Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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200 Business people declare for YES with an economic vision

200 Business people declare for YES with an economic vision | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Today 200 Business people from all sorts and sizes of companies from all over Scotland publicly declare what they are voting YES - they see it as "the business and jobs opportunity of a lifetime for this and future generations". "We are involved in business and entrepreneurship at different levels
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Independence: Firms urged to register in England

Independence: Firms urged to register in England | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTLAND’S small businesses have been told it may be “beneficial” to set up registered offices south of the Border after independence.

Peter A Bell's insight:

The FSB is to be commended for noting that there is only a "question" over Scotland's continuing membership of the EU in the event of a No vote. But I'm not sure where they get the idea that there is "no consensus" on the currency Scotland would use. Consensus among which parties?

The government of the rump UK has no say in the matter. And, while there some voices in Scotland raised in favour of an independent currency, the policy of the Scottish Government is that we should continue using the pound. So there is "consensus" among the only parties which are likely to be in a position to decide on the matter.

Despite this, and the doubtless hysterical response that we can expect from unionists, this report pretty much acknowledges what we all knew already - that independence implies no necessary impediment to continuing trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The only ones who are talking in terms of creating barriers to trade are British nationalists. And that's all wind and pish.


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Blow for Salmond as whisky giant gives £100k to No

Blow for Salmond as whisky giant gives £100k to No | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
ONE of Scotland's most iconic companies has made a six-figure donation to the No campaign.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Oops! Another "blow" for Alex Salmond. I wonder when he will start to show signs of being affected by this rain of "blows". It rather throws into doubt, however, all this nonsense about businesses being "intimidated" into silence. In fact, it make claims of intimidation look totally dishonest.

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What big business has really said about independence

What big business has really said about independence | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Cameron desperate to explain missing business support for the union Many of Scotland's most successful businesses operate globally. They work across many countries. For them Scotland gaining full economic powers to improve economic growth is a positive or neutral step. Where a handful have felt
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The Really Useful Show

The Really Useful Show | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Our attention was drawn this weekend to a survey conducted by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, which polled 759 Scottish businesses of various sizes about a number of issues relating to independe...
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Next chief: Yes vote not a business issue for retail giant

Next chief: Yes vote not a business issue for retail giant | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
LORD Wolfson of Aspley Guise, the chief executive of retailer Next and a Conservative peer, has said that independence is not a business matter and would make little difference to how the company manages its operations in Scotland.
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No concerns over independence but Cameron's EU referendum is harming industry says Engineering Chief

No concerns over independence but Cameron's EU referendum is harming industry says Engineering Chief | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
No concerns over independence but Cameron's EU referendum is harming industry says Engineering Chief
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Brian Monteith: Yes heads in sand as firms comment

Brian Monteith: Yes heads in sand as firms comment | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
BUSINESS leaders’ views should be welcomed, not sneered at, as they will help broaden the Scottish independence debate, writes Brian Monteith
Peter A Bell's insight:

Brian Monteith is seriously confused. The dismissive response to which he refers does not relate to the comments from various businesses but to the way these comments are misrepresented by the media and commentators such as... Brian Monteith.

The Standard Life statement is a case in point. It was trumpeted by the British media as being an explicit threat to pull out of Scotland when our nation's rightful constitutional status is restored. But the company actually said no such thing. Like other firms it merely said that it was making contingency plans - mainly prompted, not by independence, but by George Osborne's threat to abolish the currency union. All the company has done is acknowledge that, when Scotland becomes independent, it will have to add one more country to the already lengthy list of countries in which it operates. And that, if the UK/rUK government follows through on Osborne's threat, it will probably need offices in rUk AS WELL AS in Scotland.

It has evidently come as something of a shock to Brian Monteith that M&S and other retailers are concerned about "supply-chain management and other financial costs". For most of us it will not be surprising at all. In fact, most of us would have been shocked to discover that these businesses were not concerned by such matters - not least their shareholders.

Mr Monteith seems to imagine that these are issues that only arise with independence. Those talking a more realistic view will be aware that these issues are part of doing business anywhere and at any time.

I find it both ludicrous and insulting to suggest that the people of Scotland should make a fundamental constitutional decision on the basis of how it will affect Boots bottom line. A nation is more than just a market-place. People are more than just production/consumption units. There are considerations beyond capitalist profit-taking.

