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Salmond's announcement on the timetable to independence surely bodes well for the marketing industry

Alex Salmond: a man who can get things done?Alex Salmond: a man who can get things done?

On Tuesday the Scottish government published a paper outlining the transition from a 'Yes' vote in the referendum to full independence and effective separation from all of the UK's combined machinery of government.

The proposed timeline attracted considerable comment in the national media yesterday. Professor Jim Gallagher in the Scotsman concluded that Salmond had moved firmly into a world of fantasy.

Having in-depth experience of the 'pace' of progress and decision-making in the Scottish public sector, I can only second Prof Gallagher's analysis.

Salmond is suggesting with characteristic ebullience that in a mere sixteen months, he and his team will sort out everything to do with everything.

National defence (google 'Irish Air Force' for a sneak preview); our own Treasury; who gets the oil; new passports and border controls; driving licences; our currency; disposal of Trident and replacement jobs for the thousands affected; splitting the national debt; dividing other resources; the list is endless...

Sixteen months. Anyone in the Scottish marketing services industries who submitted an initial application in December 2011 to get onto one of their coveted rosters may notice that they are still waiting to hear the outcome.

The decisions, we are told, will be announced at the end of March. By coincidence, sixteen months from the date the process started.

Now this procurement process was designed to overhaul things as trivial as design agencies, PR companies and firms specialising in integrated marketing campaigns. Small beer in the grand scheme of things, compared to matters of national security, current stability, and future prosperity.

I can only assume Salmond is going to put the entire civil service on steroids, abolish flexi-time, or hire large numbers of additional staff (presumably from the rest of the UK) to achieve all this. And if this means the entire Scottish Government will be better placed to move at more than a snail's pace in the future, then it's great news.

By the way, Alex, I am still waiting to hear from Scottish Natural Heritage about a pitch result from 2009. As they say in our industry, 'no news must be good news', but would you mind putting a word in? You seem like the kind of guy who can get things done.

Giles Moffat is managing director of Zeitgeist

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