Monday 21 October 2013



One of the great things about the Yes campaign is the way it brings together many different people from all walks of life and different party political persuasions.

It’s a great credit to this Conference that it provides a platform to those from across the wider Yes campaign, including those like myself with no allegiance to any political party.

Many people have come along different roads on their journey to Yes.

My journey started a couple of years ago when I decided to have a look for myself at the financial issues surrounding the referendum debate.

My background is in manufacturing. I run a number of businesses in Scotland, England and across Eastern Europe that have been built up over the past 10 years or so.

Businesses succeed or fail based on the numbers. Getting the numbers right is critical. Treating the numbers with respect is of paramount importance.

Facts are facts. When you forget that it hits you where it hurts – in the pocket.

When I did my own research on what the finances of an Independent Scotland would look like two things struck me.

Firstly, was the strength of the Scottish finances in comparison to the rest of the UK.  A strength that has been consistent for each of the past 30 years.

The second was the spin and obfuscation that went into trying to disguise that fact from the people who are to going to decide the referendum result next year.

Business people are often sceptical of politicians, but I have to say even I was dismayed at the extent to which people who should know better constantly twisted and downplayed the reality of Scotland’s economic strengths to their own political ends.

Then you remember who these people largely are, and what they stand to personally lose in the event of a Yes vote. Westminster MPs pick up a tidy salary, not forgetting expenses.

As Al Gore said in a different context – it’s difficult to get someone to understand something when their salary depends on them not understanding it.

But these are people who should, and in many cases do, know better.

When Alistair Darling tells us that an Independent Scotland couldn’t have bailed out the banks, he does so in the full knowledge that international banks are bailed out on the basis of where they do business, not where their head office is.

He, above most, must surely know the numbers. He was in charge of the UK economy and financial regulations for months before the banking crash hit. The US Federal Reserve contributed £640bn, a trillion dollars, to the bailout of the British banks. They did that based on the extent of their operations in the US, not on where their head offices were.

An Independent Scotland would only have contributed roughly the same 10% to the bank bailout as we contributed in any event as part of the UK.

When Alistair raises the scare stories about pensions he knows fine well that the UK’s debt to GDP ratio is one of the worst in the industrialised world – worse even than that other large struggling European economy Spain.

He knows that the deficit to GDP ratio in Scotland is 5% compared to 8% in the rest of the UK.
Alastair, 5% is a smaller number than 8%.

Pensions are far more affordable in an Independent Scotland than they are in the current UK.

He never hesitates to remind us that public spending in Scotland is £1200 higher than the UK average. He conveniently forgets to add that tax take per head in Scotland is £1700 higher than the UK average.
Alistair, £1700 is more than £1200.

We start from the assumption that Alistair Darling knows how to count. We know he trained as a lawyer, but he must have demonstrated some numerical ability to have been allowed to occupy the position of UK Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Then you notice that he has trouble with simple numbers, he routinely states that the population of Scotland is 6 million – inflating reality by some 700,000 – the population of the City of Glasgow – for no apparent reason.

He stated that industry estimates of 24 billion barrels left in the Scottish sector of the North Sea were overstated by a factor of 12. Alistair seems to think that there are only 2 billion barrels of oil left. Around half a billion barrels were pumped out last year. So according Alistair’s calculator the oil is running out sometime in 2017.

The realisation then begins to dawn that maybe he really doesn't get it.

Lots of people struggle with numbers – however not many of them make it to head of the UK Treasury.

Conference, we hear a lot about WMDs.

Now let’s hear it for Alistair Darling, the No campaign’s very own Weapon of Maths Destruction.

My journey to Yes led me to get involved with Business for Scotland, the non-party group of business people who have come together to put the financial and economic case for Independence.

That case is powerful, and it needs to be communicated as widely as possible to demonstrate to the people of Scotland that we have the economic strengths to be a successful country
The most common refrain heard on the doorsteps is,  “yes but……"“… yes but, can we afford it ?”

Business for Scotland is making the case through our website, generating articles and debate on all economic and business aspects of the independence debate.

Challenging the myths, disinformation and opinion masquerading as fact that routinely emanates from the No Scotland campaign and their UK treasury support team.

