Why Salmond Couldn’t Lose
I’m no political analyst but even I could read the runes from day one of the independence campaign. Alex Salmond was always going to win more powers it was just a question of degree.
Why? Team Cameron and Osborne at the very start made three fundamental errors. Firstly the wording of the question – try campaigning for anything with a no in it, that’s a tough shift particularly as the opposition can gleefully spout yes until the clans come home.
Secondly duration. Anyone who understands the theory of battle knows never to give the opposition enough time to mobilise. Alex mustered an army and some and still had time for a pit stop or two.
Thirdly, and perhaps most fundamentally, why refuse to have the devo max question on the ballot paper? Our own polling and everyone else’s showed at the time the majority of Scots wanted more powers but not necessarily to go the full hog to independence.
Then we see perhaps the biggest volte face in recent political history as all three unionist parties caved in to offer more devolution, more power for Scotland. This was done, by the way, well after some 789 000 postal votes could have been cast. Talk about strategy by knee jerk, this was it personified and it was, as many noted, an affront to democracy.
So you see either way Alex Salmond and his yes voters were always set to win, it was simply a question of by how much – greater powers for Scotland or full blown independence.
And now we know which its time for Scotland to come together and embrace the will of the majority of Scots. And in this business and entrepreneurial Scotland have a fundamental role to play. As I’m now tired of saying Government doesn’t make money, they spend it. Industry and commerce are the engines that pay for the welfare state, the NHS, the free care for the elderly, education and much more.
So it’s now time for all of Scottish business, all of us, all patriots one and all to seize the opportunities this decision has cast up. Are there threats? Yes. Will there be challenges? Yes. Can we overcome them? Of course we can. Business moves on, it adapts dynamically to circumstance and in this global, interconnected world competes head on with challenges all day every day in most corners of the world.
I have no worries over business and its ability to move forward with unity, dignity and conscience to embrace this decision. However I now know the political landscape of the United Kingdom is facing unparalleled change – a federal structure must now be in play in most political minds. Because let’s be honest having tasted what Scotland now has, few regions or indeed countries as in Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to be embracing the status quo for too much longer. Scotland has changed the UK political landscape forever; of that I am immensely proud.
For now however we all need to focus on delivering a positive future for Scotland I am and I hope you will too by embracing this decision and helping build Scotland 2.0
Sir Tom Hunter is an entrepreneur and philanthropist.