Thursday, 28 November 2013

Scotland's Future

Imagine that you are a banker. (If you are not already a banker this may be hard, but please try.) On a certain day you have appointments with each of a newly divorced couple, both of whom require loans to help them on their separate ways. The divorce has been acrimonious and reported in the press. Partner A has repeatedly threatened to accept no responsibility for the debts incurred on their joint account, not even those incurred in making purchases on his own behalf. He has now changed his mind. Partner B has gone on settling all debts as usual. Bearing in mind that, as a banker, your first responsibility is the security of your own funds, to which of the couple will you be more inclined to lend?
Amongst all the sound and fury surrounding the launch of the White Paper 'Scotland's Future', one figure has received surprisingly little attention. It is projected that in the first year of independence the Scottish Government will require to borrow £4.4 billion.
This is the same Scottish Government that:
  1. has repeatedly threatened not to accept a share of the UK national debt,
  2. denies Scotland's responsibility for the actions of a Scottish Chancellor in raising the UK national debt in order to bail out failing Scottish banks,
  3. is already spending beyond its means,
  4. has promised yet more spending in pursuit of a fairer society,
  5. is about to destroy Trident-related jobs by the thousand,
  6. is committed to a currency union and thus will not be able to set its own monetary policy.
Are you still imagining that you are a banker? You are not of course a Scottish banker, since the major Scottish banks are no longer Scottish owned. You are a foreigner and this Scottish Government is asking you for £4.4 billion. This year.  Alternatively you could lend to the RUK government which also needs a loan.
Bearing in mind that, as a banker, your first responsibility is the security of your own funds, what will you do?