Our growing network of local groups- are holding events for business people across the country.

Our support for local yes groups – providing speakers to take part in debates and panel discussions making the business and economic case for Independence.

We look forward to working with as many Yes groups as possible over the next 11 months to drive home the message.

This is a rich country, with natural and human resources most countries can only dream of.
I've worked in many countries around the world, including Norway. Norway is often held up as an example of what Scotland could become.

Well, let me tell you if you compare the advantages in resources that Scotland enjoys over Norway –better location, easier access to market, world-class technology across a range of sectors, a whisky industry with world renowned premium brands, top universities, easier geography, a huge global diaspora willing us to do well and a great global brand then we should be considering Norway as our start point, not our end point. 

The fact that our aspirations are so low in a sad indictment of what the Union has done for Scotland.
There exists the opportunity to build something special here.

The alternative if to spend the rest of our lives explaining to our children and grandchildren how we had the winning lottery ticket in our hands and decided not to bother cashing it in.

Thanks to the work done by all of you over the years the time has come for the people of Scotland to seize that opportunity, and next September we in Business for Scotland believe they will do just that.

Thank you Conference.


  1. YES politicians need look Al. Darling straight in the eye when he comes up with the usual rubbish and tell him he's just lied to the Scottish folk again - if he lies when presented with the same facts over and over again, call him a liar.

    Very good business sense on display here, well done Mr. Kemp.

    Midgehunter (Wasn't sure which option to select

  2. Hello Midge Hunter... welcome to Munguin's Republic.

    Well, as the guy said, it’s difficult to get someone to understand something when their salary depends on them not understanding it.

    And in Alistair's case, it's his salary and what he has been looking forward to since in late 1990s... his own elevation to the upper classes, and a blood transfusion so that he will bleed blue blood. That of course id before you consider the number of directorships that a "lord" title brings you. Not to mention the £300+ a day tax free for sitting around in a luxurious club at the taxpayers' expense doing sod all. I can see why he's an enthusiast. After all the misery that the UK reeks on its citizens doesn't touch the likes of Ali, and the benefits for him personally of being in the Uk are enormous.

    Here he'll just be a has been house flipper.

    1. BTW... if you click on the Reply as button below, you can choose the option "name/url" and just type in your chosen name.


  3. If only we had an honest impartial MSM to get these messages out there.

    Just listened to this and worth the half hour.

    Quantitative Easing: Miracle Cure or Dangerous Addiction?

    1. I think that if the press were more even handed and weren't printing, without question, the utter garbage that is being spouted by the likes of Darling and Robertson, Cameron and Miliband et al, then the polls would look very different.

      The fact that the BBC admits that it is biased at the moment and will only stop being biased when the official campaign begins, is a scandal. We all have to pay for this propaganda machine. It should at least contain some propaganda from both sides.

      I have to fork out for a lot of things that I don;t want to, but the thing that annoys me most is paying a tv licence. I almost never watch BBC. I can't remember the last time that I did. But I have to pay to keep the ivory tower management in a style which Prince Charles would find ostentatious, and their so called stars, who couldnt spell the word talent never mind display any, with silly figure salaries.

      Why? Just WHY?

  4. o/t sorry tris but this is a doozy Cara Hilton's campaign in Dunfermline are putting out flyers which are claiming they abolished bridge tolls and show a picture of the forth road bridge, BAD it gets worse the bridge they lost the tolls on was the Erskine bridge, why? because they forgot to renew the licence to charge tolls
    moral of the story
    the labour party cant even be trusted to rob us properly without fucking it up

    1. He he he he he he he....

      Oh what a bunch of idiots.

      That woman has told more lies than Alistair darling and he's been in politics since before Adam was a lad. Her pamphlets are a pile of lies.

      Every single claim appears to be a lie.

      Imagine the BBC reporting it though...Jeez, it must be bad.

      OT is totally permissible here John! :)

  5. There doesn't seem to be any comeback on these election leaflet lies tris. Labour castigated the SNP in a leaflet I got at the last election for not using Ravenscraig for it's steel for the new Queensferry Bridge. This was despite Ravenscraig closing 20 years earlier. No one seems to bother. Strange (not).
    I saw that BBC building up close at the weekend when I went to the Glasgow SECC. Dark and foreboding in the wet rain and clouds. It's actually hard to make out the 'Scotland' bit on the building due to it being in black on a dark background. Ashamed of it maybe ?

