A comedian called Michael McIntyre (a not very funny one though, like most of the stand-up so-called “comedians” you see on TV these days) did a routine about Scottish banknotes. His main point was that despite being sterling and thus legal tender in all parts of the UK, they generally aren’t accepted in England. Much the same as Northern Irish banknotes – an age old rant familiar to many who on crossing the Irish Sea find that their hard-earned Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Northern Bank notes, although being sterling currency of legally equal value to Bank of England notes, just don’t cut it.
A few years ago, I was returning to London after being home for Christmas. Knowing that my local bank notes wouldn’t be accepted once I got off the plane at Stansted, I tried to get them changed at Belfast International airpport. On being told to my utter bewilderment that there was a charge (yes a fucking charge to change sterling notes into different sterling notes of the same denomination of equal value) I point blankly refused and walked way in disgust, resigned to the fact hat I’d have to wait till the next time I went home to use up these notes.
How fucking ridiculous can you get?
Even machines don’t seem to accept them – I’ve tried on ticket machines at train stations and at the self-service check-out in supermarkets, but the machines are just too clever.
So why the fuck do the NI and Scottish banks issue their own notes in the first place if they’re not accepted in the same currency zone? Ironically they’re more likely to be accepted in the Eurozone in places like Lifford, Letterkenny or Louth than in London, Luton or Leicester.
Now if we all adopted the euro, none of this would be happening…;-)