31 March 2014

Not Vince, surely?

The Guardian’s chief political correspondent, Nicholas Watt, had a scoop last week when he reported on 29 March:
A currency union will eventually be agreed between an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK to ensure fiscal and economic stability on both sides of the border, according to a government minister at the heart of the pro-union campaign.
… "Of course there would be a currency union," the minister told the Guardian in remarks that will serve as a major boost to the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, who accused the UK's three main political parties of "bluff, bluster and bullying" after they all rejected a currency union. The minister, who would play a central role in the negotiations over the breakup of the UK if there were a yes vote, added: "There would be a highly complex set of negotiations after a yes vote, with many moving pieces. The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union – you can see the outlines of a deal."
It seemed odd to me that, although in extremis almost everything is negotiable, the two issues highlighted in the article, the pound and nuclear weapons, were ones which both sides have taken such hard lines on. However, the commentariat seemed more interested in who the minister might be, with Benedict Brogan in his Morning Briefing email on 31 March pointing the finger very directly:
Whodunnit? There's a mole hunt underway in response to the Saturday Guardian's comments from a Cabinet minister that an independent Scotland would be able to keep the pound; on Today, Alistair Darling insisted that "The only way a currency union can work is if you have a single government". The name doing the rounds - and few will be surprised by this - is Vince Cable.
Watt appeared as one of the three bright young things on BBC1’s Sunday Politics on 30 March, though his comments during their ‘week ahead’ chatter with Andrew Neil at the end of the show seemed to be concentrating on an article in that day’s Observer by a clever old thing, Andrew Rawnsley. Of course, “the minister told the Guardian” not the Observer, so any resemblance to something posted about here over three years ago would be quite false.

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