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Boss of 3500-worker company: I'll move HQ out of Scotland if there's an indy Yes

A Scotland-based company which employs 3,500 people around the world has threatened to move its headquarters elsewhere if independence is voted for.
Peter A Bell's insight:

If Alan Savage cannot figure out for himself what the alternatives to continuing the currency union are then surely he could at least manage to spend a few seconds sourcing the information from someone who has.

Once again I am left wondering how someone so intimidated by change and, by his own account, incapable of managing his business through change could get to be the head of a successful firm. Especially when he thinks it a great idea to go into negotiations declaring what your fall-back position is before the other side has even responded to your initial position.

None of this is to suggest that Mr Savage is actually stupid or incompetent. It's just that he inevitably appears so when he allows himself to be cajoled into parroting Project Fear propaganda.

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ScottishPower rejects post-indy break-up claim by Spanish paper

ScottishPower rejects post-indy break-up claim by Spanish paper | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTTISHPower has dismissed warnings it may have to sell off part of the company in the event of Scottish independence.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Few will doubt that lurking somewhere in the background to this Expansión article lies the conspiratorial relationship between the Tories and Mariano Rajoy's right-wing Partidad Popular. And once again the UK government finds itself caught between the rock of its anti-independence propaganda and the hard place of its loyalty to vested interests.

This is going to be an increasingly difficult path to tread as the rhetoric is ramped up in the final months and weeks of the referendum campaign. British nationalists appear not to have taken account of the fact that, in seeking to scare the people of Scotland into voting against their own sovereignty, they also ran the risk of putting the frighteners on the British state's corporate clients.

The likelihood is that more and more business leaders will feel it necessary to speak out as Scottish Power has done in order to allay the concerns caused by the UK government's reckless fear-mongering. This will be good news for the Yes campaign, of course, as droves of "business leaders" come forward to contradict and condemn the ever wilder assertions denigrating Scotland and talking down the nation's economic prospects.

British nationalists obviously care nothing for the people of Scotland and will happily sacrifice their interests in the name of preserving the structures of power and privilege which define the British state. But irresponsible anti-independence propaganda runs the risk of alienating big business. And that would never do.

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Peter A Bell's curator insight, January 29, 2014 6:45 AM

Few will doubt that lurking somewhere in the background to this Expansión article lies the conspiratorial relationship between the Tories and Mariano Rajoy's right-wing Partidad Popular. And once again the UK government finds itself caught between the rock of its anti-independence propaganda and the hard place of its loyalty to vested interests.

This is going to be an increasingly difficult path to tread as the rhetoric is ramped up in the final months and weeks of the referendum campaign. British nationalists appear not to have taken account of the fact that, in seeking to scare the people of Scotland into voting against their own sovereignty, they also ran the risk of putting the frighteners on the British state's corporate clients.

The likelihood is that more and more business leaders will feel it necessary to speak out as Scottish Power has done in order to allay the concerns caused by the UK government's reckless fear-mongering. This will be good news for the Yes campaign, of course, as droves of "business leaders" come forward to contradict and condemn the ever wilder assertions denigrating Scotland and talking down the nation's economic prospects.

British nationalists obviously care nothing for the people of Scotland and will happily sacrifice their interests in the name of preserving the structures of power and privilege which define the British state. But irresponsible anti-independence propaganda runs the risk of alienating big business. And that would never do.

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The real reason businesspeople don't back the No Campaign.

The real reason businesspeople don't back the No Campaign. | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
69 business people attended the Glasgow launch event of Business for Scotland. We now have over 1,100 members. The No Campaign is panicking because businesspeople are not willing to publicly back its ridiculous scare stories.
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Carmichael claims pro-union businesses face 'heavy influence' to stay out of indyref debate

Alistair Carmichael has accused the Scottish Government of using "heavy influence" to silence business voices north of the Border that are pro-UK.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Once again the "bruiser" who was supposed to bring new vigour to the campaign against Scotland being a normal nation instead does nothing more imaginative than rehash some ancient smear. This nonsense about the Scottish Government "intimidating" business people is an old favourite of Telegraph Scottish Political Editor and pedlar of British nationalist propaganda, Simon Johnson.

