For those of us convinced that the collective moan, wail and threat of NO is turning counter-productive, here is an insight from the man the Unionists named the world’s expert on referendums when it suited them. (He was against a second question). He is writing in the Scotsman http://www.scotsman.com/news/matt-qvortrup-bp-boss-could-boost-yes-camp-1-3295791 and makes explicit what has been dawning on Yes for months now – that we don’t like being told what to think, not when it is in the form of a warning or threat and comes from someone the voters know to be out of touch with their world.
A moderate degree of carefully modulated caution from someone in a decision-making position is acceptable but when a man like BP’s Bob Dudley can earn £6m in bonus alone and starts lecturing people on £10,000 a year, his words get lost in a cloud of contempt and resentment. (Dudley’s salary is actually falling because the company performance under him is so poor year on year.)
Voters have learned not to trust those who don’t live in the real world and as the Fred Goodwin case shows, they derive a perverse pleasure in their downfall. Similarly, they know the massive donors to Better Together aren’t remotely interested in their lot – otherwise why haven’t they acted before now on low incomes? – and are putting their money where they believe that they and their kind will receive the best return.
So in that sense I think even the lazy complaints from Alistair Carmichael and Margaret Curran decrying those who dared criticise Dudley are also misconceived. It is the Yes and nationalist response that captures the public mood not the knee-bending approval of the Unionists. Dudley may well have honest concerns…I imagine every business type does…but you can’t take him seriously when he was for example sanguine about working in Egypt while mass protests met with army fire and there was no certainty what government would be in power and in Libya when it was imploding and engulfed by warring factions.
It’s been an extraordinary week for the Fear Mongers with daily threats of danger from big shots in politics and business. They’d better hope this approach is working or they might find that, like the Scotch Whisky Association, they engage in an unwinnable war. The booze sellers are hell-bent not on protecting their industry by opposing minimum pricing but by undermining the rights of the parliament that is the embodiment of the proud Scotland on which they trade. Most of them of course aren’t Scottish companies at all with owners around the globe and if they persist on denying the rights of the Scots by undermining their parliament they wont just lose support in Scotland but might find their misty glen advertising wears thin internationally too. Cheers.