By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
Attention has been focused on Scotland in recent months. The future of Scotland as a member of the UK was being decided by a referendum and the outcome was likely to have implications across Europe. Before I go any further, I should make it clear that as an Englishman with Irish ancestry and a grandfather born in Dundee and another born in Wales, I am probably in a good position to take a dispassionate view of proceedings. Feelings certainly ran high on both sides and with Scots usually supporting the team that England are playing against at football cricket or rugby, the views of the English were not always welcome!
From a business point of view it was very clear that most of the large companies domiciled in Scotland did not want to leave the United Kingdom. Many of their leaders made the point that the uncertainty about future currency, taxation and legislation would be damaging to them. In the printing industry the view was similar – the loss of customers who announced plans to move to England, the possible need to work in euros and uncertainty about the ability to invest in their business were major concerns to those who voted “no”. However some printers thought that voting “yes” to independence would give more local control over the economy in Scotland and therefore reverse the trend in recent years where Scottish printers lost out to competitors based down south.
In the end the decision of the majority was “no”, by a large majority – 56% to 44% but the ramifications of the campaign and the result will be felt in places a long way from Edinburgh. For a start there were a number of other regions who were looking to see how Scotland fared. Spain, Belgium and Italy all have sizeable regional majorities who favour independence and a “yes” vote in Scotland would have increased the pressure on those governments to follow suit.
There was also concern among EU leaders that the departure of Scotland from the UK would increase the likelihood of a referendum on continuing UK membership resulting in a withdrawal. In the last few days of the campaign UK political party leaders agreed to devolve more powers to Scotland fuelling not only the swing to a “no” vote, but also increasing the likelihood of regional autonomy in England.
The turnout in the election was a big plus – more than 80% of those eligible to vote did so, a much higher figure than normal elections, showing an appetite for democratic politics that has been missing in recent times. 16 and 17 year olds were also allowed to vote for the first time and did so enthusiastically in great numbers.
Vote “Yes” for Printing
For printers, whoever wins, elections are always good for business and printing referendum ballot papers, polling cards, banners, leaflets and car stickers has been great bonus for the lucky printers in Scotland who won the tenders to print them.
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