Scotland and the pound

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As the date for the Scottish independence referendum draws closer, there has been continued debate over whether Scotland will retain the pound. It feels like there is an increasingly heavy voice coming out of Westminster warning Scots that a vote for independence will be a vote to lose the pound.

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But will this hold any sway with the Scottish voters? The mood of the Yes campaign seems heavily based around the heart strings, with little talk of practicalities – after all people are led to believe that Scotland can survive on its vast energy reserves, and without the burden of Westminster drawing its share, will have much more freedom to spend it wisely. This is a huge risk on the part of Scotland, if the gas prices fall (or worse, they have seriously over-estimated the size of the reserves) they have very little to fall back on, and an independent economy could leave them struggling.

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Meanwhile those No sayers down in London are also trying to use emotional rhetoric – a Yes vote will mean the loss of many symbols held dear including the sterling. Again there is no clear debate on the impact on England of retaining the pound without the union and seems mainly fuelled by certain English antagonism towards Independence – with the attitude of a jilted lover, if you leave you take nothing.