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Tory MP's love message to Scotland cuts little ice with SNP counterpart

The Unionist message to England - love the Scots; the Nationalist message from Scotland - it is not your love we want but the freedom to make our own choices.

This is a crude summary of the referendum debate, which took place amid the medieval stone and wood surroundings of London's great Guildhall, the 600-year-old cauldron of the City's historic wealth.

The turnout was high, nearly 1,000, which might not come as much of a surprise given London has an estimated 100,000 Scots. The event was hosted by the London Evening Standard.

Amid the logical propositions of Yes and No, emotion was never far away.

Rory Stewart, the Scottish Tory who represents Penrith and the Border, conceded how the pro-independence campaign could rely on the great power of the word Yes and its sense of optimism and possibility.

But he insisted it was the "wrong kind of Yes", which based itself on pessimism, fear and introspection.

The backbencher, who later this month will try to get 100,000 Brits from either side of the border to hold hands in a symbolic kumbaya gesture of solidarity, declared: "We need to say we love you. We value Scotland. We respect Scotland. We're committed to Scotland."

But Stewart Hosie, the SNP's numbers man at Westminster, rolled his eyes at Mr Stewart's expression of love.

"I don't want," he made clear, "the love of Rory's ragtag army. I want the decisions of the Scottish people to be respected and Unionist politicians to stop telling Scotland what it can and can't do..."

Helena Kennedy, the pro-Union QC, also spoke passionately about how the contribution of Scots had not been talked about enough and that a "love letter" needed to be sent northwards to bring the two nations together.

Michelle Thomson, the pro-independence businesswoman, insisted the UK was broken. "It is indeed corrupt. It must change. Scotland has this opportunity and that is why I'm going to take it; not because I'm a Nationalist but because I'm a realist. We can do things better."

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