Many Scottish businesses will have breathed a collective sigh of relief at this morning’s referendum results, as did I when I clambered out of bed and switched on the news - if only because it ends months of uncertainty.
While an instinctive part of me was attracted by the notion of Scotland going it alone, I was never convinced by the business and economic case for independence. (Incidentally, as a Scot living in London I wasn’t allowed to express this view with a vote.)
The Scottish retailers we spoke to in the months leading up to the election - as it became clear the vote would be much closer than originally anticipated - clearly agreed. They spoke of concerns that a yes vote could lead to increased taxes, interest rates and regulation, with one menswear store owner complaining “we’re completely and utterly in the dark”.
Alex Salmond is a skilful politician, but he simply could not guarantee life would be better for business owners in an independent Scotland.
So now, thankfully, our attention can turn to how the UK should be shaped going forward - not just Scotland, but England, Wales and Northern Ireland too; strengthening the parts that make up the whole. Former prime minister Gordon Brown will lead a House of Commons backbench debate on increasing the powers of the Scottish Parliament on October 16, with draft legislation due to be published in January 2015.
In the meantime, we will speak to fashion businesses of all sizes to find out what they would like from this and other proposals for reforming the union. If you have a view, please comment below or email me at email@example.com
Eric Musgrave, editorial director of Drapers, adds: “I was very pleased to wake up this morning to hear Alex Salmond making his concession speech. Good sense has won out. In my view Scotland is already a nation, but one that benefits from being an integral part of a four-way union. I hope that the nastiness that blighted the campaign - almost all of it from Yes camp - fades away quickly and that Scotland continues to prosper as part of the United Kingdom. As always, Drapers is open for readers’ comments. United we stand!”