The new president’s burning desire to make things happen will set him apart from cautious career politicians, says Jim Duffy
What I like about being an entrepreneur and working with entrepreneurs is the ability to make things happen pretty quickly. Working in an entrepreneurial venture means that decisions can make an impact right there and then, without too much fuss or drama. One does not need to run decisions past committees or curry favour with this director or that director to get approval. It’s part of the attraction of running an entrepreneurial business. Complexity has not yet interrupted flow and strategy has not killed off the rapid execution of ideas. Being nimble and fleet of foot, but able to flex and stretch is a real asset. And I think that is how we should view Scottish independence.
I’ve been watching President Trump in his first few days of office. Whilst folk protest and demonstrate, moan and groan - including that windbag Madonna – he is just cracking on with business. Right away he overturns Obama’s ‘I must be seen to be green’ policies and signs an executive order reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.
And furthermore, he makes sure, it appears, that it’s American steel that will be used as well as supposedly creating thousands of jobs in the process. Has he caved to climate change protestors? No. Has he thought hard about Native American interests? No. But, he has made a decision that appears to put Americans ‘back to work’ and, at the same time, helps guarantee America’s energy security for the future. The Keystone pipeline alone will span nearly 1,200 miles across six states, transporting more than 800,000 barrels of petroleum a day from the Canadian oil sands through Nebraska to the refineries in the Gulf Coast. This is a bold move and one that, in his mind, is all about America. After all, America can’t be ‘great again’ if the lights aren’t on.
Trump is certainly acting true to form. Is this a good move for his oil buddies? You bet your bottom dollar it is. Will it land well with Wall Street? That’s a big “yes” too. He’s acting entrepreneurially, as is his way. Now, I don’t want you to think that entrepreneurs are bad or that they always ride roughshod over other people’s ideas – as some would claim President Trump is. Good entrepreneurs think and act fast too. Trump is not hanging about and now that he is able to sign executive orders he jolly well will, as soon as he can! I would, wouldn’t you? Remember, he will think and act like an entrepreneurial president whenever he can - a trait that Obama simply did not possess. Trump will definitely do all he can to do, what he believes, will make America great again and he won’t dilly-dally in the process. Is this what will set this presidency apart? Trump the doer versus Obama the politician? We’ll see.
So, what if Scotland was independent? Would Scots be able to make Scotland great again? Can we take Trump’s mantra and adapt it for Scotland, Scottish politics and Holyrood? If Scotland was independent could it create big infrastructure projects? Scottish jobs for Scottish people with Scottish steel and the like (the opposite of what happened with the new Forth Road Bridge)?
Could we become a more entrepreneurial nation? More action orientated? Could we have a government that works faster because it has no ties to Westminster? Barnett Formula and funding aside, is this all doable as a stand-alone nation? Or would we need the consent of Brussels to run our internal affairs? I have to be honest, it’s not one I fully understand but do I love the idea of making decisions fast with minimal complexity. But, I’m not sure if Scotland has it in its locker to execute on this. I’m happy for someone to put me straight on this one.
Regardless of whether you like Trump or despise his nature, historical comments, wall-building and behaviour towards women, he is now President and, it seems, he will act on his beliefs. This action will be all about keeping promises and I’m certain he will revert to type - to his core entrepreneurial beliefs - to make things happen. No doubt there will be positives and negatives. But he has started, like it or not, and his attempt to make America great again is underway.
I wonder if Holyrood is really watching? I’m pretty sure Brussels will be watching and wondering whether Scotland is going to have a second referendum - and if so, will it support it? I’m not so sure. One thing I am sure about though is this Presidency will be a whirlwind so we’d better batten down the hatches and keep a good eye on it.