Aye. Scotland takes the high road

Thursday, 12 January, 2012

So, Scotland wants to take the high road to independence. The English taxpayer will be relieved, no doubt. It’s a pity that the brand is generating some unfortunate headlines at the moment, though. There was the weekend tragedy of Brian Ettles, a longtime worker at the Glenfiddich Distillery, who drowned himself in a vat of single malt, and then there’s today’s grim news from the financial sector: “Royal Bank of Scotland is to cut an additional 3,500 jobs as the state-controlled bank rapidly shrinks its investment banking activities in response to the worsening economic outlook and wide ranging reforms of the banking sector due to take effect before the end of the decade.”

Kilt Regarding the Bank of Scotland, when he addressed the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in October 2007, Alex Salmond, the SNP First Minister of Scotland, said “We have everything it takes for a Celtic Lion economy to take off in Scotland” (the lion rampant is the heraldic symbol of Scotland). The onset of the Irish economic crisis and bailout prompted Scottish Labour Party leader Iain Gray to ridicule Salmond, telling the Scottish Parliament that “Scotland’s banking sector is ten times the size of Ireland’s. The Royal Bank of Scotland alone had a balance sheet 15 times the size of the Scottish economy. Alex Salmond just does not get it. Everyone in Scotland knows that in a separate Scotland our two biggest banks would have gone and with them all the jobs, all the savings, all the pensions, all the mortgages and all the salaries.”

Note: In 2009, the Royal Bank of Scotland was briefly both the world’s largest company by assets (£1.9 trillion) and liabilities (£1.8 trillion). Today, 84 percent of the bank is owned by the UK government (taxpayer), which bought its stock for £45 billion, representing 50 pence per share. In 2011, the shares were worth 19 pence, representing a taxpayer book loss of £26 billion.

Finally, there’s this from The Daily Mash: “Independent Scotland could be exactly the same, warn experts“. Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, is quoted as saying, “It will still be damp, windy and miles from everywhere. The Scottish people will continue to shop, drink, complain, work for the council, eat beige food and hate each other because of football, religion or some bastard hybrid of the two.”

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