eichengreen146_Jeff J MitchellGetty Images_scottish pounds Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Scotland after Sterling

Scottish advocates of leaving the United Kingdom need a plan for a new currency and an independent central bank, as well as a blueprint for the country's subsequent transition to the euro. These would go a long way toward reassuring Scots who yearn for independence but worry about what follows sterling.

BERKELEY – The odds of Scotland becoming independent are rising by the day. In Scotland’s 2014 referendum, some 45% of voters favored independence. Brexit, which some 60% of Scotland’s voters opposed, is now forcing the Scottish electorate to choose between staying in the United Kingdom and remaining in the European Union, shifting public opinion further toward independence.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s shambolic EU trade negotiations heighten that dilemma. Reflecting such pressures, pro-independence sentiment has exceeded 50% in six polls conducted this year.

But if you think the UK’s negotiations with the EU are fraught, just wait for its negotiations with Scotland. Should income from North Sea oil be apportioned on a per capita basis or geographically, akin to fishing rights? Should responsibility for servicing the UK’s national debt be assigned as a function of relative national incomes or populations?

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