I’m Peter Webster, chief executive of Corps Security, and this is where I examine the issues affecting the security industry. My thoughts and opinions are intended to generate debate and whether you agree or disagree with them, you’re welcome to post your comments below.
Following a tumultuous few months, the question about whether Scotland should become an independent country has been answered and I’m delighted that common sense has prevailed. The arguments made from either side were generally thought provoking, engaging and divisive, usually in equal measure, but ultimately the view that Scotland is stronger, safer and more secure as part of the UK has been recognised by the country’s electorate.
I applaud this rational and pragmatic decision, and hope that now the issue has been ‘put to bed’, we can move forward as a truly united nation.
I addressed many of my concerns about what independence would have meant for Scotland in a previous blog and since writing it the Yes Scotland campaign did little to allay my fears, with an argument that appeared to be based more on emotion than hard headed economics. In fact, on a number of key issues it consistently failed to offer any real answers or alternatives to the status quo.
Obviously, questions still remain, particularly with regard to the promises made about further devolved powers. Details about exactly what these will be was the subject of much speculation on the run up to the vote but it was stated that that the final say on funding for the NHS will be a matter for the Scottish government because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources, and the powers of the Scottish parliament to raise revenues. This has, in turn, created its own controversy, particularly with regard to the impact it will have on England.
When Standard Life confirmed that it would move its operations south if the yes vote won, the economic risks suddenly became very real and as a company with significant business interests and operations north or the border, we shared this concern.
This concern grew on the eve of the vote, when a poll suggested that the gap between the yes and no camps was just two percentage points. Fortunately, the nature of how we operate in Scotland will not change and the long-term future for our extensive manned guarding operations in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, our support centre, and the Corps Monitoring Centre (CMC) has been assured.
I’ve been dismayed by the implication that those who voted no are somehow less patriotic that those who voted the opposite way. I think both parties were equally committed to maintaining Scottish identity, culture and values and I hope that this some of the negative rhetoric within families, communities and businesses can be eradicated, and that the Scottish nation comes together as a valued member of the UK.
It has been a truly historic occasion and it is great to see democracy in action in this way. However, as I finish this blog I can only feel an enormous sense of relief about what has transpired.