This week a packed meeting at Murrayfield Stadium’s Thistle Suite listened to John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, and Michelle Thomson from Business For Scotland argue the case for independence.
Speaking about the founding of Business in Scotland, an organisation representing over 1700 businesses, she said “When people talk about business, they really were coming from the bent of a large headquartered base of a global international or headquartered in London, but in Scottish terms 99.3% of our business are in the SME – small, medium enterprises – sector. Of them, about 98% are small – that is under 49 employees.
We’ve become used to hearing ‘business says’ when it’s not really reflecting our business community, so we felt it was important to have that voice.”
“We’re finding people with large businesses and micro business are joining us too – all attracted by the positive opportunities that independence for Scotland can bring.”
“What new markets and customer service proposition could I be targeting? How will I differentiate my business? What will have changed? What new country advantages might there be? And, what are the risks of not changing?”
She spoke of the ‘independence bounce’ as the eyes of the world look to Scotland afresh, and asked what message we want to send to the world.
“I have no shame in being ambitious” she said. “But I want that scope and vision for my country too.”
“When did ‘ok’ become ‘ok’? I want something much better for Scotland. It’s vitally important for our children.”
John Swinney spoke about how equivocation in the 1978 devolution vote cost Scotland dear, resulting in a fundamentally depressed economic climate and economic dislocation as industries were destroyed. Voting less than emphatically did Scotland absolutely no good whatsoever.
“Scotland endured policies with no protection in Westminster. We learned a hard lesson, and in 1997 voted emphatically for independence in a whole range of policy areas – the health service, justice, education, housing policies, local government.
Thanks to that vote, we have 100% control over these areas – and the Scottish people are happy with what we – and previous Scottish labour /liberal controlled parliaments have done.”
“Do we want to exercise the same degree of control over our economy? Defense? International relations and foreign affairs? Welfare?”
“We can deliver a better performance when we have the control ourselves. That’s the prospect this independence referendum offers us. We need to take this opportunity to take these decisions for the benefit of the Scottish people.”
Submitted by Neil Hay