The Scots will go to the polls on September 18, where four million people are expected to vote on independence. However, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told an audience in Edinburgh this week that if Scotland chooses to go solo, then it will surrender any rights to a currency union and will lose the pound sterling.
Osborne’s comments angered many north of the border and there was vitriol on on Twitter from a number of Scots who said he was guilty of recklessness, threats and bullying. The comments also irked First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, Alex Salmond, who has played a leading role in securing the vote. He now faces a tougher battle to convince voters that breaking away will provide Scotland with a sound economic future.
Nevertheless, Scotland has been warned that if it walks from away from the United Kingdom, it is likely to relinquish the British pound. The currency is one of the oldest and most powerful in the world and so it makes sense for Scotland to want to remain in it. However, Conservative Osborne was adamant in his speech that a currency union would go against the best interests of both sides. The UK’s two other major parties, Labour and Liberal Democrats have also sided with the Conservatives. Osborne argued there was no legal reason why Britain was bound to share the currency with Scotland if the latter broke away – he also pointed to the the fact evidence showed “it would cost money and jobs”.
Prime Minister David Cameron has pleaded with the people of Scotland not to vote for a independence and highlighted the positives about keeping the United Kingdom as it is. However, Osborne was more black and white about his thoughts on the matter. The Chancellor’s comments prompted many north of Hadrian’s Wall to claim he was just scaremongering.
Under the terms of the Edinburgh Agreement, the referendum must take place by the end of this year. However, should the electorate vote No, another referendum is not currently on the cards. Yet while a number of Scots aggressively seek independence, there is a large number who fear becoming independent.
The United Kingdom was formed in 1707 as unified sovereign state encompassing England and Scotland. It now consists of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is often confused with Great Britain, the island made up of England, Scotland and Wales. Despite the fact Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all have local parliaments, the three countries, along with England, share David Cameron as the Prime Minister and the Queen as the head of state.
As the Scots go to the polls in September to vote on one of the biggest issues the Scotland has ever had to decide on, the electorate will have to weigh up the pros and cons of becoming an independent nation. Right now, the country has been warned that if it walks from away from the United Kingdom, it is likely to relinquish the British pound.
By Robert Shepherd