I've been getting increasingly worried about Alex Salmond. As the arguments over whether Scotland will be in the EU, or the Sterling Zone, or they'll still be allowed to join the Cub Scouts continue, he's looking more and more like a fretful, oversized Kevin Spacey. It's not good news for Kevin Spacey, either. If people see Alex S on telly and think "Our Kevin's let himself go", the offers are gonna dry up.
So, in the interests of Scotland and Kevin Spacey, I'd like, if I can, to propose a way that Scotland can maintain a strong currency - whether that's its own denomination - the Groat, or Bawbie or what have you - or the adoption, without currency union, of Sterling. It's based on simple observation and economics.
Now, I've noticed that, when snacks and drinks are placed on railway trolleys, they appreciate markedly in price. Wine in the shop is six or seven or so quid a bottle. But on a train, a tiny miniature of the same stuff is about a fiver. Likewise a can of lager can go from about a quid, to more like three or four. Experts from the Bank of England are still trying to understand what happens to a bag of crisps to add two quid to its value when it passes through the electronic doors of a Meridian at Bedford station, but it's beyond them.
But it's a godsend for our Alex. The day before Independence, he needs to route a load of empty trains down to Newcastle, carrying all of Scotland's Sterling assets. He nips into the nearest cash & carry, buys every pack of Pringles he can see, and heads back to Waverley station. The next morning he announces that the Bannock, the new official Scottish currency, is backed up by the train loads of Pringles.
The Scottish currency immediately appreciates. No danger of a sudden run on the Groat. Not with all those high-denomination potato-based snacks in a siding in Edinburgh.
Obviously, the danger with this tack is that the Bawbie becomes so strong that there is a run on Sterling or the Euro. Bad news for Scotland, who still need strong trading partners. But the remedy is at hand! They just have to run a train south, sell some Pringles via a market stall, the Groat depreciates, and balance is restored to the international money markets.
I offer this suggestion for what it's worth. Which, at the latest exchange rate, is about six packs of Pringles.