Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Scottish Independence and a lesson for procurement

Regardless of whether or not you would vote 'Yes' in tomorrow's referendum for Scottish independence, few could disagree that there has been a frenzy in trying to persuade voters that they would be 'Better Together'.

But that has included the reshaping and re-spinning of a 'No' vote as representing a vote for a version of home-rule which creates a new quandary: what if you want neither independence nor 'home-rule'. Voters are now deprived of the option of 'no change'.

Setting that aside, the Westminster fear of losing has manifested itself in the generation of new arguments. I remain sceptical about the motives behind much of the 'Hug Scotland' rhetoric. I am also sceptical when I hear the word 'might' used in arguments because I immediately find myself saying "and might not". Then I wonder who in Scotland would be swayed by the likes of David Beckham's plea and justification to stay together.

What I do like, however, is the development and strengthening of the relative merits of both sides arguments. More robust discussion has taken place and the pros and cons seem to have been thoroughly aired. In the procurement world that has included the spectrum of independence being good for SMEs and bad for SMEs - can time prove which side was correct or will be faced with the "if only ..." excuse.

Yet, when I consider options appraisal as part of the procurement cycle, too often I have seen the reluctance to have a robust approach to options - procurement options appraisals have often been self-fulfilling prophesies. We would do well to learn the lessons of the Scottish debate and spend more time arguing 'why not', generating alternatives and even saying 'convince me'.

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