Scotch chief: ‘I haven’t been bullied’

10th July, 2014 by Neal Baker

The chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has said there have been no attempts at bullying during the recent referendum debate on Scottish independence.

_ABU1475, 1475

David Frost – who took up his role in January – said he had been involved in “vigorous discussions” with both sides in the debate, but that these had always been conducted in a “reasonable manner”.

His predecessor, Gavin Hewitt, has accused the SNP of trying to “neuter” business opinion on the matter of Scottish independence — an allegation strongly denied by the governing Scottish 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, adding: “I have had vigorous discussions with all sides of the debate, whether it’s the UK government, the Scottish government, or political organisations.”

He admitted that sometimes these discussions 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.”

alexsalmondwhiskyMr 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” response stood “in stark contrast to the false claims peddled by the No campaign recently”, reports BBC News.

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.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

ON-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

OFF-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

Judging Week Runners

Decanter World Wine Awards
ExCel Centre, London E16, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

Retail Commercial Executive

Laithwaite's Wine
Theale, Berkshire

Wine Buyer

Conviviality Plc
Crewe, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Liverpool

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
M3/M4 corridor

Media Sales Manager - Hong Kong

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Regional Account Manager

New Generation McKinley
London, UK

Experienced Sales Account Manager – On Trade

Cantina Goccia
London and the south, UK

National Sales Manager – Premium Drinks

Core Recruitment
London based with national travel

Wine Trainee

Stone, Vine & Sun
Twyford, near Winchester, Hampshire

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 24th February 2017

The Prosecco Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th March 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 3rd March 2017

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters

The Global Rosé Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the launch of the Global Rosé Masters 2016.

The Prosecco Masters 2016

Now in its third year, the competition will reflect the growth in popularity of this fresh and exciting sparkling wine from the picturesque regions of Veneto and Friuli.

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2016

After the success of last year’s competition that judged over 250 wines from no less than 16 countries, the drinks business is proud to announce the third year of the Global Pinot Noir Masters

Click to view more