Sir Richard Branson in fresh warning on Scottish independence

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Media captionSir Richard Branson told the BBC that he thinks "Devo Max" is a better solution for Scotland

I've just interviewed Sir Richard Branson and the question of independence came up.

The founder of Virgin Group has already made clear his worries about independence in a blog he wrote last Friday.

You can read that here.

He went considerably further with me, saying that the consequences are "potentially quite catastrophic".

"The big problem with Scottish independence is that there are so many imponderables - we don't know what the situation is going to be like afterwards," Sir Richard said.

"To me it's a bit like a divorce: both sides get hurt. And I think its best not to have a divorce."

Despite his opposition to independence, he had warm words for Alex Salmond, the First Minister.

"I think Alex Salmond has done an absolute blinder in what he has achieved to date.

"[But] I think that for the sake of the Scottish people and those people below the border I think it would be better if a lot more powers were devolved to Scotland [and] that independence does not happen because I think the consequences are potentially quite catastrophic."

He also raises an intriguing possibility. If Devo-Max is thought not to have worked following a No vote on Thursday, then Scotland could have another independence referendum within a decade.

'Great success'

"I think the Scottish people will benefit the most by saying 'there is always the possibility that we can do this again in 10 years' time'.

"And give them all that they want [in terms of new powers] - and I think they will get most of what they want [if there is a no vote] but remain part of the greater community."

David Cameron and Alistair Darling have both ruled out any return to the independence issue in the foreseeable future if there is a no vote. And never if there is a yes vote.

Mr Salmond has said that it is unlikely there will be another referendum for a generation if there is a no vote.

Of course, as well as the business leaders who have come out against a Yes vote, there are many who say that an independent Scotland "would be a great success" - to use the words of Martin Gilbert, who runs Aberdeen Asset Management, the largest investment fund in Scotland.

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of International Airlines Group which owns British Airways, said that an independent Scotland could be good for his business - particularly if the new government scraps airport passenger duty which none of the airlines like.

It will be up to voters to decide whom they most believe - and whether it makes any difference to how they cast their vote.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood supports the 'Yes' campaign

The long procession of business leaders coming out for and against is likely to continue.

This morning we've had the manufacturing organisation, the EEF, come out robustly on the side of no.

Terry Scuoler, the chief executive of EEF, said: "Independence would be a disaster for Scotland, economically and politically.

"And it would greatly diminish the UK as a whole. People need to wake up to the enormity of the decision they are facing and the potential nightmare scenario were the yes campaign to succeed."

The fashion leader, Vivienne Westwood, sent models down the catwalk this morning at London Fashion Week resplendent with Yes badges. An independent Scotland could "lead by example" she said.

The arguments will continue - the question this close to the day of reckoning is whether any voters are actually listening to business people any more.

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