Carmichael offers no more credible evidence to support this puerile smear than Johnson ever did. The odd anecdote from some fat-cat with well-flaunted British nationalist sympathies is hardly going to persuade anybody other than those whose prejudices incline them to swallow whole any tale they are told by fellow Britnats.

Like Johnson, Carmichael is relying on the power of suggestion to plant the idea of business leaders being scared into silence by mysterious agents of the Scottish Government. Repeat it often enough and loudly enough, so the theory goes, and the story might just achieve some traction. If nothing else, it provides a cue for other anti-independence campaigners who can then refer to the accusation without ever feeling the need to point out the hollowness of it.

As with pretty much everything we get from Project Fear, this little gobbet of foolishness is flawed in a way that is never recognised by those whose thinking stops at the first anti-SNP sound-bite they stumble upon as they scrabble around desperately looking for ammunition. Firstly, there is no explanation of what possible threats the Scottish Government might deploy against business people. It is hard to see what sanctions the administration might apply which would not run counter to the efforts to stimulate the economy. Any measures which restricted business activity would be totally counter-productive in terms of the government's wider economic strategy.

Secondly, the SNP administration has worked hard for more than six years now to gain the trust of the business community as part of a fairly successful effort to establish itself as a responsible and competent government. Is it credible that they would put that hard-won reputation in jeopardy in an attempt to "silence" those who might be opposed to independence? Especially given that such an effort would almost certainly fail and inevitably back-fire. It makes no sense.

Thirdly, what kind of business leaders are these who can be so easily frightened as Carmichael claims? Do we get the impression from the hapless Scot Sec-substitute that these are the kind of powerful, dynamic and worldly-wise individuals whose opinion on the constitutional question might carry some weight? Or does he paint a picture of flabby, ineffectual whiners lacking the confidence to give voice to their convictions?

If this is the best that the British state's man in Scotland can do then he must be a sad disappointment to his Tory masters and to the rogues gallery of vested interests who are funding the campaign to deny the sovereignty of Scotland's people. Only a few weeks into the job, Alistair Carmichael is written off as yet another failure.

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Betting on a sure thing

Ralph Topping, CEO of William Hill, in the Financial Times, 4 August 2014: "I have spent the past six years as chief executive of a company whose 17,000 employees work in Scotland, elsewhere in the...

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What big business has really said about independence

What big business has really said about independence | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Cameron desperate to explain missing business support for the union Many of Scotland's most successful businesses operate globally. They work across many countries. For them Scotland gaining full economic powers to improve economic growth is a positive or neutral step. Where a handful have felt
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Scottish referendum 'less of a business risk than UK election'

Scottish referendum 'less of a business risk than UK election' | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Poll finds more financial officers are worried about general election and possible EU referendum.
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BT To Stay In Scotland After Yes Vote

Telecoms giant BT is staying in Scotland “regardless of the outcome” of September’s referendum. The internet service provider and now sports broadcaster outlined the company’s position after report...
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Weir Group report: iScotland could work, but would create business costs, uncertainties

Weir Group report: iScotland could work, but would create business costs, uncertainties | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Leaving the UK would create "a number of costs and uncertainties" for business with "fewer, more uncertain benefits", a report has concluded.
Peter A Bell's insight:

The suggestion from some quarters that the convenience of business operators should take precedence over the fundamental issue of constitutional justice is something that I find both insulting and ludicrous. We are talking about the status of a nation here. The idea that this should be conditional on satisfying the self-serving demands of profit-takers is utterly nonsensical.

Having said that, business people are obviously entitled to offer their opinion. It is a question of whose opinion we should afford most weight. In this regard, there are some notable differences between those business people who support independence and those who see their interests best served by keeping Scotland bound to the union.

While those opposing independence talk only of the supposed costs to their businesses, pro-independence business people tend to talk in terms of the benefits of independence to the country as a whole.

While the anti-independence faction in the business community obsesses about "uncertainty" in a way tat suggests they doubt their ability to cope with change, people such as Ivan McKee and the hundreds of other business people who have joined Business for Scotland convey enthusiasm and optimism and an eagerness to embrace change. One side talks of problems and pitfalls while the other talks of opportunities and potential.

