ALEX Salmond has explained why he changed his position on the currency question - and why he now backs creating a new Scottish pound immediately after independence.

Before the 2014 vote, a team of “top rate” economists advised him a currency union was possible, the former first minister said before adding that he viewed political questions during the Scottish independence campaign as his "job".

Speaking at the Scotonomics Festival of Economics, the Alba leader said the political challenge of proposing too much separation would not have won the case for independence and that he wanted “to fight only on politics”. 

But now Brexit made the arguments around currency different, Salmond said, arguing a currency union between Scotland and England within the EU would have been possible.

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He said: “We were starting a campaign to win Scottish independence at under 30% of the vote. And I judged that the only way to we could win that campaign was by triangulating as many issues as I could.

"In other words, if I try to fight on monarchy, on defence, on social union, and on currency we would probably not advance far beyond 30%.

“I wanted to fight only on politics … To get us concentrated on the political choice for the country, for the nation, was fundamental.

“But of course, that was in the economics of Scotland and England being partners in a wider European Union… You can say a lot of things on a campaign but you have to make sure your rhetoric has some semblance of reality.”

“In 2023, we’re in a totally different position. In 2023, Scotland and England are obviously no longer going to be partners within the EU … You’re starting from a totally different position.”

And Salmond said it was possible for Scotland to become an independent country free from debt because it would reject the share of assets and liabilities which were involved in his proposals for a currency union.

He said: “If you argue it properly, a clean break settlement is a very reasonable and feasible proposition to argue. Why do you require the clean break settlement? Because if you launch a currency – which you’d have to do quickly, not slowly, but quickly – then you have to have the persuasive power that you’d back that currency.

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"If you are Scotland, no-debt Scotland, emerging blinking into international economic and financial arena, even at the time of great uncertainty and people say, ‘What track record have you got, why debt-management strategy?’…

"You’d be able to say, ‘Well, actually, we’re one of the few countries in the world who have no debt.’”