Insiders at the Better Together campaign say many business leaders have privately indicated their opposition to independence but few wish to speak out publicly
The idea that businesses are afraid to speak out against government policy is, of course, a nonsense. Companies defend what they perceive to be their interests at all times and in all circumstances. They would not survive otherwise. One can easily think of many instances where individual companies or whole business sectors have mounted vociferous public campaigns against measures which they oppose. The social responsibility levy and minimum alcohol pricing being just two recent examples.
It is easy to understand Alistair Darling's frustration, however. He thought his was going to be an easy task. He assumed that big business would back the British state en masse. That is just one of many things that the anti-independence campaign got badly wrong.
Unsurprisingly, Better Together has the CBI in its pocket. If the Church of England is the Tory party at prayer, the CBI is the Tory party in the boardroom. But Iain McMillan speaks for only a tiny section of Scotland's business community. And, according to insiders, CBI Scotland members have not been consulted on the matter of independence. So it is questionable whether he even speaks for the organisation as a whole.
Meanwhile, the vastly more representative Federation of Small Businesses has taken a neutral stance on the constitutional issue - presumably because they realise that their membership is, at the very least, divided on the issue. And the explicitly pro-independence group Business for Scotland has grown rapidly to become one of the largest representative organisations for businesses in Scotland and an important player in the campaign to restore Scotland's rightful constitutional status.
The propaganda spin about business leaders being intimidated into silence by mysterious Scottish Government agents is an insult both to the dignity of the business people concerned and to the intelligence of Scotland's people. The more obvious explanation for any reticence in publicly supporting Better Together is that businesses simply don't want to be associated with either its questionable aims or its deplorable methods. Who can possibly blame them for that?