It may have been shortened to CBI in recent years, but the clue really is in the name.
It is the Confederation of BRITISH Industry, of which CBI Scotland is a minority subset.
That is why I was so amused at the furore that grew up over the course of the weekend as the United Kingdom’s largest business lobbying organisation threw its weight behind the Better Together campaign.
The move sparked a series of high-profile resignations from the CBI membership including that of Perth-based Balhousie Care, a group led by entrepreneur and chairman of the pro-independence Business for Scotland group Tony Banks.
The CBI’s formal registration with the Electoral Commission as a backer of the pro-Union campaign was no shock out-of-left-field declaration. This was akin to determining the religious affiliations of a certain man with a preference for white clothing in the Vatican.
Let’s be clear: the CBI has hardly been a wallflower in the referendum debate thus far. Any members who were not aware of the organisation’s thoughts on the impending independence poll have simply not been listening.
Eighteen months ago, I attended CBI Scotland’s annual dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow.
It was a packed affair and the keynote speaker that day was one George Osborne, whose appearance was accompanied by angry protests outside the hotel and a heavy armed police presence inside it.
But the Chancellor need not have worried about the reception he was about to receive. CBI members and their guests gave a warm welcome to the man from Number 11, and listened intently as he laid out his economic case in defence of the Union.
Subject matter that night included the UK Government support given to RBS and Lloyds following the financial meltdown of 2008.
To even the most casual of observers it was perfectly clear what the view of the CBI and that includes its Scottish arm was on the independence question.
But you did not have to be at that particular event to get an idea of the CBI’s opinions.
A quick Google search will take you directly to CBI Scotland’s dedicated referendum web page, on which it declares that the indy issue is rightly a matter for the Scottish people to decide.
But it immediately goes on to state its belief that “the best way to deliver jobs and prosperity for the people of Scotland is for Scotland to remain in the UK”.
And even then if you are somehow still doubting the CBI’s overall direction of travel on the September 18 poll, there is an array of handy factsheets and strategy documents available which reinforces the view.
My point is that no CBI Scotland member could be under any illusions as to the organisation’s political persuasions.
That is why I found the shock and horror reaction to the CBI’s newly declared position so laughable.
When they paid their membership subscriptions, those individuals and organisations knew the score. Their eyes were open.
If they didn’t like what the CBI stood for and I entirely understand and respect why many don’t then they did not have to pay and they did not have to join. An in/out decision, if you like.
Making a song and dance about something which everyone already knew to be the case seems more than a little bizarre to me.
The whole thing left me cold, and I sincerely hope it is not an indication of the level of debate we can expect from the Scottish business community on the indy question going forward.
The decision we are all being asked to take in a few short months’ time is too important to be clouded by silly sideshows.
Sadly, this was one of them.The Courier Business Awards 2014We have some great businesses on our patch and we want to celebrate that fact.
The inaugural event in 2013 was a huge success, and now we’re back for more.
With the launch of the Courier Business Awards 2014 today, the search is now on for the best companies and individual business leaders operating in Courier Country.
From the proverbial one-man band operating out of the garden shed to the largest of concerns, the business base in east central Scotland is hugely diverse and we want to hear from you all.
So go to www.thecourierbusinessawards.com and enter today.
You’ll regret it if you don’t.