Time Is Running Out

Published: Sep 12 , 2014
Author: Alan Smith

On 18 September voters in Scotland will be asked the Yes/No question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The final push for votes comes as a YouGov poll run by the Sunday Times suggested that, of those who have made up their mind, 51% planned to back independence, while 49% intended to vote no.

Looks like the vote is going to go to the wire.

As an Englishman working for a Scottish Partnership I have mixed feelings. I would far rather the UK remained whole and that the Scots remain an integral and important part of that highly successful Union. Whilst there is a huge difference in culture, competitiveness bordering on vitriol in sport creating lots of friendly banter, deep down there is a real (clearly in some areas not reciprocated) affection and love of the Scottish people in most Englishman’s hearts.

That said if Scotland really want to leave, then I for one will not stand in their way.

Going to come down, or so many people believe, to those undecided voters. Weirdly at this very late stage it seems that there are still a significant number of them left. In an attempt to win back the argument Westminster has another card left to play.

On Sunday's Andrew Marr Show, George Osborne promised further powers to Scotland if there is a No vote.

He said: "You will see in the next few days a plan of action to give more powers to Scotland, more tax powers, more spending powers, more powers over the welfare state.

"That will be put into effect the moment there is a 'No' vote in the referendum."

However, speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland, Mr Salmond called the new proposal a "bribe".

Salmond said: "Are we expected to believe, after hundreds of thousands have already voted (in the postal votes), that there's a radical new deal?

"This is a panicky measure made because the 'Yes' side is winning on the ground."

He added: "They're trying to bribe us, but it won't work as they have no credibility left."

Now here is the dilemma that many negotiators face. I have concessions that I am prepared to make, how and when do I play them. 

The hard and fast rule is that there isn’t one. Making concessions that you don’t have to make could be costly, both in terms of gifting value and setting precedent. Being forced into making concessions late in the day may suggest that you were holding out, need the deal more than perhaps you made out and are trying to buy the deal.

Think about when and how you make concessions and what you get back. I, for one, hope that Osborne and the current UK government have timed it to perfection.

Alan Smith


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