SCOTLAND INDEPENDENCE BLUEPRINT – A WAKE UP CALL FOR INDUSTRY AND WHITEHALL
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
26 Nov 13. With just 295 days to go before voters in Scotland are finally asked to decide whether to stay as part of the United Kingdom or to vote for eventual independence the launch today of the Scottish National Party (SNP) policy blueprint will I hope be used as an opportunity by Whitehall to raise its game and warn the people of Scotland that a vote for independence could be a vote for uncertainty and danger.
While the Scotland referendum vote will be high on the news agenda over the next forty-eight hours am I am alone in thinking that the voice of the rest of the UK opposed to the notion of Scotland leaving the ‘Union’ are being far too low key? I wonder, do we have much of an idea of just what is going on out there; the dangers for the rest of us in Britain not to mention for Scottish voters themselves should the referendum vote turn out to be a ‘yes’ to independence? Do we really care? Well if not we should do and for now forget all about the promised vote on the EU and concentrate on doing what we can to ensure that a minority vote allows the UK to be broken up!
Over the past few days I have been asking myself where are the voices of reason that should as far as I am concerned be banging the drum hard against Scotland voting for independence. I am not alone in believing that a Scotland outside of the UK has far more to lose than it has to gain but I don’t see enough industrial voices singing that tune? Yes, we know well what the CBI thinks and from other organisations that have not been silenced by their members but why is it that we hear so little from industry and commerce directly and that have so much invested in Scotland? After all by virtue of need they surely realise that an independent Scotland will need to substantially raise corporate taxation if an independent Scotland is to get started let alone survive.
That said I do recognise that the brilliant and well respected former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling is doing his best to fly the flag of common sense. As a Scot he speaks for a great many that believe Scotland’s future is better within the United Kingdom than being outside it. Let me add here that I found his arguments on the ‘Today Programme’ this morning excellent as he exposed a great many flaws in the SNP’s futile economic argument. But while Mr. Darling has a compelling argument and one that will be sustainable throughout this campaign what I want to see and hear now are the same arguments and more being aired on radio and TV every day between now and the referendum!
I make no bones at all about my own personal view that Scotland should remain an integral part of the United Kingdom but I would be far happier if industry both inside Scotland and those based outside that have interests there to step up to the plate and say what they believe. I also want to hear it said that the most likely outcome of a vote for an independent Scotland would be to lead companies to disinvest in Scotland.
I venture to suggest that if the vote goes Mr. Salmond’s way many large companies and institutions would immediately decide to move their registered domain from being in Scotland back into the UK. The reasoning for doing this would be sound and on the basis of that within what is now a global economy what is the point of burying one’s head in the sand locking oneself into a single country – one that would not only be outside the European Union, the Euro currency, NATO and also one that has precious little in the way of defence?
While I may personally admire the tenacity of SNP leader Alex Salmond and take the view that he makes an excellent leader of the Scottish National Party I could never believe that Scotland might be better off as a nation outside the United Kingdom. Mr. Salmond’s argument that an independent Scotland will have a strong eco