Scottish Referendum

Scottish Referendum

Should Westminster Recall The Scottish Referendum

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Big Business Statements & Manipulation

During the referendum campaign, Westminster urged "big businesses" to speak out and release statements about an Independent Scotland 

These statements were then manipulated by the media, in order to cause fear.

Examples :

EDF Energy boss warns over Scottish independence risks (Telegraph)

Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy chief, said he had a responsibility to "defend the interests of our company" and made clear that these interests would be at risk from a Scottish "yes" vote.

Co-op boss says Scottish independence could burden UK business (SKY News)

LONDON (Reuters) - The boss of Britain's Co-operative Group said in an interview on Monday he was worried Scottish independence could burden British businesses.

"Anything that would add complexity or extra cost into any business across the UK I think I would have some concerns about," Co-op Group Chief Executive Euan Sutherland told Sky News.

The bosses of major British companies have largely sidestepped the debate on Scottish independence ahead of a September 18 referendum, although the head of BP (BP.L) earlier this month warned a vote in favour would cause his business "uncertainties".

Separatist leader Alex Salmond insisted earlier on Monday that Scotland would keep the pound if it left the UK and accused British politicians of bluffing by ruling out a currency union.

Co-op, which is owned by its members and has operations spanning banking, supermarkets and funeral services, was last year rocked after a 1.5 billion pound ($2.5 billion) capital shortfall was identified at its bank.

Earlier on Monday, the group announced it was carrying out a national survey on the future strategy for the 150-year-old group.

Scotsman Newspaper - 12/9/14

"ALEX Salmond was dealt a series of blows yesterday as retailers warned independence could lead to price rises and several Scottish banks unveiled contingency plans that would see them registered in England in the event of a Yes vote.

Clydesdale Bank, TSB and Tesco Bank joined Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds to say they would move their legal bases south of the Border if Scotland voted for independence.

However, former RBS chairman and chief executive Sir George Mathewson dismissed the warnings as “UK government-driven scaremongering”, and Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, said an independent Scotland would be a “big success”.

The banks’ plans came to light as major retailers Asda, John Lewis and Next all warned that uncertainty over an independent Scotland’s currency could lead to price rises in the shops."

Get your money out of Britain: Global banks warn investors 'Yes' vote would be 'cataclysmic' for UK economy - Daily Mail Headline 9/9/14

  • Value of the pound could plunge by 15% in the event of a 'Yes' vote
  • Japan's top bank Nomura advises investors to brace for sterling collapse
  • Separation of union after over 300 years would be a 'cataclysmic shock'
  • Jitters saw the pound fall to a 10-month low against the dollar yesterday 
  • Shares in major Scottish businesses also tanked amid a surge for 'Yes'
  • Sterling continued to fall today as second poll puts referendum on knife edge

Sir Richard Branson in fresh warning on Scottish independence - recorded for BBC 

Stephen Paton Speaks Out

Newsnet Scotland 

When the world wanted representation, we gave them democracy. When they wanted progress, we had the Scottish enlightenment and the industrial

When slavery bound innocent people, we abolished it; when fascism threatened freedom, we defeated it.

As individuals and as nations, we have done extraordinary things. This is the special alchemy of the UK - you mix together Scotland, England, Wales
and Northern Ireland and together we smash expectations.

The UK is a special and precious country. So let no one in Scotland be in any doubt: we desperately want you to stay; we do not want this family of
nations to be ripped apart.

Across England, Northern Ireland and Wales, our fear over what we stand to lose is matched only by our passion for what can be achieved if we stay

So please, if you don't have a vote in this referendum, join me in signing a letter to everyone who does, letting them know that we passionately want
them to stay:

If we pull together, we can keep on building a better future for our children. We can make sure our destiny matches our history, because there
really will be no second chances. If the UK breaks apart, it breaks apart forever.

So if you have a vote, please choose a brighter future for Scotland by voting No.

And if you don't have a vote, please sign this letter to the voters of Scotland, expressing our heartfelt desire to keep our proud family of
nations together:


David Cameron

It also emerged, from the BBC’s Economics Editor Robert Peston, that David Cameron himself has pressured supermarkets to say that prices would rise after independence. Tesco, of course, have previously rubbished claims from the No campaign that their prices would rise

Mr Peston also quoted one banker as saying that the Prime Minister’s Office was responsible for the series of announcements from Scottish banks about independence, saying “there was someone in Number 10 trying to get the banks to co-ordinate on this”.

A number of banks such as RBS have said they may move their registered HQ to London in the event of a No vote – a move that would see no changes in jobs in Scotland, but which the No campaign has tried to spin as much as possible.

A letter to RBS staff from its chief executive, Ross McEwan, clarified the situation: “This is a technical procedure regarding the location of our registered head office. It is not an intention to move operations or jobs. Our current business in Scotland, including the personal and business bank, IT and operations, human resources and many other functions, are here because of the skills and knowledge of our people, and the sound business environment. So far, I see no reason why this would change should we implement our contingency plans.

