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back to article Tick-tock, Jock: Dock schlock for mock-stock in ad-hoc shop squawk

As the great and the ghastly of Britain's political class row over which currency Scotland will use if it splits from the kingdom, one firm has proposed a way to settle the argument. Secondhand electronics trader CeX will, from 13 May, turn one of its shops in Scotland into a "pound-free zone" for three days – and instead accept …

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Facepalm

UK Chancellor George Osborne doesn't want iScotland to use the pound

Er.. monetary union, surely?

George hasn't a say in who actually uses sterling.

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Re: UK Chancellor George Osborne doesn't want iScotland to use the pound

Coz we need a banana republic

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Re: UK Chancellor George Osborne doesn't want iScotland to use the pound

Of course, anyone is free to use Sterling, they just don't have a say in monetary policy. Plenty of small countries have hitched their local currency to a bigger player e.g. Alderney Pound.

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Re: UK Chancellor George Osborne doesn't want iScotland to use the pound

>Anyone is free to use Sterling, they just don't have a say in monetary policy

Indeed, Ireland's punt was linked to the pound sterling until 1979. Not such a great move, though, for economic growth. Having the Euro (not so much a case as having little say in monetary policy as there being no monetary policy to speak of) wasn't such a great idea in the end either.

What (some of the newfangled "pragmatic") ScotNats want is for the Bank of England to underwrite Scottish borrowing and a Sterling Union is the way to get it. They'd only be interested in Bitcoin if there were a bunch of digital gnomes prepared to write them blank cheques.

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Happy

Re: UK Chancellor George Osborne doesn't want iScotland to use the pound

Warm Braw,

So are you saying it was the SNP who hacked Mt Gox and stole all the goodies? In preparation for a referendum win, and adoption of the bitcoin?

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Re: UK Chancellor George Osborne doesn't want iScotland to use the pound

Anyone can 'use' Sterling, just as anyone can use the dollar, Euro, Yen etc... as Forex.

Not to have control of the 'reserve' currency your country your sovereign debt bonds are issued against is another matter. I would also suspect RBS, Clydesdale and RBS would not be allowed to issue Sterling Currency any more, post a hypothetical Independence separation being enacted.

Bitcoin and Alex Salmond seems like an ideal marriage, as both are Windbag's in their respective fields.

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Re: UK Chancellor George Osborne doesn't want iScotland to use the pound

>Are you saying it was the SNP who hacked Mt Gox

Well, it was started by a guy called "McCaleb"...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: UK Chancellor George Osborne doesn't want iScotland to use the pound

Harsh, but fair, not letting RBS issue currency twice :) since they own stuff south of the Border too, can't be too careful, in case they issue Cornish Groats or something instead :)

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cynical?

"CeX wants to kickstart a debate about the use of new digital funny-money, instead of the crappy old paper cash"

should surely read "CeX wants to kickstart sales in its shops through an idea that will get it lots of free advertising under the technology area of news bulletins."

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What is a more technological solution to a Scottish currency?

How you arrange things, for example going cashless and all Scots having smartcards, is utterly irrelevant to what currency Scotland chooses to use. That's all fine and dandy, but it's a mere detail.

The question is whether Scotland would be better off with the Euro, Sterling-in-monetary-union-with-the-UK, sterling without union, or a new Scottish currency. They all have various advantages and disadvantages of course. But those factors are about who Scotland trades with, interest rate risk on its share of UK national debt, who'll be back-stopping Scotland's huge financial services industry, credit ratings and the huge risks of currency union without political union. None of those factors are technology related. They're mostly about confidence and the allocation of risk.

The Bitcoin economy is tiny. Were Scotland to adopt it, in some bizarre fantasy world, Scotland would take control of it, and marginalise all other users. Were Scotland to create the ScotCoin, then it wouldn't be valued as some bitcoin wannabe, it would be treated as a national currency and traded as such.

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The Bitcoin economy is tiny. Were Scotland to adopt it, in some bizarre fantasy world, Scotland would take control of it, and marginalise all other users. Were Scotland to create the ScotCoin, then it wouldn't be valued as some bitcoin wannabe, it would be treated as a national currency and traded as such.

I doubt that very much. Having your own currency includes having the right to print more of it and then play the game of whether you can convince people to accept debts denominated in it. The great attraction of the digital currencies for nerds is that money printing is essentially impossible. This makes it very unattractive for any central bank.

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Yet no different to traditional currencies in wild and unpredictable exchange rate changes. It's been everything from 1Bitcoin worth next to nothing under $100 to a bubble price of around $1`200 before XMAS last year.

http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=XBT&to=USD&view=5Y

With no traceability, thefts, bankruptcies - even Greece is a more attractive long term bet.

