Independence is the key to prosperity and fairness

Only independence can protect Scotland from policies biased towards the City of London at the expense of other parts of the UK, a leading Yes campaigner told business chiefs today.

Former Enterprise Minister Jim Mather criticised "Westminster economic mismanagement and the rise of grotesque inequality in the UK" when he addressed members of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Mather, now a prominent pro-independence campaigner, and Blair Jenkins, Yes Scotland Chief Executive, were taking part in the first of a series of consultations with chambers of commerce in various parts of Scotland ahead of the 2014 referendum. 

Mr Mather told the gathering of leading business figures that the need for Scottish independence and full economic powers was now more urgent than ever before.  

He said: "The case for an independent Scotland is now enhanced as we add the experience of recent years, competent government in Scotland and our ability to make both the successes and the failures of other countries part of our robust roadmap to a successful future, where we emulate the good moves and avoid the bad moves and pitfalls."

Mr Mather said it was vital to "expose the true nature of much of the opposition we face", and added: "There are many people willing to sacrifice new national renewal to maintain their own privilege and position.

"People who are willing to apply the classic techniques of denying need, calling for delay, demanding instant detail and character assassination are about to find out that this will rebound on them. It is the same as that used by the employer who wants to retain the services of an aspiring employee keen to take a new job elsewhere."

Mr Jenkins told chamber members that there was no contradiction between a strong, prosperous business sector and a desire for a fairer, more caring and socially just country.       

"Only last weekend, we had Jim McColl, one of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs, argue that the most successful nations subscribe to a virtuous cycle of enterprise and compassion whereby jobs and investment create growth, helping to deliver a more equal and caring society and an educated and healthy workforce. I wholeheartedly endorse that view."

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick said: "In recent weeks we have held introductory sessions with Better Together and with Yes Scotland to provide members with a platform to ask questions of both sides of the debate. 

"The Chamber is establishing a Constitution Committee to examine the arguments made for and against constitutional change in Scotland as they affect the Glasgow business community. It is important that our members are fully informed about the issues involved."