Tuesday, 5 September 2017

129 letters delivered - one for each Member of the Scottish Parliament

The Scottish "Hand" 

Delivered to 129 MSPs at The Scottish Parliament  - Tuesday 5th September 2017

Independent Scotland - Essential Elements?


Note 1:

Ever play Monopoly? Can we learn lessons from it?
First let's start with a definition: A monopoly is where one producer controls the supply of a good or service, and where the entry of new producers is prevented
That is what a Scottish Central Bank would be … it would be the ONLY body which was able to issue a Scottish currency, for use in and for Scotland.
Why start with "Currency" and not go into detail on other aspects, such as these three elements, a Constitution,a Monetary Authority, and a Central Bank which are all essential parts of what an independent Scotland needs.The following notes will explain.

Note 2:

The object of MONOPOLY is to become the wealthiest player. Everyone else loses. It's just a game we play, isn't it? You don't find examples of it in real life. You don't hear of rents that people can't afford. You don't hear of anyone being homeless. You don't hear of a lack of social housing. You don't hear of land only being owned by a few. Truth is you do, all of them! Is real life all a game, where we just have to play by somebody else's rules? Who writes the rules for real life, of poverty, hardship and death? Scotland is a country where we could change the rules. Scotland needs independence to begin to establish its own rules, and gaining that independence is not a game!

Note 3 – Part 1:

So you open the box of Monopoly, you spread out the board, and each player picks a piece to play with. Question – what happens next? What has to happen next or nobody can play? I'll be surprised if you don't know the answer, but maybe you don't realise it has a major significance. What is it about what happens next that is so significant?

Note 3 – Part 2:

The Monopoly board is now open, the players have picked their pieces – what happens next, what must happen next or nobody can play? Yes, and I am not surprised that you were correct, you appoint a banker, and the banker allocates each player a sum of money. Releasing money was the only way the game can start – hold that thought, and read on!

Now apply that thought to the new Queensferry crossing, just as in monopoly, what must come first is the release of the money - to pay for the materials and the workforce. How that happens is why we need 1) a Scottish Monetary Authority, 2) a Scottish National Bank, 3) our own currency… and above all else - 4) Scottish independence - so that we can democratically decide as a country on what our priorities should be, and what we can afford. Would we decide to pay for the renewal of Trident or ridding our country of food banks?

Note 3 – Part 3:

Here is a repeat of the 4 items from the last post: 1) a Scottish Monetary Authority, 2) a Scottish National Bank, 3) our own Scottish currency, 4) Scottish independence. Imagine last August, you were me, one of a panel at a YES Rutherglen meeting to discuss currency. Where would you start? The game of monopoly tells you, Scotland is the board, you know the players, but you always, repeat always, start with the money. But for an independent Scotland that money must come in the form of an independent Scottish currency, for use in and for Scotland. It didn't exist that night last August. Please read again the question I asked myself at the YES Rutherglen meeting that night last August. I called it Stage 1, it is repeated below.

Stage 1: Currency? An independent Scottish Currency? So do we think about it, discuss it, do we wait for independence … or would the YES grassroots get together and just create and adopt it for use in and for Scotland, not later but now? Since that night, YES Groups and supporters from all across Scotland have answered my question, they continue to do so to this day. The answer without any qualification was – YES!

That support from YES grassroots enabled me on the 1st of January 2017, to deliver and present to the First Minister of Scotland an example of an independent Scottish currency, the first in over 300 years. The positive involvement of YES supporters is proof positive of the quote I used that night in Rutherglen - “If many little people, in many little places, do many little things, they can change the face of Scotland.”

Stage 2: Is now under preparation. These notes form part of that next stage, as I hope you will soon see.

As with earlier deliveries of notes to each individual Member of the Scottish Parliament, the intention is to provide information to each MSP and thereby allow for any interaction with their constituents who are supporting this initiative.

