Scottish independence: Whisky boss says he has not been bullied

David Frost Mr Frost described the independence debate as "passionate, robust and committed"

The current chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has said no-one has attempted to bully him during the referendum campaign.

David Frost - who took up his role in January - said he had been involved in "vigorous discussions" with both sides in the debate.

But he said these had always been conducted in a "reasonable manner".

His predecessor, Gavin Hewitt, has accused the SNP of attempting to "neuter" business opinion.

Mr Hewitt's allegation has been strongly denied by the nationalists.

Writing in the Scotsman newspaper, Mr Frost, a former British diplomat, described the independence debate as "passionate, robust and committed", but said that was how it should be.

Start Quote

Has the Scotch Whisky Association been pressed into silence in public? Absolutely not, and no-one has suggested to me that we should be”

End Quote David Frost Scotch Whisky Association

He added: "I have had vigorous discussions with all sides of the debate, whether it's the UK government, the Scottish government, or political organisations. All sides have forcefully made their case to us about how this debate impacts Scotch Whisky, but those conversations have always been constructive.

"Admittedly, sometimes they have been "frank and constructive", as diplomats say, but I have certainly never considered any of them to go beyond the bounds of what is reasonable."

He added: "Has the Scotch Whisky Association been pressed into silence in public? Absolutely not, and no-one has suggested to me that we should be.

"Despite the strong feelings on either side of the debate, we have felt able to participate in what we regard as a constructive manner."

Mr Frost said he had always been given a "fair hearing" when discussing his concerns with pro-independence supporters.

'Working with government'

He added: "That may be because the industry has also always been clear that, whatever the result, we are committed to working with government in the future to deliver economic growth and prosperity for Scotland and all of us who live here."

Mr Frost has previously said the industry was seeking assurances over what he described as the potential "risks" of independence.

But he said Scotch whisky would continue to succeed regardless of the result.

Mr Frost's article was welcomed by the SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson, who said the "measured and sensible" contribution stood "in stark contrast to the false claims peddled by the No campaign recently".

In a Channel 4 documentary broadcast earlier this week, Mr Robertson was accused by former SWA chief executive Mr Hewitt of "trying to neuter business comment".

Mr Hewitt told the Dispatches programme: "He [Mr Robertson] and the SNP have regularly tried to get the message to the Scotch Whisky Association that the Scotch whisky industry should stay out of the independence debate.

"There was a genuine fear that in fact if we were seen to scupper by coming out publicly against independence, there would be retribution down the track."

At the time, Mr Robertson, who as MP for Moray represents a number of Scotch Whisky distilleries, said: "I totally refute the allegations, especially given that both Gavin Hewitt and his successor, David Frost, have both said to me that they don't take a position on constitutional issues.

"Mr Hewitt publicly endorsed the case for a 'No' vote last month, which of course he is perfectly entitled to do."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Scotland politics stories

RSS

Scotland Live

  1.  
    Man detained at athletes' village 11:24:

    A man has been detained by police following an early morning disturbance at the Commonwealth Games athletes' village in Glasgow.

    The Glasgow 2014 athletes' village

    Police Scotland said the 30-year-old was currently in custody following the incident, which took place at the site in Dalmarnock, in the city's east end, at about six o'clock this morning.

     
  2.  
    11:12: Hockey - England beat Scotland

    In the women's hockey Scotland were beaten 1-2 by England.

    Scotland threw everything at the "Auld Enemy" in the second half as they tried to keep their medal hopes alive but England hung on to make it through to the semi-finals.

     
  3.  
    11:10: Raising the roof

    The BBC's Kevin Keane tweets: "Roof being raised at wrestling as England's George Ramm takes on Scotland's Viorel Etko. #Glasgow2014"

    England's George Ramm takes on Scotland's Viorel Etko at the wrestling
     
  4.  
    10:45: Female athletes 'phenomenal'

    Scotland's Commonwealth Games minister has praised the performance of Team Scotland's women.

    Shona Robison pointed out that the nation's sportswomen had already won more medals than at any other Commonwealth Games, 46% of the total haul so far.

    She said: "I'm enormously proud of these women. They are phenomenal role models and I'm absolutely convinced that they will inspire a new generation of Scottish female athletes to take up sport.

