SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Senior bankers have dismissed claims that independence could trigger a great depression as “preposterous” and “disingenuous”.
Ian Blackford, who formerly ran Deutsche Bank’s operations in Scotland and the Netherlands, and Edward McDowell, a former risk manager for Lloyds Banking Group, have played down the warnings of their former employers of the risks of independence.
Senior figures in the National Union of Students (NUS) have also declared for Yes amid “pathetic threats” from the banking and oil executives.
It comes amid heated exchanges between unionist and nationalist leaders over the tone of the recent banking announcements.
SNP leader Alex Salmond today stood by fellow nationalist Jim Sillars after the former SNP deputy leader warned there would be “a day of reckoning with BP and the banks” after independence.
He described Mr Sillars, who has been a vocal critic of his leadership, as “a great campaigner” who has been “fighting a fine campaign”.
However, Mr Salmond dismissed Mr Sillar’s rhetoric, insisting September 19 will be “a day of celebration for the people, not reckoning for big companies drawn into the No campaign by Downing Street”.
‘Disown Jim Sillars completely’
Mr Salmond’s words did not go far enough for Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, who insisted the SNP leader must “disown Jim Sillars completely”.
Last night, Deutsche Bank warned that a Yes vote “would go down in history as a political and economic mistake as large as Winston Churchill’s decision in 1925 to return the pound to the Gold Standard or the failure of the Federal Reserve to provide sufficient liquidity to the US banking system, which we now know brought on the Great Depression in the US”.
Mr Blackford said: “This is the bank that failed to forecast the crash in 2008 and what they are saying now is preposterous.
“RBS and others have said there is no risk to jobs or investment in Scotland. It is about moving the brass plates and the fact is that this all about the UK Government’s panic over the real possibility of it losing the union.”
‘Markets always react to progressive change’
Reacting to the negative market reaction to mounting momentum for the Yes campaign, Mr Blackford said: “Markets always react to progressive change.”
Mr McDowell, who has nearly 40 years’ experience in the banking sector, said Deutsche Bank’s claims are “disingenuous”.
“They do not take account of Scotland’s strong fiscal position or well established institutions and I believe is another example of misleading information,” he said.
NUS president Gordon Maloney, vice president Robert Foster and women’s officer Vonnie Sandlan have all declared for Yes.
Mr Maloney said: “What’s clinched it for me is looking at who’s lining up to tell us we’re too stupid and uppity to manage it. When oil execs and big bankers make pathetic threats, I have no doubt which side I’m on.”
‘I believe an independent Scotland can deliver a better future’
Mr Foster said: “I haven’t taken the decision to vote Yes lightly, but it is a decision that feels completely comfortable to me and it feels right for my country. I believe an independent Scotland can deliver a better future for my family and my four-year-old son.”
Ms Sandlan said: “With four young children to think of, I have not taken this decision lightly.
“All of the political issues which are close to my heart are being best addressed in the vision set out by those campaigning for a Yes vote: treating immigrants with respect, prioritising funded accessible childcare, guaranteeing free fair and funded further & higher education, removing Trident from Scotland, investing in renewable energy and making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up to name but a few.”
Defending Mr Sillars, Mr Salmond said: “Jim Sillars is a great campaigner who has put aside his personal grief over the loss of his wife Margo MacDonald to put his heart and soul into galvanising the Yes vote.
‘The day after a Yes vote will be a day of celebration for the people’
“He is fighting a fine campaign all over Scotland - but the day after a Yes vote will be a day of celebration for the people, not reckoning for big companies drawn into the No campaign by Downing Street.”
Speaking in Orkney, Mr Carmichael said: “People across Scotland will find it unbelievable that Alex Salmond is accusing business like our supermarkets and our banks of bullying simply because they have been telling the truth about the costs of independence.
“And now we hear his own former deputy leader Jim Sillars threatening these businesses with a ‘day of reckoning’ if there is a Yes vote. That is unacceptable. Alex Salmond has got to disown Jim Sillars completely. His weasel words, his half-truths and his excuses are no longer good enough.”