Monday, 24 March 2014


Independence is in the air, you can smell the whiff of recession and of rebirth from Padua to Perth. There’s a restless mood of change. Crimea which represents just 5% of the Ukraine has gone home to mother Russia. Scotland is putting its gouty toe into the water of independence and dreaming of “Braveheart” and of Mel Gibson roaring “freedom”.

Just recently I’ve started taking the SNP quite seriously. This is partly because of the lacklustre campaign by the “No” team.  Although to be fair they do have a problem or two. The Tories amongst them know that independence for Scotland means virtually the end of the Socialist party so a large part of their minds would love it to happen. And a whole bunch of ‘schadenfreuders’ in England have a playground attitude of “let them go and see what happens…they’ll be sorry.”
It gets worse…the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Newcastle said compellingly this week that a “yes” vote would be fantastic for them with a migration of business from Scotland south.

But it isn’t any of that that interests me so much as a sense of curiosity as to whether the Scots as a whole, regardless of economic issues, would actually be happier being independent. Too small to survive I hear. Hmm. They’d be bigger than Norway, Finland, New Zealand and Luxembourg who are respectively number 1, 8, 5 and 10 in the “Happiest Nation Index” (the UK, by the way, is 16th).

And who ambitious wants either the been-there-seen-that status quo or the sense of being a small fish in a rather large and unfriendly pond?

Wouldn’t Wales and  Cornwall prefer to be independent – actually come to that wouldn’t London prefer it too – an independent London would be like Singapore only much, much more powerful? The biggest, richest glittery city in the world.

And I see now that Venice is at it, running a poll of ½ million people in the Veneto region of Italy,  voting to secede from the corruption of Rome and the hopeless poverty of the south of the country.

Then there’s Catalonia, Brittany and so it goes on. So it’s better to be independent and it’s better to be small is it? This seems to be the mood. Small is beautiful. Welcome back the apostle of the doctrine…

And that’s why there were 300,000 start-ups in the UK last year and already this year a further 120,000.

As regards size, business units of around 150 seem to be the perfect size. A size where there’s spirit, obsession and energy. This is where creativity seems to peak. Forget about scaling a business; a lot of business thinkers are beginning to wonder if big and bureaucratic isn’t just beastly and unwieldy.

Imagine countries with a population of 5m. and businesses of 150 employees? Maybe this really is the future rather than corporations of thousands or Shanghai’s of 20 million.

This …. and, of course, that bit of freedom.

No comments: