OPINION polls suggest many Scots have still to decide which way they will vote on 18 September. But in Spar, Logans Road in Motherwell the management team of owner Asif Sardar and manager Kashain Arshad have made up their minds. They’ll be voting no.
If there’s a single word that sums up their reasoning it’s “uncertainty”.
In the event of independence what would happen on any number of issues of importance to businesses like the Motherwell community Spar and Post Office? The answer, they argue, is that no-one has a clue.
Kashain is a Labour Party member and activist. So he might be expected to be against.
But, he said, things aren’t always that simple. He knows a few keen Labour voters who say they will vote yes and some people who avidly support the SNP in normal elections who plan to vote no. He has no doubts, however.
Asif is one of the co-founders of the Well Foundation a charity which organises events, dinners and sporting challenges to raise funds for good causes and has raised around £1m to date. When Scottish Grocer visited the Motherwell shop, the Well Foundation had recently held an event where Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Government minister for external affairs and international development and a supporter of the charity, had spoken about and been questioned on the case for independence. Kashain was arranging to have Anas Sarwar MP, deputy leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, speak and be questioned on the case for union.
“Humza Yousaf spoke a lot about how well Norway had done since independence,” said Kashain.
“But what about other small independent countries that have struggled and have had to be bailed out, like Greece and Ireland? He acknowledged that they were different from Norway but I don’t think he gave a straight answer.
“What’s going to happen with the currency?
“What might happen with the suppliers? Will they charge more after independence?
“What would happen with the fascia groups. At the moment they are the same throughout the UK but we don’t know what will happen if we are independent.”
And Asif sees things very similarly to Kashain.
“If you become independent you are on your own, especially if the currency changes,” he said.
“For big companies it’s fine but for small companies, like us, any cost increases would hit hard.
“I think independence would make a big difference to the retail sector especially to small independents like ourselves.
“The way it’s going just now is working out perfectly fine for us.”
Kashain said he thought many of the shop’s customers were against independence, especially many of the elderly, Some mums, he said, think promises about better child care after independence are suspect. “Why hasn’t it happened in the two terms the SNP has been in government?” he asked.
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