The tumult in the Eurozone these days is well documented but the knock-on impact on Scotland and the SNP’s designs for independence are anything but clear. 

To suggest that it doesn’t matter which currency an independent Scotland would have would be ludicrous. Has it made a difference whether Ireland has had punts, pounds or euros these past 11 years? Of course it has. 

So, as the SNP softly and quite sensibly backpedals on it’s ‘Scotland in Europe’ message, it is worth considering what currency options an independent Scotland actually has. For me, there are really only three:

1 – Keep Sterling

Probably the safest option and straight of the drawer marked ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Our low rate of exchange has boosted exports at just the right time and that pound for pound advantage would remain even if our borders changed.   

Keeping the Queen on our bank notes is in keeping with the SNP’s strategy of maintaining the Queen (or King) as our Head of State and it avoids the otherwise unavoidable uncertainty surrounding the other two options. 

There is, of course, the rather odd anomaly of a Bank of ‘England’ deciding interest rates for Scotland but this is simply harmless nomenclature and not only no different to the status quo but also no different to the ECB deciding rates across the Eurozone. Who is to say that a Scot couldn’t be Governor of the BoE in this scenario anyway. Gordon Brown’s hardly a busy man these days, right? 

Indeed, a ‘Britzone’ of Sterling-denominated nations could seek to increase its power and influence by welcoming Ireland into the fold, a country that is already inextricably linked to the current UK’s economy. Who knows, maybe other countries in Northern Europe could be convinced to join – Iceland, Sweden, heck… Norway?

An independent Scotland outside of the Euro doesn’t mean it can’t still think big but even maintaining the status quo of old UK keeping the pound is a perfectly valid option for an independent Scotland.

2 – A Scottish currency

This is such a risky option for a new nation that it has pretty much already been discounted as an initial preference by the SNP, that I can tell. However, Sterling could provide the necessary stability in the first decade of independence before a new Scottish currency could be established thereafter.

A Scottish Central bank with Scottish interest rates and Scottish foreign exchange to help boost imports and exports, depending on economic conditions, is potentially a very powerful position for Scotland to be in. Ireland and Greece may have faltered but some of the strongest economies in Europe right now have this nimble, flexible model at their disposal, with similar population size, so there is no reason why Scotland could not leverage that to our own advantage.

It makes independence more of an adventure and puts us in better control of our own destiny too, which is not necessariy a bad thing at all. Life is to be lived, right?

3 – Join the Euro

An independent Scotland outside of the EU is, to me, practically unthinkable and, yet, ‘new’ nations cannot join the EU without joining the Euro so that leaves the SNP in a very tricky position as the Euro currency continues to approach the precipice.

An ‘inside or outside the EU’ is possibly the closest the SNP gets to internal warfare and Salmond will be mindful of plastering over any splits while European volatility continues, but he has his work cut out over the next few years. 

Pragmatically, the best thing for the SNP to do is simply sit on its hands and wait to see what is left of the Euro once Merkel, Sarkozy, Berlusconi et al are finished with their rounds and rounds of crisis talks. The SNP can then, to a certain extent, simply follow public sentiment to ensure their referendum chances remain intact.

That is not to say that the Scottish Government can’t be pro-Euro in the meantime. A quick win for the SNP right now would be to encourage Scottish businesses and retailers to accept Euros from the general public and tourists alike. After all, a country that looks and feels independent is more likely to be independent in due course. It would be a further welcome boost for tourism to me.

The jury is very much still out on whether the Euro will be in a fit enough state for Scotland to join it later this decade, if the referendum returns a yes vote but, thankfully, Scotland has time on its side. 

For me, an indepedent Scotland that used Sterling as a currency leading into either joining the Euro or creating a Scottish currency, whichever is the more practical at that point of time, would be a perfectly stable future for our nation.

So, exciting times and, hey, in amongst all of this, we might even get the gone-but-not-forgotten Scottish £1 notes back.

As I say, nothing wrong with thinking big.