  6. Aye Lamentable seems too thick to understand that you can't get steel out of a long closed down steel works.. Somehow she imagines the ghosts of steelworkers long since departed making steel for a Labour inspired bridge.

    I saw the BBC close up when we were at the science museum a couple of weeks ago. It is a ghastly building with no charm and no merit filled with management with matching qualities.

  7. Actually, Tris, that speech was given to conference by Ivan McKee, not Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp. Just in the interests of strict accuracy.

    1. Thanks for that Rolfe. :)

    2. Come to think of it, that's Ivan in the photo at the top, giving his speech.

    3. The article (linked to in the first paragraph) said that it was him, but I'm guessing you have alternative info Rolfe?

    4. The article is laid out in a misleading way. If you read it carefully, you'll see that it consists of a short introduction which is indeed by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, leading into the text of Ivan McKee's speech.

      I was there. It was Ivan on the platform, introduced as Ivan. It was his speech. It's the format of the Business for Scotland web page that is misleading. Read what it actually says.

      "Business for Scotland Director, businessman and manufacturing expert Ivan McKee was asked to speak about the economic and business case for independence. His speech went down so well he received a standing ovation, so we have decided to publish it in full below."

      Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp wrote that, but Ivan McKee wrote and delivered the actual speech.

    5. Thanks for clearing that up Rolfe. :)

    6. Corrected Rolfe. Better Late than Never...

    7. Easy mistake to make, given the way the speech was presented/reported on the Business for Scotland web site. When I first saw the page I initially thought, hang on a minute, it was Ivan McKee gave that speech or someone has been playing silly buggers with my memory banks! I had to read it a second time before I picked up the intent.

  8. As Iain McWhirter has blocked comments on his blog (BBC disease) as he wants one to go to the Herald for traffic. Archive link below.

    SNP should be bold and call pre-referendum convention

    1. Yeah I noticed that CH. Stops it being a blog and becomes an advert for the Herald.

      I will leave it up there though, because he does write some good stuff, and along with Ian Bell seems to be a more fair minded commentator than most.

  9. Views being sought on BBC reporting of referendum vote

    Over to you guys as mine would be 'Crap' but I think they require a much more succinct tone.

    1. I'm willing to put in a submission, although I practically never watch or listen to the BBC so it would be suggestions for what they should do rather than criticism of what they have done.

      Thanks CH

  10. Tris

    And what is Alex Salmond doing
    About the Grangemouth situation ?????

    Sweet FA it seems just hiding awa
    In his luxury hotel suite.
    Fiddling about whilst Scottish jobs burn !!!!

    How did 'HE ' the much vaunted
    First minister of the snp.

    Allow it to come to this , shame
    On him and his useless executive .

    If he can't win on this one
    What is the point of the
    Referendum .???

  11. Essentially, of course, this is a dispute between employers who want to reduce the conditions and pensions of the workers and the unions who don't want them to do that.

    I heard the two sides on the radio the other morning. The management says that it can't make the company work unless it imposes cuts; the workers (or rather more that half the workers say)... NO.

    I'm not in a position to judge the state of the company. Maybe they are in trouble (although frankly I doubt it), or maybe they are just a set of greedy gets (much more likely in my opinion).

    I understand that the government is involved in talks, although I've not heard anything since this morning at 6, so I'm not sure.

    But to be fair, neither the Scottish nor the UK governments can make the employers see sense or make the individual worker accept that the rapacious bosses want. At the end it is down to the company and the employees.

    I heard this morning that the government (ours) is in talks with a new employer, because if the present management don't get their way they have said they will close the place down. So it seems sensible to get another employer ready to take over.

    1. tris

      ' But to be fair, neither the Scottish nor the UK governments can make the employers see sense or make the individual worker accept that the rapacious bosses want. At the end it is down to the company and the employees. '

      Totally undermines everything the snp stand for . claim or indeed
      are asking people to vote for.
      Alex is forever saying an Independent Scotland would be in a stronger position to fight for the Scots people.
      And now at just one crisis we find the opposite to be said
      there is nothing the snp or Westminster can do ???

