Almost half of Scotland's small business owners believe independence would harm their company, a survey has found. Research revealed that 48 per cent believed a Yes vote would be bad for business, compared to 37 per cent who said it would have a positive impact.

Wales doesn’t get more Welsh than this northern market town. Business and conversations between friends here are conducted not in English but in Welsh, the language spoken by some 80 percent of the local population. For the past 40 years, the town has been a stronghold of Plaid Cymru, the nationalist party whose stated goal is eventual independence.

A year from today, a computer in a office cubicle somewhere will have just finished tallying the votes for and against Scottish independence. One possibility is that England's northern neighbor will remain a part of the UK, keeping the Queen, the pound, and its key to the NATO clubhouse. Another is that it will wave goodbye to its companion and ruler of 300 years and leap off into independence—possibly with the same Queen, the same pound, and the same set of keys to the NATO clubhouse.

September 19, 2013

This time next year, the question of Scottish independence will be decided. New research published by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, presented in Edinburgh this week (and not yet online), talks about Scottish currency. Not terribly glamorous, but rather important. And there is bad news for Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Today (18 September), people in Scotland are exactly one year away from the all important day when our citizens will vote on the future direction of their country. Gaining control of how Scotland will engage with the wider world is an important consequence of that vote. For me, an independent Scotland is not - and never will be - an end in itself.

Top students from one of the world’s most prestigious international exchange programmes are to be introduced to the delights of a seaside fish supper, washed down by Scotland’s other national drink, when they visit Dundee next week. Nine students from universities in the United States are to spend five weeks in Dundee and Glasgow for an intensive programme of lectures, seminars and cultural visits on the theme “Scotland: Culture, Identity and Innovation.”

As we prepared recently for this week’s Scottish launch of a British Council-commissioned report by Demos into the role that culture plays in the race for soft power in the 21st century, I thought back on that episode at the LHC; how culture, like the sciences, really does bring people together – even those with very different world views.

The Foreign Secretary said the UK was currently the world’s most effective country at using “soft” diplomatic power to influence global events and further its interests. But he said the British have to “confront” the fact some of this power would ebb away if Scotland decided to separate, while Scotland would lose its seat on the “top table” of international institutions.