The loss of the Bank of Scotland is a national disgrace.
A disgrace not brought about by Scotland – but by Westminster and this Labour Government.
Some time ago I posted a blog that related how Iceland’s commercial banks – especially Landsbanki and Kaupthing – had high value CDS figures (610 and 856 respectively) which meant that they were particularly vulnerable to collapse in the credit crunch.
The population of Iceland being small (only 300 000) they couldn’t afford to step in and nationalise their banks. Fortunately they organised a loan from their friends in Norway and that sorted things out.
Norway with a population of 4.7 million, slightly smaller than Scotland. It also had the foresight to initiate an oil fund; something that the SNP plans to do with Scotland’s oil.
Back in March the Bank of Scotland had a CDS of 235.
Not in any great danger. And even that number would have been lower without all the mortgages that came with the Halifax merger. Of course, the Halifax merger in 2001 wasn’t the end of the Bank of Scotland; it just renamed its Edinburgh global headquarters and put Halifax in front of its name. It wasn’t moving anywhere.
Now of course due to market speculation and short trading on HBOS shares bringing panic it seems there will be a merger of HBOS and Lloyds TSB.
The new bank will be based in London and initial reports are the bank will be renamed Lloyds Halifax.
Its the end of one of Scotland’s leading financial companies, and the end of its proud history. Established in 1695 before the Treaty of the Union with England, it financed Jacobite rebellions and was the first bank in Europe to print paper money.
I would doubt if Scotland had been an independent country this historic bank would have been let to die in such a merger.
If Norway could afford to bail out their Icelandic neighbours with their oil fund, I’m pretty confident that an independent Scotland would have used its oil fund to do likewise, if it became necessary.
And that’s a big if. I’m sure that an independent Scotland would have used all the mechanisms at its disposal to save help our economy through these trying times. Mechanisms that only on Tuesday Alex Salmond was epousing on Newsnight Scotland that should have been applied before now – and that every commentator on Wednesday’s programme bar one agreed with.
Whereas only last week Merwyn King announced the Bank of England SLS – transferring of mortgages into liquid stock scheme – would not be extended. After the run on HBOS it was forced to change its mind Tuesday afternoon.
Of course, Gordon Brown was aware that he had already bailed out one bank, Northern Rock. With his popularity in freefall at the moment and seemingly having no answers to solve this country’s economic problems, he instead pressured Lloyds into the merger.
So should he be praised for saving jobs then? Its his running of the UK economy thats caused the Bank of Scotland to die!
Its like a penniless crofter killing his entire stock of breeding cattle and saying today’s pies tasted nice! It may be true but its not foresighted.
Surely only a fool would praise penniless crofter Gordon Brown for today’s pies? Step forward George Foulkes!
Is this Gordon Brown’s idea of Britishness? Forcing long standing proud Scottish institutions and global financial players to be repatriated to London? Part of his long game to ensure that Scotland’s finances will be bereft and beholden to London? Just like a colony then?
I feel ashamed that under a Scottish Prime Minister’s stewardship of the UK economy that this proud bank and Scottish institution is being allowed to die.
Gordon Brown. The man who killed the Bank of Scotland.
That will be his epitaph.
I doubt even Margaret Thatcher would have sunk so low.
Gordon Brown must go.