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Charlie Clark,

Not being able to print any more of it is probably the stupidest feature of Bitcoin. Unless it was deliberately designed as a pyramid scheme/scam, so that the early adopters could make loads-a-money selling off their easily mined hoards of coin.

To keep an economy stable, you need to be able to print enough money to grow the money supply at about the same speed as the economy. Even with the gold standard, there was mining. And every time you read about historical economics you come up against long-term depressions/inflations caused by fluctuations in supply of precious metals.

Admittedly continual printing leads to hyper-inflation. But QE looks to have worked far better than was expected, the upside of saving the economy was worth the downside of the current asset bubble. And remember QE isn't actually printing, it's reversible.

As an example, look at those paragons of virtue at the Bundesbank. Oh sorry, I meant the ECB, silly mistake... They've loudly lectured us Anglo-Saxons about how they'd never touch that smelly QE. As they've presided over the virtual collapse of some of the economies they were supposedly managing. Into debt-spirals and now deflation. Bitcoin fans, look at what's happening to the economy of Italy. That is what deflation does. I've been saying for 2 years that Italy would be the country that destroyed, or forced genuinely workable reform in the Eurozone. So far nothing that's been proposed that might actually work has been acceptable to Germany. Anyway, there's no excuse for not understanding the evils of deflation, when there's the example of Japan's economy to look at. Or the 1930s.

So Central Banks would be right to laugh at the idea of using crypto currency. The nerds were needed to come up with the technical jiggery-pokery, but they really needed to consider some basic economics, the reality of human nature and common sense, if they wanted bitcoin to work.

Oh and a fundamental tenet of being a Central Bank is the ability to print money by the way. Not as in QE or hyperinflation. But as in being 'a lender of last resort'. If you're not one of those, you're not a proper central bank. Even the ECB did that. They avoided QE, but they did print €1 trillion in order to fund the LTRO (2 year loans to various banks). But even before that, when the Euro was days from collapse the time before last, they had something like €500m on short-term loan to various banks to stop them from collapsing when the repo market broke down. That's what Central Banks are for, and it wasn't inflationary because the loans have mostly been paid back already.

The last time the Euro was days from collapse (9 months later), they only threatened to print money, and it saved the day. Draghi promised to "do whatever it takes", and that's been enough so far.

Although the countries that did the evil money printing to finance government debt, US, UK and Japan came out of recession. Whereas the Eurozone allowed 25% unemployment in Latvia, Spain and Greece, and not much less in Ireland, Portugal and Italy. Sometimes printing is the lesser of two evils. This time being a damned good example. The Italian economy is now at the same level it was in 1995 - fuck knows what they've done to the Greeks.

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Nearly there already

Scotland already has its own mint, for notes at least. All they need to do is make some desgn/colour changes and then a minor spelling change to 'poond'. Job done.

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Coat

Re: Nearly there already

Yeah, it's own mint, no, not really.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, the Clydesdale Bank and the Bank of Scotland have the right to issue their own notes, but must deposit an equivalent value of Sterling with the Bank of England.

The notes are "minted" by De La Rue in Basingstoke, which last time I looked wasn't in Scotland.

It's also interesting to note (pun intended) that Lloyds Bank now trade under the Bank of Scotland license and FCA approval because of the note issue, and technically there are more "Scottish" banks in the UK than "English" banks :)

<grin> In theory I agree about the poond just being a design change, but the reality is that all but one of the "Scottish" banks will need to move their registration to England before Independence.

<smiles> Just occurred to me though. If the Pavaroti is a tenner, which denomination is the Salmon(d) and the Sturgeon?

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Re: Nearly there already

Sturgeon £2

Salmond £3

and Alan Cumming is the proverbial 9 bob note ;-)

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CeX will

Make no money for 3 days because no one in Glasgow is stupid enough to own Bitcoins.

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Happy

Re: CeX will

"Make no money for 3 days because no one in Glasgow is stupid enough to own Bitcoins."

No CeX please, we're Scottish? :-)

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Meh

Taking a leaf out of the Thatcher playbook CeX?

Trying all the stupid/dodgy/morally questionable stuff north of the border first?

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Re: Taking a leaf out of the Thatcher playbook CeX?

north of Watford

There, fixed it for you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Taking a leaf out of the Thatcher playbook CeX?

"north of Watford

There, fixed it for you."

I was thinking of something rather specific

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Debate worthy of a playground

In this whole Scottish independence thingy, is anyone else reminded of the History Today sketches that Newman and Baddiel used to do on "The Mary Whitehouse Experience"?

The two sides start out discussing issues like currency, the head of state, membership of Nato or whatever it is and, without actually airing the real issues and concerns, immediately descend to "shall, shan't".

I imagine that the great majority of voters find themselves entirely unable to form a balanced view in all the tub thumping. No doubt the information is there in great thick documents that 0.1% of voters will read, but most people will get their information from the media which seems to be doing a poorer job than usual here.

