I don’t profess to have too much opinion on Scottish
independence. It is quite hot news in the UK as there is talk of a referendum
Alex Salmond is leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) who, for the first
time ever, have a majority in the devolved Scottish parliament. There is great
debate as to whether it would be beneficial for Scotland to have their independence
from both sides of the fence.
There are claims that Scotland
are a drain on the UK
parliament and that they cost more than they contribute. There are counter
claims that the oil reserves would make an independent Scotland the
sixth richest nation in the Western world if they went down that route.
Alex Salmond, when interviewed by John Snow on Channel 4
news, was asked a series of questions. He claimed that Scotland would
have control of 90% of the oil and gas reserves, based on location. He also
claimed that Scotland
would only be responsible for 8%-9% of the deficit based on population / GDP.
The key was when John Snow talked of a letter that Salmond
sent to the Royal Bank of Scotland
in 2007 when the financial situation was far better. The letter was to the then
chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Fred Goodwin, offering
backing for the disastrous purchase of Dutch bank ABN-Amro.
In the letter, Mr Salmond says: "It is in Scottish
interests for RBS to be successful, and I would like to offer any assistance my
office can provide. Good luck with the bid. Yours for Scotland, Alex."
So Salmond was keen that RBS was Scottish, and stepped in to
support a move which helped the downfall of the huge bank.
So when John Snow asked if Scotland
would be proportionally responsible for the debt of this Scottish bank –
underwritten by the taxpayer for £180 billion – Salmond denied it was ‘Scottish’
and the responsibility was with the ‘English’ (Westminster) regulators.
I am no expert on Scotland but I can see the double
standards from a mile off.