Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, is premature in claiming his intervention in the takeover of HBOS and RBS will undermine Scottish nationalism (your report, 15 October).
As Bill Jamieson wisely points out, many of those who held shares in both banks, many of them ordinary staff, have seen them become largely worthless overnight as a result of Mr Brown's actions and will be more concerned over their financial losses than by Union flags. The crisis also begs the question as to why banking legislation under Mr Brown at the Treasury for a decade allowed the situation to develop in the first place?
Considering this crisis has hit Scotland as part of the UK harder than other countries, it ill behoves those who favour the current UK set-up to seek to capitalise from it.
I am bemused at all the praise being directed at Gordon Brown for his handling of the banking crisis. For the past 11 years, he has been at the centre of a government that has done nothing to curtail the excesses of modern banks and financial institutions. Until now he has been a vocal advocate of letting the City of London do whatever it does with as light a regulatory framework and as little government interference as possible.
Saying Mr Brown has had a good credit crisis is akin to saying Earl Haig had a good First World War. Any personal triumph accruing to Mr Brown for his handling of this crisis should be offset by the knowledge that, as chancellor, he did nothing to stop this situation developing. As you sow so shall ye reap.
Yet more billions of English money are going to subsidise the Scots for saving RBS and HBOS. This disproportionately benefits Scotland because the banks have, in proportion to the population, far more employees in Scotland than in England and the head offices are in Scotland.
The English are not merely funding the rescue of Scottish companies and jobs, but are bearing the majority of the gigantic risk if the debts prove unmanageable, arguably all of it, because Scotland does not fund all its own public expenditure.
The RBS and HBOS failure is the latest in a long line of Scottish financial disasters brought on by recklessness. The Darien fiasco was the first, with William Paterson leading the charge to obliteration of Scotland's independence in the late 17th century. Add in John Law's ruination of the French economy in the early 18th century and Gordon Brown's responsibility for the credit bubble here and it is reasonable to conclude that the Scots' reputation for financial prudence is one of the great propaganda victories of history, one to set alongside that of the United States's reputation as the greatest champion of free trade and free enterprise.
I could not agree more with your lead report, "Still time to save the bank" (15 October). While this is not a devolved matter, it is still one of critical importance to the Scottish economy.
I urge Alex Salmond and all the Scottish party leaders to put party politics to one side and make a joint statement that calls for HBOS to remain independent and Scottish; surely they could agree on at least that.
Will Gordon Brown explain to taxpayers in Scotland whether or not he insisted, as one of the conditions for our cash, that RBS and HBOS HQs remain in Edinburgh?
Can the Scottish people not understand that they have been completely hoodwinked by Gordon Brown for his own political ends?
The opportunity to take over Scotland's two banks, and thus spike the SNP's guns, whilst at the same time raising his own status as the self-professed saviour of the world's economy, was too good to miss. He exploited this opportunity to the full. With the help of his all-too-willing Chancellor, he talked down the value of HBOS shares while arranging for the smaller Lloyds TSB bank (in England) to take over Scotland's national bank. Then, and only then, did he make short-selling of shares illegal. It was a master stroke – for him.
With the Royal Bank now nationalised and Mr Brown's unshakeable insistence that Lloyd's TSB takes over HBOS, come what may, Scotland has lost its whole banking sector and heritage at a stroke (Clydesdale is, of course, Australian). Never again will Scotland be able to claim financial independence, and the SNP will no longer serve any purpose.
It is 1707 all over again. Treachery by Scotland's own citizens has won the day – a sad day indeed in Scotland's history.
A M T MAXWELL-IRVING