to say whatever campaign rhetoric suits their cause before the referendum and highlights why they will smartly change their tune after it."
Mr Salmond is also facing renewed attack on the Scottish Government's hope to achieve smooth transition to full EU statehood.
Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the EU's ruling body, the European Commission, said Scottish membership would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible".†
He said: "We have seen Spain has been opposing even the recognition of Kosovo, for instance.
"So it is to some extent a similar case because it's a new country and so I believe it's going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, a new member state coming out of one of our countries getting the agreement of the others."
But Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon labelled the comments "preposterous" and said the comparison with Kosovo was "ridiculous".
"Scotland is already in the EU and has been for 40 years," she said.
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