Scottish independence is opposed by British retailers

Jamie Zuppinger

Co-founder & Joint-Managing Director

“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom.” Who am I to disagree with William Wallace or Mel Gibson? But, collectively, we can rig an election, make some money and still keep Scotland in the Union. Not a bad return for reading a Comment column!

If I could give you a 15% return on investment, I am sure you would bite my hand off. There is a way, and it’s legal.

Retail in Scotland is big business and, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium, employs 255,000 Scots – 14% of the country’s total private-sector workforce. Now that’s a lot of potential voters, equating to more than 6% of those eligible to fill in a ballot paper.

According to a BRC/FT survey, the 33 top retail chairmen (all of whom assiduously and assuredly read this column), including heads of the 10 largest retailers, are understood to have been “consistently negative” when asked about Scottish first minister Alex Salmond’s plan for independence. In other words, they are against independence.

These are retail’s greatest minds: they can’t be wrong – and we must follow their lead and back the ‘no’ campaign.

The bookmaker odds on Scotland staying part of the union are as short as 1/9, but if you shop around you can get 2/13 – in other words, a 15% return on investment when we win.

It’s now only one month to go until the Scottish referendum, and The Times’ latest YouGov poll showed that 38%(+3) would vote ‘yes’ and 51%(-4) ‘no’. Excluding the ‘don’t knows’, this works out at 43% favouring independence and 57% against it.

So, we are already showing a commanding lead in landing the bet, but here’s the cunning bit and how we rig the election:
As soon as the retail chairmen reading this have placed their own bets, they should exercise their rights and tell all their Scottish staff that they must vote no because otherwise their jobs will be at risk. With control over 6% of the electorate, we cannot lose.

This will be a bigger defeat for Scottish independence than the Battle of Flodden, and we will need wheelbarrows to get our cash home.

Retail Week, 29 August 2014