#AceWorldNews – SCOTLAND – September 15 – The Queen finally broke her silence on the issue of Scottish independence yesterday, telling a member of the public that she hoped “people will think very carefully about the future” when they headed to the polls later this week.
The monarch’s words – which were interpreted by some as offering encouragement to Unionists without leaving her open to accusations of political meddling – came as the long campaign entered its final week, with tensions high and tempers increasingly frayed.
Her interjection into the debate came as the debate over the economic case for independence continues to rage.
A report published on Monday by a leading think-tank suggests that the Yes campaign has underestimated the financial risks of separation, which it said lay in oil, finance and pensions.
The Centre for Policy Studies predicted that a mixture of falling North Sea oil revenues, the departure of a large proportion of the financial services sector and the rising cost of public sector pensions would leave Scotland with £13.8 billion less in 2015/16 than official estimates suggest.
But a spokesman for Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said the report was “stuffed full of basic factual errors” and pointed out that the think-tank had been co-founded by Margaret Thatcher.
“The only part of this report that is accurate is the importance of Scotland’s oil to the strength of the pound – which is exactly why the UK Government will agree to a currency union with Scotland,” he added. “This simply underlines Scotland’s economic strength.”
In Glasgow, thousands of angry Yes supporters waving saltires mounted a protest outside the BBC’s Scottish headquarters, accusing it of being biased in favour of retaining the Union.
Alistair Darling, the leader of the Better Together campaign, said he had been shocked by the aggressive behaviour of some nationalists, which he claimed had been “orchestrated” and “centrally controlled”.
David Cameron will be hoping to avoid a hostile reception when he returns to Scotland today in a last gasp-attempt to persuade Scots to preserve the Union.