ONLY a Nobel Prize-winning economist would have the chutzpah to declare that the referendum currency debate was "a lot of to-do about nothing", but then not all practitioners of the dismal science can sell out the main theatre of the Edinburgh Book Festival. Professor
He captivated a packed audience except for one forlorn voice, who complained: "Have I gatecrashed a Yes Scotland meeting?"
Given his outspoken arguments that inequality drives economic failure, it was no surprise that
Of that, he said: "I feel it here. I don't feel it south of the Border." He repeated his view that
He argued that debate should focus on the bigger picture, the kind of more equal society that can produce a better economy in ten or 15 years, rather than the short-term controversies around any independence negotiations.
He argued currency union could work, saying: "
But he also pointed out: "
He pointed out that
He insisted: "This idea of the American dream where everybody can make it, unfortunately it's a myth and what I want to say is the
He argued more fiscal stimulation was needed to boost the economy after recession, and he condemned the austerity politics of European governments including Westminster.
"That's the vision of Cameron, the vision of more unemployment. There are risks always in any economic course, there's risks of doing something and risks of not doing something.
"So the risk of staying together is you could have a Conservative government that cuts back on government spending and that would force inevitable cutbacks here in areas of health and education."
A Better Together spokesman said: "A No vote is a vote for a strong Scottish Parliament, with more powers guaranteed, backed up by the strength, security and stability of the larger
Scottish Finance Secretary
CHIEF SCOTTISH POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
ONLY a Nobel Prize-winning economist would have the chutzpah to declare that the referendum currency debate was "a lot of to-do about nothing", but then not all practitioners of the dismal science can sell out the main theatre of the Edinburgh Book Festival.