Britain will warn Scotland on Thursday it can’t keep the pound if it votes for independence, its boldest attempt yet to scuttle a nationalist bid to break the 307-year-old union with England.
In the latest salvo of a choreographed campaign to keep Scotland in the UK, George Osborne will seek to play on Scottish fears of losing the pound to argue that secession would put Scots’ prosperity at risk, pushing them into a tempest of volatility.
“We’ve gone in under a week from David Cameron’s ‘love-bombing’ to attempted bullying and intimidation – from a charm offensive to just plain offensive,” Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
“This is a panic move which will backfire spectacularly. People won’t take kindly to the Westminster establishment ganging up to try and bully Scotland in the decision that we are being asked to take on the referendum,” she said.
Sturgeon indicated that if London prevented a currency union, an independent Scotland could refuse to take on a share of the UK’s 1.2 trillion pounds ($1.99 trillion) of government debt which Britain has promised to honour.
“Osborne’s position is also a bluff,” she said. “It would leave them having to pick up the entirety of UK debt.”