NOT many people come out very well from the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2008, First Ministers of Scotland among them.
In a new book on the crash of the Edinburgh bank, Making It Happen, journalist Iain Martin (and a former editor of this paper) reveals how Bute House fawned all over Gogarburn while the good times rolled. Martin recounts the infamous letter sent by Salmond to Fred Goodwin offering him “any assistance my office can provide” as RBS proceeded with its disastrous takeover of ABN Amro in 2007. But at least Salmond did not get Fred a gong – unlike Jack McConnell. The book reveals that it was at the intervention of Salmond’s predecessor that Goodwin (above) was given a knighthood in 2004, an honour which subsequently revoked after the boom went bust.
Unusual suspects in the Yes campaign
IT APPEARS that Yes Scotland is going to extraordinary lengths to find people who will back independence in the referendum next year. At the campaign’s HQ, visitors are welcome to sign a huge “Independence Declaration” plastered over one wall of the office. At the top of the wall, the name “Kaiser Soze” appears – the villain of the cult classic The Usual Suspects. Film buffs will know that part of the allure of the film and the character is that nobody really knows whether Kaiser Soze (above) exists. Is somebody trying to tell Yes something about the strength of its support?
Glasgow’s miles too far for PR flunkies
NICK Clegg describes Glasgow as a “fantastic conference venue”. But for the legions of PR flunkies, corporate lobbyists and professional hangers-on who now make up most of a UK conference crowd, it appears that Scotland’s biggest city is a step too far. Public Affairs News reveals that many of its members can’t bear the thought of being quite so far from the M25’s warm embrace. One senior lobbyist told the online mag: “We are doing less with the Lib Dems this year, and so are our clients, because everyone is put off by the location.” Another moaned: “The travel arrangements pose challenges for most and quite frankly the city isn’t a very attractive proposition either. Their attendance will be way down on last year.”