Thursday, 25 September 2008

Just What Central Bank Alex?

As long ago as at least 2001 the whole banking policy of the SNP was set in stone. I don't think I've heard a dramatic change in it yet. Basically the Governor of the Bank of England would continue to oversee banking in Scotland until the time was right for an independent Scotland to enter into the Euro.

Now neither the Bank of England nor the European Central Bank would have responded directly to the First Minister of Scotland calling for a £100m fund to save the Bank of Scotland. Indeed with several European banks currently setting up their own contingency fund of £70bn the ECB would probably have got them to buy up HBOS and the Bank of Enlgand would have encouraged other banks under its authority to act as a lifeboat which would probably have led to an English pay, say Lloyds-TSB, buying up HBOS to keep them afloat. Of course if the BOS had only been an investment bank instead of a commercial bank the American approach to Lehman Brothers may have been taken, i.e. let the market decide.

Short selling may have in the last hours accelerated the takeover, concentrating the minds but like all banks suffering at the moment it is the kick on effect from the sub prime mortgage exposure that had been making HBOS vulnerable. Salmond calls that branch of his former profession "spivs and speculators" one wonders how much advise over what to short sell a former economist at the Bank of Scotland may have given in the past.

Further to my comments about Alex Neil's general assembly of the Scottish banking kirk elders it is interesting that in 2001 he seemed short sighted enough to say:

"There is no point in us jumping out of the British frying pan of sterling into
a federal European fire of the euro."

Further claiming that joining the euro would limit the degree to which Scotland could be independent within Europe. In light of the interdependence of Scotland's economy with that or the UK, Europe and the World I don't see this sort of independence in all things, at any cost the attitude I'd want from someone overseeing fiscal autonomy in our interdependent world. As Bernard Salmon added it all reeks of symbolism for the sake of acting tough enough to be able to handle independence, which personally I'm glad of as most intelligent people will see we cannot be independent and isolationist at the same time.


  1. Hi Stephen,
    Surely you see that control of your interest rates is one tool which can be used by independent countries to shape their economic outcomes? And that it makes sense to think that Frankfurt, contemplating a continent, is even more remote than London, contemplating just the UK?


  2. James I do see that as part of a fiscal autonomous yet interdependent system, I was merely pointing out the dichotomy in SNP policy and what they ahve been burbling this week.

    I think Alex Neil's approach that Scotland can survive totally financially independently from anyone else is wrong however as we will merely be buffeted on the tides of change all the time.