Thursday didn’t start well for me: after waking up late and rushing out the flat I had huge problems making myself understood to anybody from the woman at that AMT stand in Queen St through folk on twitter and was incomprehensible when I got to the office. I never have gotten the hang of Thursdays.

The point I was trying to make on Twitter was that the biggest problem I’d encountered while canvassing for the Labour party was the lack of a referendum code for “they haven’t thought it through”. By which I didn’t mean that the people hadn’t considered it (most people have, though quite a lot haven’t) but that the poor unfortunate we’d gotten out of bed at 11am on a Saturday morning would, with varying degrees of certainity, vote No in September because they didn’t think the Yes campaign had properly worked out how independence woudl actually function. The biggest problem for Yes, I attempted to wittily observe, was that we badly needed a code for that because it comes up all the time. In the end I mangled it all and subsquent attempts at clarification only made it worse.

The Yes campaign’s response to the bucket of cold water thrown over the idea of a sterling zone seems likely to make that problem worse for them and is something which, as James argued yesterday, could easily have been predicted.

The basic problem with the idea of the sterling zone is that the two main arguments that pro-Sterlingzone advocates use also apply to the “Sterlingisation” policy plan B of unilaterally using the pound without a formal union, support from the Bank of England and so on.

Firstly the argument about lower transaction costs in what will still be a closely entwined pair of economies is obviously true but also obviously applicable to Sterlingisation since it’s all about the physical and electronic representations of money avoiding conversion, exchange rates and so on.

The second argument that Yes put forward for a sterlingzone is that of the balance of payments, which is a rather drier and more technical argument. This suggests that because Scottish oil is included in Sterling trade it helps stabilise exchange rates through increasing global demand for Sterling which helps offset our tendency towards importing foreign goods such as food. This is true but, again, is largely applicable to a Sterlingised Scotland as well as a Sterlingzone Scotland.

Meanwhile the benefits that an independent Scotland would get from a Sterlingzone are largely inapplicable to a Sterlingised Scotland: no input into the MPCs membership or, more importantly, its terms of reference, no shared regulation or lender of last resort and so on.

While ultimately a political decision for the rUK it’s not really clear to me why they would take on the risks and costs associated with the Sterlingzone when not doing so and Scotland continuing to use the pound unilaterally would retain the major benefits for rUK.

Probably the most damaging aspect of this, however, is the lack of foresight that this displays by the SNP (and it is principally the SNP part of Yes that favoured this route, although not all in the SNP do). Being left with “the Fiscal Commission have some Nobel medals” and “if they don’t agree we’ll default on the debt” looks petulant and amateurish.

Alex Salmond will have to do a lot better at communicating a plan B in the next few days than I did yesterday to pull this back. I suspect Sterlingisation will be the backstop, punting to a new Pound Tillicoultry would open up even more questions.