For those interested in the intended destination of this YES grassroots initiative, this link dated 31st August 2017 will assist: http://www.cityam.com/271145/barclays-hsbc-credit-suisse-and-more-banks-join-ubss

It includes this comment: "Each USC (Universal Settlement Coin) will be paired one-to-one with its domestic currency and is 100 per cent collateral-backed with its respective cash, held at the domestic central bank. Strictly speaking, USC is not central bank money, but it would have many of its properties. Most importantly, a USC would be a form of digital cash that is fully asset-backed by cash at a central bank. So, unlike payments received in commercial bank money, a payment received in USC will be free of credit risk."

That description is a perfect and direct parallel upon which this initiative has been based from the outset just over 12 months ago.

To view the progress YES grassroots from across Scotland have made to date please visit: https://www.facebook.com/thescottishhand/

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

It is not What … it is not How … the fundamental question is Why?

In the video you have just watched I make reference to a number of things, I want to look at some of them individually.

Make Poverty History: When the G8 was held at Gleneagles – Make Poverty History - was a phrase in very common use, it was a statement of intent – and yet today if you refer to the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland you will find this:

More than one in five (220,000) of Scotland’s children are officially recognised as living in poverty , a level significantly higher than in many other European countries. In 2014/15 the proportion of children in Scotland experiencing poverty remained at 22%, after increasing from 19% in 2011/12 [iii]. This increase is in-keeping with independent modelling by the Institute for Fiscal studies (IFS) which forecasts an increase of more than 50% in the proportion of children living in poverty in the UK by 2020/21.


Starting from scratch: If a decision is reached that Scotland should start it's own currency, and have its own central bank – it is obvious that “we” have to start from scratch. Let me ask you who you think is the “we” in that last sentence.

If your answer is that it will be a Scottish Government who will eventually decide on such matters, and that how such a decision and the power to implement it comes about would be contained in a new written Constitution for Scotland – I wouldn't disagree.

However, does that mean that the rest of us – the remainder of the “we” just sit about and wait for it to happen, that at a grass roots level there is nothing, absolutely nothing, we can do – starting from scratch?


Sambaza: I use the phrase “sharing for the common good” as the translation of that Swahili word, if you google it for a translation, you may arrive at “smoothen” or “deploy”, but for me when I had contact with those individuals in Kenya, it was the very real impact that “sharing for the common good” had on me that caused me to continue to use it.

I wonder if - as you think of Scotland as an independent country – Sambaza - “sharing for the common good” - has that same impact on you?

Maybe this is why - this blog and the accompanying Facebook page could be about:

What? And the answer would be about the grass roots establishing a new “medium of exchange” for use in Scotland.

How? Through creating a new paper currency, and hopefully a new digital version, fully backed by an equal deposit of legal tender and a signed promise, one made to each other, a promise we are willing to trust.

Why? That for me is the fundamental question, and like me you may have many different reasons.

I would suggest however, that one of the reasons, is because we are willing to “share for the common good”, and put an end to witnessing any child in Scotland being born, and growing up, whilst living in poverty!

It is one of the many many reasons - why!

I have said from the outset that a new Scottish currency may not be called the Scottish "Hand", it may be a different colour, a different design.

That is about the "What" and the "How"

... but for me, and I also hope for you, there is not one doubt, not one, about "Why"!


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

My name's Rabbie Burns ... and I want to tell you a story. A true story.

My story, and it is a true story, starts in November 1769, when a Bank was started under the name Douglas, Heron & Co.

Among its shareholders were some of the wealthiest men and the largest landowners in Scotland.

One of its main branches was in Ayr, near where I lived, and we called it the Ayr Bank.

In only 3 years, by June of 1772, the bank had issued £1.2 million in loans. That is success!

It issued its own banknotes.

Very quickly those banknotes amounted to around two thirds of the currency in Scotland.

It meant nearly all of the money in Scotland was based on the promises on those banknotes.

What a success indeed, but how could it become even more successful?

