We all know its the headline that counts, people see it, go 'Oooooh! Imagine that' then go to the shops.
But here's what Standard Life actually said:
|Click to enlarge.|
"In view of the uncertainty that is likely to remain around this issue, there are steps that we can and will take now based on our own analysis. For example, we have started work to establish additional registered companies to operate outside Scotland, into which we could transfer parts of our operations if it was necessary to do so. This is a purely precautionary measure, and customers do not need to take any action. We are simply putting in place a mechanism which, in the event of constitutional change, allows us to provide continuity to customers and to continue serving them, wherever they live in the UK."So lets talk about that uncertainty for a moment. Who's providing it? Westminster is, it is fatuous to suggest its all Alex Salmond's fault because he's forcing a referendum, Scotland voted for the SNP giving them a majority, its how democracy works.
|Its the opposite of this bizarre self-perpetuating double positive, erm, negative argument.|
So, when the BBC tells you, as it was doing this morning - at least on the news broadcasts punctuating Chris Evans' home counties middle-class love-in morning show - that Standard Life could 'leave Scotland in the event of a Yes vote' - it is untrue, a lie and a falsehood.
Standard Life sent someone to Companies House to fill out some forms - they may even have done it online - they haven't for example booked Pickfords or told its 5000 staff in Scotland to move south or be sacked. The BBC along with most of the Scottish press corps have websites, so we have to assume they know Standard Life - being as it is a fairly serious going concern - has an internet connection which would allow it to conduct business almost anywhere, not just in the UK but on the planet.
I've decided not to dignify this Standard Life story with any more words, instead, here's how the BBC's report should have looked:
I notice the story is also open for comments; what's that I hear you say? A story with faux negative implications for the Yes Campaign and the BBC have allowed comments?
I simply refuse to believe it.
**Edit: I was going to point out that Robert Peston does attribute this action by Standard Life to Osborne's rejection of a currency union, but you know what? Its buried so far down in the story and so loaded with caveats; its hardly worth mentioning.**