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Mushroom

@Bunbury

You know those old ladies who push shopping trolleys down the street, and shout at cars ....?

That's your mum, that is.

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Re: Debate worthy of a playground

"In this whole Scottish independence thingy, is anyone else reminded of the History Today sketches that Newman and Baddiel used to do on "The Mary Whitehouse Experience"?"

Not really, it's really not even that sophisticated. More along the lines of:

Bitter Together: "If you separate the umbilical you will die. horribly. Don't say we didn't warn you, mark my words"

Yesh, Scotland: "Unicorns! Pots of black Gold! Bunnies!"

I can guarantee that everyone on earth, especially we the people, will be heartily sick of the entire thing come September, but Westminster should know that the relentless tide of shouty, hyperbolic bullshit, with that sour underscent of panic, is not helping their case.

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Re: Debate worthy of a playground

> Westminster should know that the relentless tide of shouty, hyperbolic bullshit, with that sour underscent of panic, is not helping their case.

au contraire, old boy. If Scotland secedes, the Tory majority in England and Wales would be unstoppable. Their campaign is working perfectly.

It's the only thing that makes me uneasy about an independent Scotland, as an Englishman. Every instinct screams "you don't like it? You hate us? Then fuck off and pay your own university tuition and we'll see how long that lasts" but Tory majority forever... that's a concern.

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Re: Debate worthy of a playground

Worry no more. Only once since the present electoral system was introduced (1948) have Scottish votes altered what would have been a Conservative government into a Labour one. A couple of times they've given Labour a majority or denied the Conservatives one, but in both cases coalitions were entered into anyway which would negate this. (Source)

Thus, the rest of the UK is quite capable of electing a Labour government when they choose to and, indeed, pretty much have to if the UK as a whole is to get one.

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Re: Debate worthy of a playground

I seem to remember that the Tories used to depend upon the rural Scottish seats (smaller number of constituents) for a majority up to an including Maggie's first government which is why pricks like Rifkind and Younger got into cabinet.

If Scotland does vote for independence then it's reasonable to expect newly emergent tensions within England and Wales to be reflected in different voting patterns. This is already happening with the North of England becoming more solidly Labour while the South becomes more solidly Tory as regional allegiance expressed through party preference replaces the outdated class warfare model.

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Re: Debate worthy of a playground

Although tending to the Better Together camp, I think most people wholeheartedly agree with you about this tedious tax-payer funded exercise in political tub-thumping and obfuscation, and can't wait until September, when the whole thing will be put to bed.

"but Westminster should know that the relentless tide of shouty, hyperbolic bullshit, with that sour underscent of panic, is not helping their case."

slightly amended to ...

but Holyrood should know that the relentless tide of shouty, hyperbolic bullshit, with that sour underscent of bullying, is not helping their case

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Re: Debate worthy of a playground

But minus the current 41 Labour seats, that is a far, far bigger problem to Labour than a few nose over the line seats to the Tories, as the 59 Scottish UK parliamentary seats evaporate overnight in Mar 2016, and the Scottish Devolved Assembly representative vote only in May 2016 MSP's take over stuff with their expanded questionable Single Chamber 'democracy'. - will the 2011 devolved assembly only MSP's be at loggerheads with the sitting 2010 and the future 2015 Westminster Scottish MP's about 'who represents the people' and 'who should get a say in any Separation agreement'. Also what happens to the notional 'Scottish Lord's' in Westminster - are they turfed out too ? All the detail Salmond skims over.

Cameron has played an (accidental?, unknown, unknown's) blinder - If Scotland stays, he saved the Union, if Scotland goes, Tory one party rule for decades, and should Labour just win the 2015 UK election, they will likely be turfed out of office on Scottish Independence Day in a constitutional crisis - A self-evident fact omitted from 'Scottish Independence has no bearing on England/Wales/N.Ireland' bleating of the ignorant. Would the Tories take over, or would this trigger another (now rUK) General Election.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10700499/Scotland-vote-threatens-to-derail-2015-election.html

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Debate worthy of a playground

"but Holyrood should know that the relentless tide of shouty, hyperbolic bullshit, with that sour underscent of bullying, is not helping their case"

Bullshit? Certainly. As for bullying, more a response to every and any question from us future citizens of this nordic marvel of civilisation of "everything will work just as we have predicted and everything will be fine. Whatever everything is. And whatever it was that we predicted, this week." I'm prepared to support the idea of independence, but don't believe for one second it will be smooth sailing - the nats insult our intelligence by pretending it will be.

The only bullying Salmond's really attempted has been bluff and counterbluff. His bullying the EU looked a bit like a Westie trying to force-hump a Great Dane:

Salmond: "If.. if you don't accept our EU membership we'll prevent you from fishing in our waters."