It didn't have enough resources of its own, so it started to borrow from other banks, one in London was its favourite.

It could now expand, and expand, who knew the limits of its success, and the riches in store for its owners?

You probably haven't heard of the crash of 1772, it's a long time ago for you, but put simply a lot of Banks went bust, the favourite Bank in London was one of those that went bust.

That meant the Ayr Bank found it had a very very serious problem – it didn't have enough money to honour all the promises it had made on its banknotes.

What to do?

It asked the Bank of England for help, but the terms were too severe.

So it turned to other Banks, and every bank it turned to refused to help.

So, in August 1773, 3 years after it started the Ayr Bank closed. Bust!

History records that the main reasons for the Bank going bust were:

trading beyond their means;

forcing the circulation of their notes

giving credit too easily

ignorance of the principles of business

and carelessness or iniquity of officers.

Many families in Ayrshire were made penniless by the collapse of Douglas, Heron & Co, the Ayr Bank, my own family included.

But that's hundreds of years ago, ancient history, you will have all learned the lessons in my story, surely?

You wouldn't let it happen again – would you?

You wouldn't just sit and watch while Banks borrow and lend money as if there were no tomorrow – would you?

You wouldn't let Banks issue all your currency – would you?

You wouldn't let Banks make promises you don't know whether they can keep – would you?

No, you in your time, will have learned all the lessons needed – haven't you?

You won't have inequality, with some of the very rich in charge, and getting richer, and the rest struggling to get by.

You won't have anyone in desperate need of a house, or of clothes.

You won't have children going without warmth or even without food

You won't have anyone forced to look for work on the lowest of wages.

No, I am sure you won't have any of such things – you will have learned all of the lessons – you will have changed how the system works – you will never let it happen again – will you?

Your time, your history, your story, will be so so different – won't it?

My poem?

Written on a banknote? No, it's true, it was a Bank of Scotland guinea note.

My life had become a bit hectic, that's maybe putting it mildly to be honest, and I was thinking of leaving Scotland and finding work as an overseer on a plantation in the West Indies.

Here's the poem:

Wae worth thy power, thou cursed leaf!
Fell source o' a' my woe and grief!
For lack o' thee I've lost my lass!
For lack o' thee I scrimp my glass!
I see the children of affliction Unaided, through thy curst restriction:
I've seen the oppressor's cruel smile Amid his hapless victim's spoil;
And for thy potence vainly wished,
To crush the villain in the dust:
For lack o' thee, I leave this much-lov'd shore,
Never, perhaps, to greet old Scotland more.

Now as it happened, I managed to have a collection of my poems published, they became a success, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Too wee, too poor, too stupid?

The video clip you have just watched asks whether we in Scotland are too wee to have our own currency.

Iceland isn't ... the Isle of Man isn't ... Jersey isn't ... Brixton, a borough of London, isn't ... so why on earth do we think that we might be?

Is it the habits that we have got into … habits that have stopped us asking questions, for example, who is making us promises on the bits of paper that we pass around each day, that wrongly we think of as money.

It's not money, it's no more than a bit of paper with a promise on it – it is a Promissory Note.

Scotland has a reputation for being inventive, maybe that is what we now need, an ability – at grass roots level – to establish our own money, to make our own promises to each other, to break the habits we have got into?

In a few days, around the world, millions will celebrate our national poet, Rabbie Burns, who gave us these words … “ and there's a hand my trusty fiere … and gie's a hand o' thine”.

Are those words a starting point for how the grassroots can invent a new Scottish currency – based on the promise made to you by a fellow country man or woman, backed by a coin of legal tender, and with their name and signature added in making the promise?

If a fellow Scot offered you their "hand" - would you reject it?

Maybe like the Isle of Man, it would be a “positive statement of independence”, maybe to gain independence, we have to start to show - now - we are independent, and willing to trust each other?

In the video, I refer to “the velocity of money”, and how if a new Scottish currency gains as wide circulation as possible it can help create economic growth.