    "The eyes of the world's media are on our sporting heroes and I'm certain this will continue beyond the Games."

     
  5.  
    BBC Scotland Live - your views 10:30:

    Anonymous: Scotland Live page is excellent, really well laid out, easy to use. Manages to be up to date, trustworthy and irreverent. Feels friendly yet authoritative. Well done!

    We'd really like to hear your thoughts on the new Scotland Live format - tweet us using #ScotlandLive, email us here or text to 80295.

     
  6.  
    10:20: 'Don't create lies'

    Sprinter Usain Bolt has turned to Twitter to responded to allegations that he isn't enjoying Glasgow 2014.

    He tweets: "I'm waking up to this nonsense..journalist please don't create lies to make headlines"

    Screen grab of Usain Bolt's twitter feed
     
  7.  
    10:15: Get inspired Live

    Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent are currently live in the hot seat at BBC at The Quay.

    Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent speak to the BBC's Jane Douglas

    Jill Douglas is inviting questions from the audience as well as testing the Olympic rowers' resolve and focus… on a home-made putting green. The Q&A is part of BBC Sport's Get Inspired initiative.

    Watch it live.

     
  8.  
    10:05: 'Utter rubbish' Chris McLaughlin Commonwealth Games reporter, BBC Sport

    Usain Bolt's manager says reports linking the Jamaican sprinter to disparaging comments about the Commonwealth Games are "utter rubbish".

    The Olympic champion has been quoted in a number of newspapers this morning after being allegedly overheard outside the Athletes' Village saying the Glasgow games were "not as good as the Olympics".

    His manager Ricky Simms told BBC sport "the atmosphere in and around the stadiums has been absolutely fantastic and I have absolutely no idea where these quotes have come from".

     
  9.  
    10:01: Usain Bolt - your views

    David Burns tweets: "#ScotlandLive Maybe Bolt should have tried taking part in things then"

     
  10.  
    09:46: Medal table
    Medal table graphic

    Scotland is currently fourth in the medal table, just behind Canada, but there are more medal prospects later today.

     
  11.  
    09:45: Driverless cars - your views

    Graham in Westray: Driverless cars - what a load of tosh! If people really want to sit and shave or read a paper on their way to work, then call a taxi, get the bus or the train. What is the point and why on earth would the Govt want to spend oodles of cash on this when there are so many others in urgent need of their help.

    Anonymous: Great idea. 40% of drivers are so incompetent they shouldn't be on the road. And they would park legally too, unlike the idiot drivers in Musselburgh who park on white zig zags, on double yellows, on corners with two wheels, on double yellows and at bus stops.

    Muriel in Blackwood: I'd rather be in a driverless car than with some of the drivers I know!!!

     
  12.  
    09:40: On the front page
    Front pages 30 July

    Take a look at our summary of the front pages of Scotland's newspapers.

     
  13.  
    Today at the Games 09:35:

    It's another big day ahead at Glasgow 2014.

    Scotland and England's women have already started playing their key Pool B match - a place in the semi-finals is at stake. Click on the Live Coverage tab above to watch the match live.

    Scotland play England at hockey

    Elsewhere, the diving competition starts in Edinburgh at 10:00, while a packed day of athletics awaits at Hampden. The action there also starts at 10:00.

    In netball, Scotland play Northern Ireland at about 17:00 this afternoon.

    And Team Scotland have a good chance of medals in both the bowls and the wrestling, which take place throughout the day.

     
  14.  
    09:08: Have you enjoyed the Games? Clark Ainsworth BBC News

    If newspaper reports are to be believed sprinter Usain Bolt is a little underwhelmed by Glasgow 2014.

    The Games have seen sunshine - for the first few days at least - and huge crowds showing their support for athletes from around the world. Team Scotland has also taken a record haul of medals.

    Have you enjoyed the Games? If so what has been your main highlight?

    Or are you in the Bolt camp? Have the Games passed you by?

    Let us know what you think. You can tweet us using #ScotlandLive, email us here or text using 80295.

     
  15.  
    08:57: Excitement builds in Edinburgh Edinburgh Evening News

    tweets: Good Morning Edinburgh! Big day today. The Commonwealth Games are back in the Capital today as Diving comes to the Commie pool. Excited?

     
  16.  
    Morning Call 08:46: Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    This morning, we're talking about driverless cars and para sport.

