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Robert Reid: The mistakes surrounding Scottish independence campaign


As we head through adviser conference season, I have been busy speaking in several different parts of the UK. It is always good to get questions going and I often expose myself to risk by encouraging people to ask questions on any topic.

Luckily, nobody asked me anything too difficult other than my opinion as to the likely result in the Scottish referendum.

The changes that will inevitably occur north of the border will have a far-reaching effect on the rest of the UK. 

It is highly unlikely that the yes vote will be anything less than 40 per cent and given the demographics of the people voting, it is clear that Cameron, etc, will have to support some significant extension of power to the Scottish Parliament, even if the majority vote no.

It is clear that the biggest weapon that Alex Salmond and the Yes campaign currently have is the No campaign. When the somewhat less than charismatic Alistair Darling was appointed to lead the campaign against independence, I did despair. He was put to one side temporarily by the always patronising Douglas Alexander, only to be replaced by someone described in The Times as much loved at home, one Gordon Brown. I don’t know where The Times is getting its research but Brown is just as vilified in Scotland as he is in England for all the damage he did to the pensions system as he tried to move it towards his socialist ideals. It will be the combination of those individuals and the English media that will deliver a Yes vote if it continues on the path it is on.

Those friends and family who have decided to vote yes are very much doing it on the basis that they hope things will be a lot better and they don’t imagine things will be a lot worse.

Certainly there is lack of information and that is not helpful. Recently, there have been series of seminars in Scotland trying to give people a steer as to what would happen investment wise, dealing with key topics like currency, the debt rating that Scotland would have if it was independent, financial regulation, tax policy would be, how capital would be controlled and last but not least whether or not EU membership was all that important at an early stage.

In my opinion it will take up to four or five years before we see the full impact of independence and it is presumptuous to suggest that anybody knows what the precise answers are. This is despite the flurry of supposed researched papers published recently.

Parliament in Westminster is on holiday in August,  a time when Salmond will be canvassing hard in the run-up to the vote itself in mid-September. 

The help the SNP will get from the No campaign just cannot be quantified and its efforts could go down as one of the biggest political mistakes in the history of these Isles.

Robert Reid is managing director of Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners



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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. If the vote is No at the referendum then Mr Salmon and co can ask for more powers all they want but I doubt it will to happen. The govt will simply that you gave it your best shot and lost, its back to normality now and the status quo will be maintained.
    As for the membership of the EU goes, I don’t think they will get in (assuming thats what they want) as Spain will say No – It has to because if it agrees to Scotland getting in then Catalonia will be next state to want its independence referendum and EU membership, which was, is and always will be a big no-no from Spain’s point of view so they will have to block Scotland for their own selfish reasons (IMHO).

    As Rob says those who want the No vote to succeed could not have picked worse candidates to head their campaign. (Maybe the govt privately actually want Scotland YES campaign to win and thought, who can we send up to help them?)

    It will be an “interesting” summer of politics to watch how it unfolds.

  2. I’m all in favour of a YES vote.

    This will mean Scotland will be a separate country and initially not in the EU.

    I therefore look forward to lots and lots of duty free Scotch whisky!

    As an aside it may also mean that the Tories would be on a much better footing to win elections as all bar one (I think) of the Scottish MPs are Labour. (That may or may not be a ‘good thing’!)

  3. As to Scotland / Catelonia a key difference is that if Scotland votes yes it will be as a result of the consent of the UK government to permit seperation – whereas the Spanish government has not similarly consented in respect of Catelonia. That I suspect would be the key issue on which the application would progress.

    Scotland better off or not – who knows, only one way of finding out. The problem with a no vote now seems to me that the damage to the relationship has been done – unless the no vote is very convincing (which I doubt) it will be forever “it’s England holding us back”. So as an Englishman with no vote on the matter I hope the vote is yes, and I wish folk all the best from it.

  4. Philip Castle 30th May 2014 at 1:43 pm

    @Chipping – As an Englishman, whilst I am undecided about whether it is good or bad for England, that is NOT the issue for me.

    The issue is, whatever happens with Scotland’s vote, you CANNOT have a vote for Scotland now without following it up with an English Vote, Welsh Vote, NI vote and even a Cornwall Vote (as they are now recognized as a minority group I believe) about whether any of the rest of us wish to leave the Union, otherwise one minority group are being given preference over another as far as self determination is concerned.

  5. Phil

    I’m all for independence for Stanmore. Even better I’m thinking of declaring my street a Republic.

  6. You cant beat a good revolution !! not so sure about all this voting though, all sounds very tea and cucumber sandwiches anyone ? wasn’t how it was done in my day !!

    But be warned when the money (funding) stops (thanks for nothing Russia) it will all go downwards very quickly !!!

  7. Philip & Harry – agree wth both of you. I made a UDI years ago…..although I’m still trying to convince HMRC of it’s validity 🙂

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