EU: "You and... whose navy, exactly?"

I like, but am unconvinced by dogged's theory that the Tories would love to be left with the rump UK for votes, as in the short term its not exactly going to look good on their CV - no matter what Cameron says about not resigning after any Yes vote the PM and cabinet that reside over the breakup of the United Kingdom are finished.

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Re: Debate worthy of a playground

no matter what Cameron says about not resigning after any Yes vote the PM and cabinet that reside over the breakup of the United Kingdom are finished.

Not sure about that. Just like the results of Scottish independence, or the whole lot of us leaving the EU, 'tis impossible to predict.

I do think the Nats are a bunch of shysters, without the courage of their own convictions though. There are some big risks to independence, which they keep either glossing over, or outright lying about. I don't think there's any way to predict the outcome, but Scotland has a well-educated population and a modern economy. I'm sure they'll cope. And the SNP should say just that. If it's about policitical independence anyway. I'd say this equally on the EU debate. There are economic risks to coming out, but also opportunities. Staying in has some serious costs, and a challenge to democratic legitimacy.

Therefore, in my book at least, both are as much emotional issues as practical ones. Personally I feel British. Englishness to me is sporting identity. And it would be less fun being rude about the Scottish rugby/football team if were were separate countries. So I'd be sad to see Scotland go, but I don't think there's anything the government could, or should, do to stop it.

I'd say the feeling I encounter amongst most of the people I talk to (in the South East) is a mild exasperation. Some have taken up the nationalist Scots welfare scroungers position, but that's quite recent and relatively rare. I think it's more a reaction against the rise in overt Scottish nationalism. For example, up until 20 years ago, most English people would have supported a Scottish sporting team unthinkingly - until the anything but England stuff became so common. And of course a natural reaction to devolution, with no tuition fees etc. But I'd say the most common reaction is "whatever". If that's what people want, good luck to them. It would be a shame.

Course, after a YES vote, that could turn into a backlash. We loved you, now we hate the bastards that pushed you away. But my strong suspicion is that it'll turn a bit uglier. It'll be "we loved you, and you rejected us you bastards", from a significant number of people. Which is why I can see the government gaining popularity from being tough in the negotiations. Hence I'm certain it's not a bluff that Scotland won't be allowed a formal currency sharing deal with rUK. And discussion on the subject will often turn unpleasant for a few years. Rejection being a powerful emotion.

I think a fudge will be found that allows Scotland to stay in the EU (probably), and if Salmond can show some diplomatic sure-footedness. He comes across too smug and demanding at the moment. But Scotland will have to lie through its teeth about promisiing to join the Euro. Well it's worked for Sweden... And it will probably cost Scotland their budget rebate and opt-outs.

Meanwhile no pound-zone. And lots of fights over national debt, assets, oil zones and the like. Can't see the government going then. But I wonder if the rest of the Union will last the long term.

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redacted

"...12-Chins Salmond...a smug t..."

That is all.

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Re: redacted

Hmmm. The 2 thumbs downers need an IQ test methinks. I was calling salmond a tosser; an established fact. Either that or El reg has attracted a couple of Nazis?

Imagine that asking for the yes/no vote is like being on an I.T. helpdesk and asking "can you see the green start button at the bottom left of the screen?" a good 70% will say "yes" even though the monitor isn't switched on or they are facing a bsod/different OS.

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Re: redacted

Hey! He's been on Beyoncé's diet lately (yes, really), and is down to six.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: redacted

"Hmmm. The 2 thumbs downers need an IQ test methinks. I was calling salmond a tosser; an established fact. Either that or El reg has attracted a couple of Nazis?"

Took surprisingly little time for Godwin's Law to take effect. As for Salmond being a tosser, retract your libel forthwith; I have never seen him closer to a caber than the games podium or hospitality tent.

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"Tick-tock, Jock: Dock schlock for mock-stock in ad-hoc shop squawk"

Missing Moderatrix ?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/30/moderatrix_off

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Re: "Tick-tock, Jock: Dock schlock for mock-stock in ad-hoc shop squawk"

More of a tribute, really.

C.

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I was under the impression...

...that Scotland already was using something called the poond.

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Happy

Obviously a "Wallet" to store the Bitcoins in would not be appropriate.

Therefore a glorious Tartan Digi-Sporran would be the answer.

The tartan would of course be that of the glorious "MacSakotoshi" clan

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Stop

Grocers apo'strophe

I recall a tale of a grocer who would deliberately misplace apostrophes on their signs so that people would come in to the shop to provide corrections, and often buy something whe they are in there.

I recount this only to show I'm aware that, by clicking the article to make this comment, I have fallen for the trap I am complaining about.

That headline is awful.

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