      The fact is there are many options which could be
      taken state intervention just one of them and my preference.
      how the snp have reacted just reveals their faith in the failed
      neo-liberal economics dominant in the UK.

      question -the snp referendum

      whats the point

    2. Tories or Labour both sides of the same cesspit.

      Niko keep looking for pink flying elephants as you are talking utter mince as usual.

    3. The exact point is, Niko, that only with the powers of independence would the Scottish government, of whatever party, be in a position to do anything serious about this. The whole thing relates to reserved matters. It's complete nonsense to demand that Alex makes it all better, or sneer at his campaign to get the powers he would need to do that.

    4. Niko. You must be being deliberately obtuse.

      The Scottish government has very limited powers in the case of energy. Energy is reserved to Westminster. If Alex is hopeless on this it is because he doesn't have the authority to do anything about it.

      Can you just imagine if he overstepped his power and saved the plant illegally, how Lament would scream.

  12. Niko. I'd refer you to Wings over Scotland piece which sets out the situation in some sort of logic.

    It seems to show that the company is lying about the grangemouth pant's losses. The company's losses are large although various different figures are being shown, but the losses seem to be in the Swiss branch of the company, not the Scottish one.

    They also appear to want money out of the Scottish and UK governments... which neither of them has, the UK being more broke than Greece and Spain put together.

    There is also an issue that the company has with the union convenor for using company time and premises to fiddle the successor to the Falkirk MP Eric Joyce. Labour had an inquiry into this issue and found him not to be at fault, but refuses to publish its findings.

    I understand now that the company has said it has closed the plant. That must have happened since I heard the news. It might have been helpful if Labour had agreed to publish the findings of its inquiry. It's only one of the issues involved but a serious one.

    I understand that the Scottish Government has been challenged to nationalise the pant because of the vast number of jobs at stake and the fact that its closure will have a massive effect on the price of petrol. Unfortunately energy policy is reserved to London and the government would need permission to do that.

    I suggest you read Stuart's piece.

  13. If Niko's attitude is prevalent then the Labour party must be, not for the first time, punching the air in collective delight at the misfortune of others. Who cares about the plebs as long as they feel it will help their grubby party.

    It does occur to me that redundancy payments for around 800 staff is going to cost a few bawbees.

    1. It's grubby to celebrate others' misfortune because it may give the press a chance to blame the scottish government for something which is the responsibility of the UK energy policy.

      It's tacky and I'm sure if Niko thinks about it he won't really be celebrating the hundreds of jobs directly and indirectly lost because of this.

    2. tris

      It is the snp who feed the delusion in a Independent Scotland
      incidents such as this wont happen . Obviously total crap
      as the snp response or lack of reveals.
      This just shows how weak and insignificant Scotland on its own would be as the UK would be outside the EU.

      celebrate well we will leave that remark to show the sadness which inhabits the Nationalist psyche.

      Alex is trying to lead the Scots on a merry dance they best realise when the music stops many more Grangemouths may be found throughout Scotland.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Jute

      you are still my friend

    2. Jutie said...

      You are the lowest of the low, Niko.

      Thousands of folk are about to lose their jobs, and you come out with that shite!

      I know you are a Unionist, but you are also a ****

  15. Sorry for the swearing Tris.
    Feel free to delete it.

    1. Just deleted one word Jutie...

  16. Replies
    1. I really dread a no vote.

      I see the English have employed a guy with experience of the American system of healthcare a head of their health service.

      So that's pretty much it. The NHS in England is on teh way out.

      And labour and the Tories want us to be given money according to need, not according to Barnet. But who will decide what is needed...the UK government. And what will they decide we need? As little as possible.

      I'd seriously think about leaving the country if Scots vote no. It will be hell here after 2016.

  17. Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    "Now let’s hear it for Alistair Darling, the No campaign’s very own Weapon of Maths Destruction."

    Its mine I saw it first
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hysterical

  18. I think Gideon is on the phone at this moment telling Jim RATcliffe what an arse he is
    "I told you October 2014 you idiot"

    1. LOL Yeah... That would have been far more timely.