Creating – at grass roots level – a new “medium of exchange” one we all begin to use as often as possible will help engender economic growth – within and for the benefit of Scotland.

Also in the video I asked “Who owns Boots the Chemist?”, and “Where do the profits go?”

I want to start to introduce why a new Scottish currency is not an end, it is a beginning.

Creating our own promises to each other, our own currency, at a grass roots level – is also the first step in addressing many of the questions that are being asked here in Scotland and around the world – questions of inequality – questions of power.

This is a “long read” … an article by Aditya Chakrabortty from the Guardian headed “ How Boots went rogue.” I hope you will take the time to read it.


Scotland has never been to wee to create thoughts, practices and inventions that have influenced the entire world, and now, above all now, is no time to start doubting ourselves!

The future of Scotland, for generations to come, is in our hands!

If not us - who?  If not now - when?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Promises, Promises … who should or can you trust?

If you think about it, there are two types of promises:

One is the promise someone makes to you …

The other is the promise you make to someone else ...

The Vow” was an example of the first type, a promise someone made to you.


David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg made the people of Scotland a promise.

It is very easy to make a promise, what is important however is whether you can trust who is making the promise.

In the video clip you have just watched, I asked that when you think about “The Vow”, and the promises you were made, you should begin to think about the promises made on the bits of paper issued by banks – they are “promissory notes” - the banks are asking you to trust that they will keep their promises.

When a bank makes its promises – do you believe that there will – never - come a time when they might break that promise?

When the piece of paper contains a promise made by a Chief Executive Officer, who is no longer the Chief Executive, on behalf of a Board of Directors, which no longer exists – has it ever struck you that you should question whether it will or can be honoured?

I don't want to labour the point – I think it is clear enough – when someone makes you a promise, the first thing you should consider is whether you believe they will keep their promise.

Last August, I made my promise, I signed it in front of witnesses, and to show that I would honour my promise, I placed a £1.00 coin in a bottle.

Others at that meeting in Rutherglen, also made a promise, signed it in front of witnesses, and to show that they would also honour their promises, they too placed a £1.00 coin in a bottle.

That has also happened at Yes East Kilbride, Yes Blantyre, South Ayrshire Common Weal, Yes Garnock Valley and West Kilbride, Yes Orkney, and at the Unchain the Unicorn event in Edinburgh.

Each of the individual bottles containing those coins have then be taken to the Scottish Parliament, and placed into the safe keeping of the First Minister of Scotland.

Last Saturday at the Scottish Independence Convention in Glasgow, Jason Baird of the Indy/App made his promise, as did others, more promises were made, and signed, more £1.00 coins collected, and like those before, they will be taken to the Scottish Parliament and placed into the safe keeping of the First Minister of Scotland.

No Scottish Hand notes (those you can see examples of on Facebook) will be issued unless – a promise has been signed, and a £1.00 coin has been committed, and which is held in the safe keeping of the First Minister.

My first question: If you were given a choice (and I hope very soon you will be) of a piece of paper with a promise from a bank – or – a piece of paper with a promise made by a fellow resident of Scotland, a promise already kept and fully backed – which would you trust more?

Currencies, of whatever kind, no matter their name, no matter where in the world they come from are all about trust.

When as has happened many times before, and as we all witnessed most recently in 2008, when trust is lost, when it is realised that the promises that have been made will not be honoured, banks crash, other institutions also head to the brink of collapse – trust is lost, trust in regulators is lost, trust in Governments is lost.

When Currencies lose trust – they may not be worth the paper they are written on. Just like Vows.

My next questions:

Is it not well past time that we stopped accepting promises that may not be kept?

Is now the time when we make our promises to ourselves and to all the generations to come after us, and no matter the obstacles we may face – that we live up to and honour our promises?

Who else will do it, if not us?

On the promise I personally made and signed last August are two quotations:

You have to be the change you wish to see.


If many little people, in many little places, do many little things,

they can change the face of the world.


