Since it’s the silly season for the nation’s newspapers – politicians on their holliers, so a dearth of the usual Westminster page fillers – I thought I’d take a break from business issues, in favour of an English perspective on the Scottish independence vote.This month’s issue has two key ingredients: 1. To give you my take on the pros and cons and 2. Find out what the English (including Scottish residents) down here think.
Incidentally, the results from the straw poll I took last month on business planning are at the bottom of this edition.
So first, a contentious question: should English residents be given a say in the decision? And if they were given a say, what would they say? Scotland might represent less than 10% of GDP, but it will still have an impact on us too.
The last thing the politicians want is our opinion, largely because they believe it would be negative. Can you imagine The Sun’s editorial line? “If you want to row your own boat, stuff off; but don’t expect any favours from us in the future.”
The nation would probably split down the middle, with the educated upper and middle classes sticking with the status quo, and the rest inviting them to push off.
And you get the feeling that that is also how the Scottish vote itself is splitting. The first televised debate generated more heat than light, as far as we can tell – why was it not broadcast here? The implications are almost as important for us as them. But more importantly, what exactly are the real issues that should and will be informing their eventual decision?
I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other, personally, and like many English people I’ve seen interviewed, I don’t think it will make much difference to our lives whichever way the vote goes, but I do think the ‘No’ campaign has been extremely poor at articulating in key bite-size chunks the essential in/out issues.It seems to me that most of the ‘Yes’ vote plays to the heart rather than the head. So far, the ‘No’ vote has spent an inordinate amount of time stressing all the negatives: all the things they won’t have if they vote ‘Yes’.
From where I’m sitting, apart from a lot of nationalist sentiment, which I’ve no time for on either side of the border, what the vote is about is essentially Certainty versus Uncertainty, and if the ‘No’ vote concentrates on that key message, they’ll be home and hosed, as the saying goes.
Here is my Yes/No Uncertainty Digest:
No: Your currency will be sterling
Yes: You have no idea what your currency will be
No: You will be in the EU
Yes: You may be allowed in the EU, but god knows when
No: All major conglomerate and financial Head Offices will stay in Scotland
Yes: Many have indicated they will move south
No: HS2 will eventually terminate in Glasgow and Edinburgh
Yes: HS2 will terminate in Leeds and Manchester
No: UK military bases (& their employment) + defence shield will remain
Yes: Military bases (and employment) will move south
No: Pensions: you will get what you what always thought you’d get
Yes: You have no idea what arrangements will be
No: Hadrian’s Wall will remain a tourist attraction
Yes: Hadrian’s Wall will be doubled in size with custom posts every half mile
All right, I made the last one up, but the rest represent to me the core issues. If they want to follow their heart because independence (whatever that means in an increasingly inter-dependent global economy) means so much, go right ahead and vote ‘Yes’ for uncertainty. It’ll be exciting, that’s for sure.
I reckon, though, that when they get in the polling booth for that one-time, never-going-back moment, with the pen hovering over the ‘Yes’ box, they’ll be thinking about all those uncertainties and stick with the status quo.
What do you think? Will they vote ‘YES’ (for independence) or ‘NO’?
And if you were given the vote too, would you vote ‘YES’ (let them go) or ‘NO’?
Or wouldn’t you have given them the vote in the first place? What the hell was Cameron thinking when he allowed it in the first place? If they vote ‘Yes’, he’s gone, with a permanent black mark against his name in history.
My straw poll of readers in the last issue about whether you have a written-down business plan elicited the following response:
YES 65% NO 35%
To all the Yes’s: don’t feel too smug. You’ve still got to implement the action plan to achieve your objectives.
To the No’s: if you need any help writing one, you know where to come.
David Croydon: 01844 238692 or e-mail email@example.com