Hamish Alldridge, chairman of the Scottish Research Society, said today, “The wheels are coming off the separatists’ bandwagon. Separation is a risk that even Scotland’s bravest risk-taker is no longer willing to take.”
Stagecoach, recently awarded the franchise to run East Coast trains between London and Scotland,has today bluntly listed separation as a risk to its business in its annual Preliminary Results, even though its owner, Brian Souter, had previously given money to the Yes campaign and to the SNP.
Mr Alldridge said: “The Preliminary Results issued by Sir Brian Souter’s company are in effect a serious profits warning. The group says there is a risk that changes to the regulatory environment or to the availability of public funding could affect its prospects. The meaning could not be clearer. Separation makes doing business in or with Scotland too uncertain to be worth the candle.
“The fact that even a major company owned by one of the Yes campaign’s biggest donors is willing openly to express the gravest doubts about the future business environment in a separated Scotland should serve as the clearest possible warning to those who falsely pretend that it will be business as usual if anti-English xenophobia splits Scotland from her nearest neighbour.”
Mr Alldridge continued: “Research we shall publish in the coming weeks will reveal that many Scottish companies are registering themselves in England to make sure they have a future in the unlikely event that Scotland votes to risk its economic security by discarding the Union that has served us all so well.
“What is more, there is evidence that companies are being bullied by the SNP and threatened with loss of government contracts if they say anything publicly against separation. Many are too frightened to speak out. Mr Souter’s company is a rare and courageous exception. Even the Bank of Scotland has long been on record as saying it might move to England if the curtain is not rung down on the separation pantomime.
“It is not just the consequences for business that matter. If Stagecoach is worried about whether a bankrupt Scotland under an SNP administration can afford the subsidies that keep marginal rural buses and trains running, everyone who depends on the State for wages or welfare or a pension or a health service already being scandalously withdrawn from rural areas should be very afraid. The people of Scotland will prove cannier than the separatists think. Everyone who once thought they might vote Yes should think again, as Mr Souter has.”
The Scottish Research Society, which conducts and disseminates authoritative research on economic and other fields of policy relevant to Scotland, is a registered and active participant in the No campaign.
Further details from Hamish Alldridge : firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone : 01333 311198/Mobile : 07968 098939