Others may think on textiles, oil, fishing and decent universities. And let’s not forget the golf. Scotland is recognised globally as a great “wee” country.
But once there was a time when Scotland was also associated with great banks.
Yes, Edinburgh especially was known as a bastion of banking and safe money. The 2008 global financial crisis put paid to that. Bank of Scotland got decimated, while RBS’s fate was world news.
Former RBS chief executive Fred Goodwin became an overnight hate figure for many. A real shame and, from then on in, Scotland has never been looked upon as anything special as a financial heavyweight. And it is about to get a lot worse if Scotland decides to become independent and look to Europe as a friend.
Let me caveat what comes next so I don’t get ostracised by the SNP luvvies and the toxic keyboard warriors who scout the news pages for the ‘enemy within’. I love Scotland. I live here after having taken a sabbatical in Europe. I’d love to see Scotland flourish, new businesses created, no food banks and, yes, another heyday in global financial services.
All of this leads to prosperity. And I think the SNP actually wants that for everyone who lives here. So, this is not an opportunity for me to give the SNP or Scottish independence a kicking. Instead, I’d rather you have a good old think about what comes next and asked your potential new MSP what he or she thinks.
For many of us, we deal on a daily basis with money. We buy things, we sell things, we pay with debit cards and we send money using our banking apps. The currency of that money is the Great British Pound. Pre-Covid, pound coins were in abundance along with notes in different denominations – a fiver, a tenner, a score etc. Cash has meaning and money has meaning for us.
We trust that banks are to be trusted and we trust that bankers are to be trusted. And herein lies the million-dollar fallacy for me. Not because banks and bankers are not trustworthy. Far from it. But, because the system that has been created, perpetuated and encouraged is broken and at breaking point.
As Andy Haldane, the chief economist at the Bank of England hangs up his spurs, he should not be applauded for a job well done. All he has done is devalue money, precipitate hidden inflation and impose zero-interest rates on us as part of the global central banking cabal that is now running out of time and options. Central banks have nowhere to go folks.
Just think 11 years of quantitative easing. What has eased? Well I’ll tell you. Stock markets, bankers and hedge fund managers have done incredibly well. But for the average man and woman in the street, bus and train fares are up, council tax is up, gas and electricity prices are up, the cost of cars is up, the price of a starter home is almost unachievable for your average Generation Z kid and let’s forget about the price of a coffee.
The Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) espoused by central banks has failed, as governments just borrow freshly printed money from the central banks, who have the printing presses rolling pretending it’s all for our own good. It is an endless cycle of borrowing and currency devaluation and Scotland now has a once-in-a-century opportunity break free and do its own thing.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is in danger of becoming omnipotent and useless both at the same time and that is a very dangerous place to be. The ECB’s debt is at a fresh all-time high of over 7.5 trillion euros.
Christine Lagarde, formerly of the IMF, who has been convicted in France of "negligence by a person in position of public authority”, but is now the big cheese at the ECB, just keeps the money printing presses rolling. Total assets rose by 20.1 billion euros in part because of quantitative easing.
The ECB debt is now equal to 70 per cent of the eurozone GDP. To put that into perspective, the Bank of England is only 38 per cent and the Federal Reserve is only 36 per cent.
In short, Europe is in danger of becoming a failed state just like the Roman Empire which also completely devalued its currency and went catastrophically bust.
And this is what an independent Scotland wants to join? As the Roman denarii went down the toilet, those using it lost trust. Then boom! Europe is in danger of doing a Rome as it prints ten euro notes like toilet paper.
Scotland must not re-join this club of inward-looking politicians now run by Lagarde and her cronies. It will not end well for Scotland if it starts out on its independent journey.
So, what is to be done? I have my own very strong thoughts. But, this piece is not about creating a new economic paradigm shift for Scotland. If Kate Forbes wants to chat, she can call the Scotsman and we can have a blether. What this is, is a warning shot across the bow of the SNP front-bench. The Medici’s are long gone. Rome is long gone. And Europe’s finances suggest it is for the scrap heap too.
I’ll revisit this piece in 10 years. Either I will be shown to be a complete conspiracy theorist and failed armchair economist or one of those who saw through the looking glass and raised his hand.
Don’t forget to share this with your chosen MSP.