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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Morrisons: Our Prices Could Fall In An Independent Scotland

Morrisons: Our Prices Could Fall In An Independent Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Morrisons has become the first of the Big Four supermarket giants to suggest its food prices could fall in an independent Scotland.
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Agenda: The large retail levy just does not add up for our customers or for us

It's in everyone's interests to have an honest discussion about the cost of doing business in Scotland, now and in the future.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Andy Clarke likes to portray himself as a businessman. A simple grocer. But surely even the simplest grocer knows that there are two sides to every transaction - the price you pay, and what you get in return. And he wouldn't have to be much cleverer than the groceries he;s selling to realise that, if you want a meaningful analysis of the viability of an operation then you must take account of all costs and all benefits.

It is said, by myself if non-one else, that a cost-benefit analysis is just an impressively complicated way of getting from a preconceived idea to a foregone conclusion. It is an exercise which is at best misleading and at worst dishonest if one is selective about the items one includes on each side of the calculation.

Mt Clarke chooses to focus on things which he claims make doing business in Scotland more expensive than in the rest of the UK. This includes what he claims are higher distribution costs. No actual figures are put on this. But what he fails to note is that, to a large extent, these supposedly higher relative costs are due, not to geographical factors - which apply just as much to large parts of England and Wales - but to the way in which the company has set up its distribution network.

In short, the company has CHOSEN to make it more expensive to do business in Scotland. We must assume that this is a rational choice on the part of Asda's management and that they have calculated that, despite being more costly at some levels, the distribution set-up is close to optimally cost-effective overall.

Independence doesn't change geography. If Asda's distribution network is close to ideal now, then it will continue to be so after independence.

The main thing Mr Clarke focuses on as a "burden" on the Scottish operation is the social responsibility levy. But, as noted earlier, he looks only at the cost and seems oblivious to even the possibility of any benefit accruing to his business from measures designed to improve the general health of the nation.

How does this accord with the pretence the supermarkets like to maintain that their stores are part of the community which they serve? Mr Clarke seems to imply a total disconnect between the shops and the community. His position appears to be that the well-being of the people who work in and shop at his stores is of no concern to the company.

Reading what Andy Clarke says here I am reminded of the wise word of economic historian R H Tawney. Words which should be printed on large plaques to hang in every boardroom in the land.

"Few tricks of the unsophisticated intellect are more curious than the naive psychology of the business man, who ascribes his achievements to his own unaided efforts, in bland unconsciousness of a social order without whose continuous support and vigilant protection he would be as a lamb bleating in the desert."

R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1922)

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A Supermarket Price War – Independence Style

A Supermarket Price War – Independence Style | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

So they've managed it again.  The pro-Union media have promoted a bare faced lie and gotten away with it.


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Yes! Prices Up at Tesco!!!

Yes! Prices Up at Tesco!!! | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The big news that didn’t ring true was “Supermarkets to charge more in independent Scotland”. Anti-intuitive, I’d say. Everything I hear about supermarkets is that they specialise in charging less ...
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Scottish independence: Salmond pressed over bills

Scottish independence: Salmond pressed over bills | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has been urged to make public any research the Scottish Government has carried out on the impact independence would have on the cost of people’s weekly shopping bills.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Margaret Curran is known to be one of the least intellectually acute individuals within British Labour in Scotland. So it is likely that she would have been taken in by the spin being put on this supermarket prices nonsense by the unionist media even if she had not been inclined to do so by her fervent British nationalist ideology.

Cleverer and more open-minded people will immediately have realised two or three things about this story. Firstly, they will have recognised that the supermarket executives did not say what Better Together claims they said. But we are almost at the stage now where we could shrug off the distortions and lies of Project Fear - were it not for the fact that a massive deception is being perpetrated against the people of Scotland.

Then the moderately intelligent person would have seen what the supermarket executives really did say. Which boils down to two things. Operating costs are affected by distance - not borders. And they can also be affected by the regulatory regime. What should be clear is that neither of these things is impacted by independence.

Distance is a factor throughout the UK. And geographical distances don't change just because the political arrangements are altered.

And the fact that the regulatory regime can be different in Scotland is something that businesses already have to deal with. Various aspects of that regime can be more or less favourable, from the operator's point of view. That is the situation already. Independence implies nothing new in this regard.

The point which should be glaringly obvious to all who do not suffer Maggie Curran's limitations is that the supermarkets find it best to keep the same prices across the UK despite these variations.

I could explain the reasons for this. But maybe Maggie could benefit from the mental exercise of figuring it out for herself.

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ASDA boss demolishes supermarket scare story | Scottish National Party

ASDA boss demolishes supermarket scare story | Scottish National Party | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The No campaign has been left facing embarrassment today after an article by the boss of ASDA demolished claims that a Yes vote would see supermarkets hike up prices.

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Asda will not take sides in Yes or No debate

THE boss of Asda has dismissed claims the supermarket giant is taking sides in the independence debate.
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Comment: Another bad day for Alex Salmond and the Yes Campaign

Comment: Another bad day for Alex Salmond and the Yes Campaign | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
IF you were close to the seat of government in Edinburgh yesterday and heard a deep groan followed by a thump, it was probably a despairing Alex Salmond's head hitting his desk.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Declarations of a death blow to Alex Salmond and the hated SNP are daily fare in the British nationalists media. All of which doesn't quite jibe with the fact that, only does our First Minister remain in very good spirits, he enjoys unsurpassed approval ratings and can relax in the knowledge that if an election were held to morrow his party would romp home with a victory that would be an even bigger embarrassment to the British parties than the 2011 landslide.

The reality here - which, of course, cannot be reported in the unionist media - is that the ones to suffer damage from the ridiculous food prices scare story are, in no particular order, Better Together, the BBC, Robert Peston, The Financial Times and the big supermarket chains.

The last of these have spent the last 24 hours furiously denying having said anything remotely like what was reported. The BBC and the press are arrogant enough to suppose they can make their own truth.

Project Fear is failing and flailing!

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Food prices could fall in independent Scotland says supermarket giant

Food prices could fall in independent Scotland says supermarket giant | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Claims that supermarkets are planning to increase food prices if Scotland votes Yes in the independence referendum have been dismissed by one of the big four supermarket giants.


Peter A Bell's insight:

More Better Together lies exposed.

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Supermarket prices may fall after independence!

Supermarket prices may fall after independence! | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The No Campaign's London centric media are at it again - chasing business people to make completely innocuous comments on independence and then twisting them out of context to create a negative headline but the story has no real credibility!
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