Monday, 15 September 2014

Why ‘Independence’ would be Terrible for Scottish Shareholders and the rest of Scotland

Lloyds, RBS, HSBC, Shell, Asda... they can’t all be wrong. All these business people would be screaming for Scotland to be independent if it would make them more money. But it will lose them a lot of money, which is why they are speaking out. The most convincing statement for me was from Douglas Flint, chairman of HSBC. You don’t get to be chairman of HSBC unless you know about money.

It’s quite amusing to see Alex Salmond tell people that they shouldn’t listen to ‘big oil’. I know who I would rather listen to- people from Shell who are the biggest company in the FTSE, and BP who are worldwide experts in oil. That’s much more believable than the ‘counterpoint’ of view given by the BBC for example, of one man saying “We have good oil resources”. Most of the time, companies don’t like to speak out on political issues, as this could turn some customers against them. However this issue is so important that they are prepared to do it.

I’m going to be serious here. As a shareholder, you are a part owner of a business. It is not just some letters on a screen. You have a responsibility to act in the best interests of that business, as long as it does not negatively effect you. And mark my words, it will negatively effect you if Scotland votes ‘Yes’. SSE, Lloyds, RBS, Standard Life... the list goes on and on. They will all fall drastically. Just the speculation from one negative poll was the main cause of SSE dropping more than 2% on Monday the 8th of September. Just imagine what an actual ‘Yes’ vote would do to that share. Lloyds, RBS and Standard Life would all be hit hard- there will be BIG falls across the board. Practically every share will fall if Scotland votes ‘Yes’.

Quite a lot of Scottish people won’t care at all about Banks or Financial service companies. They would when it effects their livelihood- the loss of financial service jobs would hurt the whole Scottish economy. So that could be pain in the future for them. It could actually benefit the north of England, where I live, but I’m still writing this. However what would effect everyone directly and immediately is higher food prices. I’ve worked for Asda, which is part of Wall-Mart, one of the biggest companies in the world. I don’t love them as a company at all- they can be very ruthless. But I cannot recall one instance of Asda becoming involved in a political issue. They don’t in general elections. But they have directly said that food prices will be higher if Scotland votes ‘Yes’- it will be so bad for them as a business that they are saying this even though it could offend nearly half of their customers.

I’ve been thinking for a while of how to word this, but I think it’s best just to instinctively say what’s on my mind. A lot of people are voting ‘Yes’ for emotional reasons- they want supposed freedom and independence almost for the buzz of it. But it wouldn’t even be real independence if they still want to be part of the EU- they would still be just a puppet country that has laws imposed on them by Brussels. They wouldn’t enjoy the freedom when it leads to economic hardship for themselves and their families. I cannot see Scotland voting Yes, but in an imaginary world in which they did, I can see them asking to come back in ten years time.

I believe the vote will be close, but I am convinced Scotland will vote No. However that relies on people like you understanding how important a decision this is, voting No and convincing others to vote No as well.

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