Take a good look at the image above before you read the text below, for one of the most effective ways of measuring the true motivations of any campaign is by looking at who funds it.
Yes Scotland say they're not ready to give out details of who's been funding their campaign, we know they received a £1 million donation from Chris and Colin Weir - the Euro-millions winners from July 2011. The Weirs also set up a charitable trust, perhaps by looking at the type of things they've helped to fund, you might be able to form an opinion on their motivations. It goes without saying - any link between those donations and money they gave to the SNP or Yes Scotland is entirely coincidental - I wouldn't seek to link the SNP or Yes Scotland via the Weir Charitable Trust to any of the good and decent things funded by them. What I do seek to do is link the general intent.
We'll have to wait and see what other kind of donations Yes Scotland have been receiving, will they be whoppers from big business with vested interests in Scotland becoming independent? Will oil & gas companies be greasing palms already for favourable trading conditions come 2016? Its hard to say, Yes Scotland have no blat in that direction, I could imagine the SNP being courted by such interests, but not Yes Scotland.
Better Together on the other hand...
Although we can't say for sure, by which I mean, we can't say with absolute certainty that after a Yes vote, when Scotland becomes an independent state, companies will be able to trade across the border seamlessly and with out hindrance. Technically nor can we say Scotland will definitely use the pound, or be in the EU...
But consider this, imagine you're sitting across a table from me in an otherwise empty room, if I asked you to stand up then immediately sit back down without checking the chair had been moved - given the conditions - would you feel inclined to check the chair was still there?
|For illustrative purposes only - Habitat-chic circa 1982|
Effectively, this is what Better Together are suggesting, if you vote yes, when you go to sit back down, the chair will be gone. Realistically though, what are the chances? There could be a zombie outbreak or meteor strike, short of that - while some bureaucrat in the EU could have a brain-fart - nothing & nobody can stop Scotland using the pound if we become independent, nor would Westminster try because it would be disastrous for the currency and for what's left of the UK.
But I digress.
Better Together announced recently where the big donations came from and its all a bit disturbing.
Around £1.3 million has been raised in large donations - those of £10k or more. Where did they come from though, concerned Scots worried about being torn from the ample breast of a beneficent UK?
Sir Chippendale-Keswick, chairman of that well known Scottish football club Arsenal, gave BT £23k.
|Sir 'Chips' Keswick.|
'Chips' is an establishment figure, his interests lie in the maintenance of an establishment from which he has and hopes to continue benefiting greatly, I don't doubt he's worked hard and he's welcome to his success, but all of it is conditional on the continuation of a constitutional settlement that makes you and me much poorer than we need to be.
So, Sir 'Chips', I'm afraid while it might be a yes from Blair MacDougall, its a no from me.
Second up is Sir Keith Craig (another benighted soul.)
|No one knows what he looks like, not even Alistair Darling.|
He chucked £10k at BT but we have to be careful, he's a figure in the British Intelligence establishment. Managing Director of Hakluyt & Company - a British strategic intelligence & advisory firm -what ever that is - they also have sub-offices in New York and Singapore. As a taster though, its a secretive set-up with a reputation for discretion and effectiveness, formed by ex-British MI5/6 types - allegedly, as in please don't have me killed - according to the Sunday Times the company was controversially implicated (allegedly!) in the infiltration of environmental groups while working for BP and Shell.
What ever, another donation from someone with firm links to the British Establishment and an interest in its continuation. I would check Hakluyt hasn't infiltrated this blog but its only me sitting here. Maybe Hakluyt will be given the contract to yank the chair away if we vote yes? Then again, maybe we're not too wee or too stupid to kick the arse of anyone who tried.
You might think plain old Christopher Wilkins would be easy to explain, turns out not. He doesn't have any letters before or after his name but is a director of North British Wind Power Ltd.
Not a great picture, it seems Christopher Powell Wilkinson (on the left) eschews the limelight. That picture was taken at a place called Bettyhill in the far north of Scotland. I've been there and its bloody lovely, I actually quite like a wind turbine even although they might be terrible at producing electricity, but I don't think unadulterated proliferation of them is a good thing at all. Bettyhill is no place for a wind farm and most people agreed.
Its still less obvious though, as far as I can tell, Holyrood is a good deal more keen on wind power than Westminster. Perhaps Chris thinks he'll have better conditions in which to conduct his business if Westminster controlled planning? I rather suspect though, that since its rich land owners who tend to benefit from wind farm projects, perhaps he's sold his vote to Scottish estate-owning Tories in the hope of future mutual profit?
Christopher Wilkins is an ex-Welsh Guards officer who also helped set up Hakluyt.
The biggest donation came from Donald Houston, a hotel and distillery tycoon.
|Who doesn't like a good flat cap?|
In total, Donald gave Better Together £600k through two companies he owns (£500k) and out of his own pocket (£100k.) He was heard to say that 'ripping up the union' to 'satisfy the SNP' was a ridiculous idea'. Maybe from where you're standing Donald, perhaps not from where the vast majority of non-estate, distillery or castle owning Scottish public are though.
Donald Houston pretty much owns the Ardnamurchan peninsula, home to the most westerly point in the 'British' mainland among other sites of historical Scottish significance. He also said:
“We have spent 300 years building up a Union between our countries that has achieved so much”For you maybe - he then went on to bleat:
“I hope that other people in the same position as myself are also willing to contribute whatever they can.”That there are so few people within a million miles of your position is entirely the point, how can someone become so rich and successful yet be that cretinous?
Oh hold on...
Others who donated include a chap called Andrew Fraser - a stock broker who's given the Tory Party a million smacks since 2004. His was the second largest donation to Better Together at £200k.
Historical fiction writer Christopher 'CJ' Sansom previously gave £162k, he recently gave another £133k. In his book 'Dominion' he depicts the Scottish National Party as collaborators with the British Nazi state - don't hold back now Chris, tell us what you really think... He describes the prospect of Scottish independence as 'literally heart-breaking'.
Finally, Alan Savage Chairman of recruitment firm Orion gave in total £250k. His recruitment firm made its name in the Scottish oil industry boom of the 80's & 90's then expanded internationally during 00's.
|Alan Savage, also ex-chairman of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.|
A collection of rich bankers, Tory-supporting stockbrokers, British establishment military spooks, landed gentry and a mawkish author. With the possible exception of the latter - all have vested interests in keeping things as they are. Unfortunately keeping things as they are for those of us who are not stockbrokers or rich Tory land owners means we get poorer while they get richer still.
Which is why they're bunging a ton of cash at Better Together.
If you vote no, you'd better check before you sit back down again, count on it.