I know which ones I want as Scotland's "business leaders".

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Peter A Bell's curator insight, April 3, 2014 10:59 AM

The suggestion from some quarters that the convenience of business operators should take precedence over the fundamental issue of constitutional justice is something that I find both insulting and ludicrous. We are talking about the status of a nation here. The idea that this should be conditional on satisfying the self-serving demands of profit-takers is utterly nonsensical.

Having said that, business people are obviously entitled to offer their opinion. It is a question of whose opinion we should afford most weight. In this regard, there are some notable differences between those business people who support independence and those who see their interests best served by keeping Scotland bound to the union.

While those opposing independence talk only of the supposed costs to their businesses, pro-independence business people tend to talk in terms of the benefits of independence to the country as a whole.

While the anti-independence faction in the business community obsesses about "uncertainty" in a way tat suggests they doubt their ability to cope with change, people such as Ivan McKee and the hundreds of other business people who have joined Business for Scotland convey enthusiasm and optimism and an eagerness to embrace change. One side talks of problems and pitfalls while the other talks of opportunities and potential.

I know which ones I want as Scotland's "business leaders".

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We're leaving Scotland - A look behind the big business scares

We're leaving Scotland - A look behind the big business scares | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Recently a few UK businesses have decided to enter the independence debate.  Their annual reports contained a nod to this September’s referendum – some a little more than a nod.


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Scottish independence: opposition misses an open goal - Telegraph

Scottish independence: opposition misses an open goal  - Telegraph | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The First Minister should have been tasked over business criticsims of independence, says Alan Cochrane
Peter A Bell's insight:

Poor Old Cockers displaying his customary chronic tunnel vision. Hard as it may be to believe, this paucity of perspective leaves the buffoon looking even more stupid than Johann Lamont, Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie who at least had sense enough to realise that for every "business leader" whining about how Scotland's independence might be a bit of an inconvenience to their money-making operations, there are several more who see independence as an opportunity.

It's hardly my habit to give the British parties at Holyrood any credit at all but at least giving them the benefit of the doubt it may be reasonable to assume that they were acutely aware that introducing the subject of business attitudes to independence would be a gift to Alex Salmond who would then be able to go on record with a list of the businesses which either support independence or who say they will deal with it in the way that real business people do.

The First Minister can do this because he has information which is also available to ranting Britnat fanatics such as Poor Old Cockers, if only the boorish old fart would take off those debilitating blinkers.

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Certainty

Certainty | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
We are asked to believe companies are going to withdraw from Scotland because the future is so uncertain. Let's not be confused here. When they tell you about seeking clarity, the only clarification they would like is for someone to withdraw the possibility of a fairer and more democratic and therefore accountable state. Unfortunately that's not going to happen so they will continue to throw their toys out of the pram until such time as they know that independence is inevitable and then, like countless money minded people before them, they will work out that they'd be better off staying put as there is a very good chance of making money. Believe me, there will be so much more of this to come.
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Independence brings opportunities, not complication, for business

Independence brings opportunities, not complication, for business | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The UK Ireland border: not a border post in sight. As a qualified Lawyer in Scotland as well as in England & Wales, I can understand how two complex systems of law can operate successfully and independently, yet retain influence over and working respect for each other. I also know which system
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UK Government accused of intimidating companies to back No Campaign

UK Government accused of intimidating companies to back No Campaign | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Philip Dunne used MOD position to pressure suppliers The Financial Times' front page yesterday exclusively revealed it has received evidence the Ministry of Defence is putting pressure on defence companies to intervene in the Scottish independence debate on behalf of the No Campaign. Philip Dunne,
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Companies playing into SNP hands by refusing to oppose Scottish independence - Telegraph

Companies playing into SNP hands by refusing to oppose Scottish independence - Telegraph | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Insiders at the Better Together campaign say many business leaders have privately indicated their opposition to independence but few wish to speak out publicly
Peter A Bell's insight:

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?

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Holding back

Holding back | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Here’s the Secretary Of State For Scotland, legendary bruiser Alistair “Crybaby” Carmichael, in this morning’s Herald on the subject of the dastardly SNP Scottish Government intimidating businesses out of speaking up for the Union...

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