    With the government announcing that driverless cars could be on the roads as early as January 2015, I'm asking whether you'd welcome them on your street.

    Also, with will Scotland's success in para sports at Glasgow 2014 help change attitudes towards disability?

    Lines are open now - call 0500 92 95 00, text 80295 or email us at morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk.

    You can listen live by clicking on the link at the top of this page.

     
  17.  
    08:34: "Off day" for Bolt?

    He may be the most popular athlete in the world, but Usain Bolt has risked the wrath of Glaswegians by calling the Commonwealth Games "a bit s***".

    Usain Bolt poses with children at Glasgow 2014

    Speaking to The Times newspaper, Bolt, who is set to run for Jamaica in the 4 x 100m relay at Hampden on Friday and Saturday, said "the Olympics were better".

    A spokesman for the Commonwealth Games Federation dismissed Bolt's comments and described Glasgow 2014 as "fantastic". He added that the athletics superstar must be "having an off day".

     
  18.  
    08:30: Listen live
    Gary Robertson

    Click on the link at the top of page to listen to Gary Robertson and Hayley Millar on Good Morning Scotland.

     
  19.  
    08:08: Record breaking

    Glasgow 2014 is Scotland's most successful ever Games following Tuesday's men's team gymnastics silver.

    Scotland's Jen McIntosh

    Swimmer Daniel Wallace added to that tally when he won silver in the men's 200m individual medley after arriving at the pool wearing a kilt.

    Shooter Jen McIntosh, pictured above, also won silver in the 50m rifle 3 positions - becoming the first Scottish woman to win five Commonwealth medals in the process.

    And a bronze at the end of the day for hammer thrower Mark Dry at Hampden Park took the host nation's medal tally to 37.

     
  20.  
    08:02: Bigger and better Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    If you click on the Scotland Live link on the BBC News Scotland homepage, you'll notice that we've moved to a new and improved format.

    The main change is that the page is bigger, brighter and more lively and we'll be able to bring you more high quality pictures and video.

    If you click on the Key Video tab, you'll find video highlights of Team Scotland's successes in swimming, shooting and gymnastics, and footage of Princes William and Harry meeting Usain Bolt.

    We hope you like it - let us know what you think using Twitter #ScotlandLive or by email.

     
  21.  
    07:35: Games travel BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    There's lots going on at the SECC precinct today, so Exhibition Centre station will be particularly busy.

    If you're going to the athletics at Hampden, don't forget to leave plenty of time for your journey - Mount Florida station is likely to be exceptionally busy. Shuttle buses are running from the city centre.

    On the roads, the Clyde Expressway eastbound is restricted near Finnieston Street, so only use it for essential journeys and expect delays if you do.

    In Edinburgh, diving gets under way at the Royal Commonwealth Pool this morning, with restrictions in place around Holyroodpark Road and Dalkeith Road.

     
  22.  
    07:27: Good Morning Scotland BBC Radio Scotland

    Hayley Miller and Gary Robertson are live on BBC Radio Scotland with all the latest national and international news and analysis, including a preview of the day's sporting action at Glasgow 2014.

    Listen online here.

     
  23.  
    07:15: Today's weather BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    It's a cloudy start for many of us with some outbreaks of rain across parts of the west from Argyll stretching across to Dundee and north of the Great Glen.

    The showers will become less frequent and more scattered during the morning and it will continue to brighten up as we go into the afternoon. It'll be mainly dry with some brightness in the east for much of the day, with more sunshine coming through for the afternoon.

    It'll be a noticeably breezy day with a fresh westerly - strong along the north coast and up through the Northern Isles. Winds ease as we go through the afternoon, with temperatures holding up at 20C to 21C at best, most likely through Inverness and down the east coast from Aberdeen, down through Dundee and Edinburgh.

    Closer to 18C in and around the Glasgow area, 17C for the Western Isles and a cooler and fresher 15C up through the Northern Isles.

     
  24.  
    06:55: Welcome Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland Live, your minute-by-minute guide to all the action and atmosphere at day seven of Glasgow 2014.

    We will, of course, also bring you all the latest news, sport, weather and travel from across the country.

    Let us know what you think and send us your pics. You can tweet us using #ScotlandLive, email us here or text using 80295.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.