The US media giant Bloomberg has lobbed a grenade into the Scottish Independence debate by pointing out that the pound is at its weakest level since November after a poll showed that the campaign for Scottish independence was in front for the first time.
The British currency lost 0.6 per cent to $1.6232 by 9:53 am in Tokyo, extending last week’s 1.6 per cent drop, said Bloomberg.
The question of whether a go-it-alone Scotland will be able to keep the pound in partnership with the remaining parts of the UK has dominated the independence debate with all the major parties in London saying they would oppose it, said Bloomberg.
Now, to protect the pound, here’s a suggestion: Why don’t the London-based parties concede now that they would indeed be prepared to negotiate a currency union, as Alex Salmond has advocated, should the Yes vote be victorious on September 18?
The Bloomberg report came on the day former PM Gordon Brown wrote a low-key article in the New York Times backing the claim that Scotland was still “better together”with England (although he did not use that actual phrase).
Brown wrote: “By pooling and sharing resources across four nations we guarantee Scots, English, Welsh and Northern Irish rights to health care, education, welfare and minimum standards in the workplace, irrespective of their nationality.”
Less than two weeks before the referendum, the percentage of voters in favor of Scotland breaking from the United Kingdom rose to 51 per cent, according to a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times.
“The sharp uptick in investor caution with regard to Scotland reminds us that political risk is very much alive and well in currency markets,” Raiko Shareef, a markets strategist in Wellington at Bank of New Zealand, wrote in an e-mail to clients, said Bloomberg.
“This reflects investors pricing in significant economic and political uncertainty including the thorny issue of whether an independent Scotland would retain the pound.”
Support for the No side dropped to 49 per cent in the YouGov survey when undecided respondents were excluded.
The pound slid the most since July 2013 last week, with gauges of futures price swings climbing after a previous YouGov poll indicated the No campaign’s lead was shrinking.
In another shocking development, the Scotsman reported a claim by an an intelligence expert that Islamic extremists are threatening to kill Scottish aid worker David Haines to help secure a Yes vote in the independence referendum.
Haines was paraded by Islamic State fighters in a video last week following the second beheading of a US journalist. A macabre video makes it clear the 44-year-old from Perth could face a similar fate.
Professor Anthony Glees of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham said: “ISIS are masters of propaganda and realise the impact of selecting a Scot.
“They will hope by showing the UK is weak and unable to defend its citizens it will drive Scots to embrace independence.
“If they can no longer strike hostile forces who attack their citizens, the UK is clearly in danger of being a spent force heading towards division. And a weakened UK is exactly what the ISIS wants.”