Believe in Scotland Campaign, Frequently Asked Questions
Who are Believe in Scotland and Business for Scotland?
Business for Scotland Ltd is a business network, business and economic policy lobbying and economic consulting company that runs multiple social policy and political campaigns. Believe in Scotland is the name of one of Business for Scotland’s campaigns.
Business for Scotland was founded in the 1990s to campaign for Scottish devolution and is credited with being a major player in the devolution referendum. In 2011, the company was relaunched in its current form by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, who changed Business for Scotland from a Devo-Max supporting organisation to one that supports Scottish independence. In the 2014 independence referendum, Business for Scotland was the largest spending, most high profile and most active special interest group on either side of the debate. In 2015, the Business for Scotland board decided to keep campaigning for Scottish independence until we win. In 2019, at the request of multiple Yes Groups, we set up Believe in Scotland to support local Yes campaigners and fill the void left by the demise of Yes Scotland.
What is Scotland the Brief?
Business for Scotland is probably best known in recent times for its publication Scotland the Brief, which makes the economic case for Scottish independence and sold over 50,000 copies of its first edition. The second edition was launched in November 2022 and is currently setting new sales records.
Scotland the Brief is sold at a wholesale price to Local Yes Groups who can then sell the book through their Yes hubs/shops and we estimate this combined with linked fundraising has raised more than £40,000 to help fund local activities. We have also, on occasion, directly donated to Yes Groups to help pay for billboards and events and provided free campaign materials and fundraising packs to more than 100 Local Yes Groups.
What’s the Purpose of Believe in Scotland?
Believe in Scotland is the Scottish independence campaign managed by Business for Scotland Ltd. Its role is to engage and convince undecided and soft No voters and to support the grassroots Yes campaign with materials, messaging, design services and coordinate campaigning across Scotland.
Who does Believe in Scotland represent?
128 local independence campaigning groups and 6 national campaign groups are affiliated to Believe in Scotland. So in total Believe in Scotland has 134 affiliated Yes campaigns working cooperatively to promote Scottish independence. Since our campaign launched in 2019, our partners have delivered 2.6 million items of physical campaign materials throughout Scotland.
Those local Yes Groups have been organised into 17 campaigning regions. Each region has elected a representative to the Believe in Scotland Campaign Steering Group that meets monthly – the steering group also has 6 representatives from National Yes Campaign organisations. Believe in Scotland is therefore a democratic organisation managed by dozens of elected representatives.
See our Regional Facebook pages here
How Do we ensure our campaigning doesn’t harm the planet
Both Businesses for Scotland and the Believe in Scotland campaign are fully carbon neutral. We use recycled paper and packaging wherever possible and all of our books and leaflets are carbon offset through official schemes. In fact, we offset our activities many times over.
We also have a Believe in Scotland grove through Trees for Life which as of December 2022 has more than 100 trees. You can donate trees here which will be planted in a programme to rewild the Scottish Highlands by enabling the restoration of the globally unique Caledonian Forest which once covered much of Scotland.
What Campaigning do we do?
Believe in Scotland has organised multiple billboard campaigns across Scotland and runs the two largest Yes Pages on Facebook, as well as the largest Yes Group – our social media following is estimated to be around 400,000 across all of the pages and brands we operate. We also provided free training on social media campaigning, local press relations and canvassing to hundreds of volunteers from more than 100 Yes Groups.
At the end of January every year we publish an annual review.
Click here for the 2020 review
Click here for the 2021 review
What are our Days of Action?
We have organised multiple Days of Action across Scotland with our partners The National Newspaper, The Scottish Independence Foundation and the National Yes Network. Hundreds of local Yes groups from all over Scotland have actively participated in Days of Action for Scottish independence. Their activities range form organising leaflet drops, street stalls, coffee mornings, flying flags on bridges, motor bike and car conveys and much more. You can see a gallery of images from our Days of Action here.
This gallery contains over 150 images taken by activists over the course of the day, be sure to check it out and share it with everyone.
Can we provide Insurance for campaigners?
Many of our affiliated Yes groups have struggled to get insurance for street stalls and town hall events etc. So, Business for Scotland Ltd (at its own expense) has arranged for volunteers from affiliated groups using our materials to be covered by £10 million in public liability insurance (which is required by some councils).
What’s the set-up of Believe in Scotland?
A limited company called Believe in Scotland Ltd was set up with a view to separate Business for Scotland and Believe in Scotland, should an official referendum campaign require that and to give more legal brand protection to Believe in Scotland. At the moment, Business for Scotland manages all Believe in Scotland activity as a wholly-owned campaigning brand.
How is Believe in Scotland Funded?
The main source of funds for Believe in Scotland comes from Business for Scotland, which declares only a limited profit every year as every penny we make, over and above running costs, goes to fund Believe in Scotland activities and related campaigns.
Both Business for Scotland and Believe in Scotland have membership revenues. Business for Scotland membership revenues, event revenues and sponsorships cover all the running costs of the business. The public donations and Believe in Scotland memberships and direct to the public sales for Scotland the Brief fund the Yes campaigning activities.
We have also managed two crowdfunders which have both generated matching funding from Business for Scotland members/donors. In 2022, Business for Scotland donors offered £50,000 in matching funding and this was matched by public donations from 919 smaller donors to raise more than £100,000. The Business for Scotland donations take care of running costs, so all public donations go directly towards independent campaigning.
We have also received grants for some of our larger projects from the Scottish Independence Foundation (to whom we give free office space).
Why can I trust your research?
Business for Scotland employs a full-time team of professional researchers, all of whom have relevant first-class honours degrees in politics, economics and social policy and Masters degrees in their specialist research areas. Our research team undertakes consulting projects for business and has been requested to provide expert evidence to the Scottish Parliament the House of Commons, The House of Lords and the OECD.
Why should I donate to Believe in Scotland?
All business and admin-related costs such as rent, rates, utilities, wages and equipment are funded by business donors who fund Business for Scotland Ltd. That means every single penny donated to Believe in Scotland goes directly towards independence campaigning and that campaigning is agreed by representatives of our 134 affiliated local and national Yes Groups who are democratically elected to our Campaign Steering Group.
What Political Party Alignment do you have?
Both Business for Scotland and Believe in Scotland are completely political party neutral, have never expressed support for any political party and do not suggest how people should vote. If we face a plebiscite General Election in 2024, the representatives from the Campaign Steering Group will be asked to decide how we campaign.
Neither Business for Scotland nor Believe in Scotland has ever received, asked for, nor donated to any political party and never will.
The money from our crowdfunder will be used to create a national database for grassroots groups. Every local group will have a login and be able to manage their members and canvassing data online, print off street maps & analytical data, send email and text blasts to volunteers etc.
They will also be provided with canvassing apps so that their volunteers can collect canvas data from their phones and add it to the database. We will conduct large sample polling that the Yes movement can trust and use it for messaging and targeting, which will then be shared with all groups and parties.
We will also be using light projectors to light up buildings with key messages, starting on the Brexit anniversary in January 2023. We are also planning a series of public mobile apps for launch in early 2023.
In short, we are laying the foundations for the most professional political campaign ever run in Europe and we will win.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg – we won’t share most of our plans as we do not wish to give the opposition too much of a heads-up.