I've observed before that one of their founding Directors (Jim Mather) is the former SNP Minister for Enterprise, their CEO (Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp) is a failed SNP local council candidate and the First Minister is fond of using them for photo-opportunities and attended their annual fund-raising dinner. We can now add to that the fact that Business for Scotland Director and spokesman Ivan McKeee - who made a very public show of outrage when I suggested in a public debate that he was aligned with the SNP - has recently announced he has joined the party.
Business for Scotland's Smith Commission submission is authored by David "an SNP and independence supporter all his life" Hood. Before you read the following extracts you might need to be reminded that these people actually lost the argument and the vote. Extracts follow, highlighting and translations are my own;
- "any major change to Scotland’s place within the UK requires only the domestic Scottish-based representatives of Scotland and the assent of it’s people to make it so in terms of a democratic process and decision"
Translation: let's ignore the fact that the sovereign will of the Scottish people has just been shown to be to remain in political union with the rest of the UK; instead let's assert that the rest of the UK should have no say whatsoever as any major change in Scotland's relationship with the UK has nothing to do with them
- "This Commission should be viewed and conducted in line with the spirit of the Edinburgh Agreement; that is, to work to remedy the fact that ‘promises and pledges’ made in the Referendum campaign period by the main UK political parties (including the ‘purdah’ period) are meaningfully delivered as a baseline foundation from which to deliberate further. Anything less than that will be an effrontery to democracy and justifiably render this Commission and its findings or recommendations void and justifiably precipitate legitimate political, legal and moral action on behalf of the people of Scotland, to deliver full independence."
Translation: if you don't deliver what we interpret the vow to have meant we'll just declare your recommendations void and become independent anyway (because we didn't like the actual referendum result).
- "The ‘No’ vote that prevailed in the referendum does not sanction or mandate the UK government to consider adding a minimum level of further self governance, to the existing devolution structure. It if anything, the vote sanctioned the opposite. It was given in anticipation of a maximum level of powers and capabilities and must therefore be seen as endorsing a position as close to independence as possible"
Translation: although the electorate answered the very clear and simple question "Should Scotland be an independent country" with a resounding No, you should interpret that as they really meant Yes. Because - you know - when an electorate says no they really mean yes...
- "Everything should be devolved apart from specific, agreed, reserved items – but those items must be expressly agreed with, and by, the democratically elected representatives that are elected in Scotland, and hence must reflect the ultimate sovereignty of the Scottish people. It is not for those that populate London, Westminster or Whitehall to limit, decide or confer. Nor indeed is it within their competency. Again, anything less than a true reflection of will, that results in an express and sanctioned agreement will be a travesty of democracy, a stitch-up and a lost opportunity to produce something of profound and lasting merit"
Translation: in case you missed it earlier, let's reiterate that despite the will of the Scottish people being to remain in political union with the rest of the UK we urge you to ignore that because any politicians outside Scotland are incompetent. In fact we're already preemptively whipping ourselves into a fervour of outrage - we can't resist using words like "travesty" and "stitch-up" - because let's be honest we don't really care what you come up with; we'll cry foul if it's anything other than de-facto independence and this submission is just letting you know that.
- "The current ‘democratic deficit’ is of course debatable, depending on perspective; yet what is clear is that things on both and all sides are not as they should be and any deficit needs to be addressed convincingly and completely. If that democratic deficit is not reduced to the point that most of the Scottish people would wish it (that is, the aspirations of the overall majority of the electorate, whether they voted Yes or No in the Referendum), then it should be clear to the Commission that the only way to resolve this would be when, and how, Scotland chooses to take the step to full independence unilaterally"
Translation: If the implied threat earlier wasn't clear enough let's be explicit about this - if we don't like your answer we'll just make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. It doesn't matter whether people voted Yes or No in the referendum; we're going to claim they're on our side either way.
- "There are an infinitive number of permutations that the Commission could consider whether as a starting point or end, but the simplest of all hypotheses is one where Scotland is already
- independent, and this starting perspective prevents discourse and deliberation becoming unnecessarily complex. Looking at where there are existing and likely competing agendas, aspirations and desires between the Nations making up the UK, is a fantastic and logical place to start"
Translation: Don't go troubling yourself with any complex discourse or deliberation or worry that Independence was resoundingly rejected by the Scottish people; just pretend the vote was actually Yes so your recommendations have to be as close to independence as possible.
I can't begin to imagine how helpful the Smith Commission will find this submission from this self-styled "political party neutral business and economic policy think tank"