09 Jun 2014
So we are now into the final stretch of the marathon that has been the Scottish constitutional referendum campaign. The last 16 weeks will be fought under the gaze of the Electoral Commission and spending limits now apply.
At Glasgow Chamber of Commerce we set up a Constitutional Committee to guide us in tackling an issue that is bound to affect the whole of our membership in one way or another. Following the Committee's instructions, we asked each of the two campaign teams at Yes Scotland and at Better Together to answer a set of questions that were relevant to the future of business and of the city of Glasgow. We asked each of the five parties at Holyrood to answer the same questions. The responses - along with a set of summary papers - are published in full on the Chamber website.
We also supported a survey of the Chamber membership carried out by Scottish Chambers of Commerce asking members how they rated the quality of the campaign, what they consider the important issues to be and how they assessed the opportunities and risk associated with the possible outcomes of the vote.
Last week we then held two events - one with the Rt Hon Alastair Darling MP as chair of the Better Together campaign and one with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP for Yes Scotland - to give members the opportunity to hear each case and pose their questions.
Inevitably over such a long campaign some issues - like currency or European Union membership - have crystallized into hardened views with forecasts, assertions and fine points being lobbed across the divide in a blur of media debate. Other issues have had surprisingly limited attention, notably including the implications for Glasgow as Scotland's largest city.
Today we start a series of blogs examining the issues affecting Chamber members. I am acutely conscious that we have a wide variety of views on the consequences of the vote and in these blogs I will be taking a topic, reviewing the evidence available from both sides and from independent sources and summing up what we know and what we don't. It's also in the back of my mind that 56% of members responding to the Scottish Chambers' survey felt the campaign to the date of that survey in April had been poor or dismal. Only 20% felt it had been good to very good.
I wouldn't begin to suggest that these blogs will change that view but at the very least we aim to make sure that we have weighed up and summarised all the evidence we can find to the best of our ability.
Please feel free to contact the Chamber by whichever channel you prefer - through the website, social media, a letter, a phone call or face to face at a Chamber event. Tell us what you are thinking. Businesses don't vote; this we know. People vote. But you will have views about what this vote means - or could mean - for your business. Please let us know.