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Wings Over Scotland

Scotland’s healthy exports 53

Posted on January 25, 2013 by

When I wrote previously about how Scotland’s export business does not depend on the UK (as had been claimed by Alistair Darling at last year’s Mackintosh Memorial Lecture), one of the questions I was asked was what export business Scotland has.

On Wednesday, in a piece lurking at the bottom of Scottish news section, the BBC reported a £1.6bn rise in Scottish exports. The Global Connections Survey (GCS) – full report here – showed that exports were up to record highs both to the rest of the UK and to the rest of the world. Scotland’s exports to the rUK showed a value of £45.5 billion, and to the rest of the world they rose by the headlined £1.6bn, up to £23.9bn.

It’s worth noting that none of these statistics include oil (see page 2 of the report), despite the mention of “refined petroleum” below – we’ll deal with that another day.

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Vote No for prosperity? 25

Posted on December 22, 2012 by

The core claim of the No campaign, or “Better Together” as it prefers to be called, is that Scotland is economically, politically and socially stronger as a partner within the United Kingdom. This status is defined, according to the campaign’s website, by three key factors: Prosperity, Security and Interdependence.

Each deserves scrutiny, but for now let’s focus on the first one, with reference to Alistair Darling’s recent speech at the John P. Mackintosh lecture. This was the claim that Darling made on trade and business:

“Scotland is far better represented abroad as part of the UK than we could ever hope to be as a separate state. The nationalists tell you that the UK embassies and consulates do not represent Scots. Try telling that to Scots who find themselves in trouble in a far-flung part of the world and can rely on the UK embassy to help them out. To the businesses seeking trade. They open doors for our people and businesses across the globe.

Farmers, fishermen and women, businesses big and small all reap the benefits of the UK’s global reach and global influence. Losing this influence would be a massive loss. It would be impossible to replicate it on a smaller scale.”

I’ve worked in 27 countries around the world in all six inhabited continents, so I think it’s fair to call myself a global businessman. I’m operating in a medium-sized company, but in 11 years of travel I cannot bring to mind a single case where association with Britain has differentiated our business.

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