Claims that prices would rise in an independent Scotland aren’t new – they have been debunked before. Indeed when companies talk about higher costs it can often be because they would have to create new jobs and headquarter functions here in Scotland. That might be a nuisance for them but it is good for Scottish employment.

When the No campaign issued their referendum communication, delivered to every home in Scotland, they were rebuked by supermarket Tesco for claiming shopping would be more expensive after independence. Responding to a question from a customer who had read the leaflet, a Tesco representative said: “I can confirm that this is not true”, saying that Tesco has “a great business in Scotland” and would “continue to offer the best prices whatever the outcome of the referendum”.

Prices, of course, change all the time, and policy choices here in Scotland could also result in lower costs. Supermarkets and retailers, just as Tesco have confirmed, will offer the most competitive prices so as to attract the most customers. If a retailer did choose to raise prices unilaterally, shoppers would just go elsewhere.

A DAMNING email shows the UK Treasury leaked sensitive information about a Royal Bank of Scotland contingency plan to move its registered office from an independent Scotland before the bank itself had decided to announce its plan.

A major row broke out after the BBC reported RBS plans to relocate the office to London, if there is a Yes vote, on Wednesday night. The bank's announcement was made the next morning.
It prompted First Minister Alex Salmond to write to Sir Jeremy Heywood, the head of the UK civil service, demanding an inquiry into the "clear breach of city rules".
In response, Heywood said the Treasury had just been confirming its understanding of RBS's plans after questions from the media.
But the Sunday Herald understands the Treasury sent an email to the BBC at 10.16pm on Wednesday, while the RBS board was still meeting to decide whether to tell its shareholders of its plan the next day.
The Sunday Herald understands the Treasury email said: "As you would expect, RBS have also been in touch with us and have similar plans to base themselves in London."
Salmond last night called the email ''an extraordinary and politically explosive revelation'' and demanded its immediate publication in full.
''It appears that the Treasury were briefing RBS market-sensitive information 45 minutes before the bank's board decided to announce its decision,'' he said.
''It is clear they did so in clear breach of the Treasury rule book. The Treasury fingerprints are all over this. They orchestrated it in the same way that the Prime Minister was caught red-handed orchestrating the scare surrounding comments by supermarkets.
''The Westminster establishment are now on the back foot. Not only are they fearmongering but they are not doing so competently or within the rules."

Salmond has now written again to Heywood demanding an inquiry. He said: "This makes the case for a full inquiry irresistible and … extremely urgent.
There were suggestions this week about the safety of jobs in the financial sector in Scotland.
These turned out to be false, and this was backed up in a statement by RBS chief executive Ross McEwan.
It said: "Any decision to move our registered headquarters should have no impact on everyday banking services used by our customers … This is a technical procedure regarding the location of our registered head office. It is not an intention to move operations or jobs."

It also emerged that Edinburgh financier and RBS shareholder Peter de Vink has written to Police Scotland, the City of London Police, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Lord Advocate of Scotland asking for a probe into the release of the information relating to RBS's relocation.
In his complaint he raised concerns of "criminal and inappropriate activities" with impacts on "shareholders, customers and the wider public in Scotland". He told the Sunday Herald: "I feel that the Westminster government has behaved almost like a banana republic dictatorship.
"I am incensed … Scotland could be a great success story as an independent nation."

Lloyds Banking Group, Clydesdale Bank, Tesco Bank, TSB and Standard Life set out contingency plans post-referendum which included moving aspects of their business - such as headquarters or legal registration - south of the Border. Retailers including Asda, and John Lewis said prices would rise in an independent Scotland.

That was contradicted by others including Tim Martin, the head of Wetherspoon, one of Britain's biggest pub chains, who said Scotland could thrive on its own, and Tesco, which denied claims its prices would rise in an independent Scotland.

Senior banking experts also dismissed claims made by Deutsche Bank's chief economist David Folkerts-Landau that a Yes vote would cause the kind of instability which triggered the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Ian Blackford, who formerly ran Deutsche Bank's operations in Scotland and the Netherlands, said the argument made about the financial services sector in Scotland benefiting from the strength of the Union failed in light of the fact Deutsche Bank had shut its Edinburgh office in 2005.

HE said: "A business which had been highly successful was trashed and closed in Edinburgh by Deutsche Bank. They are saying there is a risk to the financial industry - yet they did it themselves … under the Union."
Edward McDowell, a former risk manager for Lloyds Banking Group, called the Deutsche Bank warning "totally disingenuous".

He said: "There is no balanced comment around the strong fiscal situation Scotland is in, which is clearly established in situations that are here and will remain here.
"That part of it is not getting across to give people a balanced view and allow them to make a sensible judgment for Thursday."

He decided to speak out after reading reports of risks to jobs from "relocation" of bank head offices. "It is purely a technical issue," he said.

Michelle Thomson, managing director of pro-independence group Business for Scotland, who has held senior roles at Standard Life, said: "Standard Life has managed to still retain a sense of identity and strong Scottish brand - it is headquartered in Edinburgh and has literally thousands of staff. The idea that they would move lock, stock and barrel is ridiculous." (Source Herald Scotland)

Above is a list of all the companies, who were urged to release statements about "price rises" etc

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