Economics of Independence

Tories surprised as party donor backs Yes vote to boost Scotland’s economy

Laurie Clark of BfS meets David Cameron on Wednesday
LC with DC

Laurie Clark meets David Cameron on Wednesday

A leading Tory businessman, conservative party donor and new Business for Scotland Advisory Board member Laurie Clark met the Prime Minister and told him why he will be voting Yes in the forthcoming independence referendum.

Laurie Clark, owner and managing director of Anglo-Scottish Concrete, said:

“I appreciated the invitation to meet David Cameron and the opportunity to tell him why independence is the right option for Scotland and the UK”.

Mr Clark, a long term card-carrying member of the Conservative Party, is an Advisory Board member of the pro-independence business network and think tank Business for Scotland. He was invited to meet Mr Cameron on Wednesday August 14th at a private reception along with other donors and party members.

The latest of many prominent business people to come out for independence, Mr Clark said:

“For me, a Yes vote represents the end of an unfair union but the beginning of a fairer and mutually beneficial partnership between Scotland and the rest of the UK.” He went on to say: 

“Independence represents the best of both worlds whereby we maintain many of the unions between Scotland and the rest of the UK, including the union of the crowns and the trade union but lose the out of date political union”.

“The referendum next year is a not a choice between Scottish and British identity. Instead, for me, it is about how best we realise the potential of Scotland, create wealth and jobs, expand the private sector and reform the public sector in the interests of the nation as a whole with Scottish solutions for our distinctive challenges and opportunities. To do that we need the Scottish Government to be in possession of all the appropriate economic powers and levers.”

Laurie believes that “the Tory-led No Campaign is held back by the fact that Conservative values in Scotland are different to those promoted from London”.

“The future of free-market voices in Scottish public life is best served by the formation of a new party after independence we can be progressive and Conservative rather than conservative and Unionist. There is a natural electoral base for right-of-centre perspectives in Scotland but an unbalanced political discourse which, no matter where you are on the political spectrum, is unhealthy for the future direction of Scotland”.

“Of course, as the newly formed Business for Scotland advocates, fairness and prosperity are two sides of the same coin. We cannot address Scotland’s social problems without the tax revenues from a growing and profitable private sector. A scotland that offers an abundance of entrepreneurial and growth opportunities is one that can afford to create a society where  No-one gets left behind”.

“Independence allows us the opportunity to start with a blank sheet of paper. We could and should be attracting much more substantial business, investment and jobs with fiscal solutions and broader public policy tailored to the distinctive Scottish economic environment”.

“I simply don’t believe Scotland will become some sort of socialist dominion after a Yes vote. In actual fact, I think it is much more likely to strike a healthy balance between, on the one hand, the need to stimulate private sector and economic growth and, on the other hand, the need to care for those in need, address inequality and boost productivity”.

Laurie’s intervention was covered in several national newspapers. The Scotsman provided a balanced and intelligent piece, the Telegraph was in full defence mode and carries the bizarre statement from an unnamed Conservative Party spokesperson that it was a “contrived Yes stunt” – possibly the same party official who invited Laurie to attend the VIP gathering given his history of party activism and financial support. The Herald has a balanced piece focussing on Laurie’s claims that independence could see a relaunched and progressive thinking Conservative party become more relevant in Scottish politics.

The Tory No Campaign response also carried the usual scare stories and the completely wrong statement that Scottish business supports the Union – In fact, according to the latest independent survey, the majority of business is in favour of a YES vote and want a new partnership across the British Isles.

Business for Scotland does not advocate support for any political party and, as it happens, our Advisory and Executive Boards contain members and supporters of all the major political parties and those of none.

Laurie Clark is a well known businessman and inventor. His considered contribution to this debate is particularly welcome as we approach a year to go before the referendum.

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About the author

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp is the Founder and Chief Executive of Business for Scotland. Before becoming CEO of Business for Scotland Gordon ran a business strategy and social media, sales & marketing consultancy.

With a degree in business, marketing and economics, Gordon has worked as an economic development planning professional, and in marketing roles specialising in pricing modelling and promotional evaluation for global companies (including P&G).

Gordon benefits (not suffers) from dyslexia, and is a proponent of the emerging New Economics School. Gordon contributes articles to Business for Scotland, The National and Believe in Scotland.


  • […] even seeing a Yes vote as a good opportunity to shape things the right way for Scottish business'. Tories surprised as party donor backs Yes vote to boost Scotland’s economy : Business for Scot… Last edited by Fruin; Today at 01:36 […]

  • Gordon, could I point out, this huge stick the No’s beat us with, which NO one on the Independence side that I have seen seems to be aware off, and not Mr.Clark last night, so presumably he was ignorant of the facts, and perhaps Peter Hughes did but did not mention it.
    I refer to the question Mr. Hughes posed, namely how would an independent Scotland have supported the banks in the crash. And Mr. Clerk said that since Scotland’s annual GDP was twice that which the backs had needed, it would not have been a problem.
    BUT as professor Andrew Hughes-Hallett: Professor of Economics, University of St Andrew’s commented
    “The real point here, and this is the real point, is by international convention, when banks which operate in more than one country get into these sorts of conditions, the bailout is shared in proportion to the area of activities of those banks, and therefore it’s shared between several countries. In the case of the RBS, I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but roughly speaking 90% of its operations are in England and 10% are in Scotland, the result being, by that convention, therefore, that the rest of the UK would have to carry 90% of the liabilities of the RBS and Scotland 10%. ”
    Namely that comes to about £0.9 billion, UK Gov. figures for us.
    This is quite easy to discover on the internet, as I did myself for a flyer I was composing citing Dexia Bank, and the Fed re. RBS and HBOS.
    Regards, Ken Johnston

    • Hi Ken Some good points there but we are aware of the points you make but when a No campaigner is running off at the mouth siting 20 unsubstantiated scare stories in 30 seconds deciding which one to go back on is hard.

      Read my blog on the banking crises which has attracted 12,000 readers + and over 3,000 Facebook likes and you will see all the info you mentioned and also some new info i uncovered on the US Federal Reserves involvement in bailing out the UK banks.


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