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In Scotland referendum, avoiding the big issues

September 16th, 2014
12:03 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The pro-independence movement in Scotland has both avoided talking about matter of serious economic consequence in its campaign, and convinced the pro-unionist campaign to long avoid the issues as well, the editor of the Financial Times said on Monday.

“I think that it was a brilliant tactic by [independence leader] Alex Salmond to make that case, that you can't come up here and … make your arguments in favor of no, because that will be bullying,” Lionel Barber told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

“That meant that a lot of these practical, concrete questions about how the currency would work, what about pricing, were not made until the very last minute.”

Many pro-Unionist campaigners have been critical of Prime Minister David Cameron for being too hands-off over the issue, only really campaigning in the last two weeks leading up to Thursday’s referendum on whether Scotland should break off from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Barber said that that decision to “stay away” from Scotland was a direct result of Salmond’s argument that Unionists were patronizing.

The Unionist, or “no” campaign, maintains a slight lead in most polls, but the race is extremely tight.

“We are not saying, we never have written, that Scotland could not be an independent country, that it doesn't have a right to be an independent country. Clearly, if there is a majority in favor of yes, the Financial Times will respect that vote and support it.”

“We're just pointing to the dangers of uncertainty, the price of uncertainty, which will affect ordinary people. And the price that they pay for goods, differential prices, north and south of the border, the uncertainty of a mortgage, all these daily routine things that matter.”

“It's not a matter just for investors and financial markets. It's what happens to ordinary people.”

If Scotland breaks off, the UK’S influence will be “considerably” diminished, Barber said.

“Scotland wants to join the EU. That's not going to be a simple task. Remember, too, that Britain, the United Kingdom, is a member of the permanent Security Council at the U.N. All these questions, while the world is looking at this separation, the potential separation of a union at a time of peace and during an economic recovery.”

“There are many people who wonder what on Earth is going on.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Scotland • United Kingdom
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