Tom Hunter backs 2014 for referendum
As one of Scotland leading entrepreneurs and philanthropists Sir Tom Hunter's recent article in the Sunday Times is a very welcome contibution to the debate over the timetabling of the independence referendum. Sir Tom makes an eloquent case for a full and proper debate on the question of independence - and backs autumn 2014 as the right time for the poll.
The case for autumn 2014 is succinctly and powerfully put in the Scottish Government consultation ‘Your Scotland, Your Referendum’: “simple good sense, and a respect for due process, all point to the autumn of 2014 as being the right time for the referendum”.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Sir Tom notes: “Many now seem to be arguing that we need the vote before 2014. Why? We have only lightly touched the edges of the debates we need for our country’s future; do they really want to compress that debate for political expediency. A speedy referendum might suit some, but it certainly does not suit democracy”.
There is in fact a hatful of other arguments in favour of the autumn 2014 date:
- it allows for proper consideration of more than 20,000 responses to the referendum consultation;
- it gives time for proper testing of the proposed question;
- it allows full and thorough consideration of the Referendum Bill by the Scottish Parliament;
- and, it avoids a clash with major events in 2014 including the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.
These are all good arguments. But the most powerful is, as Sir Tom explains, quite simply the fact that this is a hugely important debate – “a vote that will determine the future of our great nation”.
The Herald reports that the Yes campaign has been “boosted” after the chief executive of insurance giant Aviva said the referendum was not an issue for his company. Mark Wilson, whose firm employs 2500 staff north of the Border, said last night: "We operate all around the world and in many jurisdictions and in many places so I really think that's not an issue for us to focus on."
Mark Wilson, Chief Executive of the UK's biggest insurance company, Aviva "We operate all around the world and we operate in many jurisdictions and in many places"
It has long been apparent that the No campaign is characterised by unashamed, relentless negativity – what else would we expect from an outfit that refers to itself as “Project Fear”?
British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh – Independence “positive”
British Airways boss Willie Walsh was announcing his company’s annual profits this morning. Interviewed on BBC, he was asked about the prospect of a Yes vote. “If anything, it [Scottish independence] will be slightly positive since we believe it will abolish air passenger duty” said Mr Walsh.