Is it you, is it me, or is it all of us, we the many little people, in our many little places
are we to be the change we want to see?

If not us – who?

If not now – when?

The next post on this blog, and the next clip on Facebook, will address “Are we too wee, too poor, too stupid?”

Friday, 13 January 2017

Currency: Put your money in a bank and instantly it becomes the bank's money, not yours!

It is a long established legal fact that any money deposited into a bank instantly becomes the bank's money .

What I learned from providing the legal evidence for that fact at the meetings I have attended across Scotland is that very very few people realise that is the case. (Links to the evidence – see below).

If you are a YES supporter, (if you are reading this you probably are), please start to consider that it has an importance beyond just how you may react to that knowledge, how it affects you personally.

My hope is that you will start sharing and discussing what you know with NO supporters. Just ask them very simply whether they are 100% happy with banks owning their money – not least after the crash of 2008, and with, as one example, RBS failing their recent stress test.

Irrespective of whether we are Yes or No, do any of us want to lend our wages, our salaries, our welfare benefit, our pension to our bank – because that, in effect, is what we are doing.

Might even those who were No want an alternative, could you show them that alternative, one that is available with Scottish independence?

Because it is with independence, and probably only with independence, that we can change that legal position – so that your money always remains your money.

How do we change it? Upon independence we can establish a Scottish Central Bank in which we as individuals open an account in our name and retain full legal ownership of our money.

That does not, and will not, stop us using commercial banks, but it most certainly, and definitively, establishes who owns our money.

That sounds like theory, something that will only happen when Scotland becomes independent.

However, can I already show you a very very simple example of how that works in practice?

Yes! In this very simple example. How to show what independence provides for Scotland - now!

At each of the meetings I have attended, I have asked anyone who wishes to see a change over who owns their money to put a £1 coin in a bottle, and asked them to complete a form and sign it.

So far, I have delivered three such bottles, with the £1 coins inside, to the Parliament building at Holyrood, and have delivered them into the safe custody of the First Minister of Scotland.

Those bottles are a very simple, and deliberately very simple, example of one basic function of a future Scottish Central Bank. A place to deposit your money - and still retain ownership of your money.

The individual proof of ownership arises from the forms that have been completed and signed - they are the permanent record of who owns the money that has been deposited.

Call that stage 1 – how to start a Central Bank, and how to change the ownership of money from the banks to the individuals who worked for it and earned it.

The signing of the form goes one step further than just establish a record of who owns each £1 – it also includes a promise, a promise that is intended to be kept, because it is fully backed by that £1 coin.

That promise allows me to show you another example for an entirely different reason – an example of the change that you can create if you want to help. How to start a Scottish currency, by, of and for the people of Scotland.

Stage 2: How a new Scottish currency can be established, one which is based on what is known as “full reserve banking”, again not in theory but in day to day practice. It is based on who you trust when they make you a promise.

The next post on this blog, and the next clip on Facebook, will therefore address:


the “Promises” made by the Banks.

And those that appeared in something called “The Vow”,

. The evidence:

If you wish to double check and verify for yourself the legal position, please use these links:

Carr v Carr and Davaynes v Noble : This link will take you to a short piece via the Cobden Centre:

Foley v Hill: This link will take you to Lord Cottenham, and his words: “The money placed in custody of a banker is, to all intents and purposes, the money of the banker, to do with it as he pleases ...”.


The Office of Fair Trading (Respondents) v Abbey. National plc & Others ( Appellants):

The Supreme Court place their decisions in the form of pdfs, so I cannot give you a direct link, therefore please go here to the Supreme Court:

Copy and paste this … The Office of Fair Trading (Respondents) v Abbey. National plc & Others ( Appellants) … into the search box and you will down load what is the full opinion from the Supreme Court in 2009. It is lengthy.

