• Scotland's independence vote puts UK union on edge
    San Antonio Express-News, 09/17/2014 - 9:55pm

    A Yes vote will trigger 18 months of negotiations between Scottish leaders and London-based politicians on how the two countries will separate their institutions ahead of Scotland's planned Independence Day of March 24, 2016. The union grew to become a great empire in which Scots took a leading role as inventors, artists, doctors, missionaries, engineers and intellectuals — producing luminaires such as economist Adam Smith, author Sir Walter Scott and poet Robert Burns. Independence leader Alex Salmond argues this is simply a campaign tactic and that politicians in Westminster will eventually agree to a currency union because it is best for both countries. Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist for IHS Global Insight, said there's likely to be a major market reaction either way: "A vote for independence is likely to result in a further appreciable sterling sell-off; a vote for Scotland to remain in the UK is likely to lead to a significant relief rally for the pound." In the long term, the loss of Scotland would make it more difficult for Labour to win future elections, potentially ushering in an era of conservative, pro-business government in Britain. Salmond, the independence leader, has argued that Scotland should receive as much as 94 percent of the tax revenue generated by North Sea oil and gas production, which would help fund day-to-day government spending, with any surplus going to a fund for future generations. The independence campaign estimates that there are more than 21 billion barrels of oil equivalent in its portion of the North Sea with a market value of almost 1.3 trillion pounds. The country's strategic location would make it a "key partner in NATO's air and naval policing arrangements for northern Europe," independence advocates say.

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