Scottish independence affect on ecommerce

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The press is full of talk of the referendum on Scottish independence today, which will take place exactly a year from today.

There’s plenty of talk about should (if it happens) an independent Scotland keep the pound, join the Euro or get their own currency? Would they get automated or expedited membership of the EU? What would they do about the military. Generally the thought is that Scotland would apply to join the Commonwealth and thus retain ties with the rest of the UK and the monarchy but there are plenty of unanswered questions.

I don’t have any of the answers, and not being Scottish won’t have a choice to vote in the referendum anyway, but what is of interest is how would an independent Scotland affect Ecommerce?

Would we see eBay Scotland and Amazon Scotland be set up eventually, or would it end up like Ireland where most citizens voted with their feet and used the UK sites? What about courier charges – would couriers eventually consider Scotland to be a separate nation and set new rates for anything to be delivered north of the border? The reverse of course would also hold that Scottish sellers would see rates rise even higher for deliveries to the rest of the UK.

Definitely a different currency would open up all kinds of difficulties for Ecommerce retailers with sellers paying cross border fees to the likes of PayPal and having convert their earnings back into Sterling for those living in what remains of the UK and into Scottish pounds or Euros for those living in Scotland.

Are you in favour of an Independent Scotland or would you prefer to see things remain at the status quo? Recent history with the referendum on proportional representation suggests that whilst a few ministers get all excited about change and pollsters predict a landslide, when it comes down to the actual voting the general population don’t care and are happy enough with things as they are.

Will Scottish votors be convinced it’s their patriotic destiny to be an independent country or will they distrust politicians in favour of stability and at least knowing that, whilst the economy might not have been great over the last few years, ties with the UK are on the whole a known and relatively stable future.

19 Responses

  1. Another chance to use my favourite saying:

    “Be careful what you wish for as you might just get it”


  2. A welcome and commendable new ‘angle’ on the debate around Scottish Independence.So here’s a big piece for starters. Two quick thoughts then more considered.
    First on ecommerce. Amazon has located some of it’s largest facilities within Scotland (don’t think that applies to Ireland?). The nature and scale of this presence suggest that a global operator like Amazon will have an influencial effect within an Independent Scotland with a relatively small (but still wealthy) economy. That in turn might suggest a ‘friendly’ regional base for Amazon and other mega corporate online players. Meantime, we have Dundee home of Grand Theft Auto and of D.C.Thompson (now one of the biggest social media operators in Europe)et al. In it’s influential bi-annual report ‘Future of Business’ the HSBC figured Bristol and Glasgow as one of two new leading UK cities in the emerging high tech, biotech, low carbon economy (Edinburgh meanwhile already, and still, coming along strongly. It all flows together (‘clusters’ etc.)… a vibrant ecommerce sector in amongst all that?

    Second point: You state (on PR), ‘the general population didn’t care and were happy enough with things as they were.’ I advise on PR or any other politics issue in the UK to beware the difference between: ‘didn’t care’; ‘were happy enough’; alienation; apathy (in its proper meaning); and disillusionment. I doubt there are many UK voters who are ‘happy enough’ with anything – and what about the growing numbers who no longer vote (the UK now has consistently low and lower voter turnouts on any elections or even voter registrations). Increasingly IME non-voting is a statement, rather than out of laziness or ‘didn’t care’. The reality is that it can be argued that the UK as exists doesn’t work whether with or without Scotland.

    On a more considered point: There are many in Scotland who see the debate around the Scottish Referendum as a greatly wasted opportunity for an informed and comprehensive discourse on the existence and purpose of the UK and the various possible futures. They will have supported a senior Scottish Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) where she acknowledged:

    ‘But the standard of that debate, and its negative and divisive tone, has clearly been a disappointment to many.’

    ‘… the constitutional debate has become increasingly bad-tempered on both sides. We have also seen assertion replace fact at a time when people need certainty.’

    The latter comment, however, suggests the existence of a ‘two sided’ debate. The reality is a significant proportion of the Scottish electorate have remained undecided – and those are the voters who have been most ill served by the debate. Even among those voters who have a seemingly decided view, I suggest that there is a lack of firm, positive motivation – ether to vote No in response to ‘project fear’ or vote Yes in an anxious seeking of an alternative to the Union they see as patently not working.

  3. From a purely selfish point of view I would like a “no” because even if Scotland keep the £UKP I suspect couriers and any number of other middleman will exploit the change and it will end up costing me money.

  4. It’s a crackers idea, talk about wasting money to achieve nothing if the go independent.

    I don’t think people realise just how much money is wasted on these sort of things by governments. With the Welsh, Scottish and NI assembles alone waste millions and millions on stuff we just don’t need. Each needs its own posh building, it’s own staff, it’s own logos the list goes on.

    It should be one country, one set of rules….simple.

    I bet if it was that way we wouldn’t have massive hole in our budgets.

    I also think that English people should have the right to vote to make Scotland independent, it would effect us as much as it effects them.

    As for ecommerce I doubt anyone in Scotland would be stupid enough to change anything that would increase costs…but then you never know!

    Oh an with regards to Amazon warehouses in Scotland, the Scottish Government paid for those warehouses, so what would stop Amazon walking away from them?

  5. I’m based in Scotland but the majority of my trade is done with customers south of the border. Depending on the currency I would hope that there would not be any significant changes to courier charges as the distances involved won’t be changing. (probably over simplistic thinking!)
    FWIW I am voting Yes but I expect a NO vote to pass with a narrow majority.

  6. I find it hard to believe that the Scots would keep the British pound when they would have no influence over it, inc. interest rates etc – I’m not even certain if the EU would allow them to, longer-term.

    I’m not interested in the politics, but the sooner Ireland, UK, Scotland – have the same currency the better.

  7. the pound ,the police, the military, the mail, the health service, the phone service, the rail links, the roads,the benefit system, etc etc Scotland will never be truely independant from England,
    its a political career for Alex Salmond rather than a realistic possibility, we wonder how on one hand they insist on independance fron the UK ,yet also insist Scotland will be in Europe, how can this be independance. being ruled from Brussels?

  8. we live in Scotland and truth be told the SNP were voted in Because the were the Best option Availble not because the Scots really want Independance

  9. The SNP and their leader are not representative of the Scottish people, and I am sure our friends in Scotland will vote to stay in the Union. I think the main issue is that the other parties run from Westminster just pay lip service to Scotland, and dont really offer credible policies.

    From a personal view we have a lot of sales from Scotland, so any change in postage etc will not be welcome.

  10. Disappointed at the nature of some of the comments here. I had hoped that, given the unusual ‘technology’ angle, it may have produced something more substantial. Instead there is a degree of rhetoric and statements of opinion-as-fact without any supporting evidence; matters could be helped with a better knowledge of the actual economic and political facts in the Scottish context by some commentators.

  11. What is both funny and sad is that most of the English simply don’t give a damm about Scotland or this referendum.
    England will remain the economic and political powerhouse on the British Isles regardless of what a few million Scots would like to think or dream about.
    England will continue to dominate and will manage very well thank you irrespective of whether Scotland votes yes or no.
    And that really does get up Scottish noses because this vote means little or nothing to most Englishmen and they just can’t take the almost complete indifference we feel about it.

  12. Thank you for that post, this is one more interesting aspect to be considered. If you don’t mind, I will share this through my own blog, which is related to all matters associated with independence, and discussing the various problems and questions it poses.


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