If you go to 103, you will find Lord Mance saying … “The bank might (especially under a basic banking contract which did not allow any overdraft in any circumstances) be content to operate on the basis that its profit would come solely from its power to use money which customers deposited with or arranged to have transferred to it. That power follows from the bank’s ownership of  money deposited with or transferred to it. ..”


PS: That is from 2009, and directly relates to why the question of “bank charges” being fair or unfair remains unresolved – something (involving literally £ Bns) I will deal with that very much later.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Currency … if we let them, will it be the Banks that decide?

The purpose of this blog and the Facebook page is to establish the widest possible discussion on and understanding of the subject of "currency" in a series of stages. (I will try to keep it as non-technical as I can. Some like this one need a degree of length, others will be much shorter.)

One of the stages leads to these two important questions. How powerful are the Banks? Are they powerful enough to circumvent the law, or influential enough to shape it to suit their purposes?

Today, do Banks have the power and influence to decide what Scotland's currency is, simply look at the notes or coins in your pocket or purse – who creates them? Who holds that power?

That is today, what of tomorrow, what of the future - might the very same Banks have the power to influence what an Independent Scotland's currency is? Will you have a say, will any of us?

What follows below might help you think through the question of such power and influence, not least to find that there are alternatives, ones which you, not the Banks, can create?

In the last post, I said that I had submitted a Report to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as part of their inquiry into Retail Banking. In the Report itself, I included a link to a video, you have just watched an extract from that video. (Sorry it's not better quality.)

The full video was filmed in June 2016, after a meeting in Glasgow, where I asked for a small number of volunteers to take part – they had no prior knowledge of what was to be discussed.

During the half hour involved, I took them through a series of extracts from some very detailed documents, an EU Directive, an Act of Parliament, documents from HM Treasury, and individual documents from a range of UK Banks.

Not easy going, and not something many of us spend time on. Put as simply as I can manage, this is what was involved in the papers I showed to those at the meeting:

  1. The EU issued a Directive which stated that everyone, irrespective of their financial position, should have access to a Basic Bank Account, which would allow for direct debits, a Bank card, but not allow for any credit facilities, such as an overdraft … and it was to be an account to which no fees could be charged.
  2. The UK Government, with only minor amendments, passed an Act of Parliament, which transferred the EU Directive into UK law.
  3. Meetings between HM Treasury and the Banks, and the Bankers Association, took place, and the actual implementation of what was in both the EU Directive and the Act of Parliament began to alter ... it changed as it was to be applied in practice by the Banks.
  4. Matters such as whether the Banks alone could decide if someone was “eligible” for a Basic Bank Account began to appear, no longer was it … irrespective of their financial position.
  5. Circumstances in which a charge might still be relevant also began to surface, no longer was it … an account to which no fees could be charged.

The clip you have just watched includes comments from those who took part … their conclusions are their own, the words and expressions they use are theirs, “contradiction”, “enslaved”, “trapped in a system”, those are their words, and their conclusions, based on the evidence presented to them.

They are the views of ordinary individuals, when they are introduced to the very real powers and influence that Banks have and can exert, even when it is questionably at odds with, and may directly contradict, not only an EU Directive but also an Act of Parliament.

We immediately perhaps think of Governments, and their role when we talk about currency, but it would be a very serious mistake for anyone who wishes to discuss “currency” - if they ignore the power and the influence that Banks can exert, as the above example shows.

Question: If we in Scotland discussed who we think should have the power and influence to shape and issue Scotland's currency, would we decide the only way would be to let the Banks act – exactly as they do today? That is one option.

Question: Or, might we look at all the issues surrounding currency, discuss it as widely as possible, and then might we eventually conclude that what currency we use should be a first order priority decision by the people of Scotland, for the people of Scotland? That is the alternative.

Your answers to such questions has never been more important. 


The next post on this blog, and the next clip on Facebook, will address one of the main reasons why that power and influence of the Banks exists. Why “enslaved” is not inaccurate. It will address:

How the Banks gain ownership of your money
and why you have no choice in the matter
- because the law says so!