Business leaders are entitled to their opinion, whether they are paid up Tories, or whether they just visited Cameron in Downing Street out of curiosity. But we know the kind of political opinions business leaders, with some noble exceptions, tend to have. They mostly opposed the introduction of a minimum wage with warnings of cataclysm. Many opposed equal pay legislation and continue to oppose workers rights. I once saw a poster in the US that said, “organised labor, the people who brought you the weekend.” Business leaders resisted such changes each step of the way.
It is more useful to look at the actions of businesses than to pay too much attention to the political opinions of their most well-paid executives. Supermarkets operate in countries large and small across the EU. They compete in each market on quality and price, but mainly price. Lidl, Aldi and Morrisons have already seized the opportunity to point out they may well cut prices further in an independent Scotland. These are companies used to working across borders. Some of them are keen to look at what a jobs creation strategy that includes cuts in corporation tax might bring. The canard of increased distribution costs in Scotland has been raised, anybody who has bought anything in the Highlands know we pay for that already.
It was particularly pathetic to see BP warning about uncertainty. This is a company working in Liberia, Colombia and Iraq where people are shooting at each-other. They are pretty good at making money in the most difficult environments.
Bankers, on the other hand, tend to make life difficult for everybody else, but manage to make money for themselves. The idea that these crusaders for globalisation, speculation and international capitalism will throw in the towel if Scotland exercises self-determination beggars belief. They are experts in tax avoidance and exploiting opportunity. The question is not whether we can retain jobs in the financial sector in Scotland, but whether we can ensure sufficient regulation to ensure they do not once more impose huge costs on ordinary citizens to bail them out.
Scottish based companies lost some of their value on the stock exchange last week. They are all much more highly valued than they were at the beginning of 2014. We have seen stock market flutters at the prospect of UK Labour Governments in the past. They are not a balanced judgement on economic viability. The weakness of the pound is much more linked to rUK’s balance of payments deficit in the context of stratospheric debt. The reason Scotland would be unwise to float our own currency is that it would be too strong backed by oil reserves and a positive balance of payments ratio.
Only a Yes vote offers us the possibility to shape Government policy to prioritise jobs, investment and a reduction in inequality. Westminster offers nothing but the same old trickle down con trick. In spite of their panic about “more powers,” none of the parties are offering job creating powers, or control of energy policy, or any share of oil revenues.
The increasingly exaggerated scare stories truly are an insult to the intelligence of voters in Scotland. We only need to look at countries such as Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Finland to know that the prophesies of cataclysm are contrived. Another Scotland is possible.