In the Land Of The Painted Picts they are all aflutter over the threat by Gordon Brown’s Ledger Clerk to change the basis upon which Scottish Banks issue Banknotes. A consequence of this is likely to be the disappearance of Scottish Banknotes as the practice of issuing Banknotes will cease to be economic. Naturally the Nats are frothing at the mouth.

Currently The Bank of Scotland, The Royal Bank of Scotland andThe Clydesdale Bank have to lodge sufficient funds with the Bank of England to cover the value of the notes that they have issued, but only for three days of the week. During the rest of the week those funds can be invested elsewhere thus earning the Banks millions of pounds in interest.

Now Alistair Darling is trying to sort out the regulatory mess in which he and Gordon Brown have managed to get us over the last ten years, a situation pointed up by the Northern Rock crisis. Thus HM Treasury has been looking at all sorts of measures to prevent banks from going belly up and damaging Labour’s pretence to economic prudence and competence. Darling’s beady eye has fixed on the Scottish Banknotes arrangement.

New rules would mean that the money now lodged only for three days would have to be lodged permanently making the whole exercise uneconomic. Thus one favourite aspect of Scottishness would be obliterated. No wonder the nation’s favourite Pict has gone into mouth-frothing mode:

Mr Salmond said the changes could cost the Scottish and Northern Irish banks which issue their own notes a total of £100 million a year.

The First Minister said: “This is a dagger at the heart of Scottish bank-notes, which are a proud tradition in Scotland and hugely popular with the Scottish public. It would remove any advantage from issuing notes; therefore I am certain one or more of the banks would stop the notes issue.”

He added: “Under the cover of a consultation on financial stability, the Treasury are launching a smash-and-grab at the Scottish note issue.

“What makes this a particularly underhand and shabby attempt is to cloak it in a document about financial stability. The Scottish banks are among the most stable financial institutions in the world.”

Mr Salmond pledged that the Scottish Government would respond to the consultation in “the strongest terms”, adding: “I think Alistair Darling should be hanging his head in shame that a Scottish Chancellor could allow his Treasury to attempt to undermine the Scottish note issue.”

This is a typical example of how Salmond conceals ultimate truths from the people of Scotland. In his little Scotland, independence, as I have noted before, would mean having to apply for membership of the European Union as Scotland would be a new state outside the EU. In order to qualify for membership of the EU candidate states have to agree to have the Euro as their currency within a very short time after accession and thus within, say, six months of membership of the EU the Scottish pound would have its neck well and truly wrung and there would be no more Scottish banknotes. Ever.

Instead they would have the wondrous pleasure of having their little bit of Ruritania ruled from Brussels, their monetary policy sorted out in Frankfurt and their laws passed in Strasbourg (some of the time) and Brussels (the rest of the time). And we English will forever be denied the pleasure of refusing to accept their bank notes on the grounds that they look like Monopoly Money.