Independence Referendum #2 coming for Scotland

Wow, what a morning. The votes are in and the UK will leave the EU.

I woke up at 5am this morning to check the results. I’ve been awake, tweeting, reading and discussing ever since. (I’ve had four coffees though!)

From October, when Cameron is replaced, negotiations will start with the EU. What this will consist of is anyone’s guess. A new leadership team will replace Cameron, so who knows who or what they are or stand for.

As always, I look at what this means for Scotland. PRWeek published a story earlier, Seismic shock for UK PR as country votes out but practitioners highlight opportunities to help clients adapt, but there was no Scottish voice. I think this is odd considering we’re probably heading for another independence referendum in Scotland. I got in touch with them to mention my observation.

The public vote has obviously had an impact on Scotland, with First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, now saying a second independence referendum in Scotland is “highly likely”. As we’ve seen with the EU referendum results, the Scottish voters (the majority of) voted to remain, so it’s fair to say that the result of the next Scottish referendum may mean Scotland leaves the UK so it can stay in Europe.

Ethical public relations

As with the last Scottish referendum, the issue we have is that there is so much uncertainty. That was the case with the EU referendum too; the big questions aren’t being answered. Parties are only telling half the story. The horrible word ‘spin’ was only ever badly associated with PR when Alastair Campbell was No.10’s spin doctor. What the word ‘spin’ actually means in this context, is lies and cover-up. The word spin, should actually mean that PR has the opportunity to carry on with the message, rolling it out as it gains momentum. Not lies!

What will this mean?

As public relations practitioners we will have to give the best and most ethical advice to businesses/organisations, how they can continue to maintain reputation and manage potentially difficult situations. As public relations is a strategic management discipline, now more than ever do we need a place at the boardroom table, if we didn’t already. PR (and public affairs) has an opportunity to demonstrate its ‘c-suite’ function and capabilities.

Entrepreneurial businesses will seek out the opportunities which come from the situation and any decisions being made. PR practitioners will need to be on the ball to give the best advice.

Public Affairs practitioners have a great opportunity as there will be changes in legislation and I’d imagine, lobbying will be more prominent than ever.

The chances are that there will be a new set of political leaders at Westminster and who knows where the discussions with the EU will go.

Larger agencies and businesses with a global network will have good opportunities, with greater resources and pulling on political experience.

Edit: 29 June 2016 at 12.10pm – via David Gallagher, Ketchum, I saw this great blog post with really useful links for communication professionals. Some great resources here, curated by Judith H. Jones. Click here

For now…

As practitioners, we need to go with the flow just now, learning about the new landscape in which we will live and work. Once there is a more certain future we can then develop a longer-term strategy.

I’m off for my lunch now…it’s been a busy morning.

Blog post by Laura Sutherland