The oft-repeated statement that there is a lack of information about independence, when it is not politically motivated, often comes from those who have made no real effort to find it, or prefer to ignore it when confronted with it.
There is more information about the independence choice available than has ever been available to electors and business in any political decision taken in centuries. Many calling for information are in fact seeking certainties about aspects of legislation, finance and banking that are not available in the UK as presently constituted, in a time of unprecedented global economic and social turmoil, never mind in 2016, after eighteen months of complex and wide-ranging negotiation between Scotland and rUK.
Leaving aside the fact that is obvious to professional negotiators such as myself, namely that the opposing parties in the referendum debate are not going to blow their respective strategies in advance of the Referendum vote in 2014 and before sitting round the table, the UK Government and notably the Ministry of Defence seem to be in a state of denial about the realities facing them if Scotland votes YES. They are terrified that an adult dialogue of key issues might imply acceptance of Scotland as an independent state with diplomatic autonomy.
The Scottish Government White Paper, due in late Oct/Nov will set out a clear prospectus for an independent Scotland, and will be met a massive hostile response from the full resources of the UK civil service and defence apparatus. Meanwhile, across Scotland, more and more ordinary Scots voters are informing themselves, with the help of complex online networks, active groups covering every profession, ethnic group and the Arts, and a countrywide series of events mounted by YES Scotland.
No electorate has ever been better informed, and by the end of the campaign, the Scottish electorate will be one of the most sophisticated in the world.
Unless some businesses break out of their complacent status quo bubble, they will find themselves competitively disadvantaged in the new reality of independent Scotland and rUK.
I have spent my life in business, working for multi-national companies both in senior management and as an external consultant. Much of what is said by the C.B.I. Scotland is partisan political posturing on behalf of that lazy – and unrepresentative – status quo, and is seen as such by the key movers and shakers in Scotland and internationally.
Ruth Davidson says “Alex Salmond doesn’t speak for a majority of Scots. In fact, he never has..” Alex Salmond speaks for all Scots because he was democratically elected with an overall majority in 2011 to do just that.
In 1997, Scotland was a Tory-free zone as far as Westminster MPs: now they have one – just one – MP. That was in part because Scottish Tories opposed devolution and a Scottish Parliament with ever fibre of their being.
Since 1945, Scottish Tories have only returned more MPs to Westminster than Labour once, in 1955 – 36 to 34, with the number declining inexorably since. Since then, the number of Tory MPs has steadily declined to its present parlous state of one MP.
Only once, in 1955 have they had a majority share of the Westminster vote – 50.1%. Despite Scotland voting for a Labour Government in every general election since 1945, with the exception of 1955 – Scotland has only had the UK/Westminster government it voted for in a minority of general elections.
Scotland elected its first SNP devolved Government in 2007 and in 2011 returned them with a massive majority – an overall majority of seats. Only proportional representation gives the Tories any real presence in the Scottish Parliament.
The Tories are almost moribund as a party in Scotland, yet Tory Governments in the UK destroyed Scottish industry and piloted the hated Poll Tax in Scotland, and are now engaged in an assault on the poor and vulnerable in Scotland. Scottish oil revenues since 1979 saved the Thatcher Government and the English economy, and bankrolled three foreign wars – Falklands, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Ruth Davidson is accurate in one respect only – the Tories are the only party to have had a majority share of the Westminster vote in Scotland. That was 58 years ago. Since then, the Scottish electorate have seen through the Tories, but the structure of UK has prevented them from acting on it to dump them.
Only full independence for Scotland in 2016 will end this democratic deficit between two nations, and Scots will vote for that in 2014.